Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays
Some shape of strength or symmetry to call;
One shatters it in bits to mend a wall;
One in a craftier hand the chisel lays,
And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze,
Carves it apace in toys fantastical.
But least is he who, with enchanted eyes
Filled with high visions of fair shapes to be,
Muses which god he shall immortalize
In the proud Parian’s perpetuity,
Till twilight warns him from the punctual skies
That the night cometh wherein none shall see.
II. Because our kiss is as the moon to draw The mounting waters of that red-lit sea That circles brain with sense, and bids us be The playthings of an elemental law, Shall we forego the deeper touch of awe On love's extremest pinnacle, where we, Winging the vistas of infinity, Gigantic on the mist our shadows saw? Shall kinship with the dim first-moving clod Not draw the folded pinion from the soul, And shall we not, by spirals vision-trod, Reach upward to some still-retreating goal, As earth, escaping from the night's control, Drinks at the founts of morning like a god?