If there's room for poets in this world . . .
Their sole work is to represent the age,
Their age, not Charlemagne's - this live, throbbing age,
That brawls, cheats, maddens, calculates, aspires,
And spends more passion, more heroic heat,
Than Roland with his knights at Roncevalles.
To flinch from modern varnish, coat or flounce,
Cry out for togas and the picturesque,
Is fatal, — foolish, too. King Arthur's self
Was commonplace to Lady Guenevere.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Aurora Leigh, bk. 5 (1857).