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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Beauty Unadorned

By Propertius (c. 50–c. 16 B.C.)

Translation of James Cranstoun

WHY wear, my Life, when thou abroad dost stir,

A head trimmed up to fashion’s latest laws?

A Coan vestment of transparent gauze,

And hair perfumed with Orontean myrrh?

Why deck thyself with gems and costly dress?

Why mar with trinkets Nature’s form divine,

And not allow thy beauties forth to shine

In all their own, their matchless loveliness?

To thee such aids can add no charms—ah, no!

True love will aye disdain the artist’s care.

See! the fair fields a thousand colors wear,

And ivy sprays far best spontaneous grow.

Fairer in lonely grots green arbutes rise,

Fairer the streamlet wends its wandering way,

Lovelier bright pebbles gem their native bay,

And birds sing sweetlier artless melodies.