Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PARLEYINGS WITH CERTAIN PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE: FRANCIS FURINI, by ROBERT BROWNING



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

PARLEYINGS WITH CERTAIN PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE: FRANCIS FURINI, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Nay, that, furini, never I at least
Last Line: "omnia non omnibus"" -- no harm is meant!"
Subject(s): Clergy; Priests; Rabbis; Ministers; Bishops


I

NAY, that, Furini, never I at least
Mean to believe! What man you were I know,
While you walked Tuscan earth, a painter-priest,
Something about two hundred years ago.
Priest -- you did duty punctual as the sun
That rose and set above Saint Sano's church,
Blessing Mugello: of your flock not one
But showed a whiter fleece because of smirch,
Your kind hands wiped it clear from: were they poor?
Bounty broke bread apace, -- did marriage lag
For just the want of moneys that ensure
Fit hearth-and-home provision? -- straight your bag
Unplumped itself, -- reached hearts by way of palms
Goodwill's shake had but tickled. All about
Mugello valley, felt some parish qualms
At worship offered in bare walls without
The comfort of a picture? -- prompt such need
Our painter would supply, and throngs to see
Witnessed that goodness -- no unholy greed
Of gain -- had coaxed from Don Furini -- he
Whom princes might in vain implore to toil
For worldly profit -- such a masterpiece.
Brief -- priest, you poured profuse God's wine and oil
Praiseworthily, I know: shall praising cease
When, priestly vesture put aside, mere man,
You stand for judgment? Rather -- what acclaim
-- "Good son, good brother, friend in whom we scan
No fault nor flaw" -- salutes Furini's name,
The loving as the liberal! Enough:
Only to ope a lily, though for sake
Of setting free its scent, disturbs the rough
Loose gold about its anther. I shall take
No blame in one more blazon, last of all --
Good painter were you: if in very deed
I styled you great -- what modern art dares call
My word in question? Let who will take heed
Of what he seeks and misses in your brain
To balance that precision of the brush
Your hand could ply so deftly: all in vain
Strives poet's power for outlet when the push
Is lost upon a barred and bolted gate
Of painter's impotency. Agnolo --
Thine were alike the head and hand, by fate
Doubly endowed! Who boasts head only -- woe
To hand's presumption should brush emulate
Fancy's free passage by the pen, and show
Thought wrecked and ruined where the inexpert
Foolhardy fingers half grasped, half let go
Film-wings the poet's pen arrests unhurt!
No -- painter such as that miraculous
Michael, who deems you? But the ample gift
Of gracing walls else blank of this our house
Of life with imagery, one bright drift
Poured forth by pencil, -- man and woman mere,
Glorified till half owned for gods, -- the dear
Fleshly perfection of the human shape, --
This was apportioned you whereby to praise
Heaven and bless earth. Who clumsily essays,
By slighting painter's craft, to prove the ape
Of poet's pen-creation, just betrays
Twofold ineptitude.

II

By such sure ways
Do I return, Furini, to my first
And central confidence -- that he I proved
Good priest, good man, good painter, and rehearsed
Praise upon praise to show -- not simply loved
For virtue, but for wisdom honored too
Needs must Furini be, -- it follows -- who
Shall undertake to breed in me belief
That, on his death-bed, weakness played the thief
With wisdom, folly ousted reason quite?
List to the chronicler! With main and might --
So fame runs -- did the poor soul beg his friends
To buy and burn his hand-work, make amends
For having reproduced therein -- (Ah me!
Sighs fame -- that's friend Filippo) -- nudity!
Yes, I assure you: he would paint -- not men
Merely -- a pardonable fault -- but when
He had to deal with -- oh, not mother Eve
Alone, permissibly in Paradise
Naked and unashamed, -- but dared achieve
Dreadful distinction, at soul-safety's price,
By also painting women -- (why the need?)
Just as God made them: there, you have the truth!
Yes, rosed from top to toe in flush of youth,
One foot upon the moss-fringe, would some Nymph
Try, with its venturous fellow, if the lymph
Were chillier than the slab-stepped fountainedge;
The while a-heap her garments on its ledge
Of boulder lay within hand's easy reach,
-- No one least kid-skin cast around her!
Speech
Shrinks from enumerating case and case
Of -- were it but Diana at the chase,
With tunic tucked discreetly hunting-high!
No, some Queen Venus set our necks awry,
Turned faces from the painter's all-too-frank
Triumph of flesh! For -- whom had he to thank
-- This self-appointed nature-student? Whence
Picked he up practice? By what evidence
Did he unhandsomely become adept
In simulating bodies? How except
By actual sight of such? Himself confessed
The enormity: quoth Philip, "When I pressed
The painter to acknowledge his abuse
Of artistry else potent -- what excuse
Made the infatuated man? I give
His very words: 'Did you but know, as I,
-- O scruple-splitting sickly-sensitive
Mild-moral-monger, what the agony
Of Art is ere Art satisfy herself
In imitating Nature -- (Man, poor elf,
Striving to match the finger-mark of Him
The immeasurably matchless) -- gay or grim,
Pray, would your smile be? Leave mere fools to tax
Art's high-strung brain's intentness as so lax
That, in its mid-throe, idle fancy sees
The moment for admittance!' Pleadings these --
Specious, I grant." So adds, and seems to wince
Somewhat, our censor -- but shall truth convince
Blockheads like Baldinucci?

