Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1303. “Ej Blot Til Lyst”
 
By William Morton Payne
 
 
(“Not for pleasure only,”—the motto of the Royal Theatre at Copenhagen.)
 
 
NOT merely for our pleasure, but to purge
The soul from baseness, from ignoble fear,
And all the passions that make dim the clear
Calm vision of the world; our feet to urge
On to ideal far-set goals; to merge        5
Our being with the heart of things; brought near
The springs of life, to make us see and hear
And feel its swelling and pulsating surge:—
Such, Thespian art divine, thy nobler aim;
For this the tale of Œdipus was told,        10
Of frenzied Lear, Harpagon’s greed of gold;—
And, knowing this, how must we view with shame
Thy low estate, and hear the plaudits loud
That mark thee now but pander to the crowd!
 

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