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Poem by Henry Kirke White

The Prostitute

Woman of weeping eye, ah! for thy wretched lot,
Putting on smiles to lure the lewd passenger,
Smiling while anguish gnaws at thy heavy heart;

Sad is thy chance, thou daughter of misery,
Vice and disease are wearing thee fast away,
While the unfeeling ones sport with thy sufferings.

Destined to pamper the vicious one's appetite;
Spurned by the beings who lured thee from innocence;
Sinking unnoticed in sorrow and indigence;

Thou hast no friends, for they with thy virtue fled;
Thou art an outcast from house and from happiness;
Wandering alone on the wide world's unfeeling stage!

Daughter of misery, sad is thy prospect here;
Thou hast no friend to soothe down the bed of death;
None after thee inquires with solicitude;

Famine and fell disease shortly will wear thee down,
Yet thou hast still to brave often the winter's wind,
Loathsome to those thou wouldst court with thine hollow eyes.

Soon thou wilt sink into death's silent slumbering,
And not a tear shall fall on thy early grave.
Nor shall a single stone tell where thy bones are laid.

Once wert thou happythou wert once innocent;
But the seducer beguiled thee in artlessness,
Then he abandoned thee unto thine infamy.

Now he perhaps is reclined on a bed of down:
But if a wretch like him sleeps in security,
God of the red right arm! where is thy thunder-bolt?

Henry Kirke White

Henry Kirke White's other poems:
  1. I'm Pleased and Yet I'm Sad
  2. The Trent
  3. To an Early Primrose
  4. Description of a Summers Eve
  5. Canzonet

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