The Artist.

From: Poems (1844)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Carey and Hart 1844 Philadelphia

The Artist.

HE breathed the air of realms enchanted,
He bathed in seas of dreamy light,
And seeds within his soul were planted
That bore us flowers for use too bright
Unless it were to stay some wandering spirit’s flight.

With us he lived a common life,
And wore a plain familiar name,
And meekly dared the vulgar strife
That to inferior spirits came—
Yet bore a pulse within, the world could never tame.

And skies more soft than Italy’s
Their wealth of light around him spread,
And tones were his, and only his—
So sweetly floating o’er his head—
None knew at what rich feast the favoured guest was fed.

They could not guess or reason why
He chose the ways of poverty;
They read no wisdom in his eye,
But scorned the holy mystery
That brooded o’er his thoughts and gave him power to see.

But all unveiled the world of Sense
An inner meaning had for him,
And Beauty loved in innocence,
Not sought in passion or in whim,
Within a soul so pure could ne’er grow dull and dim.

And in this vision did he toil,
And in this Beauty lived and died.—
And think not that he left his soil
By no rich tillage sanctified;
In olden times he might have been his country’s pride.

And yet may be—though he hath gone—
For spirits of so fine a mould
Lose not the glory they have won;
Their memory turns not pale and cold—
While Love lives on, the lovely never can grow old.

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