The Young Artist

By Hannah Flagg Gould

Ay! young dreamer, this is the hour
For the tablet to glow by the pencil’s power!
When the soul is pure, and warm, and new,
And believes that the world, like itself, is true—
When the sky is cloudless, the eye is bright,
And gives to its objects its own clear light;
Now is the time, while the heart is single,
For the painter’s touch—for the hues to mingle!
Now the portions of light and shade
Will on the delicate sketch be laid
To stand indelibly, all between
Life’s gay morn and its closing scene!

Honors may bloom on thy future way;
And the rays of glory around thee play.
But fame’s best laurels never will be
So dear as thy sister’s wreath to thee!
For, they will not set on a cloudless brow,
And a silken curl, as we see them now!

Fame will her envied crown prepare
For the whitening locks and the brow of care.
Its clustering leaves will not be lit
By the smile of a child, who has braided it!
As thy native castle, sublimely grand,
A beautiful structure, thou mays’t stand
High and unmoved by the tempest’s strife,
The bolt and the blast of the storms of life.
But should it be thus, there must come a day
When thy house will shake, and its strength decay;
When the light that will gild its crumbling towers
Must be left by the sun of thy childish hours!
Then, may their memory, like the vine,
Mantling over the ruin, twine,
And, spreading a living vesture, climb
To cover the rust and the tooth of time,
And curtain with verdure the mouldering walls,
Which shall not fade till the fabric falls!

Sister, gather the buds of Spring,
All dewy and bright, as they’re opening!
Treasure them up from the frost and blight,
For a lowering day and a starless night;
And they will be fresh in thy bosom still,
When all without may be dark and chill.
Another will seek to be crowned by thee
Lord of thy heart and thy destiny!
Thou may’st bestow, in thy riper years,
Laurels to water with daily tears.

Then will memory love to come
Through mist and shade, to thine early home,
Within the halo that brightly beams
Around the scene of thine infant dreams.
Again thou wilt playfully sit, and look
On the artless sketch of thy brother’s book,
And own no moment of earthly bliss
So pure, so holy, and sweet as this!

Children, Time is a fleeting day,
The brighter its scenes, the sooner away!
Look to the mansion, and seek the crown
That shall not decay when the sun goes down!

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