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George Crabbe

by
 Give him the darkest inch your shelf allows, 
Hide him in lonely garrets, if you will,— 
But his hard, human pulse is throbbing still 
With the sure strength that fearless truth endows.
In spite of all fine science disavows, Of his plain excellence and stubborn skill There yet remains what fashion cannot kill, Though years have thinned the laurel from his brows.
Whether or not we read him, we can feel From time to time the vigor of his name Against us like a finger for the shame And emptiness of what our souls reveal In books that are as altars where we kneel To consecrate the flicker, not the flame.

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