Where Are the Shows of Yesteryear?

Poem by Charles Martin

Where now is Jean-Léon Gérôme,

One of the greats of heretofore,

Who made the Orient his home?

His “Woman of Cairo at her Door”

Immortalized an unknown whore;

Imprisoned in its little cage,

Her pretty finch shows evermore

The mare he made upon his age.

 

And where is Bouguereau, on whom

Fortune outdid herself to pour

Her golden favors? Overcome:

The modernists thought him a bore.

And yet it is hard to ignore

Those nymphets that he loved to stage-

He should have been arrested for

The mark he made upon his age.

 

Fabres y Costa’s Prix de Rome,

His silver medals and much more

Availed not when his time had come

And gone, and left him very poor:

His prices fell right though the floor.

Now exercising righteous rage,

Defenders of the new deplore

The mark he made upon his age.

 

Envoi:

O Prince, may those well-known before

Find new collectors to assuage

Their disregard and to restore

The mark each made upon his age. 


American Arts Quarterly, Winter 2007, Volume 24, Number 1