III

I resume
My incredulity: your other kind
Of soul, Furini, never was so blind,
Even through death-mist, as to grope in gloom
For cheer beside a bonfire piled to turn
Ashes and dust all that your noble life
Did homage to life's Lord by, -- bid them burn
-- These Baldinucci blockheads -- pictures rife
With record, in each rendered loveliness,
That one appreciative creature's debt
Of thanks to the Creator, more or less,
Was paid according as heart's-will had met
Hand's-power in Art's endeavor to express
Heaven's most consummate of achievements bless
Earth by a semblance of the seal God set
On woman his supremest work. I trust
Rather, Furini, dying breath had vent
In some fine fervor of thanksgiving just
For this -- that soul and body's power you spent --
Agonized to adumbrate, trace in dust
That marvel which we dream the firmament
Copies in star-device when fancies stray
Outlining, orb by orb, Andromeda --
God's best of beauteous and magnificent
Revealed to earth -- the naked female form.
Nay, I mistake not: wrath that's but lukewarm
Would boil indeed were such a critic styled
Himself an artist: artist! Ossa piled
Topping Olympus -- the absurd which crowns
The extravagant -- whereat one laughs, not frowns.
Paints he? One bids the poor pretender take
His sorry self, a trouble and disgrace,
From out the sacred presence, void the place
Artists claim only. What -- not merely wake
Our pity that suppressed concupiscence --
A satyr masked as matron -- makes pretence
To the coarse blue-fly's instinct -- can perceive
No better reason why she should exist --
-- God's lily - limbed and blushrose - bosomed Eve --
Than as a hot-bed for the sensualist
To fly-blow with his fancies, make pure stuff
Breed him back filth -- this were not crime enough?
But further -- fly to style itself -- nay, more --
To steal among the sacred ones, crouch down
Though but to where their garments sweep the floor --
-- Still catching some faint sparkle from the crown
Crowning transcendent Michael, Leonard,
Rafael, -- to sit beside the feet of such,
Unspurned because unnoticed, then reward
Their toleration -- mercy overmuch --
By stealing from the throne-step to the fools
Curious outside the gateway, all-agape
To learn by what procedure, in the schools
Of Art, a merest man in outward shape
May learn to be Correggio! Old and young,
These learners got their lesson: Art was just
A safety - screen -- (Art, which Correggio's tongue
Calls "Virtue") -- for a skulking vice: mere lust
Inspired the artist when his Night and Morn
Slept and awoke in marble on that edge
Of heaven above our awe-struck earth: lustborn
His Eve low bending took the privilege
Of life from what our eyes saw -- God's own palm
That put the flame forth -- to the love and thanks
Of all creation save this recreant!

IV

Calm
Our phrase, Furini! Not the artist-ranks
Claim riddance of an interloper: no --
This Baldinucci did but grunt and sniff
Outside Art's pale -- ay, grubbed, where pine trees grow,
For pignuts only.

