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    Were I A Skilful Painter

    by George MacDonald
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    Were I a skilful painter,
    My pencil, not my pen,
    Should try to teach thee hope and fear;
    And who should blame me then?
    Fear of the tide-like darkness
    That followeth close behind,
    And hope to make thee journey on
    In the journey of the mind.

    Were I a skilful painter,
    What should my painting be?
    A tiny spring-bud peeping forth
    From a withered wintry tree.
    The warm blue sky of summer
    Above the mountain snow,
    Whence water in an infant stream,
    Is trying how to flow.

    The dim light of a beacon
    Upon a stormy sea,
    Where wild waves, ruled by wilder winds,
    Yet call themselves the free.
    One sunbeam faintly gleaming
    Athwart a sullen cloud,
    Like dawning peace upon a brow
    In angry weeping bowed.

    Morn climbing o'er the mountain,
    While the vale is full of night,
    And a wanderer, looking for the east,
    Rejoicing in the sight.
    A taper burning dimly
    Amid the dawning grey,
    And a maiden lifting up her head,
    And lo, the coming day!

    And thus, were I a painter,
    My pencil, not my pen,
    Should try to teach thee hope and fear;
    And who should blame me then?
    Fear of the tide-like darkness
    That followeth close behind,
    And hope to make thee journey on
    In the journey of the mind.
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