On A Handful Of French Money

These coins that jostle on my hand do own
No single image: each name here and date
Denoting in man's consciousness and state
New change. In some, the face is clearly known,—
In others marred. The badge of that old throne
Of Kings is on the obverse; or this sign
Which says, “I France am all—lo, I am mine!”
Or else the Eagle that dared soar alone.
Even as these coins, so are these lives and years
Mixed and bewildered; yet hath each of them
No less its part in what is come to be
For France. Empire, Republic, Monarchy,—
Each clamours or keeps silence in her name,
And lives within the pulse that now is hers.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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