The Two Painters.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

In Art some hold Themselves content
If they but compass what they meant;
Others prefer, their Purpose gained,
Still to find Something unattained--
Something whereto they vaguely grope
With no more Aid than that of Hope.
Which are the Wiser? Who shall say!
The prudent Follower of GAY
Declines to speak for either View,
But sets his Fable 'twixt the two.

Once--'twas in good Queen ANNA'S Time--
While yet in this benighted Clime
The GENIUS of the ARTS (now known
On mouldy Pediments alone)
Protected all the Men of Mark,
Two Painters met Her in the Park.
Whether She wore the Robe of Air
Portrayed by VERRIO and LAGUERRE;
Or, like BELINDA, trod this Earth,
Equipped with Hoop of monstrous Girth,
And armed at every Point for Slaughter
With Essences and Orange-water,
I know not: but it seems that then,
After some talk of Brush and Pen,--
Some chat of Art both High and Low,
Of VAN'S "Goose-Pie" and KNELLER'S "Mot,"--
The Lady, as a Goddess should,
Bade Them ask of Her what They would.
"Then, Madam, my request," says BRISK,
Giving his Ramillie a whisk,
"Is that your Majesty will crown
My humble Efforts with Renown.
Let me, I beg it--Thanks to You--
Be praised for Everything I do,
Whether I paint a Man of Note,
Or only plan a Petticoat."
"Nay," quoth the other, "I confess"
(This One was plainer in his Dress,
And even poorly clad), "for me,
I scorn Your Popularity.
Why should I care to catch at once
The Point of View of every Dunce?
Let me do well, indeed, but find
The Fancy first, the Work behind;
Nor wholly touch the thing I wanted...."
The Goddess both Petitions granted.

Each in his Way, achieved Success;
But One grew Great. And which One? Guess.

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