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The Artist

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Why do you subdue yourself in golds and purples?   
Why do you dim yourself with folded silks?
Do you not see that I can buy brocades in any draper’s shop,   
And that I am choked in the twilight of all these colors.
How pale you would be, and startling—  
How quiet;
But your curves would spring upward   
Like a clear jet of flung water,
You would quiver like a shot-up spray of water,   
You would waver, and relapse, and tremble.   
And I too should tremble,
Watching.

Murex-dyes and tinsel—
And yet I think I could bear your beauty unshaded.

Amy Lowell, “The Artist” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright © 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © renewed 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Company, Brinton P. Roberts, and G. D'Andelot, Esquire. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Selected Poems of Amy Lowell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)

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This poem originally appeared in the September 1919 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Artist

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