HOW is it that masters, and science, and art,
One spark of intelligence fail to impart,
Unless in that chemical union combined,
Of which the result, in one word, is a mind ?
A youth may have studied, and travelled abroad,
May sing like Apollo, and paint like a Claude,
And speak all the languages under the pole,
And have every gift in the world, but a soul.
That drapery wrought by the leisurely fair,
Called patchwork, may well to such genius compare ;
Wherein every tint of the rainbow appears,
And stars to adorn it are forced from their spheres
There glows a bright pattern (a sprig or a spot)
'Twixt cluster of roses full-blown and red hot ;
Here magnified tulips divided in three,
Alternately shaded with sections of tree.
But when all is finished, this labour of years,
A mass unharmonious, unmeaning appears ;
'Tis showy, but void of intelligent grace ;
It is not a landscape, it is not a face.
'Tis thus Education (so called in our schools)
With costly materials, and capital tools,
Sits down to her work, if you duly reward her,
And sends it home finished according to order.
See French and Italian spread out on her lap ;
Then Dancing springs up, and skips into a gap ;
Next Drawing and all its varieties come,
Sewed down in their place by her finger and thumb.
And then, for completing her fanciful robes,
Geography, Music, the use of the Globes,
&c. &c. which, match as they will,
Are sown into shape, and set down in the bill.
Thus Science distorted, and torn into hits,
Art tortured, and frightened half out of her wits,
In portions and patches, some light and some shady,
Are stitched up together, to make a young lady.
Jane Taylor's Other Poems
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