Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/285

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101
THE CONUNDRUM

They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: "It's striking, but is it Art?"
The stone was dropped at the quarry-side and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue.


They fought and they talked in the North and the South, they talked and they fought in the West,
Till the waters rose on the pitiful land, and the poor Red Clay had rest—
Had rest till the dank, blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but is it Art?"


The tale is as old as the Eden Tree—and new as the new-cut tooth—

For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;