Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Extracts from New Symbols (1876): The Painter
By Thomas Gordon Hake (1809–1895)
 
I
“SUMMER has done her work,” the painter cries,
  And saunters down his garden by the shore.
“The fig is cracked and dry; upon it lies,
  In crystals, the sweet oozing of its core.
The peach melts in its pink and yellow beam;        5
  Grapes cluster to the earth in diadems
  Of dripping purple; from their slender stems,
’Mid paler leaves, the dark-green citrons gleam.
 
II
“Summer has done her work; she, lingering, sees
  Her shady places glare: yet cooler grow        10
The breezes as they stir the sunny trees
  Whose shaking twigs their ruby berries sow.
Ripe is the fairy-grass, we breathe its seeds.
  But, hanging o’er the rocks that belt the shore,
  Safe from the sea, above its bustling roar,        15
Here ripen, still, the blossom-swinging weeds.
 
III
“Pale cressets on the summer waters shine,
  No ripple there but flings its jet of fire.
Rich amber wrack still bronzing in the brine
  Is tossed ashore in daylight to expire.        20
A wallowing wave the rocky shoal enwreathes;
  From the loose spray, cascades of bubbles fall
  Down steeps whose watery, coral-mantled wall
Drinks of the billow, and the sunshine breathes.
 
IV
“Summer has done her work, but mine remains.
        25
  How shall I shape these ever-murmuring waves,
How interweave these rumours and refrains,
  These wind-tossed echoes of the listening caves?
The restless rocky roar, the billow’s splash,
  And the all-hushing shingle—hark! it blends,        30
  In open melody that never ends,
The drone, the cavern-whisper, and the clash.
 
V
“And this wide ruin of a once new shore
  Scooped by new waves to waves of solid rock,
Dark-shelving, white-veined, as if marbled o’er        35
  By the fresh surf still trickling block to block!
O worn-out waves of night, long set aside—
  The moulded storm is dead, contending rage,—
  Like monster-breakers of a by-gone age!
And now the gentle waters o’er you ride.        40
 
VI
“Can my hand darken in swift rings of flight
  The air-path cut by the black sea-gulls’ wings,
Then fill the dubious track with influent light,
  While to my eyes the vanished vision clings?
While at their sudden whirr the billows start,        45
  Can my hand hush the cymbal-sounding sea,
  That breaks with louder roar its reverie
As those fast pinions into silence dart?
 
VII
“Press on, ye summer waves, still gently swell,—
  The rainbow’s parent-waters over-run!        50
Can my poor brush your snaky greenness tell,
  Raising your sheeny bellies to the sun?
What touch can pour you in yon pool of blue
  Circled with surging froth of liquid snow,
  Which now dissolves to emerald, now below        55
Glazes the sunken rocks with umber hue?
 
VIII
“Summer has done her work, dare I begin—
  Painting a desert, though my pencil craves
To intertwine all tints with heaven akin?
  Nature has flung her palette to the waves!        60
Then bid my eyes on cloudy landscape dwell,—
  Not revel in thy blaze. O beauteous scene!
  Between thy art and mine is nature’s screen,—
Transparent only to the soul,—farewell!
 
IX
“Oh! could I paint thee with these ravished eyes,—
        65
  Catch in my hollow palm thy overflow,
Who broadcast fling’st away thy witcheries!
  Yet would I not desponding turn and go.
Be it a feeble hand to thee I raise,
  ’Tis still the worship of the soul within:        70
  Summer has done her work,—let mine begin,
Though as the grass it wither in thy blaze.”
 
 
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