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Keep Yourself Pure
(1 Tm 5, 22)

    Imagine a work, not on paper,
    But parchment, papyrus, or such,
    Where codex or scroll bears the touch
    Of quill or of reed at a taper--
    A mind's portraiture
    In capitals, uncials, or cursive,
    Or Caroline minuscule script,
    Whose ink, once the nib had been dipped,
    Remained unerased by subversive,
    Sly time's signature:
    No errors of scribes in the cloister,
    No yellow and crumble of age,
    No nibbles of mice on the page,
    No rotting or mildew from moisture
    And rude temperature.
    Imagine this book's precious fitness
    As elder according to time,
    Still fresh as a youth in his prime;
    Imagine yourself such a witness,
    And keep yourself pure.

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