Did I tell you I'm related to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow? By marriage? One of my mother's family married into the family a long time ago, and mom saw a silhouette of her on the wall of the Longfellow mansion when she went there on a tour one day, and thought it looked familiar, and she investigated the history in the Longfellow Library of Genealogical Things, and lo and behold, we have Longfellows in the family. Upon rushing home to lay it before her family on the next Sunday dinner, she kind of got deflated when they said, oh yes, thought you knew that...
Henry Wadworth Longfellow wrote this poem about Gaspar Becerra, the Spanish painter and sculptor (1520-1570).
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
By his evening fire the artist
Pondered o'er his secret shame;
Baffled, weary, and disheartened,
Still he mused, and dreamed of fame.
Twas an image of the Virgin
That had tasked his utmost skill;
But, alas! his fair ideal
Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant Eastern island
Had the precious wood been brought;
Day and night the anxious master
At his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding,
Sat he now in shadows deep,
And the day's humiliation
Found oblivion in sleep.
Then a voice cried, “Rise, O Master;
From the burning brand of oak
Shape the thought that stirs within thee!”
And the startled artist woke,--
Woke, and from the smoking embers
Seized and quenched the glowing wood;
And therefrom he carved an image,
And he saw that it was good.
O thou sculptor, painter, poet!
Take this lesson to thy heart:
That is best which lieth nearest;
Shape from that thy work of art.
What struck me was the last stanza. With the addition of "writer" instead of "poet", that could be me, could be a bunch of writers I know. "That is best which lieth nearest;/Shape from that thy work of art."
So I write about knitting. It's nearest. This is my work of art.