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(Which the intense eyes looked through) That sets us praising, — why not stop came at eve
with him? On tiptoe, said a word, dropped in a loaf, Why put all thoughts of praise out of our Her pair of earrings and a bunch of flowers head (The brute took growling), prayed, and With wonder at lines, colours, and what so was gone.
not? I painted all, then cried “ 'Tis ask and Paint the soul, never mind the legs and have;
arms ! Choose, for more's ready!” - laid the
Rub all out, try at it a second time. ladder flat,
Oh, that white smallish female with the And showed my covered bit of cloister
She's just my niece . Herodias, I The monks closed in a circle and praised loud
Who went and danced and got men's Till checked, taught what to see and not
heads cut off !
Have it all out!” Now, is this sense, I Being simple bodies, -"That's the very
A fine way to paint soul, by painting Look at the boy who stoops to pat the dog !
body That woman's like the Prior's niece who So ill, the eye can't stop there, must go
further To care about his asthma: it's the life!” And can't fare worse! Thus, yellow But there my triumph's straw-fire flared
does for white and funked;
When what you put for yellow's simply Their betters took their turn to see and
And any sort of meaning looks intense The Prior and the learned pulled a face When all beside itself means and looks And stopped all that in no time. “How?
naught. what's here?
Why can't a painter lift each foot in turn, Quite from the mark of painting, bless us Left foot and right foot, go a double step, all !
Make his flesh liker and his soul more like, Faces, arms, legs, and bodies like the true Both in their order? Take the prettiest As much as pea and pea ! it's devil's-game!
face, Your business is not to catch men with The Prior's niece . patron-saint - is show,
it so pretty With homage to the perishable clay, You can't discover if it means hope, fear, But lift them over it, ignore it all,
Sorrow, or joy? won't beauty go with Make them forget there's such a thing as
Suppose I've made her eyes all right and Your business is to paint the souls of
Can't I take breath and try to add life's Man's soul, and it's a fire, smoke . .
flash, no, it's not ..
And then add soul and heighten them It's vapour done up like a new-born babe
three-fold ? (In that shape when you die it leaves your Or
say there's beauty with no soul at all mouth)
(I never saw it — put the case the same -) It's . . . well, what matters talking, it's If you get simple beauty and naught else, the soul !
You get about the best thing God invents: Give us no more of body than shows That's somewhat: and you'll find the soul !
soul you have missed, Here's Giotto, with his Saint a-praising Within yourself, when you return him God,
“Rub all out!” Well, well, there's my And I do these wild things in sheer despite, life, in short,
And play the fooleries you catch me at,
his stiff heels You should not take a fellow eight years
Although the miller does not preach to him And make him swear to never kiss the girls. The only good of grass is to make chaff. I'm my own master, paint now as I What would men have? Do they like please
grass or no Having a friend, you see, in the Corner- May they or may n't they? all I want's house!
the thing Lord, it's fast holding by the rings in Settled forever one way. As it is, front
You tell too many lies and hurt yourself : Those great rings serve more purposes You don't like what you only like too than just
much, To plant a flag in, or tie up a horse ! You do like what, if given you at your And yet the old schooling sticks, the old word, grave eyes
You find abundantly detestable. Are peeping o'er my shoulder as I work, For me, I think I speak as I was taught; The heads shake still “It's art's de- I always see the garden and God there cline, my son!
A-making man's wife: and, my lesson You're not of the true painters, great learned, and old;
The value and significance of flesh, Brother Angelico's the man, you'll find; I can't unlearn ten minutes afterwards. Brother Lorenzo stands his single peer: Fag on at flesh, you'll never make the You understand me: I'm a beast, I third !”
know. Flower o' the pine,
But see, now — why, I see as certainly You keep your mistr manners,
and As that the morning-star's about to shine, I'll stick to mine!
What will hap some day. We've a I'm not the third, then: bless us, they
youngster here must know !
Comes to our convent, studies what I do, Don't you think they're the likeliest to Slouches and stares and lets no atom drop: know,
His name is Guidi he'll not mind the They with their Latin? So, I swallow my
They call him Hulking Tom, he lets them Clench my teeth, suck my lips in tight,
talk and paint
He picks my practice up – he'll paint To please them sometimes do and some
apace. times don't ;
I I hope so — though I never live so long, For, doing most, there's pretty sure to I know what's sure to follow. You be
judge! A turn, some warm eve finds me at my You speak no Latin more than I, belike; saints
However, you're my man, you've seen A laugh, a cry, the business of the world
the world (Flower o' the peach,
- The beauty and the wonder and the Death for us all, and his own life for each!)
power, And my whole soul revolves, the cup runs The shapes of things, their colours, lights, over,
and shades, The world and life's too big to pass for Changes, surprises, – and God made it a dream,
- For what? Do you feel thankful, ay “Ay, but you don't so instigate to For this fair town's face, yonder river's Strikes in the Prior: "when your meanline,
ing's plain The mountain round it and the sky above, It does not say to folk — remember Much more the figures of man, woman, matins, child,
Or, mind you fast next Friday!” Why, These are the frame to? What's it all
for this about?
What need of art at all? A skull and To be passed over, despised? or dwelt bones,
Two bits of stick nailed crosswise, or, upon, Wondered at? oh, this last of course!
what's best, you say.
A bell to chime the hour with, does as But why not do as well as say, paint
I painted a Saint Laurence six months Just as they are, careless what comes of it?
since God's works paint any one, and count At Prato, splashed the fresco in fine style: it crime
“How looks my painting, now the scafTo let a truth slip. Don't object, "His fold's down?” works
I ask a brother: “Hugely,” he returns Are here already; nature is complete: "Already not one phiz of your three slaves Suppose you reproduce her – (which you Who turn the Deacon off his toasted side, can't)
But's scratched and prodded to our There's no advantage! you must beat
heart's content, her, then."
