John Frederick Bryant (1753-1791)

To a Piece of Unwrought Pipe-clay

Rude mass of earth, from which with moiléd hands,
Compulsive taught, the brittle tubes I form,
Oft listless, while my vagrant fancy warm
Roves, heedless of necessity's demands,
Amid Parnassian bowers or, wishful, eyes
The flights of genius while sublime she soars
Of moral truth in search, or earth explores,
Or sails with science through the starry skies:
Yet must I own, unsightly clod! thy claim
To my attention, for thou art my stead.
When grows importunate the voice of need
And in the furnace thy last change I speed,
Ah! then how eager do I urge the flame,
How anxious watch thee mid that glowing fire
That threats my eyeballs with extinction dire.