In this poem, Sister Snow reveals the power of education in transforming our undeveloped, rudimentary minds into the polished gem of wisdom.  Each of us is, beneath the surface, a beautiful gem that can only be revealed in its true splendor through the pursuit of knowledge.

I saw a thing of rudest form,
       From mountain's base brought forth--
A useless gem--devoid of charm,
       And wrapp'd in cumbrous earth.

Its rough exterior met the eye,
       With a repulsive show;
For every charm was forc'd to lie
       In buried depths below.

The Sculptor came.  I wonder'd when
       His pliant tool was brought;
He pass'd it o'er the gem, and then
       I mark'd the change it wrought.

Each cumbrance from its surface clear'd--
       The gem expos'd to view--
Its nature and its worth appear'd,
       Its form expansive grew.

By gentle strokes it was set free--
       By softer touch refin'd;
Till beauty, grace, and majesty
       Were with its nature join'd.

Its listre kindled to a blaze--
       'Twas Wisdom's lamp begun;
And soon the splendor of its rays
       Eclips'd the noon-day sun.

That gem was chain'd in crudeness, til
       The Sculptor lent his aid;
I wonder'd at the ready skill
       His potent hand display'd

It was the virtue of his tool,
       Of fine, transforming edge;
Which serv'd for pencil, mold, and rule,
       For polisher and sledge.

That tool requires a skilful hand--
       That gem no chain should bind;
That tool is Education, and
       That gem, the Human Mind.