Art

Original Text: 

Wilfrid Thorley, Fleurs de Lys: A Book of French Poetry Freely Translated into English Verse. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1920. 188-90. Internet Archive.

1All finest art is seen
2    In forms that foil the blade
3Unkeen --
4    Verse, marble, gem inlaid.
5All idle bonds refuse!
6    Yet, so thou move aright,
7Bind, Muse,
8    Thy limbs in buskins tight.
9Spurn the too supple lilt
10    That like an easy boot
11Is built
12    For any random foot.
13Thou sculptor, cast aside
14    The clay thy hands alone
15Have plied,
16    Thy spirit elsewhere flown.
17Strive with the marble rough
18    Hewn from Carraran steeps, --
19Such stuff
20    The perfect contour keeps.
21From Syracuse her bronze
22    Take thou, thereon imprest
23The sconce
24    Of proud or yielding gest.
25With deftest hand go trace
26    Over the agate rare
27The face
28    Apollo once did wear.
29Painter, all tints refuse
30    That fade; but pass thro' fire
31The hues
32    So fixt to thy desire.
33Call up the syrens blue
34    With looped tails entwined
35Ensue
36    With beasts of mythic kind.
37Above the world enthrone
38    Christ and the Maid Divine;
39Each one
40    Girt with the holy sign.
41Though all things end in dust,
42    Yet Art well-wrought lives on;
43The bust
44    Outlasts the city gone.
45The buried coin or ring
46    Dug up by some poor hind,
47May bring
48    An Emperor to mind;
49And lines of perfect sound,
50    Though Gods themselves may pass.
51Are found
52    More durable than brass.
53Hew down and chisel fine.
54    So that thy dream be sealed
55For sign
56    In stuff that will not yield!
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
2012
Rhyme: 
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