Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Great Writers
On a Bust of Dante
Thomas William Parsons (1819–1892)
 
SEE, from this counterfeit of him
Whom Arno shall remember long,
How stern of lineament, how grim,
The father was of Tuscan song!
There but the burning sense of wrong,        5
Perpetual care, and scorn, abide—
Small friendship for the lordly throng,
Distrust of all the world beside.
 
Faithful if this wan image be,
No dream his life was—but a fight;        10
Could any Beatrice see
A lover in that anchorite?
To that cold Ghibeline’s gloomy sight
Who could have guessed the visions came
Of beauty, veiled with heavenly light,        15
In circles of eternal flame?
 
The lips as Cumæ’s cavern close,
The cheeks with fast and sorrow thin,
The rigid front, almost morose,
But for the patient hope within,        20
Declare a life whose course hath been
Unsullied still, though still severe,
Which, through the wavering days of sin,
Kept itself icy-chaste and clear.
 
Not wholly such his haggard look        25
When wandering once, forlorn, he strayed,
With no companion save his book,
To Corvo’s hushed monastic shade;
Where, as the Benedictine laid
His palm upon the pilgrim guest,        30
The single boon for which he prayed
The convent’s charity was rest.
 
Peace dwells not here—this rugged face
Betrays no spirit of repose;
The sullen warrior sole we trace,        35
The marble man of many woes.
Such was his mien when first arose
The thought of that strange tale divine—
When hell he peopled with his foes,
The scourge of many a guilty line.        40
 
War to the last he waged with all
The tyrant canker worms of earth;
Baron and duke, in hold and hall,
Cursed the dark hour that gave him birth;
He used Rome’s harlot for his mirth;        45
Plucked bare hypocrisy and crime;
But valiant souls of knightly worth
Transmitted to the rolls of time.
 
O time! whose verdicts mock our own,
The only righteous judge art thou;        50
That poor, old exile, sad and lone,
Is Latium’s other Virgil now.
Before his name the nations bow;
His words are parcel of mankind,
Deep in whose hearts, as on his brow,        55
The marks have sunk of Dante’s mind.
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors