Thomas Aird ( )

Our Young Painter

The beetling shore he roamed,
Black-bitten, honeycombed.
High on the ness he watched the press
Of mystery in the coming waves;
Lo! back the far-related stress
Spews out the sea from glutted caves.
Hurrying squall of thunder-blue,
Slants wildly dashed yon sunburst through.
Struck by the flash divine,
What swirls of greening brine!
Nor less our Boy the bashful woodlands knew.
He dared the scalp where eaglets dally.
Heath so lone,
Whose Ogham Stone
Reels spectral through the scuds of mist,
He dared thee in the hour unblest,
To see the Norland witches rally.

Solemn of beauty, Night,
Show him for thought thy worlds of light,
2Thought one with love: Oh, what their lot,
And what their life in yonder spheres?
Have they blood, and have they tears?

Ken they our earth? Could they but guess
The story of the twinkling dot,
Would they not blame, would they not bless,
Wonder and blame, yet weep and bless?

From eye to soul our Painter grew.
The visions rose: he dipped and drew:
Romps of the May,
Girls round The Churchyard Dial play
He never moves! They coax, and flout,
And prank with flowers old Dial out.
He never moves? Time-mockers young,
To yonder graybeard o'er his staff,
Drowning all your treble laugh,
Vanish! knells the iron Tongue.
All in the evening light serene,
The Village Green:
Forth with their pipes of peace the patriarchs sit;
At hoop and ball the children flit;
Yon quoiter, from his measured stand,
Casts with consenting eye and hand;
Here wrestlers, on their listed plot,
One gathered heave, twain-locked, one convulsed knot.
Her rim of darkened glass,
Missing the shadow of the drinking deer,
Our Lakelet curves in yon embowered bay,
And sleeps beneath the trees away.
The setting Sun flames down yon pass
Of purple mountains; loyal still to him,
Here lies she more than clear:
Fowl, glossy burnished, in the glory swim.
Dash on the sea
Goes Madcap March in his terrible glee:
Drift of the spray, how he makes it spin,
As the great white rollers break thundering in!
The archer Boy she made a toy,
She bid him yoke his doves and go;
Ah, dimpled craft! the thrilling shaft
Is through her from the twanging bow:
Deep in the wood she sits Wildered of joy and wo.
Weave him glory, weave him gloom,
Weird shuttle of the Dreamland loom;
Wonder of tissue: Stole her right,
Great Presence, ancient Night.
Down in the timeless death,
Sin frets with jagged pain yon pinnacles of Wrath.
Cease, terror, cease!
Yon Land of Love
Is opening to the Dove;
The Prince is in our central Peace.
Press to Him, Pilgrim, press!
Leave Sinai thundering in the wilderness.

The hope that waxed with Phœbe's horn,
Waves pale with yonder wreck on morn:
Paint! forms be types; paint! moods of man
Make and are made by types in Nature's pictured plan.
So paints he: Lord of Art,
His eyes are in his heart.

Ideal true of life, he grew
In all the just and sweet advances.
Songs in the night! Hope, in thy trances,
He hailed the better ages new:
The iron men, grim Titans they,
Ride onward through their plash of blood;
But, far on yonder dawn of day,
The Dove is on the mystic Rood.
Man! to thy Renovation
Art rose a consecration.

Up crows from his purple the gorcock in whirr;
And he smells, where he dwells, of the forest of fir.
Love built his bower:
The flowering climbers, tangled in their race,
Burst, bell with bell to match;
And push aloft, in rival grace,
Their soft green horns to curl and catch:
Hail, Bride of beauty, to our Painter's bower!
Wife! give him, more than mortal dower,
Deepening of heart, from deepening heart to draw
A holier sweetness, a diviner awe.

Thomas Aird's other poems:
  1. Monograph of a Friend
  2. The Translation of Beauty
  3. Song the Seventh
  4. Song the Second
  5. Song the Fourth

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