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Room 4: The Painter Chap Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Service Type: poem Views: 0

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He gives me such a bold and curious look,

That young American across the way,

As if he'd like to put me in a book

(Fancies himself a poet, so they say.)

Ah well! He'll make no "document" of me.

I lock my door. Ha! ha! Now none shall see. . . .

Pictures, just pictures piled from roof to floor,

Each one a bit of me, a dream fulfilled,

A vision of the beauty I adore,

My own poor glimpse of glory, passion-thrilled . . .

But now my money's gone, I paint no more.

For three days past I have not tasted food;

The jeweled colors run . . . I reel, I faint;

They tell me that my pictures are no good,

Just crude and childish daubs, a waste of paint.

I burned to throw on canvas all I saw --

Twilight on water, tenderness of trees,

Wet sands at sunset and the smoking seas,

The peace of valleys and the mountain's awe:

Emotion swayed me at the thought of these.

I sought to paint ere I had learned to draw,

And that's the trouble. . . .

                                        Ah well! here am I,

Facing my failure after struggle long;

And there they are, my croutes that none will buy

(And doubtless they are right and I am wrong);

Well, when one's lost one's faith it's time to die. . . .

This knife will do . . . and now to slash and slash;

Rip them to ribands, rend them every one,

My dreams and visions -- tear and stab and gash,

So that their crudeness may be known to none;

Poor, miserable daubs! Ah! there, it's done. . . .

And now to close my little window tight.

Lo! in the dusking sky, serenely set,

The evening star is like a beacon bright.

And see! to keep her tender tryst with night

How Paris veils herself in violet. . . .

Oh, why does God create such men as I? --

All pride and passion and divine desire,

Raw, quivering nerve-stuff and devouring fire,

Foredoomed to failure though they try and try;

Abortive, blindly to destruction hurled;

Unfound, unfit to grapple with the world. . . .

And now to light my wheezy jet of gas;

Chink up the window-crannies and the door,

So that no single breath of air may pass;

So that I'm sealed air-tight from roof to floor.

There, there, that's done; and now there's nothing more. . . .

Look at the city's myriad lamps a-shine;

See, the calm moon is launching into space . . .

There will be darkness in these eyes of mine

Ere it can climb to shine upon my face.

Oh, it will find such peace upon my face! . . .

City of Beauty, I have loved you well,

A laugh or two I've had, but many a sigh;

I've run with you the scale from Heav'n to Hell.

Paris, I love you still . . . good-by, good-by.

Thus it all ends -- unhappily, alas!

It's time to sleep, and now . . . blow out the gas. . . .

Now there's that little midinette

Who goes to work each morning daily;

I choose to call her Blithe Babette,

Because she's always humming gaily;

And though the Goddess "Comme-il-faut"

May look on her with prim expression,

It's Pagan Paris where, you know,

The queen of virtues is Discretion.


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