On Zeuxis

He beheld her, in that mansion
which is the white sepulcher of itself: her mazy
                liver-spotted face, her hands’ mockery
                                   of hands, which made his—nimble, cultivated—
                                   play with themselves as if reassuringly; and
a smile, he couldn’t help it, a smile which would have been piteous
were it not also motivated by a pleasure in profit,

                 slit his face—

 that such a creature, broken-
backed with the burden of its pride
                 and reeking of desire-sickness, that such a creature so
      self-deceived, to think
her grotesque pallor that of divine indifference,
and her small black eyes the vortices of love,
                should be beheld at all, that she shouldn’t vanish into her own
unreality;

                 and he—painting her! who had fooled
the birds with his delicious de-incarnation, he
                 masking her unreality with extravagant mercies
so as to make her real,
and that his labor: to turn a woman sweet-sickeningly dreaming of herself
                 into pure coherent light. He chuckled, 

                                  as though enjoying the work very much; she blushed to be looked upon
and smiled at,
and was so much the more revolting to behold

The essence of ugliness is labored ignorance.

And so how ugly was he,
he thought as he beheld himself in her blush and her maze:

 

                 overcome with sorrow,
                 he was revolutionized by laughter.