Wednesday, August 8, 2007

To Virgil

Roman Virgil, thou that singest Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising, wars, and filial faith and Dido's pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language more than he that sang the Works and Days,
All the chosen coin of fancy flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland, tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the muses often flowering in a lonely word;

Poet of the happy Tityrus piping underneath his beachen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr whom the laughing sheperd bound with flowers;

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying in the blissful years again to be,
Summers of the snakeless meadow, unlaborious earth and oarless sea;

Thou that seest Universal Nature moved by Universal Mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness at the doubtful doom of human kind;

Light among the vanished ages; star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
Golden branch amid the shadows, kings and realms that pass and rise no more;

Now thy fallen forum roars no longer, fallen every purple Caesar's dome-
Tho' thine ocean-roll of rythym sound forever of Imperial Rome-

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd, and the Rome of freedmen holds her place,
I, from out the Northern Island sunder'd once from all the human race,

I salute thee, Mantovano, I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson-

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