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She stands where multitudes assembling
Cast at her feet their flatteries,
Pulseless, amid the throbbing, trembling
Of human nerves and arteries.


The sculptered marble at her feet
Is swept by folds of shimmering satin
And careless silvery tongues repeat
Her motto's gilded Latin.


Wealth is her daily, hourly guest,
Want at her shrine delights to linger;
None leave her presence cursed or blessed
By one fair, faultless, frozen finger.


Despair, in gaiety's disguise
From the dark alleys of the city
Writhing in guilt's dread agonies
Wakes in her breast, no scorn, no pity.


None, common sisterhood may claim
For sympathy in sorrow's story,
Of all whose beauty is her fame
Whose image is her glory.


Curses and prayers are one to her,
Virtue and vice, and woe, and gladness
Fail in her stony heart to stir
Throbbings of joy or sadness.


Fever may never flush her cheek
Or pain distort her chiseled features
And stony cold the lips that speak
No word to cheer her fellow-creatures.


To her, love, sorrow, want, may turn
But vain and useless their appealing;
Why should she human sorrow learn
Who hath no smile of healing?


O beautiful, proud masterpiece
On whom all eyes in joy are gazing!
A queenly form! O angel face,
Whose symmetry all lips are praising!


Are there not some who pass thee by
In whose frail form thy stone is molded,
Whose prayer is like a smothered cry
Forever in their hearts close folded?


To watch the sun of day decline
Like thee, with orbs of stony blindness,
With features as unmoved as thine,
To taste the bitter of unkindness?


To drink no more with trembling lips
The bitter, brimming cup of anguish
'Midst the dark shades of life's eclipse
No more in fear and dread to languish?


Unmarred by age or care to keep
Youth's molded form, Youth's chiseled beauty,
Above no cruel bonds to weep
That hold them slave to love or duty?


To answer love with stony gaze,
And hate with calm and mute defiance
Unmoved, unchanged by slight or praise
Strong in a nerveless self-reliance?


O sculptor! well thy task is done
Unto the dead existence giving;
So marvelous that lifeless stone
Becomes the envy of the living.


O statue! sinless, heartless, blind,
Mock, pity, hate us who are human;
No sufferer in thee may find
The sympathy and love of woman.


Better to know pain's cruel rack,
To feel life's fiery furnace fever
Than bloodless, nerveless, live and lack
The heart's high hope, the soul's endeavor.


Better to feel remorse's pangs
And vain regrets and dark despairing,
And slander's poison serpent fangs,
And see earth's wrong and see it, caring,


Than never know the recompense
Of earnest toil and noble striving,
Than never feel in holiest sense
The love, the hope, the joy of living.


Better to welcome age with brow
Grown furrowed in the path of duty
Than stand as thou art standing now
In statuesque and useless beauty.


Who'd be a statue wrought of gold
Worthy the worship of a pagan,
Glistening with jewels manifold,
Costlier far than Baal or Dagon?