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Herman Melville: Art

Poems

Timoleon

Art

In placid hours well-pleased we dream
Of many a brave unbodied scheme.
But form to lend, pulsed life create,
What unlike things must meet and mate:
A flame to melt- a wind to freeze;
Sad patience- joyous energies;
Humility- yet pride and scorn;
Instinct and study; love and hate;
Audacity- reverence. These must mate,
And fuse with Jacob's mystic heart,
To wrestle with the angel- Art.

 

ll. 10-11. See Genesis 32: 24-30, where Jacob wrestles with and angel and wins its blessing.