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Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism 1883-1908 . Nesbit, E. (Edith), 1858–1924.
page: 69

A Star in the East

For the first Art Exhibition at St. Jude’s, Whitechapel

  • LIKE a fair flower springing fresh, sweet, and bright,
  • Through prison stones; or like one perfect song
  • Heard in a dream on one remembered night,
  • When waking worlds were dumb with grief and wrong;
  • Like the one kiss that links—first kiss and last—
  • The inevitable future spent apart
  • With the immutable divided past;
  • So in the east shines out this star of Art.
  • The narrow‐shouldered, pale‐faced girl and boy
  • Nestle against Art’s new‐found, love‐warm breast,
  • And feel vague stirrings of a far‐off joy,
  • Which life has never for themselves possessed.
  • page: 70
  • And dimly guess at wonders hardly known
  • Even as dreams—and weep glad tears to see
  • A loveliness that is at once life’s own,
  • And yet is something life can never be.
  • Not worse will work the flying busy hand
  • Because the soul has drunk a cup of pleasure,
  • Has picked up on its leaden‐coloured strand
  • Some little jewel of Art’s splendid treasure,
  • Nor will less work be done because men see
  • That work is not the only thing in life,
  • Because they have been glad at heart and free
  • A little space ’mid sorrow, sin, and strife.
  • And this sweet draught may banish men’s content?
  • For this we pray and strive—not all in vain—
  • That men may reach such heights of discontent
  • As never to fall back to peace again
  • Where no peace is—nor rest from strife and prayers,
  • But tread firm‐footed up the thorny way,
  • Till all that spring of art and joy is theirs
  • Whereof they taste so small a draught to‐day.