7 January 2013

Dear Brother of the Pen and Heart

Erwin F. Smith, For Her Friends and Mine; A Book of Aspirations, Dreams and Memories (Washington: Printed Privately by Gibson Brothers, 1915), p. 226:

George Gissing

(In memory of The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft)

Dear brother of the pen and of the heart,
  For meager bread toiling in London ways,
  Thou did'st deserve more comradeship and praise,
More gold, than men did grant — a life apart
From bitter want that stung thee like a dart
  And all life's petty needs in thronging maze,
  Where thou could'st give, unvexed, thy nights and days
And thy whole soul devoutly to thine art.

Set free, thy swan-song shows to what divine
  Clear wells of thought thou let'st thy buckets down,
But all too late the meed of praise is thine —
  The cold dead brow receives the victor's crown.
    Yet could'st thou come again we should know how,
    Sad one, to laurel-crown thy living brow.

A related post: An Uncomfortable Distinction