Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
Extracts from Aurora Leigh: A Simile
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
                            EVERY age,
Through being beheld too close, is ill-discerned
By those who have not lived past it. We ’ll suppose
Mount Athos carved, as Alexander schemed,
To some colossal statue of a man.        5
The peasants, gathering brushwood in his ear,
Had guessed as little as the browsing goats
Of form or feature of humanity
Up there,—in fact, had travelled five miles off
Or ere the giant image broke on them,        10
Full human profile, nose and chin distinct,
Mouth, muttering rhythms of silence up the sky
And fed at evening with the blood of suns;
Grand torso,—hand, that flung perpetually
The largesse of a silver river down        15
To all the country pastures. ’Tis even thus
With times we live in,—evermore too great
To be apprehended near.

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