Eugene Field

(2 September 1850 - 4 November 1895 / St Louis / Missouri / United States)

Consistency - Poem by Eugene Field

Should painter attach to a fair human head
The thick, turgid neck of a stallion,
Or depict a spruce lass with the tail of a bass,
I am sure you would guy the rapscallion.

Believe me, dear Pisos, that just such a freak
Is the crude and preposterous poem
Which merely abounds in a torrent of sounds,
With no depth of reason below 'em.

'T is all very well to give license to art,--
The wisdom of license defend I;
But the line should be drawn at the fripperish spawn
Of a mere _cacoethes scribendi_.

It is too much the fashion to strain at effects,--
Yes, that's what's the matter with Hannah!
Our popular taste, by the tyros debased,
Paints each barnyard a grove of Diana!

Should a patron require you to paint a marine,
Would you work in some trees with their barks on?
When his strict orders are for a Japanese jar,
Would you give him a pitcher like Clarkson?

Now, this is my moral: Compose what you may,
And Fame will be ever far distant
Unless you combine with a simple design
A treatment in toto consistent.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010



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