Grant Allen (Allan?) manuscript, not dated
Transcribed by Rachel Wilmoth and Jessy Randall, May 2002
What hand can paint, what tongue can tell
The landscape charms, the tints that dwell
In bright Italian skies!
Oh then the humble artist spare,
For how that modest sepia dare?
Those forms to paint, that tint to wear
Which proudest act defies!
As well might we attempt the plow
The tints of heaven's aerial bow
Where each so faintly lingers
Or like presumptuous artists, dare
To (dash?) the lightning's (wood?) glare
Where all have burnt their fingers.
Or in some instrument divine
The wild unmeasured (poles?) combine
Of every bird that throttles
Or catch Arabia's breath for fun
And cork in tightly down in one
Of (Ambrosia's?) bottles.
As well (essay?) the world to move
Or scale the battlements of Jove
And snatch the fire from Heaven
Tho' many tried yet many failed
But one bold hand at last prevailed
To one alone 'twas given
Immortal hand 'twas thine alone
To know the rich and mellow tone
The Heaven-born light to give
For morn and Eve & ardent day
Lavish to (pledge?) the stolen ray
And bid the canvas live
(For this is?) pleasing (wan?) to trace
The simple outline of a face
So fondly lov'd, so blesst,
What to the brilliant eye be dead
And life's be white which should be red
Let fancy dream the rest
But were I ask'd to paint a scene
With lots of brown, and here (de?) green
On England's dingy shores
Then simple black & white would do,
For every tint and every hue
Content, I'd seek no more.
sent with a sepia drawing to me
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 5-07-02, ca.