Med Thorvaldsens Statue

Slaa Du med Aand og Tale,
Som han med Hamren slaaer!
Dit Navn da i Stændersale
Hugget for Slægter staaer.

by Hans Christian Andersen.

An Inscription (For A Statue Of Napoleon, At West Point)

A famous conqueror, in battle brave,
Who robbed the cradle to supply the grave.
His reign laid quantities of human dust:
He fell upon the just and the unjust.

by Ambrose Bierce.

Painting And Sculpture

The sinful painter drapes his goddess warm,
Because she still is naked, being drest;
The godlike sculptor will not so deform
Beauty, which bones and flesh enough invest.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

O'er the Eastern hills of light
While the dim world slept
Dawn the sculptor stepped,
And the shapeless block of Night
Chiselled into form
Morning-lit and warm.

by Arthur Henry Adams.

The Statue Of Sherman By St. Gaudens

This is the soldier brave enough to tell
The glory-dazzled world that `war is hell':
Lover of peace, he looks beyond the strife,
And rides through hell to save his country's life.

by Henry Van Dyke.

He's but a child, tho
Unscathed he'd not be
Who despiseth him.
Gods so pompous
Were made to cavort
Where they wanted not;
When he wished it,
A king, his own
Estate fast forgot;
A lord of lords, he!
Foul, beasts and fishes
Ever do serve him;
'Tis each man tho,
His ruin can cause,
If idle he lays not.

by Mikolaj Sep Szarzynski.

Before The Statue Of Endymion

I have come from Miletos to Latmos
on a white chariot drawn by four snow-white mules,
all their trappings silver.
I sailed from Alexandria in a purple trireme
to perform sacred rites—
sacrifices and libations—in honor of Endymion.
And here is the statue. I now gaze in ecstasy
at Endymion's famous beauty.
My slaves empty baskets of jasmine
and auspicious tributes revive the pleasure of ancient days.

by Constantine P. Cavafy.

I Am A Sculptor, A Molder Of Form

I am a sculptor, a molder of form.
In every moment I shape an idol.
But then, in front of you, I melt them down
I can rouse a hundred forms
and fill them with spirit,
but when I look into your face,
I want to throw them in the fire.
My souls spills into yours and is blended.
Because my soul has absorbed your fragrance,
I cherish it.
Every drop of blood I spill
informs the earth,
I merge with my Beloved
when I participate in love.
In this house of mud and water,
my heart has fallen to ruins.
Enter this house, my Love, or let me leave.

by Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi.

The Statue Over The Cathedral Door. (From The German Of Julius Mosen)

Forms of saints and kings are standing
The cathedral door above;
Yet I saw but one among them
Who hath soothed my soul with love.

In his mantle,--wound about him,
As their robes the sowers wind,--
Bore he swallows and their fledglings,
Flowers and weeds of every kind.

And so stands he calm and childlike,
High in wind and tempest wild;
O, were I like him exalted,
I would be like him, a child!

And my songs,--green leaves and blossoms,--
To the doors of heaven would hear,
Calling even in storm and tempest,
Round me still these birds of air.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

As the ambitious sculptor, tireless, lifts
Chisel and hammer to the block at hand,
Before my half-formed character I stand
And ply the shining tools of mental gifts.
I'll cut away a huge, unsightly side
Of selfishness, and smooth to curves of grace
The angles of ill-temper.
And no trace
Shall my sure hammer leave of silly pride.
Chip after chip must fall from vain desires,
And the sharp corners of my discontent
Be rounded into symmetry, and lent
Great harmony by faith that never tires.
Unfinished still, I must toil on and on,
Till the pale critic, Death, shall say, ''Tis done.'

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

On A Recently Finished Statue

Said Sculptor to immaculate marble-'Show
Thine essence; into necessary space
Most pure describe thine unshaped Purity!'
And lo this Image! As a bubble blown,
Swiftly her charms, dilating, went through all
The zones of sphered Perfection, till the stone
Smiled as to speak. Some coming thought half-shown
Forms on her parting lips, so that her face
Is as a white flow'r whence a drop of dew,
White with the fragrant flow'r, inclines to fall.
'Oh Everlasting Silence keep her so!
Immortalise this moment, lest she grow
To such a living substance as can die!'
He cried. Consent Eternal heard his cry.

by Sydney Thompson Dobell.

On Seeing The Ivory Statue Of Christ

The enthusiast brooding in his cell apart
O'er the sad image of the Crucified, —
The drooping head, closed lips and piercéd side, —
A holy vision fills his raptured heart;
With heavenly power inspired, his unskilled arm
Shapes the rude block to this transcendent form.
Oh Son of God! thus, ever thus, would I
Dwell on the loveliness enshrined in Thee;
The lofty faith, the sweet humility;
The boundless love, the love that could not die.
And as the sculptor, with thy glory warm,
Gave to this chiselled ivory thy fair form,
So would my spirit, in thy thought divine,
Grow to a semblance, fair as this, of Thine.

by Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta.

The Statue Of Our Queen

PRIDE, selfishness in every line,
And on its face a frown,
It stands, a sceptre in its hand,
And points forever down.
And who will kneel? The unemployed!
Small homage pay, I ween,
The only men who gather ’neath
The Statue of our Queen.

