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Austin Dobson

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From Theofil Gautier, "L'Art"

Fame is a food that dead men eat

From Theofil Gautier, "L'Art"

Model thy Satyr's face
In bronze of Syracuse.
In the veined agate trace
The profile of thy Muse.

All passes. Art alone
Enduring stays to us.
The Bust overlasts the Throne,
The Coin, Tiberius.

IN after days when grasses high
O'er-top the stone where I shall lie,
Though ill or well the world adjust
My slender claim to honour'd dust,
I shall not question nor reply.
I shall not see the morning sky;
I shall not hear the night-wind sigh;
I shall be mute, as all men must
       In after days!
But yet, now living, fain would I
That some one then should testify,
Saying -- 'He held his pen in trust
To Art, not serving shame or lust.'
Will none? -- Then let my memory die
       In after days!

FAME is a food that dead men eat,--
I have no stomach for such meat.
In little light and narrow room,
They eat it in the silent tomb,
With no kind voice of comrade near
To bid the banquet be of cheer.
But Friendship is a nobler thing,--
Of Friendship it is good to sing.
For truly, when a man shall end,
He lives in memory of his friend,
Who doth his better part recall,
And of his faults make funeral.

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© 2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman