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A Portrait

Fair faces crowd on Christmas night
Like seven suns a-row,
But all beyond is the wolfish wind
And the crafty feet of the snow.

But through the rout one figure goes
With quick and quiet tread;
Her robe is plain, her form is frail--
Wait if she turn her head.

I say no word of line or hue,
But if that face you see,
Your soul shall know the smile of faith's
Awful frivolity.

Know that in this grotesque old masque
Too loud we cannot sing,
Or dance too wild, or speak too wide
To praise a hidden thing.

That though the jest be old as night,
Still shaketh sun and sphere
An everlasting laughter
Too loud for us to hear.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton