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Now Pygmalion, the statuary of Cyprus, became enamored of a beautiful statue of ivory and gold which he had made, and at his earnest prayer Venus changed this statue into a woman, whom the artist married, and by whom he had a son called Paphus, who founded the city of that name in Cyprus. --OVID

What is it that you ask of me,
My lord and master, whose skilled hand
Called from the burnished ivory
This fairest shape in all the land?
Ah me, you miss--Alas! alas!
Something that never was.


Am I not fair as when the flame
Of life, Jove-sent, thrilled first each limb?
Each curve and dimple is the same.
Is my cheek paler? Mine eye dim?
You gave me grace and form--the whole.
Could you not give--a soul?


Ah no. Souls come of suffering,
Of midnight anguish, pain and tears,
Of bitter agonies that wring
The heart; of wrong that burns and sears.
I--what have I to do with these,
Shut up in soulless ease?


One time I thought a soul began
To stir within me, when I felt
The warm breath of our baby fan
My breast; and you beside me knelt
With that new rapture in your eyes,
And a great glad surprise!


And once, too, when your rapt eyes burned
With such fire of creative art,
To share your thought I dumbly yearned;
So wild an anguish rent my heart--
Almost, I thought, the pang and glow
Might be a soul's birth throe!


Oh, pray for me, that I may know
All shades of human suffering,
The very height and depth of woe,--
If so the grief and pain might bring
Into this perfect form of mine
At last--the Soul divine!