The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. October
GAMBLING AT MONACO
A jewelled kingdom set impregnable
In gardens green which front the violet sea,
A happy fortress shut and guarded well,
And cradled ever on the mountain’s knee:
Here Monsieur Blanc, sad prince of industry,
Has reared the palace which men call his hell:
And here in autumn days, when winds blow free,
Pleasure shall lead us to sin’s citadel.
Alas for vice! Yet, who dares moralize,
In the hushed rooms, where fortune reigns alway?
Her solemn priest, with chink of coin, replies
“Messieurs, faites votre jeu. Le jeu est fait.”
Who dares be wise, lest wisdom’s self be vexed?
For all who come to preach remain to play.
Nay, leave poor vice, say I, her pleasant text,
Nor grudge her Heaven in this world with the next.