Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PYGMALION THE SCULPTOR, by ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN



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PYGMALION THE SCULPTOR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Upon the very morn I should have wed
Last Line: In the long toil of love made meek by tears.
Alternate Author Name(s): Maitland, Thomas
Subject(s): Pygmalion


UPON the very morn I should have wed
Jove put his silence in a mourning house;
And, coming fresh from feast, I saw her lie
In stainless marriage samite, white and cold,
With orange blossoms in her hair, and gleams
Of the ungiven kisses of the bride
Playing about the edges of her lips.
Then I, Pygmalion, kissed her as she slept,
And drew my robe across my face, whereon
The midnight revel lingered dark, and prayed;
And the sore trouble hollowed out my heart
To hatred of a harsh unhallowed youth
As I glode forth. Next, day by day, my soul
Grew conscious of itself, and of its fief
Within the shadow of her grave: therewith
Wakened a thirst for silence such as dwells
Under the ribs of death; whence slowly grew
Old instincts which had tranced me to tears
In mine unsinewed boyhood; sympathies
Full of faint odors and of music faint
Like buds of roses blowing, till I felt
Her voice come down from heaven on my soul,
And stir it as a wind that droppeth down
Unseen, unfelt, unheard, until its breath
Trembles the shadows in a sleeping lake.
And the voice said, "Pygmalion," and "Behold,"
I answered, "I am here;" when thus the voice:
"Put men behind thee, take thy tools, and choose
A rock of marble, white as is a star;
Cleanse it and make it pure, and fashion it
After mine image; heal thyself; from grief
Comes glory, like a rainbow from a cloud,
For surely life and death, which dwell apart
In grosser human sense, conspire to make
The breathless beauty and eternal joy
Of sculptured shapes in stone. Wherefore thy life
Shall purify itself, and heal itself
In the long toil of love made meek by tears."
I barred the entrance-door to this my tower
Against the hungry world; I hid above
The mastiff-murmur of the town, I prayed
In my pale chamber. Then I wrought, and chose
A rock of marble white as is a star,
And to her silent image fashioned clay,
And purified myself, and healed myself,
In the long toil of love made meek by tears.




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