Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Sentiment: II. Life
Beauty Unadorned
Propertius (c. 50–c. 16 B.C.)
From the Latin by Goldwin Smith

From “Elegies” Book I. II.

DEAR girl, what boots it thus to dress thy hair,
Or flaunt in silken garment rich and rare,
To reek of perfume from a foreign mart,
And pass thyself for other than thou art—
Thus Nature’s gift of beauty to deface        5
And rob thy own fair form of half its grace?
Trust me, no skill can greater charms impart:
Love is a naked boy and scorns all art.
Bears not the sod unbidden blossoms rare?
The untrained ivy, is it not most fair?        10
Greenest the shrub on rocks untended grows,
Brightest the rill in unhewn channel flows.
The beach is with unpolished pebbles gay,
And birds untutored trill the sweetest lay.
Not thus the damsels of the golden age        15
Were wont the hearts of heroes to engage:
Their loveliness was to no jewels due,
But to such tints as once Apelles drew.
From vain coquettish arts they all were free,
Content to charm with simple modesty.        20
By thee despite to me will ne’er be done;
The woman pleases well who pleases one.

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