A Plea for the Living

Who knows how many a potentate of mind
Has lived a stranger on the callous earth,
Nor left a name or memory behind? —
How many an art has perish'd in its birth,
That might have changed the fortunes of mankind,
And re-imparadised us? Who shall tell
All we have lost? What bliss ineffable
Has shone before us — we remaining blind,
Or hostile and indifferent to the light?
Who tell what thoughts, that might have stirr'd the zones,
Have died unheard, because we deem'd it right
To raise great cenotaphs o'er dead men's bones,
And starve the quick? or what millennia bright,
Our studied scorn of living worth postpones?
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