Ars Victrix

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Ars Victrix
by Théophile Gautier, translated by Henry Austin Dobson
From the French L’Art.

Yes; when the ways oppose —
    When the hard means rebel,
Fairer the work outgrows, —
    More potent far the spell.

O POET, then, forbear
    The loosely-sandalled verse,
Choose rather thou to wear
    The buskin — straight and terse;

Leave to the tiro’s hand
    The limp and shapeless style,
See that thy form demand
    The labour of the file.

SCULPTOR, do thou discard
    The yielding clay, — consign
To Paros marble hard
    The beauty of thy line; —

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

PAINTER, that still must mix
    But transient tints anew,
Thou in the furnace fix
    The firm enamel’s hue;

Let the smooth tile receive
    Thy dove-drawn Erycine;
Thy Sirens blue at eve
    Coiled in a wash of wine.

All passes. ART alone
    Enduring stays to us;
The Bust outlasts the throne, —
    The Coin, Tiberius;

Even the Gods must go;
    Only the lofty Rhyme
Not countless years o’erthrow, —
    Not long array of time.

Paint, chisel, then, or write;
    But, that the work surpass,
With the hard fashion fight, —
    With the resisting mass.

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1929, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.