Alfred Noyes – Art [ Poem ]

June 25, 2012 — 1 Comment

 

Art
Alfred Noyes

(Imitated from De Banville and Gautier)

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.

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

II

When Beauty from the sea,
With breasts of whiter rose
Than we
Behold on earth, arose.

Naked thro’ Time returned
The Bliss of Heaven that day,
And burned
The dross of earth away.

Kings at her splendour quailed.
For all his triple steel
She haled
War at her chariot-wheel.

The rose and lily bowed
To cast, of odour sweet
A cloud
Before her wandering feet.

And from her radiant eyes
There shone on soul and sense
The skies’
Divine indifference.

O, mortal memory fond!
Slowly she passed away
Beyond
The curling clouds of day.

_Return_, we cry, _return_,
Till in the sadder light
We learn
That she was infinite.

The Dream that from the sea
With breasts of whiter rose
Than we
Behold on earth, arose.

III

Take up the sculptor’s tool!
Becall the dreams that die
To rule
In Parian o’er the sky;
And kings that not endure
In bronze to re-ascend
Secure
Until the world shall end.

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.