V

You the Sacred! If
Indeed on you has been bestowed the dower
Of Art in fulness, graced with head and hand,
Head -- to look up not downwards, hand -- of power
To make head's gain the portion of a world
Where else the uninstructed ones too sure
Would take all outside beauty -- film that's furled
About a star -- for the star's self, endure
No guidance to the central glory, -- nay,
(Sadder) might apprehend the film was fog,
Or (worst) wish all but vapor well away,
And sky's pure product thickened from earth's bog --
Since so, nor seldom, have your worthiest failed
To trust their own soul's insight -- why? except
For warning that the head of the adept
May too much prize the hand, work unassailed
By scruple of the better sense that finds
An orb within each halo, bids gross flesh
Free the fine spirit-pattern, nor enmesh
More than is meet a marvel, custom blinds
Only the vulgar eye to. Now, less fear
That you, the foremost of Art's fellowship,
Will oft -- will ever so offend! But -- hip
And thigh -- smite the Philistine! You -- slunk here --
Connived at, by too easy tolerance,
Not to scrape palette simply or squeeze brush,
But dub your very self an Artist? Tush --
You, of the daubings, is it, dare advance
This doctrine that the Artist-mind must needs
Own to affinity with yours -- confess
Provocative acquaintance, more or less,
With each impurely-peevish worm that breeds
Inside your brain's receptacle?

VI

Enough.
Who owns "I dare not look on diadems
Without an itch to pick out, purloin gems
Others contentedly leave sparkling" -- gruff
Answers the guard of the regalia: "Why --
Consciously kleptomaniac -- thrust yourself
Where your illicit craving after pelf
Is tempted most -- in the King's treasury?
Go elsewhere! Sort with thieves, if thus you feel --
When folk clean-handed simply recognize
Treasure whereof the mere sight satisfies --
But straight your fingers are on itch to steal!
Hence with you!"
Pray, Furini!

VII

"Bounteous God,
Deviser and dispenser of all gifts
To soul through sense, -- in Art the soul uplifts
Man's best of thanks! What but thy measuring-rod
Meted forth heaven and earth? more intimate,
Thy very hands were busied with the task
Of making, in this human shape, a mask --
A match for that divine. Shall love abate
Man's wonder? Nowise! True -- true -- all too true --
No gift but, in the very plenitude
Of its perfection, goes maimed, misconstrued
By wickedness or weakness: still, some few
Have grace to see thy purpose, strength to mar
Thy work by no admixture of their own,
-- Limn truth not falsehood, bid us love alone
The type untampered with, the naked star!"

VIII

And, prayer done, painter -- what if you should preach?
Not as of old when playing pulpiteer
To simple-witted country folk, but here
In actual London try your powers of speech
On us the cultured, therefore skeptical --
What would you? For, suppose he has his word
In faith's behalf, no matter how absurd,
This painter-theologian? One and all
We lend an ear -- nay, Science takes thereto --
Encourages the meanest who has racked
Nature until he gains from her some fact,
To state what truth is from his point of view,
Mere pin-point though it be: since many such
Conduce to make a whole, she bids our friend
Come forward unabashed and haply lend
His little life-experience to our much
Of modern knowledge. Since she so insists,
Up stands Furini.