I’d scarcely wonder if the sun,
That rises with good grace,
Should sink and leave the day undone
At sight of such a face.
But no! The day will still have birth
In all its golden sheen,
When antiquarians unearth
The Statue of our Queen.

Then if you’d have us loyal bide
As we have loyal been,
Great Parkes! for love of England, hide
The Statue of our Queen.

by Henry Lawson.

When fixed his gaze upon the stone,
The artist saw a nymph inside,
And fire ran through vein his own -
He flew to her in all his heart.

But though full of strong desire,
He's now overcome the spell:
The chisel, piecemeal and unhurried,
From his high goddess, sanctified,
Removes a shell after a shell.

In the sweet and vague preoccupation
More than a day or a year will pass;
But from the goddess of his passion,
The fallen veil will not be last,

Until, perceiving his desire,
Under the chisel's gentle caress,
And answering by a gaze of fire,
Sweat Galatea brings entire
The sage into a first embrace.

by Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky.

The Burns Statue

This Statue, I must confess, is magnificent to see,
And I hope will long be appreciated by the people of Dundee;
It has been beautifully made by Sir John Steell,
And I hope the pangs of hunger he will never feel.

This statue is most elegant in its design,
And I hope will defy all weathers for a very long time;
And I hope strangers from afar with admiration will stare
On this beautiful statue of thee, Immortal Bard of Ayr.

Fellow-citizens, this Statue seems most beautiful to the eye,
Which would cause Kings and Queens for such a one to sigh,
And make them feel envious while passing by
In fear of not getting such a beautiful Statue after they die.

by William Topaz McGonagall.

Inscriptions: Ii: For A Statue Of Chaucer At Woodstock

Such was old Chaucer. such the placid mien
Of him who first with harmony inform'd
The language of our fathers. Here he dwelt
For many a cheerful day. these ancient walls
Have often heard him, while his legends blithe
He sang; of love, or knighthood, or the wiles
Of homely life: through each estate and age,
The fashions and the follies of the world
With cunning hand portraying. Though perchance
From Blenheim's towers, o stranger, thou art come
Glowing with Churchill's trophies; yet in vain
Dost thou applaud them, if thy breast be cold
To him, this other hero; who, in times
Dark and untaught, began with charming verse
To tame the rudeness of his native land.

by Mark Akenside.

A Statue In The Garden

I was a goddess ere the marble found me.
Wind, wind, delay not!
Waft my spirit where the laurel crowned me!
Will the wind stay not?

Then tarry, tarry, listen, little swallow!
An old glory feeds me
I lay upon the bosom of Apollo!
Not a bird heeds me.

For here the days are alien. Oh, to waken
Mine, mine, with calling!
But on my shoulders bare, like hopes forsaken,
The dead leaves are falling.

The sky is gray and full of unshed weeping
As dim down the garden
I wait and watch the early autumn sweeping.
The stalks fade and harden.

The souls of all the flowers afar have rallied.
The trees, gaunt, appalling,
Attest the gloom, and on my shoulders pallid
The dead leaves are falling.

by Eleanor Agnes Lee.

To The Bartholdi Statue

O Liberty, God-gifted
Young and immortal maid
In your high hand uplifted;
The torch declares your trade.

Its crimson menace, flaming
Upon the sea and shore,
Is, trumpet-like, proclaiming
That Law shall be no more.

Austere incendiary,
We're blinking in the light;
Where is your customary
Grenade of dynamite?

Where are your staves and switches
For men of gentle birth?
Your mask and dirk for riches?
Your chains for wit and worth?

Perhaps, you've brought the halters
You used in the old days,
When round religion's altars
You stabled Cromwell's bays?

Behind you, unsuspected,
Have you the axe, fair wench,
Wherewith you once collected
A poll-tax from the French?

America salutes you
Preparing to disgorge.
Take everything that suits you,
And marry Henry George.


by Ambrose Bierce.

Fortune's Statue

She's mistress of all:
Rule of this earth
To her is entrusted;
Fortune she's called.
But for her, Maia's son, whom
She grants gifts, be naught.
Man, living for gain,
Mars, fast to shed blood,
Stand both in her hand.
He fears her even
Whom Yenus enflames;
He praises her too,
Who lives by his toil,
In sweat and in thrift.
Kindly at her he'd look,
Who mocks her in word;
For wise deliberation,
Wishing, she'd turn to dispute.
Of a king, a pauper,
Of a slave, a king,
Should she will, she'd make.
She's heedless on whom
Her gifts she bestows,
In which no trust
Is she wont to keep.
So doth she sport!
Through inconstancy alone
She endures unchanging,
To wander hither and yon,
Ruling earth with no rules.
In this tho, she's less
Unto virtue persisting
Would she fast submit,
With it forever in strife.

by Mikolaj Sep Szarzynski.

The Bartholdi Statue

The land, that, from the rule of kings,
In freeing us, itself made free,
Our Old World Sister, to us brings
Her sculptured Dream of Liberty,

Unlike the shapes on Egypt's sands
Uplifted by the toil-worn slave,
On Freedom's soil with freemen's hands
We rear the symbol free hands gave.

O France, the beautiful! to thee
Once more a debt of love we owe
In peace beneath thy Colors Three,
We hail a later Rochambeau!

Rise, stately Symbol! holding forth
Thy light and hope to all who sit
In chains and darkness! Belt the earth
With watch-fires from thy torch uplit!

Reveal the primal mandate still
Which Chaos heard and ceased to be,
Trace on mid-air th' Eternal Will
In signs of fire: 'Let man be free!'

Shine far, shine free, a guiding light
To Reason's ways and Virtue's aim,
A lightning-flash the wretch to smite
Who shields his license with thy name!

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Hymn For The Inauguration Of The Statue Of Governor Andrew


BEHOLD the shape our eyes have known!
It lives once more in changeless stone;
So looked in mortal face and form
Our guide through peril's deadly storm.

But hushed the beating heart we knew,
That heart so tender, brave, and true,
Firm as the rooted mountain rock,
Pure as the quarry's whitest block!

Not his beneath the blood-red star
To win the soldier's envied sear;
Unarmed he battled for the right,
In Duty's never-ending fight.

Unconquered will, unslumbering eye,
Faith such as bids the martyr die,
The prophet's glance, the master's hand
To mould the work his foresight planned,

These were his gifts; what Heaven had lent
For justice, mercy, truth, he spent,
First to avenge the traitorous blow,
And first to lift the vanquished foe.

Lo, thus he stood; in danger's strait
The pilot of the Pilgrim State!
Too large his fame for her alone,--
A nation claims him as her own!

by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Sculptor Of Tyana

As you'll have heard, I'm no beginner.
I've handled a lot of stone in my time,
and in my own country, Tyana, I'm really quite famous.
Actually, a number of senators here
have also commissioned works of mine.
Let me show you
a few of them. Notice this Rhea:
reverential, all fortitude, most primitive.
Notice Pompey. And Marius here,
and Paulus Aemilius, and Scipio Africanus.
The likeness as close as I could make it.
And Patroklos (I still have to touch him up a bit).
Near those pieces of yellowish marble there
stands Kaisarion.
And for some time now I've been busy
working on a Poseidon. I'm studying
his horses in particular: how to shape them exactly.
They have to be made so light
that it's clear their bodies, their legs,
aren't touching the earth but galloping over water.
But here's my favourite work,
created with the most care and feeling.
This one -it was a hot summer day
and my mind rose to ideal things-
this one came to me in a vision, this young Hermes.

by Constantine P. Cavafy.

To The Bartholdi Statue

O Liberty, God-gifted--
Young and immortal maid--
In your high hand uplifted,
The torch declares your trade.

Its crimson menace, flaming
Upon the sea and shore,
Is, trumpet-like, proclaiming
That Law shall be no more.

Austere incendiary,
We're blinking in the light;
Where is your customary
Grenade of dynamite?

Where are your staves and switches
For men of gentle birth?
Your mask and dirk for riches?
Your chains for wit and worth?

Perhaps, you've brought the halters
You used in the old days,
When round religion's altars
You stabled Cromwell's bays?

Behind you, unsuspected,
Have you the axe, fair wench,
Wherewith you once collected
A poll-tax for the French?

America salutes you--
Preparing to 'disgorge.'
Take everything that suits you,
And marry Henry George.

by Ambrose Bierce.

Statue Of Robert Burns

To a town in Southern land
Light of purse I come and lone;
And I pause awhile, and stand
By a pedestal of stone;
And I bend my head and bow
While my heart to Scotland turns,
For I know I’m standing now
‘Neath the form of Robbie Burns.

Round the corners of the lips
Lines of laughter seem to run;
From the merry eye there slips
Just a twinkle as of fun.
Living in the sculptor’s art,
Set in stone, mine eye discerns
All the beauty, and a part
Of the soul, of Robert Burns.

One of Caledonia’s sons,
Coming lonely to the land.
Well might think he’d met a friend
Who would take him by the hand,
And the tears spring to his eyes,
While his heart for friendship yearns;
And from out that heart he cries,
“Heaven bless ye, Bobbie Burns.”

“Unto me, as unto you,
Has a hard world done ill turns;
And the sorrows that you knew
I am learning Bobbie Burns.
But I’ll keep my heart above
Until, after many moons,
I return to friends I love,
And to banks line bonnie Doon’s.”

by Henry Lawson.

Master Of Music

Glory of architect, glory of painter, and sculptor, and bard,
Living forever in temple and picture and statue and song, --
Look how the world with the lights that they lit is illumined and starred,
Brief was the flame of their life, but the lamps of their art burn long!

Where is the Master of Music, and how has he vanished away?
Where is the work that he wrought with his wonderful art in the air?
Gone, -- it is gone like the glow on the cloud at the close of the day!
The Master has finished his work, and the glory of music is -- where?

Once, at the wave of his wand, all the billows of musical sound
Followed his will, as the sea was ruled by the prophet of old:
Now that his hand is relaxed, and his rod has dropped to the ground,
Silent and dark are the shores where the marvellous harmonies rolled!

Nay, but not silent the hearts that were filled by that life-giving sea;
Deeper and purer forever the tides of their being will roll,
Grateful and joyful, O Master, because they have listened to thee, --
The glory of music endures in the depths of the human soul.

by Henry Van Dyke.

