In the Souls House Hidden
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                                    Plus au fond, tout au fond, dans la maison de lâme,
                                    où vont et viennent et sasseoient autour dun feu,
                                    les Passions avec leur visage de femme.
                                                            Rodenbach
 
In the Souls House the Passions circulate
beautiful women in silk raiment dressed,
with sapphires glimmering darkly in their hair.
They rule the whole abode: from outer gate
to rooms the innermost and secretest;
and when the nights incontinences rouse
the riot in their blood, they congregate
tumultuously in the hall, and there,
flushed and dishevelled and with bosoms bare,
                        dance wildly and carouse.
 
Outside the House, pale-visaged, oddly dressed
in dress disused, the Virtues live through days
embittered by the sounds behind the wall;
and ever and anon, as the unrest
of the hetairae in inebrious craze
affrights their pensive silence, they advance
up to the windows, and with foreheads pressed
against the panes, survey the fevered hall,
the lights, the flowers, the glittering gems, and all
                        the wonder of the dance.

Translated by John Cavafy

(Poems by C. P. Cavafy. Translated, from the Greek, by J. C. Cavafy. Ikaros, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem