The Decameron

Noon with a depth of shadow beneath the trees
   Shakes in the heat, quivers to the sound of lutes:
   Half shaded, half sunlit, a great bowl of fruits
   Glistens purple and golden: the flasks of wine
   Cool in their panniers of snow: silks muffle and shine:
   Dim velvet, where through the leaves a sunbeam shoots,
   Rifts in a pane of scarlet: fingers tapping the roots
   Keep languid time to the music’s soft slow decline.
   Suddenly from the gate rises up a cry,
   Hideous broken laughter, scarce human in sound;
   Gaunt clawed hands, thrust through the bars despairingly,
   Clutch fast at the scented air, while on the ground
   Lie the poor plague-stricken carrions, who have found
   Strength to crawl forth and curse the sunshine and die.
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