Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ART'S MARTYR, by ANDREW LANG



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ART'S MARTYR, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: He said, the china on the shelf
Last Line: Are not æsthetic blacks!
Subject(s): Art & Artists; Colors; Tattoos


Telleth of a young man that fain would be fairly tattooed on his flesh,
after the heathen manner, in devices of blue, and that, falling among the
Dyacks, a folk of Borneo, was by them tattooed in modern fashion and device, and

of his misery that fell upon him, and his outlawry.

HE said, The China on the shelf
Is very fair to view,
And wherefore should mine outer self,
Not correspond thereto?
In blue
My frame I must tattoo.

Where may tattooing men abound,
And ah, where might they be?
Nay, well I wot they are not found
In lands of Christentie,

(Quoth he)

But I must cross the sea!

So forth he sailed to Borneo,
(A land that culture lacks,)
And there his money did bestow
To purchase pricks and hacks,
(Dyacks
Are famed tattooing blacks.)

But European commerce had
Debased the savage kind,
And they this most unhappy lad
Before (and eke behind)
Designed
In colours to their mind!

Such awful colours as are blent
On terrible placards
Where flames the fierce advertisement
Yea, or on Christmas cards
(Not Ward's,
But common Christmas cards!)

Thus never more to Chelsea might
The luckless boy return,
He knew himself too dreadful, quite,
A thing his friends would spurn,
And turn
To praise some Grecian urn!

But still he dwells in Borneo,
A land that culture lacks,
And there they all admire him so,
They bring him heads in sacks,
Dyacks
Are not æsthetic blacks!





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