Poems (Emerson, 1847)/Loss and Gain

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