Art and Life

By George Sterling

Written for the dedication of the Bohemian Club memorial to Bret Harte-1920. 

The children of the flesh of men,
  They pass from night to night;
They weep and laugh and labor, then
  Are lost to human sight.

Musing on such a fate, the mind
  Stirs with a tragic sense-
So brave they walk the stage assigned,
  So soon they hurry thence.

The children of the artist's brain
  Elude mortality,
O'er them Time swings his scythe in
    vain,
  Till time no more shall be.

In many hearts, in many lands,
  They live again their tale,
As, young or old, the Future's hands
  Arise to give them hail.

As here the crafts of men assure
  Their presence to the years,
So too shall Memory's bronze endure,
  With all their smiles and tears.

Such lives within our lives can be;
  Such comrades Art can give.
Are men but shadows? is it we
  Or they who truly live?

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