The Ancient and Modern Muses
THE monument outlasting bronze Was promised well by bards of old; The lucid outline of their lay Its sweet precision keeps for aye, Fixed in the ductile language-gold. But we who work with smaller skill, And less refined material mold, --This close conglomerate English speech, Bequest of many tribes, that each Brought here and wrought at from of old, Residuum rough, eked out by rhyme, Barbarian ornament uncouth,-- Our hope is less to last through Art Than deeper searching of the heart, Than broader range of uttered truth. One keen-cut group, one deed or aim Athenian Sophocles could show, And rest content:--But Shakespeare's stage Must hold the glass to every age,-- A thousand forms and passions glow Upon the world-wide canvas. So With larger scope our art we ply; And if the crown be harder won, Diviner rays around it run, With strains of fuller harmony.
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