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CXXXVI.*

From mighty wrong to petty perfidy,
Have I not seen what human things could do?
From the loud roar of foaming calumny
To the small whisper of the as paltry few,
And subtler venom of the reptile crew,
The Janus glance of whose significant eye,
Learning to lie with silence, would seem true,

And without utterance, save the shrug or sigh,
Deal round to happy fools its speechless obloquy.

CXXXVII.

My mind

But I have lived, and have not lived in vain :

may

lose its force, my blood its fire, And my frame perish even in conquering pain, But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and time, and breathe when I expire; Something unearthly, which they deem not of, Like the remember'd tone of a mute lyre,

Shall on their soften'd spirits sink, and move In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.

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CXXXVIII.

The seal is set.—Now welcome, thou dread power!
Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here
Walk’st in the shadow of the midnight hour
With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear ;
Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
Their ivy mantles, and the solemn scene
Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear,

That we become a part of what has been,
And grow unto the spot, all-seeing but unseen.

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* The following Stanza was written as the 136th, but afterwards suppressed,

If to forgive be heaping coals of fire,
As God hath spoken, on the heads of foes,
Mine should be a volcano, and rise higher
Than o'er the Titans crush'd Olympus rose,
Or Athos soars, or blazing Etna glows.
True, they who stung were creeping things—but what
T'han serpents' teeth inflicts with deadlier throes ?

The lion may be goaded by the gnat.
Who sucks the slumb'rer's blood ? the eagle? no, the bat.

CXXXIX.

And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmur'd pity, or loud-roar'd applause,
As man was slaughter'd by his fellow man.
And wherefore slaughter'd ? wherefore! but because
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure.Wherefore not?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws

Of worms—on battle-plains or listed spot?
Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.

CXL.

I see before me the gladiator lie : 59
He leans upon his hand—his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his droop'd head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now

The arena swims around him—he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch who won.

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CXLI.

He heard it, but he heeded not—his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize--
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday—6

All this rush'd with his blood.—Shall he expire,
And unavenged ?--Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire !

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CXLII.

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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 million's blame or praise
Was death or life, the playthings of a cr

crowd, 61
My voice sounds much-and fall the stars' faint rays

On the arena void-seats crush'd-walls bow'd-
And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud,

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CXLIII.

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 plunder'd, or but clear’d?
Alas! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is near'd ;

It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all years, man,

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have reft away.

CXLIV.

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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 grey walls wear,

, Like laurels on the bald first Caesar's head ;62 When the light shines serene but doth not glare,

Then in this magic circle raise the dead : Heroes have trod this spot—'t is on their dust ye

tread.

:

CXLV.

“While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand :“>
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls—the world." From our own land
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 thieves, or what

ye

will.

CXLVI.

Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime-
Shrine of all saints, and temple of all gods,
From Jove to Jesus spared and blest by time ;64
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His

way through thorns to ashes-glorious dome! Shalt thou not last? Time's scythe and tyrants' rods

Shiver upon thee-sanctuary and home
Of art and piety--Pantheon !--pride of Rome !

CXLVII.

Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts ;
Despoil'd yet perfect, with thy circle spreads
A holiness appealing to all hearts-
To art a model; and to him who treads
Rome for the sake of ages, glory sheds
Her light through thy sole aperture; to those
Who worship, here are altars for their heads;

And they who feel for genius may repose
Their eyes on honour'd forms, whose busts around them close.66

CXLVIII.

There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light®6
What do I gaze on? Nothing : Look again!
Two forms are slowly shadow'd on my sight
Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
It is not so ; I see them full and plain-
and a female

young
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein

The blood is nectar :-but what doth she there, With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare?

An old man,

and fair,

CXLIX.

Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life,
Where on the heart and from the heart we took
Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife,
Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives
Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook

She sees her little bud put forth its leaves
What may the fruit be yet? I know not-Cain was Eve's.

CL.

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But here youth offers to old age the food,
The milk of his own gift :-it is her sire,
To whom she renders back the debt of blood
Born with her birth. No; he shall not expire
While in those warm and lovely veins the fire
Of health and holy feeling can provide
Great nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher

Than Egypt's river :- from that gentle side
Drink, drink and live, old man! Heaven's realm holds no such tide.

CLI.

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The starry fable of the milky way
Has not thy story's purity : it is
A constellation of a sweeter ray,
And sacred Nature triumphs more in this
Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss
Where sparkle distant worlds :-Oh, holiest nurse !
No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss

To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source
With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe.

CLII.

67

Turn to the mole which Adrian rear'd on high,"
Imperial mimic of old Egypt's piles,
Colossal copyist of deformity,
Whose travell’d phantasy from the far Nile's
Enormous model, doom'd the artist's toils
To build for giants, and for his vain earth,
His shrunken ashes, raise this dome : How smiles

The gazer's eye with philosophic mirth,
To view the huge design which sprung from such a birth!

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CLIII.

But lo! the dome—the vast and wondrous dome, 6
To which Diana's marvel was a cell -
Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb!
I have beheld the Ephesian’s miracle
Its columns strew the wilderness, and dwell
The hyena and the jackall in their shade ;
I have beheld Sophia's bright roofs swell

Their glittering mass i' the sun, and have survey'd
Its sanctuary the while the usurping Moslem pray’d:

CLIV.

But thou, of temples old, or altars new,
Standest alone—with nothing like to thee-
Worthiest of God the holy and the true.
Since Zion's desolation, when that He
Forsook his former city, what could be,
Of earthly structures in his honour piled,
Of a sublimer aspect ? Majesty,

Power, glory, strength, and beauty, all are aisled
In this eternal ark of worship undefiled.

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