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Why, soul and sense of him grow sharp alike,
black. “ Nay," quoth the Prior, “ turn him out, d'ye say? “ In no wise. Lose a crow and catch a lark. “ What if at last we get our man of parts, “ We Carmelites, like those Camaldolese “ And Preaching Friars, to do our church up fine “ And put the front on it that ought to be!” And hereupon he bade me daub away. Thank you ! my head being crammed, the walls a blank, Never was such prompt disemburdening. First every sort of monk, the black and white, I drew them, fat and lean : then, folks at church, From good old gossips waiting to confess Their cribs of barrel-droppings, candle-ends,To the breathless fellow at the altar-foot, Fresh from his murder, safe and sitting there With the little children round him in a row Of admiration, half for his beard, and half For that white anger of his victim's son Shaking a fist at him with one fierce arm, Signing himself with the other because of Christ (Whose sad face on the cross sees only this After the passion of a thousand years) Till some poor girl, her apron o'er her head,
(Which the intense eyes looked through) came at eve On tiptoe, said a word, dropped in a loaf, Her pair of ear-rings and a bunch of flowers (The brute took growling, prayed, and so was gone. I painted all, then cried, “'T is ask and have; “ Choose, for more 's ready!”—laid the ladder flat, And showed my covered bit of cloister-wall. The monks closed in a circle and praised loud Till checked, taught what to see and not to see, Being simple bodies,—“That 's the very man ! “ Look at the boy who stoops to pat the dog ! “ That woman 's like the Prior's niece who comes “ To care about his asthma : it's the life !" But thert my triumph's straw-fire flared and funked ; Their betters took their turn to see and say: The Prior and the learned pulled a face And stopped all that in no time. “ How ! what's here? “ Quite from the mark of painting, bless us all ! “ Faces, arms, legs and bodies like the true “ As much as pea and pea ! it's devil's game! “ Your business is not to catch men with show, “ With homage to the perishable clay, “ But lift them over it, ignore it all, “ Make them forget there's such a thing as fesh. “ Your business is to paint the souls of men— “ Man's soul, and it 's a fire, smoke . . no, it 's not .. “ It 's vapour done up like a new-born babe“ (In that shape when you die it leaves your mouth) “ It's . . well, what matters talking, it 's the soul ! “ Give us no more of body than shows soul ! “ Here's Giotto, with his Saint a-praising God, “ That sets up praising,—why not stop with him ? “ Why put all thoughts of praise out of our head “ With wonder at lines, colours, and what not? “ Paint the soul, never mind the legs and arms ! “ Rub all out, try at it a second time!
" Oh, that white smallish female with the breasts,
To plant a flag in, or tie up a horse !
A laugh, a cry, the business of the world- (Flower o' the peach,
Death for us all, and his own life for each !)
I always see the garden, and God there
You understand me : I'm a beast, I know. But see, now—why, I see as certainly As that the morning-star 's about to shine, What will hap some day. We've a youngster here Comes to our convent, studies what I do, Slouches and stares and lets no atom drop : His name is Guidi—he 'll not mind the monksThey call him Hulking Tom, he lets them talkHe picks my practice up-he 'll paint apace, I hope so-though I never live so long, I know what 's sure to follow. You be judge ! You speak no Latin more than I, belike; However, you 're my man, yon 've seen the world -The beauty and the wonder and the power, The shapes of things, their colours, lights and shades, Changes, surprises, -and God made it all ! -For what? Do you feel thankful, ay or no, For this fair town's face, yonder river's line, The mountain round it and the sky above, Much more the figures of man, woman, child, These are the frame to? What 's it all about? To be passed over, despised? or dwelt upon, Wondered at ? oh, this last of course !—you say. But why not do as well as say,--paint these Just as they are, careless what comes of it? God's works-paint any one, and count it crime To let a truth slip. Don't object, “His works “Are here already; nature is complete : “ Suppose you reproduce her-(which you can't) “ There's no advantage ! you must beat her, then.” . For, don't you mark? wę 're made so that we love