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Alfred Austin (Альфред Остин)

Mozart’s Grave

Where lies Mozart? Tradition shows
A likely spot: so much, no more:
No words of his own time disclose
When crossed He to the Further Shore,
Though later ages, roused to shame,
On tardy tomb have carved his name.

The sexton asked, ``What may this be?''
``A Kapellmeister.'' ``Pass it in:
This common grave to all is free,
And for one more is room within.
It fills the fosse. Now tread it down,
With pauper, lunatic, and clown.''

Yet had he wizarded with sound
Electors, Cardinals, and Kings,
While there welled forth from source profound
The flow of silvery-sounding springs,
Music of tenderness and mirth,
One with his very soul at birth.

And they? Where are they now? The bust,
The elaborately carven tomb,
Whose scrolls, begrimed by age and dust,
None care to stoop and scan for whom,
Are all remaining to express
Their monumental nothingness.

Mitre, and coronet, and Crown,
Gaze into space that heeds them not,
Unmeaning pomp of dead renown,
Medley of Monarchs long forgot,
Who from the nations' ghastly strife
Won immortality-for life.

Once, on Nile's bank an artist raised
A temple at the King's command,
And on it name august emblazed.
But when a flood submerged the land,
His name was washed away, and lo!
The artist's own stood out below.

Thus vanish ostentatious lives,
But, through all time, belov'd Mozart,
Your magic memory survives,
Part of the universal heart:
In joy a sympathetic strain,
In sorrow, soother of our pain.

The Potentates on whom men gaze,
When once their Rule hath reached its goal,
Die into darkness with their days;
But Monarchs of the mind and soul
With light unfailing and unspent
Illuminate Fame's firmament. 

Alfred Austin's other poems:
  1. To Alfred Tennyson
  2. Why England Is Conservative
  3. Time’s Weariness
  4. Wordsworth At Dove Cottage
  5. The Challenge Answered

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