The Painter who pleased Nobody and Everybody

Moral: No Moral. Suggest us a moral of this fable in comment section.
Lest captious men suspect your story,
Speak modestly its history.
The traveller, who overleaps the bounds
Of probability, confounds;
But though men hear your deeds with phlegm,
You may with flattery cram them.
Hyperboles, though ne’er so great,
Will yet come short of self−conceit.
A painter drew his portraits truly,
And marked complexion and mien duly;—
Really a fellow knew the picture,
There was nor flattery nor delicture.
The eyes, and mouth, and faulty nose,
Were all showed up in grim repose;
He marked the dates of youth and age—
But so he lost his clientage:
The which determined to recover,
He turned in mind the matter over.
He bought a pair of busts—one, Venus,
The other was Apollo Phoebus;
Above his subject client placed them,
And for the faulty features traced them.
Chatted the while of Titian’s tints,
Of Guido—Raphael—neither stints
To raise him to the empyrëal,
Whilst he is sketching his ideal.
He sketches, utters, “That will do:
Be pleased, my lord, to come and view.”
“I thought my mouth a little wider.”
“My lord, my lord, you me deride, ah!”
“Such was my nose when I was young.”
“My lord, you have a witty tongue.”
“Ah well, ah well! you artists flatter.”
“That were, my lord, no easy matter.”
“Ah well, ah well! you artists see best.”
“My lord, I only (aside) earn my fee best.”
So with a lady—he, between us,
Borrowed the face and form of Venus.
There was no fear of its rejection—
Her lover voted it perfection.
So on he went to fame and glory,
And raised his price—which ends the story;—
But not the moral,—which, though fainter,
Bids one to scorn an honest painter.

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