Art Poetique

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Music first and foremost of all!Choose your measure of odd not even,Let it melt in the air of heaven,Pose not, poise not, but rise and fall.

Choose your words, but think not whetherEach to other of old belong:What so dear as the dim gray songWhere clear and vague are joined together?

'Tis veils of beauty for beautiful eyes,'Tis the trembling light of the naked noon,'Tis a medley of blue and gold, the moonAnd stars in the cool of autumn skies.

Let every shape of its shade be born;Color, away! come to me, shade!Only of shade can the marriage be madeOf dream with dream and of flute with horn.

Shun the Point, lest death with it come,Unholy laughter and cruel wit(For the eyes of the angels weep at it)And all the garbage of scullery-scum.

Take Eloquence, and wring the neck of him!You had better, by force, from time to time,Put a little sense in the head of Rhyme:If you watch him not, you will be at the beck of him.

O, who shall tell us the wrongs of Rhyme?What witless savage or what deaf boyHas made for us this two-penny toyWhose bells ring hollow and out of time?

Music always and music still!Let your verse be the wandering thingThat flutters in the light from a soul on the wingTowards other skies at a new whim's will.

Let your verse be the luck of the lureAfloat on the winds that at morning hintOf the odors of thyme and the savor of mint ...And all the rest is literature.

© Arthur Symons