Midnight Confession.

(From Charles Baudelaire.)

At the dreary midnight hour,1
Strikes the clock, as if it said2
Mortals, to what use, what power,3
Have ye put the day just dead ?’4
From our lips the words unbidden5
In despairing chorus fell6
(No one string of ours being hidden),7
We have lived as dogs in hell !’8
We have cursed and blasphem’d Jesus,9
Holiest, kindliest God of all ;10
And beneath the board of Cresus,11
Fawn’d we for the crumbs that fall ;12
And to please the brute who buys us,13
Soul and body, with his gold,14
Flatter’d those who must despise us,15
Spurn’d the hands we ought to hold !16
In our slavish melancholy,17
Sick at heart, our heads we bow18
To the hideous monster, Folly19
Folly with the bull-like brow ;20
Till we gibe at all that raises21
Mankind from the brutes accurst,22
Heaping still our fulsome praises23
On the loathsomest and worst.24
And to crown our ghastly madness,25
We, the high priests of the eyre26
We, whose theme is joy and sadness,27
Half akin to ours, but higher28
We, before our songs were spoken,29
Stoop’d to carnal base delight;—30
Hurl the lamp down; when ’tis broken31
We can hide us in the night !’32