Nov 132013
 
1.
Yes, all things increase in magnificence 
When hammered with travail
     And patience--
Verse, marble, onyx, enamel.

2.
Damn each false constraint!
Yet, that you may walk erect,
     Your corset,
Muse, pull tight.

3.
Sculptor, renounce
Clay and stone, chisel and bit
     When doubts
Unnerve the finger and the spirit.

4.
Hold to hard Carrara,
With Paros cool endure,
     So rare,
Guarding the pure contour.

5.
Imprint bronze of Syracuse
That, firm and proud,
     Never releases
Each trace fierce and charmed.

6.
And with a dread most delicate
Pursue the filament of soul
     In agate,
Profiling perfect Apollo.

7.
Painter, despise pale aquarelle
And pin your palette,
     So faint, so frail,
In unchanging flames enameled.

8.
Bunch and twist blue mermaids
Trenchantly a hundred ways
     By their fishy ends
--Monsters of antique heraldry!

9.
Show in a nimbus triple-lobed
The Virgin,  Jesus
     And the globe
Blazing beneath one Cross.

10.
--Dust to dust. 
The pastor intones
     Talced white
Above white pews of skeletons.

11.
Art alone, robust,
Savors of Eternity; the ephemeral
     Portrait bust
Survives the charnel.

12.
And the austere medallion
Plowed up by a laborer
     From dirt and loam
Reveals an Emperor.

13.
Gods die and are interred;
But sacred, sovereign verse
     Endures--
More mightily made than Death.

14.
Sculpt, carve, chisel;
Until the floating dream alone
     Smiles
Within the resisting stone.

Théophile Gautier

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