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YOUTH AND ART.
It once might have been, once only:
We lodged in a street together,
I, a lone she-bird of his feather.
Your trade was with sticks and clay,
You thumbed, thrust, patted, and polished, Then laughed, “ They will see some day
Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”
My business was song, song, song ;
I chirped, cheeped, trilled, and twittered, “ Kate Brown's on the boards erelong,
And Grisi's existence embittered ! ”
I earned no more by a warble
Than you by a sketch in plaster ; You wanted a piece of marble,
I needed a music-master.
We studied hard in our styles,
Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos, For air, looked out on the tiles,
For fun, watched each other's windows.
You lounged, like a boy of the South,
Cap and blouse — nay, a bit of beard too; Or you got it, rubbing your mouth
With fingers the clay adhered to.
And I — soon managed to find
Weak points in the flower-fence facing, Was forced to put up a blind
And be safe in my corset-lacing.
No harm! It was not my fault
If you never turned your eyes' tail up, As I shook upon E in alt.,
Or ran the chromatic scale up:
For spring bade the sparrows pair,
And the boys and girls gave guesses, And stalls in our street looked rare
With bulrush and watercresses.
Why did not you pinch a flower
In a pellet of clay and fling it ? Why did not I put a power
Of thanks in a look, or sing it ?
I did look, sharp as a lynx,
(And yet the memory rankles,) When models arrived, some minx
Tripped up-stairs, she and her ankles.