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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


Origin of Rome

By John Dyer (1700?–1758)

(From The Ruins of Rome)

SEE’ST thou yon fane? even now incessant Time

Sweeps her low mouldering marbles to the dust;

And Phœbus’ temple, nodding with its woods,

Threatens huge ruin o’er the small rotund.

’T was there, beneath a fig-tree’s umbrage broad,

The astonished swains with reverend awe beheld

Thee, O Quirinus, and thy brother-twin,

Pressing the teat within a monster’s grasp

Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf

Turned her stretched neck, and formed your tender limbs:

So taught of Jove, even the fell savage fed

Your sacred infancies, your virtues, toils,

The conquests, glories, of the Ausonian state,

Wrapped in their secret seeds. Each kindred soul,

Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts,

And little Rome appears. Her cots arise,

Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls,

Green rushes spread the roofs; and here and there

Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave.

Elate with joy Etruscan Tiber views

Her spreading scenes enamelling his waves,

Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds,

And gathering swains; and rolls his yellow car

To Neptune’s court with more majestic train.