And they were stronger hands than mine That digged the Ruby from the earth, More cunning brains that made it worth The large desire of a king, And stouter hearts that through the brine Went down the perfect Pearl to bring. Lo, I have wrought in common clay Rude figures of a rough-hewn race, Since pearls strew not the market-place In this my town of banishment, Where with the shifting dust I play, And eat the bread of discontent. Yet is there life in that I make. 0 thou who knowest, turn and see, As thou hast power over me So have I power over these, Because I wrought them for thy sake, And breathed in them mine agonies. Small mirth was in the making, now I lift the cloth that cloaks the clay, And, wearied, at thy feet I lay My wares, ere I go forth to sell. The long bazaar will praise, but thou, Heart of my heart, have I done well?
Return to the Rudyard Kipling library , or . . . Read the next poem; A Departure