Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EURIPIDES, by EDWARD GEORGE EARLE LYTTON BULWER-LYTTON



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EURIPIDES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If in less stately mould thy thoughts were cast
Last Line: But grief alone can teach us what is man!
Alternate Author Name(s): Bulwer, Edward; Lytton Of Knebworth, 1st Baron; Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer, Lord
Subject(s): Euripides (484-406 B.c.)


LONE, mid the loftier wonders of the past,
Thou stand'st -- more household to the modern age;
In a less stately mould thy thoughts were cast
Than thy twin masters of the Grecian stage.
Thou mark'st that change in manners when the frown
Of the vast Titans vanish'd from the earth,
When a more soft philosophy stole down
From the dark heavens to man's familiar hearth.
With thee, came love and woman's influence o'er
Her sterner lord; and poesy till then
A sculpture, warmed to painting; what before
Glass'd but the dim-seen gods, grew now to men
Clear mirrors, and the passions took their place,
Where a serene if solemn awe had made
The scene a temple to the elder race:
The struggles of humanity became
Not those of Titan with a god, nor those
Of the great heart with that unbodied name
By which our ignorance would explain our woes
And justify the heavens, -- the ruthless Fate;
But truer to the human life, thine art
Made thought with thought and will with will debate,
And placed the god and Titan in the heart;
Thy Phoedra, and thy pale Medea were
The birth of that more subtle wisdom, which
Dawn'd in the world with Socrates, to bear
Its last most precious offspring in the rich
And genial soul of Shakspeare. And for this
Wit blamed the living, dullness taunts the dead.
And yet the Pythian did not speak amiss
When in thy verse the latent truths she read,
And hailed thee wiser than thy tribe. Of thee
All genius in our softer times hath been
The grateful echo, and thy soul we see
Still through our tears -- upon the later scene.
Doth the Italian, for his frigid thought
Steal but a natural pathos, -- hath the Gaul
Something of passion to his phantoms taught,
Ope but thy page -- and, lo, the source of all!
But that which made thee wiser than the schools
Was the long sadness of a much-wrong'd life;
The sneer of satire, and the gibe of fools,
The broken hearth-gods, and the perjured wife.
For sorrow is the messenger between
The poet and men's bosoms: -- Genius can
Fill with unsympathizing gods the scene,
But grief alone can teach us what is man!





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