Poems (1898)/A Tomb in Tuscany

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For other versions of this work, see A Tomb in Tuscany.

A TOMB IN TUSCANY

In Montepulciano fair,—
Long famous for that vintage rare,
Prized by the giver of the vine
Above all wine—
There dwelt a man whose years had taught him
To seek, beyond what wealth had brought him,
Something to give his transient name
A lasting fame.


"For lordly palaces," he said,
"Shall crumble; ay, and bastions dread,
And temples grave and gardens gay
Become as they;
Each vaunted image of my power
Shall perish like a wayside flower,
And like the hawk my hand hath fed
Lie waste and dead.


"Wherefore, ere yet my days be spent,
I will uprear a monument
That 'gainst the envious floods of Time
Shall stand sublime;
My treasures vast shall serve and cherish
An art too heavenly to perish:
A beauty, born of passion pure,
That shall endure!"


So spoke he; and now lies asleep,
While near him forms angelic keep
Unwearied watch, and from decay
Guard him alway:
Rare, sculptured forms that blend his story
With Donatello's deathless glory,
And make mankind his debtors be
Eternally.


For lordly castles, as he said,
Have crumbled; ay, and bastions dread,
And temples grave and gardens gay
Become as they.
Each vaunted image of his power
Has perished like a wayside flower,
But living in the art he fed,
He is not dead!