Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Skull
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
From Childe Harold

  REMOVE yon skull from out the scattered heaps:
  Is that a temple where a god may dwell?
Why even the worm at last disdains her shattered cell!
 
  Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,
  Its chambers desolate, and portals foul:        5
  Yes, this was once Ambition’s airy hall,
  The dome of Thought, the palace of the Soul:
  Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
  The gay recess of Wisdom and of Wit,
  And Passion’s host, that never brooked control:        10
  Can all saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
 
  Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be
  A land of souls beyond that sable shore,
  To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee,        15
  And sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;
  How sweet it were in concert to adore
  With those who made our mortal labors light!
  To hear each voice we feared to hear no more!
  Behold each mighty shade revealed to sight,        20
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
 
 
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