– w.h. auden
A weed from Catholic Europe, it took root
Between some yellow mountains and a sea,
Its gay stone houses an exotic fruit
A Portugal-cum-China oddity
Rococo images of saint and Saviour
Promise its gamblers fortunes when they die,
Churches alongside brothels testify
That faith can pardon natural behaviour.
A town of such indulgence need not fear
Those mortal sins by which the strong are killed
And limbs and governments are torn to pieces.
Religious clocks will strike, the childish vices
Will safeguard the low virtues of the child
And nothing serious can happen here.
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