Poem of the day

Art
(imitated from de Banville and Gautier)
by Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

                  I

Yes! Beauty still rebels!
Our dreams like clouds disperse:
         She dwells
In agate, marble, verse.

No false constraint be thine!
But, for right walking, choose
         The fine,
The strict cothurnus, Muse.

Vainly ye seek to escape
The toil! The yielding phrase
         Ye shape
Is clay, not chrysoprase.

And all in vain ye scorn
That seeming ease which ne’er
         Was born
Of aught but love and care.

Take up the sculptor’s tool!
Recall the gods that die
         To rule
In Parian o’er the sky.

                  II

Poet, let passion sleep
Till with the cosmic rhyme
         You keep
Eternal tone and time,

By rule of hour and flower,
By strength of stern restraint
         And power
To fail and not to faint.

The task is hard to learn
While all the songs of Spring
         Return
Along the blood and sing.

Yet hear—from her deep skies,
How Art, for all your pain,
         Still cries
Ye must be born again!

Reject the wreath of rose,
Take up the crown of thorn
         That shows
To-night a child is born.

The far immortal face
In chosen onyx fine
         Enchase,
Delicate line by line.

Strive with Carrara, fight
With Parian, till there steal
         To light
Apollo’s pure profile.

Set the great lucid form
Free from its marble tomb
         To storm
The heights of death and doom.

Take up the sculptor’s tool!
Recall the gods that die
         To rule
In Parian o’er the sky.

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