Lines To A Stupid Picture.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

"--the music of the moon
Sleeps in the plain eggs of the nightingale."
Aylmer's Field.


Five geese,--a landscape damp and wild,--
A stunted, not too pretty, child,
Beneath a battered gingham;
Such things, to say the least, require
A Muse of more-than-average Fire
Effectively to sing 'em.

And yet--Why should they? Souls of mark
Have sprung from such;--e'en Joan of Arc
Had scarce a grander duty;
Not always ('tis a maxim trite)
From righteous sources comes the right,--
From beautiful, the beauty.

Who shall decide where seed is sown?
Maybe some priceless germ was blown
To this unwholesome marish;
(And what must grow will still increase,
Though cackled round by half the geese
And ganders in the parish.)

Maybe this homely face may hide
A Staƫl before whose mannish pride
Our frailer sex shall tremble;
Perchance this audience anserine
May hiss (O fluttering Muse of mine!)--
May hiss--a future Kemble!

Or say the gingham shadows o'er
An undeveloped Hannah More!--
A latent Mrs. Trimmer!!
Who shall affirm it?--who deny?--
Since of the truth nor you nor I
Discern the faintest glimmer?

So then--Caps off, my Masters all;
Reserve your final word,--recall
Your all-too-hasty strictures;
Caps off, I say, for Wisdom sees
Undreamed potentialities
In most unhopeful pictures.

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