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There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday-
All this rush'd with his blood-Shall he expire
And unavenged ?—Arise ! ye Goths, and glut your ire !
But here, where Murder breathed her bloody steam ;
And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways,
And roar'd or murmur'd like a mountain stream
Dashing or winding as its torrent strays;
Here, where the Roman millions' blame or praise
Was death or life, the playthings of a crowd,
My voice sounds much-and fall the stars' faint rays
On the arena void-seats crush'd—walls bow'da And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud.
A ruin-yet what ruin ! from its mass
Walls, palaces, half-cities, have been rear'd;
Yet oft the enormous skeleton ye pass,
And marvel where the spoil could have appear’d.
Hath it indeed been plunderd, or but clear'd ?
Alas ! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neard :
It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all years, man, have reft away.
But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there ;
When the stars twinkle through the loops of time,
And the low night-breeze waves along the air
The garland forest, which the gray walls wear,
Like laurels on the bald first Cæsar's head;
When the light shines serene but doth not glare,
Then in this magic circle raise the dead :
Heroes have trod this spot— tis on their dust ye tread.
“ While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand ;
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall ;
And when Rome falls—the World.” From our own
Thus spake the pilgrims o'er this mighty wall
In Saxon times, which we are wont to call
Ancient; and these three mortal things are still
On their foundations, and unalter'd all;
Rome and her Ruin past Redemption's skill,
The World, the same wide den—of tủieves, or what ye
(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iv. Stanzas 99-103.)
THERE is a stern round tower of other days,
Firm as a fortress, with its fence of stone,
Such as an army's baffled strength delays,
Standing with half its battlements alone,
And with two thousand years of ivy grown,
The garland of eternity, where wave
The green leaves over all by time o'erthrown ;-
What was this tower of strength ? within its cave What treasure lay so lock’d, so hid ?-A woman's grave.
But who was she, the lady of the dead,
Tomb'd in a palace ? Was she chaste and fair ?
Worthy a king's—or more-a Roman's bed ?
What race of chiefs and heroes did she bear?
What daughter of her beauties was the heir ?
How lived-how loved-how died she? Was she not
So honour'd—and conspicuously there,
Where meaner relics must not dare to rot,
Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot ?
Was she as those who love their lords, or they
Who love the lords of others ? such have been
Even in the olden time, Rome's annals say.
Was she a matron of Cornelia's mien,
Or the light air of Egypt's graceful queen,
Profuse of joy—or 'gainst it did she war,
Inveterate in virtue? Did she lean
To the soft side of the heart, or wisely bar
Love from amongst her griefs ?—for such the affections
Perchance she died in youth : it may be, bow'd
With woes far heavier than the ponderous tomb
That weigh'd upon her gentle dust, a cloud
Might gather o'er her beauty, and a gloom
In her dark eye, prophetic of the doom
Heaven gives its favourites—early death; yet shed
A sunset charm around her, and illume
With hectic light, the Hesperus of the dead,
Of her consuming cheek the autumnal leaf-like red.
Perchance she died in age-surviving all,
Charms, kindred, children—with the silver gray
On her long tresses, which might yet recal,
It may be, still a something of the day
When they were braided, and her proud array
And lovely form were envied, praised, and eyed
By Rome—but whither would Conjecture stray ?
Thus much alone we know-Metella died,
The wealthiest Roman's wife : Behold his love or pride :
(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iv. Stanzas 115-124.)
EGERIA ! sweet creation of some heart
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair
As thine ideal breast ; whate'er thou art
-a young Aurora of the air,
The nympholepsy of some fond despair ;
Or, it might be, a heauty of the earth,
Who found a more than :common votary there
Too much adoring ; whatsoe'er thy birth,
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth.
The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water drops; the face
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase
Art's works, nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Prison’d in marble ; bubbling from the base
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap
The rill runs o'er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy, creep
Fantastically tangled ; the green hills
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills
Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass ;
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass ;
The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes,
Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies.
Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
Egeria ! thy all heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover ;
The purple Midnight veiled that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy, and seating
Thyself by thine adorer, what befell ?
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting
Of an enamoured Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love—the earliest oracle !
And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
Blend a celestial with a human heart;
And Love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,
Share with immortal transports ? could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart-
The dull satiety which all destroys-
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys ?
Alas ! our young affections run to waste,
Or water but the desert ; whence arise
But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,
Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes,
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison ; such the plants
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies
O’er the world's wilderness, and vainly pants
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.