The pious people have so eased their own For, don't you mark? we're made so that With coming to say prayers there in a rage:
We get on fast to see the bricks beneath. First when we see them painted, things Expect another job this time next year, we have passed
For pity and religion grow i' the crowd – Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see; Your painting serves its purpose!” Hang And so they are better, painted - better
That is - you'll not mistake an idle Which is the same thing. Art was given
word for that;
Spoke in a huff by a poor monk, God wot, God uses us to help each other so,
Tasting the air this spicy night which turns Lending our minds out. Have you no- The unaccustomed head like Chianti wine! ticed, now,
Oh, the church knows ! don't misreport me, Your cullion's hanging face? A bit of
It's natural a poor monk out of bounds And trust me but you should, though! Should have his apt word to excuse How much more,
himself : If I drew higher things with the same And harken how I plot to make amends. truth!
I have bethought me: I shall paint a piece That were to take the Prior's pulpit-place, There's for you! Give me six Interpret God to all of you! Oh, oh,
months, then go, see It makes me mad to see what men shall do Something in Sant' Ambrogio's! Bless And we in our graves! This world's
the nuns ! no blot for us,
They want a cast o' my office. I shall Nor blank; it means intensely, and
paint means good:
God in the midst, Madonna and her babe, To find its meaning is my meat and Ringed by a bowery, flowery angel-brood, drink,
Lilies and vestments and white faces, sweet
As puff on puff of grated orris-root
summer. And then i' the front, of course a saint or
twoSaint John, because he saves the Flo
rentines, Saint Ambrose, who puts down in black
and white The convent's friends and gives them a
long day, And Job, I must have him there past
mistake, The man of Uz (and Us without the z, Painters who need his patience). Well,
all these Secured at their devotion, up shall come Out of a corner when you least expect, As one by a dark stair into a great light, Music and talking, who but Lippo! I! Mazed, motionless, and moonstruck
I'm the man ! Back I shrink — what is this I see and
hear? I, caught up with my monk's-things by
goes all-round, I, in this presence, this pure company! Where's a hole, where's a
corner for escape? Then steps a sweet angelic slip of a thing Forward, puts out a soft palm — “Not so
fast!” - Addresses the celestial presence,
“nay He made you and devised you, after all, Though he's none of you! Could Saint
John there draw His camel-hair make up a painting-brush? We come to brother Lippo for all that, Iste perfecit opus !” So, all smile I shuffle sideways with my blushing face Under the cover of a hundred wings Thrown like a spread of kirtles when
you're gay And play hot cockles, all the doors being
shut, Till, wholly unexpected, in there pops The hothead husband! Thus I scuttle off To some safe bench behind, not letting go The palm of her, the little lily thing
But do not let us quarrel any more,
heart? I'll work then for your friend's friend,
never fear, Treat his own subject after his own way, Fix his own time, accept too his own price, And shut the money into this small hand When next it takes mine. Will it? ten
derly? Oh, I'll content him, — but to-morrow,
Love! I often am much wearier than you think, This evening more than usual, and it seems As if — forgive now should you let me
sit Here by the window with your hand in
mine And look a half-hour forth on Fiesole, Both of one mind, as married people use, Quietly, quietly the evening through, I might get up to-morrow to my work Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try. To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this! Your soft hand is a woman of itself, And mine the man's bared breast she curls
inside. Don't count the time lost, neither; you
must serve For each of the five pictures we require: It saves a model. So! keep looking so
My serpentining beauty, rounds What I see, what at bottom of my
I wish for, if I ever wish so deep How could you ever prick those perfect Do easily, too — when I say, perfectly, ears,
I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet
judge, My face, my moon, my everybody's Who listened to the Legate's lk la moon,
week, Which everybody looks on and calls his, And just as much they used to say in And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn,
France. While she looks no one's: very dear, no At any rate 'tis easy, all of it! less.
No sketches first, no studies, that's long You smile? why, there's my picture ready past : made,
I do what many dream of all their lives, There's what we painters call our har- Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do, mony!
And fail in doing. I could count twenty A common grayness silvers everything,
such All in a twilight, you and I alike
On twice your fingers, and not leave this You, at the point of your first pride in
Who strive — you don't know how the (That's gone you know), – but I, at every
others strive point;
To paint a little thing like that you My youth, my hope, my art, being all
smeared toned down
Carelessly passing with your robes To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole.
afloat, There's the bell clinking from the chapel- Yet do much less, so much less, Someone top;
says, That length of convent-wall across the way (I know his name, no matter)
so much Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside ;
less! The last monk leaves the garden; days Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged. decrease,
There burns a truer light of God in them, And autumn grows, autumn in everything. In their vexed beating stuffed and stoppedEh? the whole seems to fall into a shape
up brain, As if I saw alike my work and self
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to And all that I was born to be and do,
prompt A twilight-piece. Love, we are in God's This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand.
hand of mine. How strange now looks the life he makes Their works drop groundward, but themus lead;
selves, I know, So free we seem, so fettered fast we are ! Reach many a time a heaven that's shut I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie! This chamber for example — turn your Enter and take their place there sure head
enough, All that's behind us! You don't under- Though they come back and cannot tell the stand
world. Nor care to understand about my art, My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here. But you can hear at least when people The sudden blood of these men! at a speak:
word And that cartoon, the second from the door Praise them, it boils, or blame them, it It is the thing, Love! so such thing
boils too. should be
I, painting from myself and to myself, Behold Madonna! - I am bold to say. Know what I do, am unmoved by men's I can do with my pencil what I know,