The Philosopher, The Young Man, And His Statue

A Fond Athenian Mother brought
A Sculptor to indulge her Thought,
And carve her Only Son;
Who to such strange perfection wrought,
That every Eye the Statue caught
Nor ought was left undone.

A youthful Smile adorn'd the Face,
The polish gave that Smile a Grace;
And through the Marble reigns
(Which well the Artist's Skill cou'd trace,
And in their due Positions place)
A Thread of purple Veins.

The Parasites about it came,
(Whose Praises were too large to name)
And to each other said;
The Man so well had reach'd his Aim,
Th' Original cou'd o'er it claim
Only a native Red.

Mean while a Sage, amidst the Croud,
Thus, with a Precept wise and loud,
Check'd the Vain-glorious Boy;
By telling him, who now grew proud,
That tho' with Beauty 'twas endow'd,
The Figure was a Toy:

Of no Advantage to the State,
'Twou'd neither combate, nor debate,
But idly stand alone;
Bids him beware, whilst Men create
In Stone thus his Resemblance great,
He proves not like the Stone.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

Prenant pour guide clair l'astre qu'était son âme,
A travers des pays d'ouragans et de flammes,
Il s'en était allé si loin vers l'inconnu
Que son siècle vieux et chenu,
Toussant la peur, au vent trop fort de sa pensée,
L'avait férocement enseveli sous la risée.

Il en était ainsi, depuis des tas d'années
Au long des temps échelonnées,
Quand un matin la ville, où son nom était mort,
Se ressouvint de lui - homme âpre et grandiose -
Et l'exalta et le grandit en une pose
De penseur accoudé sur un roc d'ombre et d'or.

On inscrivit sur ce granit de gloire
L'exil subi, la faim et la prison,
Et l'on tressa, comme une floraison,
Son crime ancien, autour de sa mémoire.

On lui prit sa pensée et l'on en fit des lois ;
On lui prit sa folie et l'on en fit de l'ordre ;
Et ses railleurs d'antan ne savaient plus où mordre
Le battant de tocsin qui sautait dans sa voix.

Et seul, son geste fier domina la cité
Où l'on voyait briller, agrandi de mystère,
Son front large, puissant, tranquille et comme austère
D'être à la fois d'un temps et de l'éternité.

by Emile Verhaeren.

Burns’s Statue At Irvine

Yes! let His place be there!
Where the lone moorland gazes on the sea,
Not in the squalid street nor pompous square:
So that he again may be
From contamination free,
His pedestal the plain, his canopy the air!

There leave him all alone!
Too much, too long, he herded with his kind,
Lured by the frolic phantoms that dethrone
Honest heart and homely mind,
Phantoms that besot and blind,
Then leave the troubled soul to suffer and atone.

From city stain and broil
Hither his rustic memory reclaim,
Leading him back, strayed suckling of the soil,
Homeward, that forgiving Fame
May around his shriven name
A halo wind, shall Time nor Truth itself despoil.

Quickly the Poet learns
The little that the alien world can teach.
Then he, if wise, to solitude returns,
Communing on brae and beach
With old Ocean's rhythmic speech,
Message of wandering winds, or lore of mountain burns.

'Tis there that Nature fills
His brooding heart with all he needs to know,
Moan of the main, and rapture of the rills;
So that, whether joy or woe
Fire his verse, it still may glow
Clear as her heaven-fed streams, and soaring as her hills.

by Alfred Austin.

Un bloc de marbre où son nom luit sur une plaque.

Ventre riche, mâchoire ardente et menton lourd ;
Haine et terreur murant son gros front lourd
Et poing taillé pour fendre en deux toutes attaques.

Le carrefour, solennisé de palais froids,
D'où ses regards têtus et violents encore
Scrutent quels feux d'éveil bougent dans telle aurore,
Comme sa volonté, se carre en angles droits.

Il fut celui de l'heure et des hasards bizarres,
Mais textuel, sitôt qu'il tint la force en main
Et qu'il put étouffer dans hier le lendemain
Déjà sonore et plein de terribles fanfares.

Sa colère fit loi durant ces jours vantés,
Où toutes voix montaient vers ses panégyriques,
Où son rêve d'Etat strict et géométrique
Tranquillisait l'aboi plaintif des lâchetés.

Il se sentait la force étroite et qui déprime,
Tantôt sournois, tantôt cruel et contempteur,
Et quand il se dressait de toute sa hauteur
Il n'arrivait jamais qu'à la hauteur d'un crime.

Planté devant la vie, il l'obstrua, depuis
Qu'il s'imposa sauveur des rois et de lui-même
Et qu'il utilisa la peur et l'affre blême
En des complots fictifs qu'il étranglait, la nuit.

Si bien qu'il apparaît sur la place publique
Féroce et rancunier, autoritaire et fort,
Et défendant encor, d'un geste hyperbolique,
Son piédestal massif comme son coffre-fort.

by Emile Verhaeren.

FOR every sin that comes before the light,
And leaves an outward blemish on the soul,
How many, darker, cower out of sight,
And burrow, blind and silent, like the mole.
And like the mole, too, with its busy feet
That dig and dig a never-ending cave,
Our hidden sins gnaw through the soul, and meet
And feast upon each other in its grave.

A buried sin is like a covered sore
That spreads and festers 'neath a painted face;
And no man's art can heal it evermore,
But only His—the Surgeon's—promised grace.
Who hides a sin is like the hunter who
Once warmed a frozen adder with his breath,
And when he placed it near his heart it flew
With poisoned fangs and stung that heart to death.

A sculptor once a granite statue made,
One-sided only, just to fit its place:
The unseen side was monstrous; so men shade
Their evil acts behind a smiling face.
O blind! O foolish! thus our sins to hide,
And force our pleading hearts the gall to sip;
O cowards! who must eat the myrrh, that Pride
May smile like Virtue with a lying lip.

A sin admitted is nigh half atoned;
And while the fault is red and freshly done,
If we but dropp our eyes and think,—'tis owned,—
'Tis half forgiven, half the crown is won.
But if we heedless let it reek and rot,
Then pile a mountain on its grave, and turn,
With smiles to all the world,—that tainted spot
Beneath the mound will never cease to burn.

by John Boyle O'Reilly.

Au carrefour des abattoirs et des casernes,
Il apparaît, foudroyant et vermeil,
Le sabre en bel éclair dans le soleil.

Masque d'airain, bicorne d'or ;
Et l'horizon, là-bas, où le combat se tord,
Devant ses yeux hallucinés de gloire !

Un élan fou, un bond brutal
Jette en avant son geste et son cheval
Vers la victoire.

Il est volant comme une flamme,
Ici, plus loin, au bout du monde,
Qui le redoute et qui l'acclame.

Il entraîne, pour qu'en son rêve ils se confondent,
Dieu, son peuple, ses soldats ivres ;

Les astres mêmes semblent suivre,
Si bien que ceux
Qui se liguent pour le maudire
Restent béants : et son vertige emplit leurs yeux.

Il est de calcul froid, mais de force soudaine :
Des fers de volonté barricadent le seuil
Infrangible de son orgueil.

Il croit en lui - et qu'importe le reste !
Pleurs, cris, affres et noire et formidable fête,
Avec lesquels l'histoire est faite.

Il est la mort fastueuse et lyrique,
Montrée, ainsi qu'une conquête,
Au bout d'une existence en feu et en tempête.

Il ne regrette rien de ce qu'il accomplit,
Sinon que les ans brefs aillent trop vite
Et que la terre immense soit petite.

Il est l'idole et le fléau :
Le vent qui souffle autour de son front clair
Toucha celui des Dieux armés d'éclairs.

Il sent qu'il passe en brusque orage et que sa destinée
Est de tomber comme un écroulement,
Le jour où son étoile étrange et effrénée,
Cristal rouge, se cassera au firmament.

Au carrefour des abattoirs et des casernes,
Il apparaît, foudroyant et vermeil,
Le sabre en bel éclair dans le soleil.

by Emile Verhaeren.

On le croyait fondateur de la ville,
Venu de pays clairs et lointains,
Avec sa crosse entre les mains,
Et, sur son corps, une bure servile.

Pour se faire écouter il parlait par miracles,
En des clairières d'or, le soir, dans les forêts,
Où Loge et Thor carraient leurs symboles épais
Et tonnaient leurs oracles.

Il était la tristesse et la douceur
Descendue autrefois, à genoux, du calvaire,
Vers les hommes et leur misère
Et vers leur coeur.

Il accueillait l'humanité fragile
Il lui chantait le paradis sans fin
Et l'endormait dans un rêve divin,
Le front posé sur l'évangile.

Plus tard, le roi, le juge, et le bourreau
Prirent son verbe et le faussèrent
Et les textes autoritaires
Apparurent, tels des glaives, hors du fourreau.

Contre la paix qu'il avait inclinée
Vers tous, de son geste clément,
La vie, avec des cris et des sursauts déments,
Brusque et rouge, fut dégainée.

Mais lui resta le clair apôtre au front vermeil,
Aux yeux remplis de patience et d'indulgence,
Et la pieuse et populaire intelligence
Puisait auprès de lui la force et le conseil.

On l'invoquait pour les fièvres et pour les peines,
On le fêtait en mai, au soir tombant,
Et les mères et les vieillards et les enfants
Venaient baigner leurs maux dans l'eau de sa fontaine.

Son nom large et sonore d'amour
Marquait la fin des longues litanies
Et des complaintes infinies
Que l'on chantait, depuis toujours.

Il se perpétuait, près d'un portail roman,
En une image usée et tremblotante,
Qui écoutait, dans la poitrine
Haletante des tours,
Les bourdons lourds clamer au firmament.

by Emile Verhaeren.

All bold, great actions that are seen too near,
Look rash and foolish to unthinking eyes;
But at a distance they at once appear
In their true grandeur: so let us be wise,
And not too soon our neighbor's deed malign,
Lest what seems crude should prove to be divine.

In Athens, when all learning center'd there,
Men reared a column of surpassing height
In honor of Minerva, wise and fair;
And on the top, which dwindled to the sight,
A statue of the goddess was to stand,
That wisdom might be known to all the land.

And he who, with the beauty in his heart,
Seeking in faultless work immortal youth,
Would mold this statue with the finest art,
Making the wintry marble glow with truth,
Should gain the prize: two sculptors sought the fame-
The prize they craved was an enduring name.

Alcamenes soon carved his little best;
But Phidias, beneath a dazzling thought
That like a bright sun in a cloudless west
Lighted his wide, great soul, with pure love wrought
A statue, and its changeless face of stone
With calm, far-sighted wisdom towered and shone.

Then to be judged the labors were unveiled;
But, at the marble thought, that by degrees
Of hardship Phidias cut, the people railed.
'The lines are coarse, the form too large,' said these;
'And he who sends this rough result of haste
Sends scorn, and offers insult to our taste.'

Alcamenes' praised work was lifted high
Upon the column, ready for the prize;
But it appeared too small against the sky,
And lacked proportion to uplooking eyes;
So it was quickly lowered and put aside,
And the scorned thought was mounted to be tried.

Surprise swept o'er the faces of the crowd,
And changed them as a sudden breeze may change
A field of fickle grass, and long and loud
The mingled shouts to see a sight so strange.
The statue stood completed in its place,
Each coarse line melted to a line of grace.

by Henry Abbey.

For The Fair In Aid Of The Fund To Procure Ball’s Statue Of Washington


ALL overgrown with bush and fern,
And straggling clumps of tangled trees,
With trunks that lean and boughs that turn,
Bent eastward by the mastering breeze,--
With spongy bogs that drip and fill
A yellow pond with muddy rain,
Beneath the shaggy southern hill
Lies wet and low the Shawinut plain.
And hark! the trodden branches crack;
A crow flaps off with startled scream;
A straying woodchuck canters back;
A bittern rises from the stream;
Leaps from his lair a frightened deer;
An otter plunges in the pool;--
Here comes old Shawmut's pioneer,
The parson on his brindled bull!


The streets are thronged with trampling feet,
The northern hill is ridged with graves,
But night and morn the drum is beat
To frighten down the 'rebel knaves.'
The stones of King Street still are red,
And yet the bloody red-coats come
I hear their pacing sentry's tread,
The click of steel, the tap of drum,
And over all the open green,
Where grazed of late the harmless kine,
The cannon's deepening ruts are seen,
The war-horse stamps, the bayonets shine.
The clouds are dark with crimson rain
Above the murderous hirelings' den,
And soon their whistling showers shall stain
The pipe-clayed belts of Gage's men.


Around the green, in morning light,
The spired and palaced summits blaze,
And, sunlike, from her Beacon-height
The dome-crowned city spreads her rays;
They span the waves, they belt the plains,
They skirt the roads with bands of white,
Till with a flash of gilded panes
Yon farthest hillside bounds the sight.
Peace, Freedom, Wealth! no fairer view,
Though with the wild-bird's restless wings
We sailed beneath the noontide's blue
Or chased the moonlight's endless rings!
Here, fitly raised by grateful hands
His holiest memory to recall,
The Hero's, Patriot's image stands;
He led our sires who won them all!

by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Robbie's Statue

Grown tired of mourning for my sins—
And brooding over merits—
The other night with bothered brow
I went amongst the spirits;
And I met one that I knew well:
‘Oh, Scotty’s Ghost, is that you?
‘And did you see the fearsome crowd
‘At Robbie Burns’s statue?

‘They hurried up in hansom cabs,
‘Tall-hatted and frock-coated;
‘They trained it in from all the towns,
‘The weird and hairy-throated;
‘They spoke in some outlandish tongue,
‘They cut some comic capers,
‘And ilka man was wild to get
‘His name in all the papers.

‘They showed no gleam of intellect,
‘Those frauds who rushed before us;
‘They knew one verse of “Auld Lang Syne—”
‘The first one and the chorus:
‘They clacked the clack o’ Scotlan’s Bard,
‘They glibly talked of “Rabby;”
‘But what if he had come to them
‘Without a groat and shabby?

‘They drank and wept for Robbie’s sake,
‘They stood and brayed like asses
‘(The living bard’s a drunken rake,
‘The dead one loved the lasses);
‘If Robbie Burns were here, they’d sit
‘As still as any mouse is;
‘If Robbie Burns should come their way,
‘They’d turn him out their houses.

‘Oh, weep for bonny Scotland’s bard!
‘And praise the Scottish nation,
‘Who made him spy and let him die
‘Heart-broken in privation:
‘Exciseman, so that he might live
‘Through northern winters’ rigours—
‘Just as in southern lands they give
‘The hard-up rhymer figures.

‘We need some songs of stinging fun
‘To wake the States and light ’em;
‘I wish a man like Robert Burns
‘Were here to-day to write ’em!
‘But still the mockery shall survive
‘Till the Day o’ Judgment crashes—
‘The men we scorn when we’re alive
‘With praise insult our ashes.’

And Scotty’s ghost said: ‘Never mind
‘The fleas that you inherit;
‘The living bard can flick them off—
‘They cannot hurt his spirit.
‘The crawlers round the bardie’s name
‘Shall crawl through all the ages;
‘His work’s the living thing, and they
‘Are fly-dirt on the pages.’

by Henry Lawson.

To Sculptor Borch

(On his fiftieth birthday)
With friends you stalwart stand and fair,
To-day of fifty years the heir;
The past your works rejoicing praise,
But forward goes your gaze.
Your childlike faith, your spirit true,
Your hand that never weary grew,
A home's sweet music, love of wife,
Make ever young your life.

You dared believe with heart alive
That here in Norway art can thrive.
You forced the hardness of our stones
To harmony of tones.
You laid our wild world's secrets bare
And caught 'The Hunter' near the lair.
Our nation's moods, of beauty born,
Your 'Girl with Eggs' adorn.

As o'er a slope's snow-covered brow
A youth came swiftly flying now,
You saw him, raised your hand, and lo!
He stood there, chiseled snow.
But your 'Ski-runner's' courage good,
It was your own, when forth you stood
Art's champion by the world unawed,
And with your faith in God.

You won your victory supreme
Through rock-like faith and will's full stream
While with unnumbered hours of rest
Your love has others blessed.
Were all now here from west and east
Whose hearts you own, oh, what a feast!
From Akershus the convicts e'en
Would bear a freeman's mien.

Now we whose lives with good you filled
For you to-day a palace build,
On heights of heart's-ease lifting square
Its golden tower of prayer.
In peace you oft shall dwell in it,
Whene'er you need to rest a bit,
And feel through them who hold you dear
Yourself to heaven near.

Long since our country to you gave
The meed of thanks that most you crave;
It gave a maid with golden hair,
Its springtime's image fair.
She came from where the fairies dwell,
With nixie's charm and wood-nymph's spell,
With peace all holy, sweet, and calm,
To sing of life the psalm.

So may your life yet long endure
To light our gland, your home secure!
May all that from your heart you gave,
Still blossom on your grave!
May God's protecting mercy hold
Your spirit ever fresh and bold,-
May He to genius oft impart
Just such a mind and heart!

by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

The Statue Of The Dying Gladiator

COMMANDING pow'r! whose hand with plastic art
Bids the rude stone to grace and being start;
Swell to the waving line the polish'd form,
And only want Promethean fire to warm ;—
Sculpture, exult! thy triumph proudly see,
The Roman slave immortalized by thee!
No suppliant sighs, no terrors round him wait,
But vanquish'd valor soars above his fate!
In that fix'd eye still proud defiance low'rs,
In that stern look indignant grandeur tow'rs!
He sees e'en death, with javelin barb'd in pain,
A foe but worthy of sublime disdain!
Too firm, too lofty, for one parting tear,
A quiv'ring pulse, a struggle, or a fear!

Oh! fire of soul! by servitude disgrac'd,
Perverted courage! energy debas'd!
Lost Rome! thy slave, expiring in the dust,
Tow'rs far above Patrician rank, august!
While that proud rank, insatiate, could survey
Pageants that stain'd with blood each festal day!

Oh! had that arm, which grac'd thy deathful show,
With many a daring feat and nervous blow,
Wav'd the keen sword and rear'd the patriot-shield,
Firm in thy cause, on Glory's laureate field;
Then, like the marble form, from age to age,
His name had liv'd in history's brightest page;
While death had but secur'd the victor's crown,
And seal'd the suffrage of deserv'd renown!
That gen'rous pride, that spirit unsubdu'd,
That soul, with honor's high-wrought sense imbu'd,
Had shone, recorded in the song of fame,
A beam, as now, a blemish, on thy name!

Yet here, so well has art majestic wrought,
Sublimed expression, and ennobled thought;
A dying Hero we behold, alone,
And Mind's bright grandeur animates the stone!
'Tis not th' Arena's venal champion bleeds,
No! 'tis some warrior, fam'd for matchless deeds!
Admiring rapture kindles into flame,
Nature and art the palm divided claim!
Nature (exulting in her spirit's pow'r,
To rise victorious in the dreaded hour,)
Triumphs, that death and all his shadowy train,
Assail a mortal's constancy—in vain!
And Art, rejoicing in the work sublime,
Unhurt by all the sacrilege of time,
Smiles o'er the marble, her divine control
Moulded to symmetry, and fir'd with soul!

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

Posterity's Award

I'd long been dead, but I returned to earth.
Some small affairs posterity was making
A mess of, and I came to see that worth
Received its dues. I'd hardly finished waking,
The grave-mould still upon me, when my eye
Perceived a statue standing straight and high.

'Twas a colossal figure-bronze and gold
Nobly designed, in attitude commanding.
A toga from its shoulders, fold on fold,
Fell to the pedestal on which 'twas standing.
Nobility it had and splendid grace,
And all it should have had-except a face!

It showed no features: not a trace nor sign
Of any eyes or nose could be detected
On the smooth oval of its front no line
Where sites for mouths are commonly selected.
All blank and blind its faulty head it reared.
Let this be said: 'twas generously eared.

Seeing these things, I straight began to guess
For whom this mighty image was intended.
'The head,' I cried, 'is Upton's, and the dress
Is Parson Bartlett's own.' True, _his_ cloak ended
Flush with his lowest vertebra, but no
Sane sculptor ever made a toga so.

Then on the pedestal these words I read:
'_Erected Eighteen Hundred Ninety-seven_'
(Saint Christofer! how fast the time had sped!
Of course it naturally does in Heaven)
'_To_ --' (here a blank space for the name began)
'_The Nineteenth Century's Great Foremost Man_!'

