I HAD a beautiful garment,

And I laid it by with care;

I folded it close with lavender leaves

In a napkin fine and fair;

"It is far too costly a robe," I said,

"For one like me to wear."

So never at morn or evening

I put my garment on;

It lay by itself, under clasp and key,

In the perfumed desk alone,

Its wonderful broidery hidden

Till many a day had gone.

There were guests who came to my portal,

There were friends who sat with me,

And clad in soberest raiment,

I bore them company;

I knew that I owned a beautiful robe,

Though its splendor none might see.

There were poor who stood at my portal,

There were orphans sought my care;

I gave them the tenderest pity,

But had nothing besides to spare;

I had only the beautiful garment,

And the raiment for daily wear.

At last, on a feast day's coming,

I thought in my dress to shine;

I would please myself with the luster

Of its shifting colors fine.

I would walk with pride in the marvel

Of its rarely rich design.

So out from the dust I bore it—

The lavender fell away—

And fold on fold I held it up

To the searching light of the day.

Alas! The glory had perished

While there in its place it lay.

Who seeks for the fadeless beauty,

Must seek for the use that seals

To the grace of a constant blessing,

The beauty that use reveals.

For into the folded robe alone

The moth with its blighting steals.



Harper's Bazaar.