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As I was carving images from clouds, And tinting them with soft ethereal dyes Pressed from the pulp of dreams, one comes, and cries:--"Forbear!" and all my heaven with gloom enshrouds.

"Forbear!" Thou hast no tools wherewith to essay The delicate waves of that elusive grain: Wouldst have due recompense of vulgar pain?The potter's wheel for thee, and some coarse clay!

"So work, if work thou must, O humbly skilled! Thou hast not known the Master; in thy soul His spirit moves not with a sweet control;Thou art outside, and art not of the guild."

Thereat I rose, and from his presence passed, But, going, murmured:--"To the God above, Who holds my heart, and knows its store of love,I turn from thee, thou proud iconoclast."

Then on the shore God stooped to me, and said:-- "He spake the truth: even so the springs are set That move thy life, nor will they suffer let,Nor change their scope; else, living, thou wert dead.

"This is thy life: indulge its natural flow, And carve these forms. They yet may find a place On shelves for them reserved. In any case,I bid thee carve them, knowing what I know."

© Brown Thomas Edward