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The artist's secret

Language: English

There was an artist once, and he painted a picture. Other artists had 
colours richer and rarer, and painted more notable pictures. He painted 
his with one colour, there was a wonderful red glow on it; and the 
people went up and down, saying, "We like the picture, we like the glow."

The other artists came and said, "Where does he get his colour from?" 
They asked him; and he smiled and said, "I cannot tell you"; and 
worked on with his head bent low.

And one went to the far East and bought costly pigments, and made a 
rare colour and painted, but after a time the picture faded. Another 
read in the old books, and made a colour rich and rare, but when he had 
put it on the picture it was dead.

But the artist painted on. Always the work got redder and redder, and 
the artist grew whiter and whiter. At last one day they found him dead 
before his picture, and they took him up to bury him. The other men 
looked about in all the pots and crucibles, but they found nothing they 
had not.

And when they undressed him to put his grave-clothes on him, they 
found above his left breast the mark of a wound -- it was an old, old 
wound, that must have been there all his life, for the edges were old 
and hardened; but Death, who seals all things, had drawn the edges 
together, and closed it up. 

And they buried him. And still the people went about saying, "Where 
did he find his colour from?"

And it came to pass that after a while the artist was forgotten -- but the 
work lived.

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website: 2008-07-17.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:02:46
Line count: 25
Word count: 284

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