And me, most noble, thou wilt know again—
The fond creator of depicted form;
Know very life in all its colors plain
Upon my canvas glowing fresh and warm.
Yea, through the eyes I can deceive the heart,
My skill can cheat the senses without wronging
And still the beating of the lover’s heart—
Present the very face for which he’s longing:
Wide as the poles asunder though they go,
They are not quite alone, my help who know.
Through farthest space I fly on soaring
I know no limits; naught disputes my rule
Or bids me stay. I hold supreme dominion
O’er realms of thought—the Word my winged tool.
All things that move in heaven above, on earth,
Are to my penetrating eyes displayed—
Though in the secret depths they have their birth.
No bar across the poet’s path is laid.
But I have found, in all my age-long quest,
Naught fairer than a pure soul in a lovely breast.
MUSIC (with the lyre)
The might of tones that tremble on the
Thou know’st it well—for thou canst wield it too.
What fills the quivering heart when music sings
Can find in me alone its utterance true.
A sweet enchantment plays on every sense
When my harmonious flood has reached its height—
Until the enraptured soul would fain go hence
And from the lips, soft sighing, take its flight.
Where I set up my ladder, built of sound,
A way to scale the dizziest heights is found.
DANCING (with the cymbals)
In solemn stillness brooding, the Divine
Is by a silent soul perceived at rest:
Yet life and youth for gladsome motion pine—
They must expression find, must thus be blest.
Led by soft beauty’s chain, they follow me
To lose themselves within the sinuous maze.
On Zephyr’s wings I raise the body free;
In dancing steps I teach symmetric grace.
Grace is the gift I bear within my hand;
All things that move I lead with magic wand.
DRAMA (with the double mask)
The mask of Janus have I in my keeping—
On one side sorrow, on the other joy;
For man must alternate ’twixt bliss and weeping,
And with the dark is mixed a light alloy.
In all its deeps profound, its dizzy heights,
Life’s tale before thine eyes I can unroll,
And make thee turn, richer for these great sights,
Into the peaceful silence of thy soul.
Who the whole world in one wide view surveys,
In his own heart no civil strife dismays.
And all of us who here appear before you,
Majestic sisterhood of noble arts,
For leave to serve you, Princess, would implore you:
Do but command, and we will play our parts.
As Theban walls obeyed the lyre’s sweet sounding,
So here the senseless stone shall live at thine—
A world of beauty rise, thine eyes astounding.