I have done one braver thing
   Than all the Worthies did,
And yet a braver thence doth spring,
   Which is, to keep it hid.

It were but madness now t’impart
   The skill of specular stone
When he which can have learned the art
   To cut it, can find none.

So, if I now should utter this,
   Others (because no more
Such stuff to work upon, there is,)
   Would love but as before.

But he who loveliness within
   Hath found, all outward loathes,
For he who loves colour, and skin,
   Loves but their oldest clothes.

If, as I have, you also do
   Virtue attired in woman see,
And dare love that, and say so too,
   And forget the He and She;

And if this love, though placed so,
   From profane men you hide,
Which will no faith on this bestow,
   Or, if they do, deride:

Then you have done a braver thing
   Than all the Worthies did,
And a braver thence will spring,
   Which is, to keep that hid.

--John Donne

themusic's Poetry Selections

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