Ars Victrix

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

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.