Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Harlot's House (Author: Oscar Wilde)
- We caught the tread of dancing feet,
We loitered down the moonlit street,
And stopped beneath the harlot's house.
- Inside, above the din and fray,
We heard the loud musicians play
The Treues Liebes Herz of Strauss.
- Like strange mechanical grotesques,
Making fantastic arabesques,
The shadows raced across the blind.
- We watched the ghostly dancers spin,
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.
- Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille.
- Then took each other by the hand,
And danced a stately saraband;
Their laughter echoed thin and shrill.
- Sometimes a clockwork puppet pressed
A phantom lover to her breast,
Sometimes they seemed to try and sing.
- Sometimes a horrible marionette
Came out and smoked its cigarette
Upon the steps like a live thing.
- Then turning to my love I said,
The dead are dancing with the dead,
The dust is whirling with the dust.
- But sheshe heard the violin,
And left my side, and entered in:
Love passed into the house of lust.
- Then suddenly the tune went false,
The dancers wearied of the waltz,
The shadows ceased to wheel and whirl.
- And down the long and silent street,
The dawn with silver-sandalled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.