LO, upon the carpet, where
Throned upon a heap of slain
Blue-eyed dolls of beauty rare
(Ah, they pleaded all in vain!)
Sits the Infant Tamerlane!
Broken toys upon the floor
Scattered lie—a ruined rout.
Thus from all things evermore
Are—the fact is past a doubt—
Hidden virtues hammered out.
Poet’s page, or statesman’s bust,
Nothing comes to him amiss;
Everything he clutches must—
’Tis his simple dream of bliss!—
Suffer his analysis.
O my little Tamerlane,
Is your small barbaric brain
Not o’erawed by the amassed
Wit and Wisdom of the Past?
Type are you of that which springs
Ever forth when comes the need,
Overthrowing thrones and kings,
Faithless altar, sapless creed;
Sowing fresh and living seed.
On the worn-out Roman realm,
In whose purple gnawed the moth,
Thus its pride to overwhelm,
And its state to carve like cloth,
Swept the fierce, long-sworded Goth.
Age preserves with doting care
Things from which life long has fled,
Shrieks to see Youth touch a hair
On the mouldiest mummy-head—
So Egyptians kept their dead.
Youth comes by with head high-reared,
Stares in scorn at these august
Effigies by age revered—
Gilded shapes of Greed and Lust—
Shakes them into rags and dust.
Little Vandal, smash away!
Riot while your blood is hot!—
If into the world each day
Such as you are entered not,
It would perish of dry-rot.