TO A LADY,
WITH A PERFECT EAR—OF CORN.
IN the days when marble beauty
Was worshipped in Homer's land,
Men builded a fane at Cnidos
To hallow the Dorian strand,
And Athens gave them a statue
From their greatest master's hand.
Aphrodite was their goddess,
When beauty and goodness were one;
Ev'n as now—at times—if seldom,
In forms not made of stone,
To be good—we find—and be lovely
Was not given to gods alone.
Those Greeks— they had finer senses,
It is thought, in those old days—
Though never a Ruskin had schooled them
On grace and its rules and its ways—
And the perfect ear of Praxiteles
Woke a Dorian poet's praise.
Art needs the poet and critic—
To make men understand;
But behold an Ear, past praising,
From a greater Master's hand!
Who holds the spring-time and seed-time,
And the harvest in command.
The rose hath a flaw—and the ruby,
Had we but fine eyes to see:
My gift—like the world—is not faultless,
But will something nearer be,
In my thought, to perfection,
When it cometh, my love, to thee.