Poems (Emerson, 1847)/Loss and Gain

For works with similar titles, see Loss and Gain.
Poems  (1847)  by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Loss and Gain

LOSS AND GAIN.


Virtue runs before the Muse,
And defies her skill;
She is rapt, and doth refuse
To wait a painter's will.


Star-adoring, occupied,
Virtue cannot bend her
Just to please a poet's pride,
To parade her splendor.


The bard must be with good intent
No more his, but hers;
Must throw away his pen and paint,
Kneel with worshippers.


Then, perchance, a sunny ray
From the heaven of fire,
His lost tools may overpay,
And better his desire.