Labor our minds and bodies in their course,
Blithely we nourish pleasurable remorse
As beggars feed their parasitic lice.
Our sins are stubborn, our repentance faint,
We sell our weak confessions at high price,
Returning gaily to the bogs of vice,
Thinking base tears can cleanse our every taint.
Pillowed on evil, Satan Trismegist
Ceaselessly cradles our enchanted mind,
The flawless metal of our will we find
Volatilized by this rare alchemist.
–Au lecteur, trans. by Jacques Leclerq