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THE RUINS OF ROME.

Aspice murorum moles, præruptaque saxa,
Obrutaque horrenti vesta theatra situ :
Hæc sunt Roma. Viden' velut ipsa cadavera tantæ
Urbis adhuc spirent imperiosa minas?

JANUS VITALIS.

ENOUGH of Grongar, and the shady dales
Of winding Towy: Merlin's fabled haunt
I sing inglorious. Now the love of arts,
And what in metal or in stone remains
Of proud antiquity, through various realms
And various languages and ages fam'd,
Bears me remote, o'er Gallia's woody bounds,
O'er the cloud-piercing Alps remote; beyond
The vale of Arno purpled with the vine,
Beyond the Umbrian and Etruscan hills,
To Latium's wide champain, forlorn and waste,
Where yellow Tiber his neglected wave
Mournfully rolls. Yet once again, my Muse,
Yet once again, and soar a loftier flight;
Lo the resistless therne, imperial Rome

Fall'n, fall'n, a silent heap; her heroes all
Sunk in their urns; behold the pride of pomp,
The throne of nations fall'n; obscur'd in dust;
E'en yet majestical: the solemn scene
Elates the soul, while now the rising Sun
Flames on the ruins in the purer air
Towering aloft, upon the glittering plain,
Like broken rocks, a vast circumference:
Rent palaces, crush'd columns, rifled moles,
Fanes roll'd on fanes, and tombs on buried tombs.

Deep lies in dust the Theban obelisk
Immense along the waste; minuter art,
Gliconian forms, or Phidian subtly fair,
O'erwhelming; as th' immense Leviathan
The finny brood, when near Ierne's shore
Outstretch'd, unwieldy, his island-length appears
Above the foamy flood. Globose and huge,
Gray mouldering temples swell, and wide o'ercast
The solitary landscape, hills and woods,

And boundless wilds; while the vine-mantled brows
The pendent goats unveil, regardless they
Of hourly peril, though the clefted domes
Tremble to every wind. The pilgrim oft
At dead of night, 'mid his orison hears
Aghast the voice of Time, disparting towers,
Tumbling all precipitate down-dash'd,

Rattling around, loud thundering to the Moon;
While murmurs soothe each awful interval
Of ever-falling waters; shrouded Nile,
Eridanus, and Tiber with his twins,
And palmy Euphrates *; they with drooping locks
Hang o'er their urns, and mournfully among
The plaintive-echoing ruins pour their streams.
Yet here, adventurous in the sacred search
Of ancient arts, the delicate of mind,
Curious and modest, from all climes resort.
Grateful society! with these I raise

The toilsome step up the proud Palatin,
Through spiry cypress groves, and towering pine,

* Fountains at Rome adorned with the statues of those rivers.

Waving aloft o'er the big ruin's brows,
On numerous arches rear'd: and frequent stopp'd,
The sunk ground startles me with dreadful chasm,
Breathing forth darkness from the vast profound
Of aisles and halls, within the mountain's womb.
Nor these the nether works; all these beneath,
And all beneath the vales and hills around,
Extend the cavern'd sewers, massy, firm,
As the Sibylline grot beside the dead
Lake of Avernus; such the sewers huge,
Whither the great Tarquinian genius dooms
Each wave impure; and proud with added rains,
Hark how the mighty billows lash their vaults,
And thunder; how they heave their rocks in vain!
Though now incessant time has roll'd around
A thousand winters o'er the changeful world,
And yet a thousand since, th' indignant floods
Roar loud in their firm bounds, and dash and swell,
In vain; convey'd to Tiber's lowest wave.

Hence over airy plains, by crystal founts,

That weave their glittering waves with tuneful lapse,
Among the sleeky pebbles, agate clear,
Cerulean ophite, and the flowery vein
Of orient jasper, pleas'd I move along,
And vases boss'd, and huge inscriptive stones,
And intermingling vines; and figur'd nymphs,
Floras and Chloes of delicious mould,
Cheering the darkness; and deep empty tombs,
And dells, and mouldering shrines, with old decay
Rustic and green, and wide-embowering shades,
Shot from the crooked clefts of nodding towers.
A solemn wilderness! with errour sweet,

I wind the lingering step, where'er the path
Mazy conducts me, which the vulgar foot
O'er sculptures maim'd has made; Anubis, Sphinx,
Idols of antique guise, and horned Pan,
Terrific, monstrous shapes! preposterous gods
Of Fear and Ignorance, by the sculptor's hand
Hewn into form, and worshipp'd; as e'en now
Blindly they worship at their breathless mouths *
In varied appellations: men to these

(From depth to depth in darkening errour fall'n) At length ascrib'd th' inapplicable name.

How doth it please and fill the memory

With deeds of brave renown, while on each hand Historic urns and breathing statues rise,

And speaking busts! Sweet Scipio, Marius stern,
Pompey superb, the spirit-stirring form

Of Cæsar raptur'd with the charm of rule
And boundless fame; impatient for exploits,
His eager eyes upcast, he soars in thought
Above all height: and his own Brutus see,
Desponding Brutus, dubious of the right,
In evil days, of faith, of public weal,
Solicitous and sad. Thy next regard
Be Tully's graceful attitude; unprais'd,
His outstretch'd arm he waves, in act to speak
Before the silent masters of the world,
And Eloquence arrays him. There behold,
Prepar'd for combat in the front of war,
The pious brothers; jealous Alba stands

* Several statues of the Pagan gods have been converted into images of saints.

In fearful expectation of the strife,

And youthful Rome intent: the kindred foes
Fall on each other's neck in silent tears;
In sorrowful benevolence embrace

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Howe'er, they soon unsheath the flashing sword,
Their country calls to arms; - now all in vain
The mother clasps the knee, and e'en the fair
Now weeps in vain; their country calls to arms.
Such virtue Clelia, Cocles, Manlius, rous'd:
Such were the Fabii, Decii; so inspir'd,
The Scipios battled, and the Gracchi spoke :
So rose the Roman state. Me now, of these
Deep musing, high ambitious thoughts inflame
Greatly to serve my country, distant land,
And build me virtuous fame; nor shall the dust
Of these fall'n piles with show of sad decay
Avert the good resolve, mean argument,
The fate alone of matter. Now the brow
We gain enraptur'd; beauteously distinct *
The numerous porticoes and domes upswell,
With obelisks and columns interpos'd,
And pine, and fir, and oak: so fair a scene
Sees not the dervise from the spiral tomb
Of ancient Chammos, while his eye beholds
Proud Memphis' reliques o'er th' Egyptian plain :
Nor hoary hermit from Hymettus' brow,
Though graceful Athens in the vale beneath.
Along the windings of the Muse's stream,
Lucid Illyssus weeps her silent schools,

*From the Palatin hill one sees most of the remarkable antiquities.

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