As I was carving images from clouds,
And tinting them with soft ethereal dyes
Pressed from the pulp of dreams, one comes, and cries:--
"Forbear!" and all my heaven with gloom enshrouds.
"Forbear!" Thou hast no tools wherewith to essay The delicate waves of that elusive grain: Wouldst have due recompense of vulgar pain? The potter's wheel for thee, and some coarse clay! "So work, if work thou must, O humbly skilled! Thou hast not known the Master; in thy soul His spirit moves not with a sweet control; Thou art outside, and art not of the guild.
" Thereat I rose, and from his presence passed, But, going, murmured:--"To the God above, Who holds my heart, and knows its store of love, I turn from thee, thou proud iconoclast.
" Then on the shore God stooped to me, and said:-- "He spake the truth: even so the springs are set That move thy life, nor will they suffer let, Nor change their scope; else, living, thou wert dead.
"This is thy life: indulge its natural flow, And carve these forms.
They yet may find a place On shelves for them reserved.
In any case, I bid thee carve them, knowing what I know.

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