So to such impious people do you make no answer at all, unless indeed you should elect to answer them by repetition of this song which I now make for you, my little book, at your departure from me. And the song runs in this fashion:
Depart, depart, my book! and live and
Dependent on the idle fantasy
Of men who cannot view you, quite, as I.
For I am fond, and willingly mistake
My book to be the book I meant to make,
And cannot judge you, for that phantom’s sake.
Yet pardon me if I have wrought too ill
In making you, that never spared the will
To shape you perfectly, and lacked the skill.
Ah, had I but the power, my book, then
Had wrought in you some wizardry so high
That no man but had listened ...
They pass by,
And shrug—as we, who know that unto us
It has been granted never to fare thus,
And never to be strong and glorious.
Is it denied me to perpetuate
What so much loving labor did create?—
I hear Oblivion tap upon the gate,
And acquiesce, not all disconsolate.
For I have got such recompense
Of that high-hearted excellence
Which the contented craftsman knows,
Alone, that to loved labor goes,
And daily does the work he chose,
And counts all else impertinence!