by George Moses Horton
True nature first inspires the man,
But he must after learn to scan,
And mark well every rule;
Gradual the climax then ascend,
And prove the contrast in the end,
Between the wit and fool.
A fool tho’ blind, may write a verse,
And seem from folly to emerge
And ryme well every line;
One lucky, void of light, may guess,
And safely to the point may press,
But this does not refine.
Polish mirror, clear to shine,
And streams must run if they refine,
And widen as they flow;
The diamonds water lie concealed,
Till polished it is ne’er revealed
Its glory bright to show.
A bard must traverse o’er the world,
Where things concealed must rise unfurled,
And tread the foot of yore;
Tho’ he may sweetly harp and sing,
But strictly prune the mental wing,
Before the mind can soar.