Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

THE GIFT OF ART


 

I DREAMED that child was born; and at his birth
The Angel of the Word stood by the hearth
And spake to her that bare him: "Look without!
Behold the beauty of the Day, the shout
Of colour to glad colour, rocks and trees
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And sun and sea and wind and sky! All these
Are God’s expression, art-work of his hand,
Which men must love ere they may understand,
By which alone he speaks till they have grace
To hear his voice and look upon his face.
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For first and last of all things in the heart
Of God as man the glory is of art.
What gift could God bestow or man beseech,
Save spirit unto spirit uttered speech?
Wisdom were not, for God himself could find
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No way to reach the unresponsive mind,
Sweet Love were dead, and all the crowded skies
A loneliness and not a Paradise.
Teach the child language, mother. . . ."