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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

VIII

TEMPTATIONS FROM ROMAN REFINEMENTS

WATCH, and be firm! for, soul-subduing vice,
Heart-killing luxury, on your steps await.
Fair houses, baths, and banquets delicate,
And temples flashing, bright as polar ice,
Their radiance through the woods--may yet suffice
To sap your hardy virtue, and abate
Your love of Him upon whose forehead sate
The crown of thorns; whose life-blood flowed, the price
Of your redemption. Shun the insidious arts
That Rome provides, less dreading from her frown
Than from her wily praise, her peaceful gown,
Language, and letters;--these, though fondly viewed
As humanising graces, are but parts
And instruments of deadliest servitude!