Art Poetique

Original Text: 

Arthur Symons, Poems, 2 vols. (London: William Heinemann, 1912): 217-28. Internet Archive.

1Music first and foremost of all!
2Choose your measure of odd not even,
3Let it melt in the air of heaven,
4Pose not, poise not, but rise and fall.
5Choose your words, but think not whether
6Each to other of old belong:
7What so dear as the dim gray song
8Where clear and vague are joined together?
9'Tis veils of beauty for beautiful eyes,
10'Tis the trembling light of the naked noon,
11'Tis a medley of blue and gold, the moon
12And stars in the cool of autumn skies.
13Let every shape of its shade be born;
14Color, away! come to me, shade!
15Only of shade can the marriage be made
16Of dream with dream and of flute with horn.
17Shun the Point, lest death with it come,
18Unholy laughter and cruel wit
19(For the eyes of the angels weep at it)
20And all the garbage of scullery-scum.
21Take Eloquence, and wring the neck of him!
22You had better, by force, from time to time,
23Put a little sense in the head of Rhyme:
24If you watch him not, you will be at the beck of him.
25O, who shall tell us the wrongs of Rhyme?
26What witless savage or what deaf boy
27Has made for us this two-penny toy
28Whose bells ring hollow and out of time?
29Music always and music still!
30Let your verse be the wandering thing
31That flutters in the light from a soul on the wing
32Towards other skies at a new whim's will.
33Let your verse be the luck of the lure
34Afloat on the winds that at morning hint
35Of the odors of thyme and the savor of mint ...
36And all the rest is literature.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Data entry: Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: