James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

July 17

Leconte de Lisle

By Edmund Gosse (1849–1928)

  • A French poet, who succeeded Victor Hugo in the French Academy. He died on July 17, 1894.

  • HIS verse was carved in ivory forms undying

    As those that deck the marble Phidian frieze.

    Over his plaintive hearse to-night is flying

    A phantom genius from the Cyclades.

    It hovers till our idle rites be over;

    And then will bear him in its arms away

    To islands cinctured by the sun, their lover,

    And spicy woodlands thrilled with fiery day.

    There his dark hours of toil shall drop, forgotten;

    There all he loved, simple and calm and grand—

    All the white creatures by his Muse begotten—

    Shall cluster round him in a stately band.

    Then shall he smile, appeased by sovereign beauty,

    Contented that he strove and waited long,

    Since in these worlds where loveliness is duty

    His bronze and marble leap to life and song.