I think those are the final touches now,
And feel that I may call my work complete.
Especial pleasure hath it given me
Thy nature to interpret through mine art.
This picture is a marvel unto me,
But its creator still more wonderful.
For naught, which men like me have up till now
Considered possible, can be compared
With this change that hath taken place in thee.
One only can believe, when actual sight
Compels belief. We met three years ago;
And I was then allowed to count myself
A visitor in that community,
In which thou didst attain thine excellence.
A man of sad demeanour wast thou then,
Witness each glance and aspect of thy face.
Once did I hear a lecture in thy group,
And at the end felt urged to add thereto
Words that were wrenched with pain from out my soul.
I spake in such a mood wherein one doth
Think almost always of oneself alone;
And none the less my gaze did ever rest
Upon that painter, whelmed 'neath sorrow's load,
Who sat and kept still silence, far apart.
Silent he pondered in a fashion strange,
And one might well believe that he heard not
A single word of all those spoken near.
The sorrow unto which he gave himself
Seemed of itself to have a separate life;
It seemed as though the man himself heard not,
But rather that his very grief had ears:
It is perhaps not inappropriate
To say he was by sorrow quite obsessed.
Soon after that day did we meet again,
And even then there was a change in thee;
For happiness did beam forth from thine eyes;
Within thy nature power did dwell again,
And noble fire did ring in all thy words.
Thou, didst express a wish to me that day
Which seemed to me most strange and curious —
To be my pupil didst thou then desire.
of a truth thou hast throughout these years
With utmost diligence absorbed thyself
In all I had to say on world events.
And, as we grew more intimate, I then
Did know the riddle of thine artist life,
And each new picture proved a fresh surprise.
My thought in former days was ill-inclined
To soar to worlds beyond the life of sense —
Not that I doubted them — but yet it seemed
Presumptuous to draw near with eager mind.
But now I must admit that thou hast changed
My point of view. I hear thee oft repeat
That thine artistic skill depends alone
Upon the gift to function consciously
In other worlds; and that thou canst implant
Naught in thy works but what thou hast first seen
In spirit worlds: indeed thy works do show
How spirit stands revealed in actual life.
Never so little have I understood
Thy speech; for surely in all artists' work