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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Austin Dobson 1840–1921

Ars Victrix


YES; when the ways oppose—

When the hard means rebel,

Fairer the work out-grows,—

More potent far the spell.

O Poet, then, forbear

The loosely-sandalled verse,

Choose rather thou to wear

The buskin—strait and terse;

Leave to the tiro’s hand

The limp and shapeless style;

See that thy form demand

The labor of the file.

Sculptor, do thou discard

The yielding clay,—consign

To Paros marble hard

The beauty of thy line;—

Model thy Satyr’s face

For bronze of Syracuse;

In the veined agate trace

The profile of thy Muse.

Painter, that still must mix

But transient tints anew,

Thou in the furnace fix

The firm enamel’s hue;

Let the smooth tile receive

Thy dove-drawn Erycine;

Thy Sirens blue at eve

Coiled in a wash of wine.

All passes. Art alone

Enduring stays to us;

The Bust outlasts the throne,—

The Coin, Tiberius;

Even the gods must go;

Only the lofty Rhyme

Not countless years o’erthrow,—

Not long array of time.

Paint, chisel, then, or write;

But, that the work surpass,

With the hard fashion fight,—

With the resisting mass.