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The Aquittal Of Phryne poem – Alfred Austin


When Athens challenged Phryne to confess

Eleusis’ self sufficed not to appal

Her impious tread, and, throned within their Hall,

The awful judges frowned on her distress,

Slowly her lovely limbs she did undress,

Swathe upon swathe, fold after fold, let fall,

Until she stood, absolved, before them all,

Clad in her clear convincing nakedness.

So when the slaves of custom would control

Your range of feeling and your realm of thought,

And close you half the world who claim the whole,

Show them your inmost self, keep back not aught,

By your mind’s beauty be their bias bought,

And sway by bare simplicity of soul.


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