Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sonnet 162

And is indeed truth beauty? — at the cost
Of all else that we cared for, can this be? —
To see the coarse triumphant, and to see
Honour and pity ridiculed, and tossed
Upon a poked-at fire; all courage lost
Save what is whelped and fattened by decree
To move among the unsuspecting free
And trap the thoughtful, with their thoughts engrossed?
Drag yet that stream for Beauty, if you will;
And find her, if you can; finding her drowned
Will not dismay your ethics, — you will still
To one and all insist she has been found . . .
And haggard men will smile your praise, until,
Some day, they stumble on her burial-mound.