IX

"Evolutionists!
At truth I glimpse from depths, you glance from heights,
Our stations for discovery opposites, --
How should ensue agreement? I explain:
'T is the tip-top of things to which you strain
Your vision, until atoms, protoplasm,
And what and whence and how may be the spasm
Which sets all going, stop you: down perforce
Needs must your observation take its course,
Since there's no moving upwards: link by link
You drop to where the atoms somehow think,
Feel, know themselves to be: the world's begun,
Such as we recognize it. Have you done
Descending? Here's ourself, -- Man, known to-day,
Duly evolved at last, -- so far, you say,
The sum and seal of being's progress. Good!
Thus much at least is clearly understood --
Of power does Man possess no particle:
Of knowledge -- just so much as shows that still
It ends in ignorance on every side:
But righteousness -- ah, Man is deified
Thereby, for compensation! Make survey
Of Man's surroundings, try creation -- nay,
Try emulation of the minimized
Minuteness fancy may conceive! Surprised
Reason becomes by two defeats for one --
Not only power at each phenomenon
Baffled, but knowledge also in default --
Asking what is minuteness -- yonder vault
Speckled with suns, or this the millionth -- thing,
How shall I call? -- that on some insect's wing
Helps to make out in dyes the mimic star?
Weak, ignorant, accordingly we are:
What then? The worse for Nature! Where began
Righteousness, moral sense except in Man?
True, he makes nothing, understands no whit:
Had the initiator-spasm seen fit
Thus doubly to endow him, none the worse
And much the better were the universe.
What does Man see or feel or apprehend
Here, there, and everywhere, but faults to mend,
Omissions to supply, -- one wide disease
Of things that are, which Man at once would ease
Had will but power and knowledge? failing both --
Things must take will for deed -- Man, nowise loth,
Accepts pre-eminency: mere blind force --
Mere knowledge undirected in its course
By any care for what is made or marred
In either's operation -- these award
The crown to? Rather let it deck thy brows,
Man, whom alone a righteousness endows
Would cure the wide world's ailing! Who disputes
Thy claim thereto? Had Spasm more attributes
Than power and knowledge in its gift, before
Man came to pass? The higher that we soar,
The less of moral sense like Man's we find:
No sign of such before, -- what comes behind,
Who guesses! But until there crown our sight
The quite new -- not the old mere infinite
Of changings, -- some fresh kind of sun and moon, --
Then, not before, shall I expect a boon
Of intuition just as strange, which turns
Evil to good, and wrong to right, unlearns
All Man's experience learned since Man was he.
Accept in Man, advanced to this degree,
The Prime Mind, therefore! neither wise nor strong --
Whose fault? but were he both, then right, not wrong
As now, throughout the world were paramount
According to his will, -- which I account
The qualifying faculty. He stands
Confessed supreme -- the monarch whose commands
Could he enforce, how bettered were the world!
He's at the height this moment -- to be hurled
Next moment to the bottom by rebound
Of his own peal of laughter. All around
Ignorance wraps him, -- whence and how and why
Things are, -- yet cloud breaks and lets blink the sky
Just overhead, not elsewhere! What assures
His optics that the very blue which lures
Comes not of black outside it, doubly dense?
Ignorance overwraps his moral sense
Winds him about, relaxing, as it wraps,
So much and no more than lets through perhaps
The murmured knowledge -- 'Ignorance exists.'

X

"I at the bottom, Evolutionists,
Advise beginning, rather. I profess
To know just one fact -- my self-consciousness, --
'Twixt ignorance and ignorance enisled, --
Knowledge: before me was my Cause -- that's styled
God: after, in due course succeeds the rest, --
All that my knowledge comprehends -- at best --
At worst, conceives about in mild despair.
Light needs must touch on either darkness: where?
Knowledge so far impinges on the Cause
Before me, that I know -- by certain laws
Wholly unknown, whate'er I apprehend
Within, without me, had its rise: thus blend
I, and all things perceived, in one Effect.
How far can knowledge any ray project
On what comes after me -- the universe?
Well, my attempt to make the cloud disperse
Begins -- not from above but underneath:
I climb, you soar, -- who soars soon loses breath
And sinks, who climbs keeps one foot firm on fact
Ere hazarding the next step: soul's first act
(Call consciousness the soul -- some name we need)
Getting itself aware, through stuff decreed
Thereto (so call the body) -- who has stept
So far, there let him stand, become adept
In body ere he shift his station thence
One single hair's breadth. Do I make pretence
To teach, myself unskilled in learning? Lo,
My life's work! Let my pictures prove I know
Somewhat of what this fleshly frame of ours
Or is or should be, how the soul empowers
The body to reveal its every mood
Of love and hate, pour forth its plenitude
Of passion. If my hand attained to give
Thus permanence to truth else fugitive,
Did not I also fix each fleeting grace
Of form and feature -- save the beauteous face --
Arrest decay in transitory might
Of bone and muscle -- cause the world to bless
Forever each transcendent nakedness
Of man and woman? Were such feats achieved
By sloth, or strenuous labor unrelieved,
-- Yet lavished vainly? Ask that underground
(So may I speak) of all on surface found
Of flesh-perfection! Depths on depths to probe
Of all-inventive artifice, disrobe
Marvel at hiding under marvel, pluck
Veil after veil from Nature -- were the luck
Ours to surprise the secret men so name,
That still eludes the searcher -- all the same,
Repays his search with still fresh proof -- 'Externe,
Not inmost, is the Cause, fool! Look and learn!'
Thus teach my hundred pictures: firm and fast
There did I plant my first foot. And the next?
Nowhere! 'T was put forth and withdrawn perplexed
At touch of what seemed stable and proved stuff
Such as the colored clouds are: plain enough
There lay the outside universe: try Man --
My most immediate! and the dip began
From safe and solid into that profound
Of ignorance I tell you surges round
My rock-spit of self-knowledge. Well and ill,
Evil and good irreconcilable
Above, beneath, about my every side, --
How did this wild confusion far and wide
Tally with my experience when my stamp --
So far from stirring -- struck out, each a lamp,
Spark after spark of truth from where I stood --
Pedestalled triumph? Evil there was good,
Want was the promise of supply, defect
Ensured completion, -- where and when and how?
Leave that to the First Cause! Enough that now,
Here where I stand, this moment's me and mine,
Shows me what is, permits me to divine
What shall be. Wherefore? Nay, how otherwise?
Look at my pictures! What so glorifies
The body that the permeating soul
Finds there no particle elude control
Direct, or fail of duty, -- most obscure
When most subservient? Did that Cause ensure
The soul such raptures as its fancy stings
Body to furnish when, uplift by wings
Of passion, here and now, it leaves the earth,
Loses itself above, where bliss has birth --
(Heaven, be the phrase) -- did that same Cause contrive
Such solace for the body, soul must dive
At drop of fancy's pinion, condescend
To bury both alike on earth, our friend
And fellow, where minutely exquisite
Low lie the pleasures, now and here -- no herb
But hides its marvel, peace no doubts perturb
In each small mystery of insect life --
-- Shall the soul's Cause thus gift the soul, yet strife
Continue still of fears with hopes, -- for why?
What if the Cause, whereof we now descry
So far the wonder-working, lack at last
Will, power, benevolence -- a protoplast,
No consummator, sealing up the sum
Of all things, -- past and present and to come --
Perfection? No, I have no doubt at all!
There's my amount of knowledge -- great or small,
Sufficient for my needs: for see! advance
Its light now on that depth of ignorance
I shrank before from -- yonder where the world
Lies wreck-strewn, -- evil towering, prone good -- hurled
From pride of place, on every side. For me
Patience, beseech you!) knowledge can but be
Of good by knowledge of good's opposite --
Evil, -- since, to distinguish wrong from right,
Both must be known in each extreme, beside --
(Or what means knowledge -- to aspire or bide
Content with half-attaining? Hardly so!)
Made to know on, know ever, I must know
All to be known at any halting-stage
Of my soul's progress, such as earth, where wage
War, just for soul's instruction, pain with joy,
Folly with wisdom, all that works annoy
With all that quiets and contents, -- in brief,
Good strives with evil.

