See where the silver walls enclose
    The rippling lake her song-bird sips!
The powdery fume the fountain throws,
    The jet the dolphin spouts from his lips,
    Whose neck Arion closely clips;
And the polished pebbles and gems, that pave,
    As the sea-floor deep down under the ships,
The silver bath of the perfumed wave.

And now the maid a drapet strows,
    And next a fragrant cream she whips;
Then napkins come like warmed snows;
    And hither my lady lightly trips,
    And dabbles her dainty finger-tips;
For my lady is fair, but is not brave,
    And loves not water that burns or nips
In the silver bath of the perfumed wave.

Hark! she is coming my beautiful rose!
    Hush! we are hidden, and she! she strips:
The petals fall, and the white skin shows,
    The marble breasts, and the polished hips.
    Then one foot in the tide she dips;
Then over her body the waters lave;
And then she rises and warmly drips
    In the silver bath of the perfumed wave.

Into my arms the dear form slips.
    I are not think of it, lest I rave;
The naked body's pale eclipse
    In the silver bath of the perfumed wave.


Aesthetes and Decadents of the 1890s: An Anthology of British Poetry and Prose. Ed. Karl Beckson. Chicago: Academy, 1981.

Last modified 1 November 2006