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

Francis Turner Palgrave 1824–97

The Ancient and Modern Muses


THE MONUMENT outlasting bronze

Was promis’d well by bards of old;

The lucid outline of their lay

Its sweet precision keeps for aye,

Fix’d in the ductile language-gold.

But we who work with smaller skill,

And less refin’d material mould,—

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 utter’d 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 play;

And if the crown be harder won,

Diviner rays around it run,

With strains of fuller harmony.