Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

The Aquittal Of Phryne - Poem by 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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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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