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Who, separate, ignored each others' arts.
Say, is it nothing that I know them all ?
The wild flower was the larger ; I have dashed
Rose-blood upon its petals, pricked its cup's
Honey with wine, and driven its seed to fruit,
And show a better flower if not so large :
I stand myself. Refer this to the gods
Whose gift alone it is! which, shall I dare
(All pride apart) upon the absurd pretext
That such a gift by chance lay in my hand,
Discourse of lightly or depreciate ?
It ght have fallen to another's hand : what then?
I pass too surely: let at least truth stay!

And next, of what thou followest on to ask. This being with me, as I declare, O king, My works in all these varicoloured kinds, So done by me, accepted so by menThou' askest, if (my soul thus in men's hearts) I must not be accounted to attain The very crown and proper end of life? Inquiring thence how, now life closeth up, I face death with success in my right hand : Whether I fear death less than dost thyself The fortunate of men? “For" (writest thou) “ Thou leavest much behind, while I leave nought. “Thy life stays in the poems men shall sing, “ The pictures men shall study; while my life, “ Complete and whole now in its power and joy, “ Dies altogether with my brain and arm, “ Is lost indeed; since, what survives myself? " The brazen statue to o’erlook my grave,

“ Set on the promontory which I named. “ And that—some supple courtier of my

heir “ Shall use its robed and sceptred arm, perhaps “ To fix the rope to, which best drags it down.

I go then : triumph thou, who dost not go !”

Nay, thou art worthy of hearing my whole mind. Is this apparent, when thou turn'st to muse Upon the scheme of earth and man in chief, That admiration grows as knowledge grows ? That imperfection means perfection hid, Reserved in part, to grace the after-time? If, in the morning of philosophy, Ere aught had been recorded, nay perceived, Thou, with the light now in thee, couldst have looked On all earth's tenantry, from worm to bird, Ere man, her last, appeared upon the stageThou wouldst have seen them perfect, and deduced The perfectness of others yet unseen. Conceding which,—had Zeus then questioned thee “ Shall I go on a step, improve on this, " Do more for visible creatures than is done ?" Thou wouldst have answered, " Ay, by making each “ Grow conscious in himself—by that alone. “ All's perfect else : the shell sucks fast the rock, “ The fish strikes through the sea, the snake both swims “ And slides, forth range the beasts, the birds take flight, 66 Till life's mechanics can no further go“ And all this joy in natural life, is put, “ Like fire from off thy finger into each, “ So exquisitely perfect is the same. “ But 't is pure fire, and they mere matter are:

“ It has them, not they it; and so I choose “For man, thy last premeditated work " (If I might add a glory to the scheme) “That a third thing should stand apart from both, “A quality arise within his soul, “ Which, intro-active, made to supervise “ And feel the force it has, may view itself, And so be happy.” Man might live at first The animal life : but is there nothing more? In due time, let him critically learn How he lives; and, the more he gets to know Of his own life's adaptabilities, The more joy-giving will his life become. Thus man, who hath this quality, is best.

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But thou, king, hadst more reasonably said : “ Let progress end at once,-man make no step

Beyond the natural man, the better beast,

Using his senses, not the sense of sense!” In man there 's failure, only since he left The lower and inconscious forms of life. We called it an advance, the rendering plain Man's spirit might grow conscious of man's life, And, by new lore so added to the old, Take each step higher over the brute's head. This grew the only life, the pleasure-house, Watch-tower and treasure-fortress of the soul, Which whole surrounding flats of natural life Seemed only fit to yield subsistence to; A tower that crowns a country. But alas, The soul now climbs it just to perish there ! For thence we have discovered ('t is no dream

We know this, which we had not else perceived)
That there 's a world of capability
For joy, spread round about us, meant for us,
Inviting us; and still the soul craves all,
And still the flesh replies, “ Take no jot more
" Than ere thou clombst the tower to look abroad !

Nay, so much less as that fatigue has brought
“ Deduction to it." We struggle, fain to enlarge
Our bounded physical recipiency,
Increase our power, supply fresh oil to life,
Repair the waste of age and sickness: no,
It skills not ! life's inadequate to joy,
As the soul sees joy, tempting life to take.
They praise a fountain in my garden here
Wherein a Naiad sends the water-bow
Thin from her tube; she smiles to see it rise.
What if I told her, it is just a thread
From that great river which the hills shut up,
And mock her with my leave to take the same ?
The artificer has given her one small tube
Past power to widen or exchange—what boots
To know she might spout oceans if she could ?
She cannot lift beyond her first thin thread :
And so a man can use but a man's joy
While he sees God's. Is it, for Zeus to boast
“See man, how happy I live, and despair-
“That I may be still happier--for thy use !"
If this were so, we could not thank our lord,
As hearts beat on to doing : 't is not som
Malice it is not. Is it carelessness ?
Still, no. If care—where is the sign? I ask,
And get no answer,




O king, with thy profound discouragement,
Who seest the wider but to sigh the more.
Most progress is most failure: thou sayest well.

The last point now. Thou dost except a caseHolding joy not impossible to one With artist-gifts—to such a man as I Who leave behind me living works indeed; For, such a poem, such a painting lives. What? dost thou verily trip upon a word, Confound the accurate view of what joy is (Caught somewhat clearer by my eyes than thine) With feeling joy? confound the knowing how And showing how to live (my faculty) With actually living ?-Otherwise Where is the artist's vantage o'er the king ? Because in my great epos I display How divers men young, strong, fair, wise, can actIs this as though I acted ? if I paint, Carve the young Phoebus, am I therefore young ? Methinks I 'm older that I bowed myself The many years of pain that taught me art ! Indeed, to know is something, and to prove How all this beauty might be enjoyed, is more : But, knowing nought, to enjoy is something too. Yon rower, with the moulded muscles there, Lowering the sail, is nearer it than I. I can write love-odes: thy fair slave 's an ode. I get to sing of love, when grown too grey For being beloved : she turns to that young man, The muscles all a-ripple on his back. I know the joy of kingship: well, thou art king!

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