"Now then for relief,
Friends, of your patience kindly curbed so long.
'What?' snarl you, 'is the fool's conceit thus strong --
Must the whole outside world in soul and sense
Suffer, that he grow sage at its expense?'
By no means! 'T is by merest touch of toe
I try -- not trench on -- ignorance, just know --
And so keep steady footing: how you fare,
Caught in the whirlpool -- that's the Cause's care,
Strong, wise, good, -- this I know at any rate
In my own self, -- but how may operate
With you -- strength, wisdom, goodness -- no least blink
Of knowledge breaks the darkness round me.
Think!
Could I see plain, be somehow certified
All was illusion, -- evil far and wide
Was good disguised, -- why, out with one huge wipe
Goes knowledge from me. Type needs antitype:
As night needs day, as shine needs shade, so good
Needs evil: how were pity understood
Unless by pain? Make evident that pain
Permissibly masks pleasure -- you abstain
From outstretch of the finger-tip that saves
A drowning fly. Who proffers help of hand
To weak Andromeda exposed on strand
At mercy of the monster? Were all true,
Help were not wanting: 'But 't is false,' cry you,
'Mere fancy-work of paint and brush!' No less,
Were mine the skill, the magic, to impress
Beholders with a confidence they saw
Life, -- veritable flesh and blood in awe
Of just as true a sea-beast, -- would they stare
Simply as now, or cry out, curse and swear,
Or call the gods to help, or catch up stick
And stone, according as their hearts were quick
Or sluggish? Well, some old artificer
Could do as much, -- at least, so books aver, --
Able to make believe, while I, poor wight,
Make fancy, nothing more. Though wrong were right,
Could we but know -- still wrong must needs seem wrong
To do right's service, prove men weak or strong,
Choosers of evil or of good. 'No such
Illusion possible!' Ah, friends, you touch
Just here my solid standing-place amid
The wash and welter, whence all doubts are bid
Back to the ledge they break against in foam,
Futility: my soul, and my soul's home
This body, -- how each operates on each,
And how things outside, fact or feigning, teach
What good is and what evil, -- just the same,
Be feigning or be fact the teacher, -- blame
Diffidence nowise if, from this I judge
My point of vantage, not an inch I budge.
All -- for myself -- seems ordered wise and well
Inside it, -- what reigns outside, who can tell?
Contrariwise, who needs be told 'The space
Which yields thee knowledge, -- do its bounds embrace
Well-willing and wise-working, each at height?
Enough: beyond thee lies the infinite --
Back to thy circumscription!'

