I HAD a star to sing by, a beautiful star that led,
by Edith Nesbit
But when I sang of its splendour the world in its wisdom said:
'Sweet are your songs, yet the singer sings but in madness when
He hymns but stars unbeholden of us his fellows of men;
Glow-worms we see and marshlights; sing us sweet songs of those
For the guerdons we have to give you, laurel and gold and rose;
Or if you must sing of stars, unseen of your brother man,
Go, starve with your eyes on your vision; your star may save if it can!'
So I said, 'If I starve and die I never again shall see
The glory, the high white radiance that hallows the world for me;
I will sing their songs, if it must be, and when I have golden store,
I will turn from the marsh and the glow-worms, and sing of my star once more.'
So I walked in the warm wet by-ways, not daring to lift my eyes
Lest love should drive me to singing my star supreme in the skies,
And the world cried out, 'We will crown him, he sings of the lights that are,
Glories of marshlight and glow-worms, not visions vain of a star!'
I said, 'Now my brows are laurelled, my hands filled full of their gold,
I will sing the starry songs that these earthworms bade withhold.
It is time to sing of my star!' for I dreamed that my star still shone,
Then I lifted my eyes in my triumph. Night! night! and my star was gone.