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Were I A Skilful Painter


Were I a skilful painter,
My pencil, not my pen,
Should try to teach thee hope and fear;
And who should blame me then?
Fear of the tide-like darkness
That followeth close behind,
And hope to make thee journey on
In the journey of the mind.

Were I a skilful painter,
What should my painting be?
A tiny spring-bud peeping forth
From a withered wintry tree.
The warm blue sky of summer
Above the mountain snow,
Whence water in an infant stream,
Is trying how to flow.

The dim light of a beacon
Upon a stormy sea,
Where wild waves, ruled by wilder winds,
Yet call themselves the free.
One sunbeam faintly gleaming
Athwart a sullen cloud,
Like dawning peace upon a brow
In angry weeping bowed.

Morn climbing o'er the mountain,
While the vale is full of night,
And a wanderer, looking for the east,
Rejoicing in the sight.
A taper burning dimly
Amid the dawning grey,
And a maiden lifting up her head,
And lo, the coming day!

And thus, were I a painter,
My pencil, not my pen,
Should try to teach thee hope and fear;
And who should blame me then?
Fear of the tide-like darkness
That followeth close behind,
And hope to make thee journey on
In the journey of the mind.



George MacDonald