"Back indeed!
Ending where I began -- thus: retrocede,
Who will, -- what comes first, take first, I advise!
Acquaint you with the body ere your eyes
Look upward: this Andromeda of mine --
Gaze on the beauty, Art hangs out for sign
There's finer entertainment underneath.
Learn how they ministrate to life and death --
Those incommensurably marvellous
Contrivances which furnish forth the house
Where soul has sway! Though Master keep aloof,
Signs of his presence multiply from roof
To basement of the building. Look around,
Learn thoroughly, -- no fear that you confound
Master with messuage! He's away, no doubt,
But what if, all at once, you come upon
A startling proof -- not that the Master gone
Was present lately -- but that something -- whence
Light comes -- has pushed him into residence?
Was such the symbol's meaning, -- old, uncouth --
That circle of the serpent, tail in mouth?
Only by looking low, ere looking high,
Comes penetration of the mystery."

XI

Thanks! After sermonizing, psalmody!
Now praise with pencil, Painter! Fools attaint
Your fame, forsooth, because its power inclines
To livelier colors, more attractive lines
Than suit some orthodox sad sickly saint
-- Gray male emaciation, haply streaked
Carmine by scourgings -- or they want, far worse --
Some self-scathed woman, framed to bless not curse
Nature that loved the form whereon hate wreaked
The wrongs you see. No, rather paint some full
Benignancy, the first and foremost boon
Of youth, health, strength, -- show beauty's May, ere June
Undo the bud's blush, leave a rose to cull
-- No poppy, neither! yet less perfect-pure,
Divinely-precious with life's dew besprent.
Show saintliness that's simply innocent
Of guessing sinnership exists to cure
All in good time! In time let age advance
And teach that knowledge helps -- not ignorance --
The healing of the nations. Let my spark
Quicken your tinder! Burn with -- Joan of Arc!
Not at the end, nor midway when there grew
The brave delusions, when rare fancies flew
Before the eyes, and in the ears of her
Strange voices woke imperiously astir:
No, -- paint the peasant girl all peasant-like,
Spirit and flesh -- the hour about to strike
When this should be transfigured, that inflamed,
By heart's admonishing "Thy country shamed,
Thy king shut out of all his realm except
One sorry corner!" and to life forth leapt
The indubitable lightning "Can there be
Country and king's salvation -- all through me?"
Memorize that burst's moment, Francis!
Tush --
None of the nonsense-writing! Fitlier brush
Shall clear off fancy's film-work and let show
Not what the foolish feign but the wise know --
Ask Sainte-Beuve else! -- or better, Quicherat,
The downright-digger into truth that's -- Bah,
Bettered by fiction? Well, of fact thus much
Concerns you, that "of prudishness no touch
From first to last defaced the maid; anon,
Camp-use compelling" -- what says D'Alencon
Her fast friend? -- "though I saw while she undressed
How fair she was -- especially her breast --
Never had I a wild thought!" -- as indeed
I nowise doubt. Much less would she take heed --
When eve came, and the lake, the hills around
Were all one solitude and silence, -- found
Barriered impenetrably safe about, --
Take heed of interloping eyes shut out,
But quietly permit the air imbibe
Her naked beauty till ... but hear the scribe!
Now as she fain would bathe, one even-tide,
God's maid, this Joan, from the pool's edge she spied
The fair blue bird clowns call the Fisher-king:
And "'Las, sighed she, my Liege is such a thing
As thou, lord but of one poor lonely place
Out of his whole wide France: were mine the grace
To set my Dauphin free as thou, blue bird!"
Properly Martin-fisher -- that's the word,
Not yours nor mine: folk said the rustic oath
In common use with her was -- "By my troth"?
No, -- "By my Martin"! Paint this! Only, turn
Her face away -- that face about to burn
Into an angel's when the time is ripe!
That task's beyond you. Finished, Francis?
Wipe
Pencil, scrape palette, and retire content!
"Omnia non omnibus" -- no harm is meant!





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