THE POET AND THE PEOPLE.
You care not for the splendour and the passion, The march of music and the glow of speech, Would rest, not strive, content with this world's fashion, To heights beyond your reach.
"Some must do Earth's real work : we fain would do it ; Be dull and humble some, not soar and shine :
What part have we with painter or with poet,—
Things earthly with divine ? "
So 'tis to-day, so yesterday; to-morrow The same fool's fable will be sung again : You dream not that the Artist's school is Sorrow, The Poet's teacher Pain.
'Tis you who gape at heaven, scorn earth below it ,— Your human nature narrowed to a span : Heaven cannot teach you, if Earth fail to show it, The majesty of Man.
The soaring bird stoops lowest ; base things and noble The seer sees each and all with human eyes, Cuts deeper through life's rock, intent to double The striving and the prize.
You choke life's meaning out, love, tears, and laughter, With vague mad visions of some cold Ideal : He, looking, trusts or doubts the dread Hereafter, But knows that Now is real.
You call his life 'calm,' spent in Truth's high quarrel, His songs sweet,' that in blood and pain were born : You think not of the brows beneath your laurel Red-bleeding from the thorn.
You give him praise for some strange star, some comet
Across your skies, of alien birth and breath—
God gives him life to plunge into and plumb it Even to the dregs of death.
Aye, gives him, over all, his bliss, to know it,
And, under all, his gulfs of pain to span,—
Not more divine,' but most supremely Poet, When most intensely Man.
liailegbury College, November 6.