His Splendid Defect

'T WAS said the gods, when they Porphyrion slew,
And vast Enceladus under Etna laid,
Could conquer only with a mortal's aid
These mortal giants and their snakish crew.
Poet who didst with radiant valour hew
At monsters old, thou fought'st them with a blade
Too wholly of celestial metal made,
And lacking help of mere gross human thew.
Therefore thou didst prevail not! For to quell
Earth's mightiest evil things 'tis not enough
To array against them things of heavenly birth.
Earthly auxiliaries thou need'st as well:
Earth-founded powers, and earth-forged weapons tough,
And breastplate hard as the iron breast of the earth.
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