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

Rennell Rodd b. 1858

Imperator Augustus

IS this the man by whose decree abide

The lives of countless nations, with the trace

Of fresh tears wet upon the hard cold face?

—He wept, because a little child had died.

They set a marble image by his side,

A sculptured Eros, ready for the chase;

It wore the dead boy’s features, and the grace

Of pretty ways that were the old man’s pride.

And so he smiled, grown softer now, and tired

Of too much empire, and it seemed a joy

Fondly to stroke and pet the curly head,

The smooth round limbs so strangely like the dead,

To kiss the white lips of his marble boy

And call by name his little heart’s-desired.