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There is the moral of all human tales ;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory—when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption,-barbarism at last.
And History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page,—'tis better written here,
Where gorgeous Tyranny hath thus amass'd
All treasures, all delights, that eye or ear,
Heart, soul could seek, tongue ask-Away with words !
Admire, exult, despise, laugh, weep,—for here
There is such matter for all feeling :-Man!
Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span,
This mountain, whose obliterated plan
The pyramid of empires pinnacled,
Of Glory's gewgaws shining in the van
Till the sun's rays with added flame were fillid ! Where are its golden roofs ? where those who dared to
Tully was not so eloquent as thou,
Thou nameless column with the buried base !
What are the laurels of the Caesar's brow ?
Crown me with ivy from his dwelling-place.
Whose arch or pillar meets me in the face,
Titus or Trajan's ? No—'tis that of Time:
Triumph, arch, pillar, all he doth displace
Scotsing; and apostolic statues climb
To crush the imperial urn, whose ashes slept sublime,
Buried in air, the deep blue sky of Rome,
And looking to the stars: they had contain'd
A spirit which with these would find a home,
The last of those who o'er the whole earth reign'd,
The Roman globe, for after none sustain'd,
But yielded back his conquests :-he was more
Than a mere Alexander, and, unstain'd
With household blood and wine, serenely wore His sovereign virtues—still we Trajan's name adore.
Where is the rock of Triumph, the high place
Where Rome embraced her heroes ? where the steep
Tarpeian ? fittest goal of Treason's race,
The promontory whence the Traitor's Leap
Cured all ambition. Did the conquerors heap
Their spoils here? Yes; and in yon field below,
A thousand years of silenced factions sleep
The Forum, where the immortal accents glow,
And still the eloquent air breathes—burns with Cicero!
The field of freedom, faction, fame, and blood :
Here a proud people's passions were exhaled,
From the first hour of empire in the bud
To that when further worlds to conquer fail'd ;
But long before had Freedom's face been veilid,
And Anarchy assumed her attributes ;
Till every lawless soldier who assail'd
Trod on the trembling senate's slavish mutes,
Or raised the venal voice of baser prostitutes.