Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
340. Horace
 
By John Osborne Sargent
 
 
HE who would echo Horace’ lays
  Aspires to an Icarian fame;
And borne on waxen wings essays
  A flight—may give some sea a name.
 
My fate perchance! But as I write        5
  I see through Time’s reverted glass,
In fleckered mists of shade and light,
  The phantoms of the ages pass.
 
I see an infant, tired with play,
  Sleep sweetly in Apulia’s wild,        10
And doves bring myrtle leaves and bay
  To cover the courageous child.
 
A stripling walks the streets of Rome,
  With slate and satchel on his arm;
His life abroad, his ways at home,        15
  A loving father’s care and charm.
 
Fulfilment of his boyhood’s dream,
  Greece welcomes now the freedman’s son;
He haunts the groves of Academe,
  And quaffs the springs of Helicon.        20
 
Light of the World! the central seat
  Of wit and wisdom, art and lore,—
In Athens patriot exiles meet
  Where bards and sages met before.
 
No athlete, and no warrior he,        25
  With Brutus on Philippi’s field,
The darling of Melpomene,
  Not bravely, throws away his shield.
 
Her fleets dispersed and tempest-tost,
  Her armies crushed, their leaders slain,—        30
Now is the great Republic lost,
  Lost never to revive again.
 
The Julian star ascends the sky,
  It shines on groups of learned men,
Law clips the wings of Liberty,        35
  And Horace wields the Empire’s pen.
 
Names, only names!—the brilliant throng
  That crowd the poet’s pictured page:
Still lives in his imperial song
  The soul of the Augustan age.        40
 
No longer through the Sacred Way
  The pontiffs lead the vestal train;
Thrones crumble, dynasties decay,
  Of Alaric born, or Charlemagne:—
 
Saints, Soldiers, Presbyters, and Popes,        45
  In legions rise and disappear,
And Bards with glowing horoscopes
  Oblivion garners year by year;
 
But on strong wing, through upper air,—
  Two worlds beneath, the Old and New,—        50
The Roman Swan is wafted where
  The Roman eagles never flew.
 

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