'_Completed_' the inscription ended, '_in
The Year Three Thousand_'-which was just arriving.
By Jove! thought I, 'twould make the founders grin
To learn whose fame so long has been surviving
To read the name posterity will place
In that blank void, and view the finished face.

Even as I gazed, the year Three Thousand came,
And then by acclamation all the people
Decreed whose was our century's best fame;
Then scaffolded the statue like a steeple,
To make the likeness; and the name was sunk
Deep in the pedestal's metallic trunk.

Whose was it? Gentle reader, pray excuse
The seeming rudeness, but I can't consent to
Be so forehanded with important news.
'Twas neither yours nor mine-let that content you.
If not, the name I must surrender, which,
Upon a dead man's word, was George K. Fitch!

by Ambrose Bierce.

A moment's grace, Pygmalion! Let me be
A breath's space longer on this hither hand
Of fate too sweet, too sad, too mad to meet.
Whether to be thy statue or thy bride-
An instant spare me! Terrible the choice,
As no man knoweth, being only man;
Nor any, saving her who hath been stone
And loved her sculptor. Shall I dare exchange
Veins of the quarry for the throbbing pulse?
Insensate calm for a sure-aching heart?
Repose eternal for a woman's lot?
Forego God's quiet for the love of man?
To float on his uncertain tenderness,
A wave tossed up the shore of his desire,
To ebb and flow whene'er it pleaseth him;
Remembered at his leisure, and forgot,
Worshiped and worried, clasped and dropped at mood,
Or soothed or gashed at mercy of his will,
Now Paradise my portion, and now Hell;
And every single, several nerve that beats
In soul or body, like some rare vase, thrust
In fire at first, and then in frost, until
The fine, protesting fibre snaps?

Oh, who
Foreknowing, ever chose a fate like this?
What woman out of all the breathing world
Would be a woman, could her heart select,
Or love her lover, could her life prevent?
Then let me be that only, only one;
Thus let me make that sacrifice supreme,
No other ever made, or can, or shall.
Behold, the future shall stand still to ask,
What man was worth a price so isolate?
And rate thee at its value for all time.

For I am driven by an awful Law.
See! while I hesitate, it mouldeth me,
And carves me like a chisel at my heart.
'T is stronger than the woman or the man;
'T is greater than all torment or delight;
'T is mightier than the marble or the flesh.
Obedient be the sculptor and the stone!
Thine am I, thine at all the cost of all
The pangs that woman ever bore for man;
Thine I elect to be, denying them;
Thine I elect to be, defying them;
Thine, thine I dare to be, in scorn of them;
And being thine forever, bless I them!

Pygmalion! Take me from my pedestal,
And set me lower-lower, Love!-that I
May be a woman, and look up to thee;
And looking, longing, loving, give and take
The human kisses worth the worst that thou
By thine own nature shalt inflict on me.

by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward.

Tarry a moment, happy feet,
That to the sound of laughter glide!
O glad ones of the evening street,
Behold what forms are at your side!

You conquerors of the toilsome day
Pass by with laughter, labour done;
But these within their durance stay;
Their travail sleeps not with the sun.

They, like dim statues without end,
Their patient attitudes maintain;
Your triumphing bright course attend,
But from your eager ways abstain.

Now, if you chafe in secret thought,
A moment turn from light distress,
And see how Fate on these hath wrought,
Who yet so deeply acquiesce.

Behold them, stricken, silent, weak,
The maimed, the mute, the halt, the blind,
Condemned amid defeat to seek
The thing which they shall never find.

They haunt the shadows of your ways
In masks of perishable mould:
Their souls a changing flesh arrays,
But they are changeless from of old.

Their lips repeat an empty call,
But silence wraps their thoughts around.
On them, like snow, the ages fall;
Time muffles all this transient sound.

When Shalmaneser pitched his tent
By Tigris, and his flag unfurled,
And forth his summons proudly sent
Into the new unconquered world;

Or when with spears Cambyses rode
Through Memphis and her bending slaves,
Or first the Tyrian gazed abroad
Upon the bright vast outer waves;

When sages, star--instructed men,
To the young glory of Babylon
Foreknew no ending; even then
Innumerable years had flown,

Since first the chisel in her hand
Necessity, the sculptor, took,
And in her spacious meaning planned
These forms, and that eternal look;

These foreheads, moulded from afar,
These soft, unfathomable eyes,
Gazing from darkness, like a star;
These lips, whose grief is to be wise.

As from the mountain marble rude
The growing statue rises fair,
She from immortal patience hewed
The limbs of ever--young despair.

There is no bliss so new and dear,
It hath not them far--off allured.
All things that we have yet to fear
They have already long endured.

Nor is there any sorrow more
Than hath ere now befallen these,
Whose gaze is as an opening door
On wild interminable seas.

O Youth, run fast upon thy feet,
With full joy haste thee to be filled,
And out of moments brief and sweet
Thou shalt a power for ages build.

Does thy heart falter? Here, then, seek
What strength is in thy kind! With pain
Immortal bowed, these mortals weak
Gentle and unsubdued remain.

by Robert Laurence Binyon.