Brother Artist - Poem by George MacDonald
Brother artist, help me; come!
Artists are a maimed band:
I have words but not a hand;
Thou hast hands though thou art dumb.
Had I thine, when words did fail-
Vassal-words their hasting chief,
On the white awaiting leaf
Shapes of power should tell the tale.
Had I hers of music-might,
I would shake the air with storm
Till the red clouds trailed enorm
Boreal dances through the night.
Had I his whose foresight rare
Piles the stones with lordliest art,
From the quarry of my heart
Love should climb a heavenly stair!
Had I his whose wooing slow
Wins the marble's hidden child,
Out in passion undefiled
Stood my Psyche, white as snow!
Maimed, a little help I pray;
Words suffice not for my end;
Let thy hand obey thy friend,
Say for me what I would say.
Draw me, on an arid plain
With hoar-headed mountains nigh,
Under a clear morning sky
Telling of a night of rain,
Huge and half-shaped, like a block
Chosen for sarcophagus
By a Pharaoh glorious,
One rude solitary rock.
Cleave it down along the ridge
With a fissure yawning deep
To the heart of the hard heap,
Like the rent of riving wedge.
Through the cleft let hands appear,
Upward pointed with pressed palms
As if raised in silent psalms
For salvation come anear.
Turn thee now-'tis almost done!-
To the near horizon's verge:
Make the smallest arc emerge
Of the forehead of the sun.
One thing more-I ask too much!-
From a brow which hope makes brave
Sweep the shadow of the grave
With a single golden touch.
Thanks, dear painter; that is all.
If thy picture one day should
Need some words to make it good,
I am ready to thy call.
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