James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 18

St. Luke the Painter

By Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882)

St. Luke’s Day, October 18

GIVE honor unto Luke Evangelist;

For he it was (the aged legends say)

Who first taught Art to fold her hands and pray.

Scarcely at once she dared to rend the mist

Of devious symbols: but soon having wist

How sky-breadth and field-silence and this day

Are symbols also in some deeper way,

She looked through these to God and was God’s priest.

And if, past noon, her toil began to irk,

And she sought talismans, and turned in vain

To soulless self-reflections of man’s skill—

Yet now, in this the twilight, she might still

Kneel in the latter grass to pray again,

Ere the night cometh and she may not work.