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Maidenhood

Edith Nesbit

Through her fair world of blossoms fresh and bright,
Veiled with her maiden innocence, she goes;
Not all the splendour of the waxing light
She sees, nor all the colour of the rose;

And yet who knows what finer hues she sees,
Hid by our wisdom from our longing eyes?
Who knows what light she sees in skies and seas
Which is withholden from our seas and skies?

Shod with her youth the thorny paths she treads
And feels not yet the treachery of the thorn,
Her crown of lilies still its perfume sheds
Where Love, the thorny crown, not yet is borne.

Yet in the mystery of her peaceful way
Who knows what fears beset her innocence,
Who, trembling, learns that thorns will wound some day,
And wonders what thorns are, and why, and whence?

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