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You beautiful girl of the street!
With paramours a-plenty.
With radiant hair, and lips so sweet.
And summers barely twenty!


We met, and though we did not speak
The language of the gutter,
I read the words in eyes and cheek,
That stammer not, nor mutter.


You trade in love as if 'twere stuff,
That glittered into money;
And count it happiness enough
To gather bloom for honey.


You sip no sweets, yet think you do,
And turn death into pleasure,
And leave no hope where promise grew,
And forfeit virtue's treasure.


Your flirting eyes, your teeth of pearl,
Youth's calyx and love's flower,
They stamp you all, bewitching girl,
And prove your beauty's power.


What drove you to the street? Was it
Some shattered idol, who
Betrayed you with his purse and wit,
And then discarded you?


Or was it that you did not know
Love's voice that did entreat?
Or, did desire merely grow,
And then suggest the street?


And would you love, and could you love,
If, seeking you, there came
An upright youth, who meant to prove
You lost naught through your shame?


Or, has desire seared your heart?
Does life hold nothing dear?
Is passion, now, the only art
That draws a lover near?


Your pretty face belies the speech
Your lips frame in reply.
Your faith still holds within its reach
The promise of the sky!


Within your barren heart there lies
The cherished hope, that when
The evil thing within you dies,
Your love will live again!


Do different standards measure sex,
And brand a woman lost,
And leave her past a thing to vex,
While men know naught of cost?


Why should the one receiving, lose
More than the one who gives?
Do women who fair youth seduce
Turn moral fugitives?


Oh, Magdalene who walks the street,
In pity walk no more.
The trophies that your eyes would greet,
Let some pure heart adore!


With convoy of sweet prayer, some boy
To manhood's ways was brought.
Why wreck a mother's sacred joy,
That in her soul was wrought?


Oh, Magdalene whom Christ forgave
And spared in silence, just,
Breathe one soft prayer that He may save
The flowers culled by lust!