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Gilded Gold

 Thou dost to rich attire a grace,
To let it deck itself with thee,
And teachest pomp strange cunning ways
To be thought simplicity.
But lilies, stolen from grassy mold, No more curled state unfold Translated to a vase of gold; In burning throne though they keep still Serenities unthawed and chill.
Therefore, albeit thou'rt stately so, In statelier state thou us'dst to go.
Though jewels should phosphoric burn Through those night-waters of thine hair, A flower from its translucid urn Poured silver flame more lunar-fair.
These futile trappings but recall Degenerate worshippers who fall In purfled kirtle and brocade To 'parel the white Mother-Maid.
For, as her image stood arrayed In vests of its self-substance wrought To measure of the sculptor's thought - Slurred by those added braveries; So for thy spirit did devise Its Maker seemly garniture, Of its own essence parcel pure, - From grave simplicities a dress, And reticent demurenesses, And love encinctured with reserve; Which the woven vesture should subserve.
For outward robes in their ostents Should show the soul's habiliments.
Therefore I say,--Thou'rt fair even so, But better Fair I use to know.
The violet would thy dusk hair deck With graces like thine own unsought.
Ah! but such place would daze and wreck Its simple, lowly rustic thought.
For so advanced, dear, to thee, It would unlearn humility! Yet do not, with an altered look, In these weak numbers read rebuke; Which are but jealous lest too much God's master-piece thou shouldst retouch.
Where a sweetness is complete, Add not sweets unto the sweet! Or, as thou wilt, for others so In unfamiliar richness go; But keep for mine acquainted eyes The fashions of thy Paradise.

Poem by Francis Thompson
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