A giant as we hoped, in truth, a dwarf;
A barrel of slop that shines on Lethe’s wharf’,
Which at first seemed a vessel with sweet wine
For thirsty lips. So down the swift decline
You went through sloven spirit, craven heart
And cynic indolence. And here the art
Of molding clay has caught you for the nonce
And made your shame our shame– Your head in bronze!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Lee Masters's poem On a Bust

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