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Rome: Building a New Street in the Ancient Quarter

 These numbered cliffs and gnarls of masonry 
Outskeleton Time's central city, Rome; 
Whereof each arch, entablature, and dome 
Lies bare in all its gaunt anatomy.
And cracking frieze and rotten metope Express, as though they were an open tome Top-lined with caustic monitory gnome; "Dunces, Learn here to spell Humanity!" And yet within these ruins' very shade The singing workmen shape and set and join Their frail new mansion's stuccoed cove and quoin With no apparent sense that years abrade, Though each rent wall their feeble works invade Once shamed all such in power of pier and groin.

Poem by Thomas Hardy
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