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 ‘I know,’ she said, “the letter kills;
That on our arid fields of strife
And heat of clashing texts distils
The dew of spirit and of life.
But, searching still the written Word,
I fain would find, Thus saith the Lord,
A voucher for the hope I also feel
That sin can give no wound beyond love's power to heal.”
‘Pray,’ said the Man of Books, “give o'er
A theme too vast for time and place.
Go on, Sir Poet, ride once more
Your hobby at his old free pace.
But let him keep, with step discreet,
The solid earth beneath his feet.
In the great mystery which around us lies,
The wisest is a fool, the fool Heaven-helped is
The Traveller said: “If songs have creeds,
Their choice of them let singers make;
But Art no other sanction needs
Than beauty for its own fair sake.
It grinds not in the mill of use,
Nor asks for leave, nor begs excuse;
It makes the flexile laws it deigns to own,
And gives its atmosphere its color and its tone.
Confess, old friend, your austere school
Has left your fancy little chance;
You square to reason's rigid rule
The flowing outlines of romance.
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