On Mr. Gladstone's Retirement

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

The world grows Lilliput, the great men go;
If greatness be, it wears no outer sign;
No more the signet of the mighty line
Stamps the great brow for all the world to know.
Shrunken the mould of manhood is, and lo!
Fragments and fractions of the old divine,
Men pert of brain, planned on a mean design,
Dapper and undistinguished - such we grow.

No more the leonine heroic head,
The ruling arm, great heart, and kingly eye;
No more th' alchemic tongue that turned poor themes
Of statecraft into golden-glowing dreams;
No more a man for man to deify:
Laurel no more - the heroic age is dead.

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