LEWIS WORTHINGTON SMITH
The painters, who have love for all things fair,
The singers, who have hearts for every joy;
And I shall be among them, I shall feel
The rapture of their souls with that great thrill
That only he who makes a thing can know
When he has tried it and has found it good.
I might have been a poet,—but, indeed,
I think I am and shall be. Is he not
To be a poet just to know the worth
Of all things as they are, as they must be
Forever and forever? Is he not
A poet truly who, because he sees
The good, the beauty, the unstinted joy
In something that is not itself a joy
Or beauty, does it gladly, with his soul
Filled with the good he knows he so creates?
What does the poet but see true and far,
Knowing the seeds of good with subtle skill,
And knowing so the things to make his joy
The mad delirium that lesser men
Must stand agape at? If he shapes, besides,
The things he sees and makes them true and fair,
Sweet with the joys of ages yet to be,
Rich with new passions born of nobler lives
And finer aspirations looking up
To possibilities more bravely dreamed,—
It is enough, I know, it is enough.
Let those who will breathe out their hearts in words;
For me these hands, these tools, this iron and brass.
In them, my dreams, imaginings, desires;
Through them, the purposes that live and grow,
That call men onward to horizons dim
Where under new-discovered suns and stars
Their souls shall sing in new antiphonies,
Where all the gracious beauty of the world
Shall breathe upon them from this dingy room.