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Take for granted all the world
and all the beauty it contains.
Do not walk through forests' gold,
nor stroll the country lane.
Avoid the warmth of summers' eye;
take nothing from the rain.

Ignore the Nightingale's sweet calls;
share not his raptured bliss.
No footprints leave in spangled grass
by dew of morning kissed.
Chase not the follied rainbows end;
what profit lies in this?

Remain impervious and cold
to smiles a child can bring.
Be not in love as lovers are;
avoid the Cupid's sting.
Remain unloved your whole life through
untouched by everything.

Do not reach out to life because
it has too brief a touch,
and with its ending, God! my heart
would break to lose so much.
So ever keep unto thyself....
this flesh is only dust.

by Stephen Hirons

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