JUDITH: a Poem

Gustave Klimt

Judith has chosen to devote her body to her country,
She has prepared her breasts to tempt her dreadful lover,
Painted her eyes and brightened their somber scintillation,
And she has perfumed her skin ~ destined to return much faded.
Pale, she has stepped forward to stage her massacre ~
Her large eyes crazed with ecstasy and terror;
And her voice, her dance, her lean, hypnotic body
Have served the dark Assyrian as dread intoxicants.
In the arms of her triumphant master, suddenly
She has cried out, closing her eyes as if she were a child.
Afterward the man, relaxed, descends into a bestial slumber:
Caught as much witin a horror of love as of dark death,
Her conscience free, woman has lashed out at man:
Coldly and with slow determination she has sliced off his head.
— Jean Lahor c. 1886

Gustave Klimt