The Torchbearers

Torchbearers 1

More photos below.

"Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth"

by Arthur Hugh Clough

Say not the struggle nought availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,
And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers,
And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light;
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

The original Torchbearers was dedicated in 1955 at the University of Madrid: it represents the continuance of civilization from one generation to another.

The Torchbearers

According to Proske's Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture, the sculpture symbolizes "the continuance of civilization from one generation to another, with a rider passing on to his fallen companion the torch of enlightenment." But you don't need to know that to see that something is being triumphantly passed on, after a great struggle.

The man on the ground is exhausted, grimacing with pain or fatigue.

Torchbearer A face

But he's still digging in with his toes to push himself forward ...

Torchbearer A foot

Torchbearer B foot

And he's lifting his arm high to pass the torch, which is still lit, to the new torchbearer.

Torchbearer A to B

The new torchbearer will easily be able to grasp the torch as he passes ...

Torchbearer B

And he smiles at a job well done!

Torchbearer B

About the Sculptor

Anna Hyatt Huntington's specialty was animal sculpture and equestrian figures; she ranks as one of the best sculptors America has produced. She was born in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, daughter of an eminent paleontologist, which perhaps helps explain her knowledge of anatomy. Her first major commission came in 1915: the Joan of Arc for Riverside Drive. In 1923 she married railroad heir Archer Huntington. She came to share his passion for Spain, producing an ensemble for the Hispanic Society of America courtyard that includes the Cid, 1936, reliefs of Don Quixote and Boabdil, and near life-size sculptures of numerous animals native to Spain.

Casts of many of Huntington's works are on view at Brookgreen Gardens (Pawley's Island, S.C.), which she and her husband founded in 1931 as a showplace for American figurative sculpture. Manhattan also has her Jose Marti, 1959. The Bronx has the Arabella Huntington Memorial at Woodlawn Cemetery. On the ground floor of the National Academy of Design (located in the former Huntington townhouse) is a cast of her Diana of the Chase, whose original was completed in 1922. Huntington died in 1973.