by: Mary Elizabeth Blake (1840-1907)

      HE scroll was old and gray;
      The dust of time had gathered white and chill
      Above the touches of the worker's skill,
      And hid their charm away.

      The many passed it by;
      For no sweet curve of dainty face or form,
      No gleam of light, or flash of color warm,
      Held back the careless eye.

      But when the artist came,
      With eye that saw beyond the charm of sense,
      He seemed to catch a sense of power intense
      That filled the dusky frame.

      And when with jealous care
      His hand had cleansed the canvas, line by line,
      Behold! the fire of perfect art divine,
      Had burned its impress there!

      Upon the tablet glowed,
      Made priceless by the arch of time they spanned,
      The touches of the rare Old Master's hand,
      The life his skill bestowed.

      O God whom we adore!
      Give us the watchful sight, to see and trace
      Thy living semblance in each human face
      However clouded o'er.

      Give us the power to find,
      However warped and grimed by time and sin,
      Thine impress stamped upon the soul within,
      Thy signet on the mind.

      Not ours the reckless speed
      To proudly pass our brother's weakness by,
      And turning from his side with careless eye,
      To take no further heed;--

      But, studying line by line,
      Grant to our hearts deep trust and patient skill,
      To trace within his soul and spirit still
      Thy Master Hand divine!

"The Master's Hand" is reprinted from Poems. Mary Elizabeth Blake. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891.




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