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First Line: All finest art is seen
Last Line: In stuff that will not yield!
Alternate Author Name(s): Theo, Le Bon
Subject(s): Art & Artists

ALL finest art is seen
In forms that foil the blade
Verse, marble, gem inlaid.

All idle bonds refuse!
Yet, so thou move aright,
Bind, Muse,
Thy limbs in buskins tight.

Spurn the too supple lilt
That like an easy boot
Is built
For any random foot.

Thou sculptor, cast aside
The clay thy hands alone
Have plied,
Thy spirit elsewhere flown.

Strive with the marble rough
Hewn from Carraran steeps,—
Such stuff
The perfect contour keeps.

From Syracuse her bronze
Take thou, thereon imprest
The sconce
Of proud or yielding gest.

With deftest hand go trace
Over the agate rare
The face
Apollo once did wear.

Painter, all tints refuse
That fade; but pass thro' fire
The hues
So fixt to thy desire.

Call up the syrens blue
With loopéd tails entwined
With beasts of mythic kind.

Above the world enthrone
Christ and the Maid Divine;
Each one
Girt with the holy sign.

Though all things end in dust,
Yet Art well-wrought lives on;
The bust
Outlasts the city gone.

The buried coin or ring
Dug up by some poor hind,
May bring
An Emperor to mind;

And lines of perfect sound,
Though Gods themselves may pass,
Are found
More durable than brass.

Hew down and chisel fine,
So that thy dream be sealed
For sign
In stuff that will not yield!

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