The Lesson [poem by E. J. Brady]

[Editor: This poem by E. J. Brady was published in The Earthen Floor (1902).]


The Lesson.

In the Place of Pygmalion the Worker,
Maker of Woman from ivory,
Sate I disconsolate . . .
Master! I cried, why is it so written
That we suffer?

And from the Far Distance fell a Strong Voice,
Teaching me:—

“I am the Builder! Mine is the Edifice —
Neither shall ye add,
Nor take away,
. . . . I am the Potter:
Ye are as clay in the furnaces — Mouths of my Handicraft
Weakly . . .

“Master!” I cried, “What may a man do,
To serve thee rightly?”

And from the tall Parnassus, fell a Sweet Voice
Guiding me:—

“In the Transept of my Temple,
Be pigments . . .
At the Pillars of my Temple
Lie mallets . . .
On the Altar of my Temple,
A Lyre! —

Master! I mourned, it is so written,
But . . . we suffer . . .

And from the High Calvary fell a Sad Voice
Chiding me:—

“Have I not also suffered?”

E. J. Brady, The Earthen Floor, Grafton (N.S.W.): Grip Newspaper Co., 1902

Editor’s notes:
Calvary = the place where Jesus was crucified (according to tradition, it was a hill located outside of the walled city of Jerusalem)

clay = in the context of mankind, a reference to the idea that God made man out of clay; from Genesis 2:7 in the Old Testament of the Bible, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”, which has sometimes been referred to as God making man out of clay (e.g. “Man is made out of clay; he is an animal. Into the clay of man God has breathed the spiritual life; he is a son of God.”) [see: Rev. Lyman Abbott, “Conversion”, The Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW), 13 August 1892, page 9]

Master = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to Jesus or God

Parnassus = (also known as Liakoura) a mountain in central Greece; in Greek mythology, Parnassus was associated with Apollo and was the home of the Muses, and was therefore regarded as the home of music and poetry; Parnassus is regarded as symbolic of poetry, and may refer to the world of poetry, or poets, in general, to any place of poetic or artistic activity, or to a collection of poems or distinguished literature

sate = (archaic) sat (may also mean: satisfy, especially to satisfy an appetite)

Old spelling in the original text:
thee (you)
ye (you)

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