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Poem: In The British Museum

18 May is celebrated worldwide as International Museum Day. Thomas Hardy’s poem celebrates the British Museum.
British Museum
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18 May is celebrated worldwide as International Museum Day. Thomas Hardy’s poem is an ode to the British Museum, that boasts one of the best collection in antiquities, from the world over. 

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‘What do you see in that time-touched stone,
When nothing is there
But ashen blankness, although you give it
A rigid stare?

‘You look not quite as if you saw,
But as if you heard,
Parting your lips, and treading softly
As mouse or bird.

‘It is only the base of a pillar, they’ll tell you,
That came to us
From a far old hill men used to name
Areopagus.’

– ‘I know no art, and I only view
A stone from a wall,
But I am thinking that stone has echoed
The voice of Paul,

‘Paul as he stood and preached beside it
Facing the crowd,
A small gaunt figure with wasted features,
Calling out loud

‘Words that in all their intimate accents
Pattered upon
That marble front, and were far reflected,
And then were gone.

‘I’m a labouring man, and know but little,
Or nothing at all;
But I can’t help thinking that stone once echoed
The voice of Paul.’

This poem is in the public domain. The text was reproduced from https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/in-the-british-museum/

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was a novelist and poet of the Victorian era. ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, ‘Jude the Obscure’, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ are some of his popular works.

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