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The Prophet: On Clothes

Chapter nine of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Illustration by celebrated artist Ashok Bhowmik.
The prophet on clothes
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Earlier Chapters of ‘The Prophet’: [On Marriage] [On Love] [On Children] [On Giving] [On Eating and Drinking] [On Work] [On Joy and Sorrow] [On Houses]

And the weaver said, Speak to us of Clothes.

And he answered:

Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.

And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.

Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,

For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.

Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.”

And I say, Ay, it was the north wind,

But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.

And when his work was done he laughed in the forest. Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.

And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

‘The Prophet’ is now in the public domain. Text reproduced from The Project Gutenberg Ebook

Lebanese American author and poet who has been translated to over 100 languages.

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