In an Old Art Gallery

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Before the statue of a giant Hun,
   There stood a dwarf, misshapen and uncouth.
   His lifted eyes seemed asking: ‘Why, in sooth,
   Was I not fashioned like this mighty one?
   Would God show favour to an older son
      Like earthly kings, and beggar without ruth
      Another, who sinned only by his youth?
   Why should two lives in such divergence run?’

   Strange, as he gazed, that from a vanished past
      No memories revived of war and strife,
         Of misused prowess, and of broken law.
   That old Hun’s spirit, in the dwarf re-cast,
      Lived out the sequence of an earthly life.
         It was the statue of himself he saw!

 

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