[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]


As I was carving images from clouds,
And tinting them with soft ethereal dyes
Pressed from the pulp of dreams, one comes, and cries :—
" Forbear! " and all my heaven w ith gloom enshrouds.

" Forbear ! Thou hast no tools wherewith to essay
The delicate waves of that elusive grain
Wouldst have due recompense of vulgar pain ?
The potter's wheel for thee, and some coarse clay

" So work, if work thou must,
O humbly skilled! Thou hast not known the Master ; in thy soul
His spirit moves not with a sweet control ;
Thou art outside, and art Dot of the guild."

Thereat I rose, and from his presence passed,
But, going, murmured:-"To the God above,
Who holds my heart, and knows its store of love,
I turn from thee, thou proud iconoclast."

Then on the shore God stooped to me, and said :—
" He spake the truth : even so the springs are set
That move thy life, nor will they suffer let,
Nor change their scope ; else, living, thou went dead.

"This is thy life : indulge its natural flow,
And carve these forms. They yet may find a place
On shelves for them reserved. In any case,
I bid thee carve them, knowing what I know."


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