"The Bust Outlasts The City"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 152

Context: In this poem, which is an ode to the creative spirit of man, Gautier asserts his belief that a true work of art is a message to men of all ages and that it will be preserved by generations to come. Human beings and all their works have only a limited span on earth and then disappear; only the work of art has a utility which never diminishes. The bust, the sculpture of a human head, that conveys to men of a later day not only the features of the person, but an edifying embodiment of certain human characteristics, is placed in a city which in time decays and falls into ruin. The city dies, but the bust is as valuable as ever and is carried to another city where it will continue to please, educate, and inspire men.

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All passes away–vigorous art
Alone has eternal life.
The bust
Outlasts the city.

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