This poem appears in the Summer 2020 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, click here.

(spoken by the subject of Byron’s poem “Lines Inscribed upon a Cup Formed from a Skull”)

I pray the hallowed earth to take me back—
(To sup with sinners! Me! To drink with devils!)
You’ve filled my Christian pate with sin and sack;
My abbey, plundered, where you make your revels,
With flesh. My vows are void. No more shall I
Stay mum: My mind is cleared; my tongue, unsheathed.
Your glittering gifts I spurn: The sun, the sky,
More gold than ever graced me while I breathed.
You hold my cheek and wet my lip with yours—
What perfidy and perfume it is tainted with!
You’re bad. Or mad. Or both. I always was
Good-minded, gay, and well to be acquainted with.
I pray I’ll lie again in earth that’s blessed—
Let your bones be refused a place to rest.