Here in this gallery do we survey
The treasures of antiquity, of yore--
High Renaissance cartoons, and what they say
About the times, and men who’ve gone before;
About their values, in our age which has
Renounced all standard beauty, craftsmanship,
Preferring rather, things which shock or mass
So looming large, ’tis hard to come to grip.
What do these say of us, as “modern” men
Such as we like to style ourselves, be seen,
When future ages dig us up, what then,
What will they say—“here’s one of blue and green”?
Ah, little of this will be worth the saving,
Disingenuous in its spirit, not worth having.
What sculptor dare portray the human form?
What painter dare depict the Christian passion?
None that I see, as take the soul by storm,
Yet time is not so well-concerned with fashion
But something of an essence—so it sees
Beyond the coarse and crude, with greater inkling
Than something which the moment’s horde agrees
Fantastic—time moves forward without wrinkling,
While what remains, must surely show its stuff,
Such objects as the connoisseur invest in,
The debutante apprise with childish love;
But wisdom treasure what it find the best in
Of all human endeavor, not the fad
But the essential, as less prone to fade.
Time conquers all—all learning, art and power,
We know the end, as certain, though none may
Describe with clarity, the moment, hour,
But even so, he know it fade away.
Therefore: the struggle to preserve is vital
Of things of majesty, mementos of
A former time, nor there be no acquittal
For such as fail, but time surely reprove--
Fail to keep safe or wantonly destroy
The treasures of posterity, as come
From heritage of man, no worthless toy
Though ever such must so appear to some!
Time give a jaundiced look unto those men
That lose such as not ever come again.
A library that’s burnt—this is a sin!
Nor an invading army wash its hands
For looting as occur: men all stand in
This world together—though our sundry lands
Bear names distinct, traditions as historic
Unto a region, yet all must protect
Each other’s property—nor no euphoric
Aggressive quest absolve what us connect--
Even as one must watch his neighbor’s house,
Nor in a time of fire, allow the looter
To come and ransack—so the cad and louse,
As must of human trust become polluter,
Therefore do I accuse and therefore charge:
One’s neighborhood become the world at large.