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

James Herbert Morse (1841–1923)

The Power of Beauty

THOU needst not weave nor spin,

Nor bring the wheat-sheaves in,

Nor, forth afield at morn,

At eve bring home the corn,

Nor on a winter’s night

Make blaze the fagots bright.

So lithe and delicate,

So slender is thy state,

So pale and pure thy face,

So deer-like in their grace

Thy limbs, that all do vie

To take and charm the eye.

Thus, toiling where thou’rt not

Is but the common lot:

Three men mayhap alone

By strength may move a stone—

But, toiling near to thee,

One man may work as three,

If thou but bend a smile

To fall on him the while;

Or if one tender glance—

Though coy and shot askance—

His eyes discover, then

One man may work as ten.

Men commonly but ask,

“When shall I end my task?”

But seeing thee come in,

’Tis, “When may I begin?”

Such power does beauty bring

To take from toil its sting.

If then thou’lt do but this,—

Fling o’er the work a bliss

From thy mere presence,—none

Shall think thou’st nothing done:

Thou needst not weave nor spin,

Nor bring the wheat-sheaves in.