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The Vision changes—ages take their flight:
He gazes on the answering Ruin ;-near
LXXXIV. It is Augustus Cæsar : it may be Truth silently is entering his breast, Filled with the wisdom of antiquity : Those mighty spirits who their words impressed, And works, upon mankind, now laid in rest, Passed, yea, forgotten as the breeze that blew Unheeded by him there ! then, unrepressed,
A deeper gloom upon his forehead grew, Feeling how vainly Fame doth here our life renew.
LXXXV. He felt the Power presiding here, as thou : Stern Mutability :—that Rome, his pride, His boast, arrayed by him in marble now, Might one day in the desert thus abide, Bowed to the Fate she haughtily defied ! Her Forum-place, a solitude ; the spot Even where she stood—unknown: he turned aside:
The moral with his spirit's life was wrought; Truth entered in his soul — her words were unforgot.
The Sun is setting : carrying Day before,
The irrevocable doom to be destroyed ?
Thy beams decreed to lighten o'er the void
Glorious idolatry of elder time!
God-like, or rising, throned, or in decline : Where are those days when men, like gods, sublime, Bowed on their hills ? yea, hallowed as divine The Stars that drew their crowns of light from thine ! They who beheld in thee the visible face Of the INVISIBLE within his shrine: What shrine was like thine Eye? what altar-place Like thy all-infinite heaven-whose walls are echoless
Lord of the Day! and being infinite,
Of glory, power, and of majesty,
The pulses of thy mighty Heart on high
Roll on for ever, wildly fresh and free! Men raise their ant-hill cities on thy brink ; States, empires' rise and fall are typed by thee : Time's dusty records in oblivion sink ; And they, the lights that shone o'er ages, shrink Again in darkness : deeds, and thoughts that bore The stamps that to immortal natures link; Unchanged alone thou roll'st from shore to shore, Girding the earth like heaven- the same for evermore!
Stood—even as children !-but thy Voice obeyed : “ No further pass—even here shall thy proud course be
Thou mighty Being ! vain are round thee reared
Art thou !—the Almighty mirrored in thy breast : The calm—the wrath-the thunder—the eternal rest!