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


Virgil’s Tomb

By Anonymous

I CAME, great bard, to gaze upon thy shrine,

And o’er thy relics wait the inspiring Nine:

For sure, I said, where Maro’s ashes sleep,

The weeping Muses must their vigils keep:

Still o’er their favorite’s monument they mourn,

And with poetic trophies grace his urn:

Have placed the shield and martial trumpet here;

The shepherd’s pipe, and rural honors there:

Fancy had decked the consecrated ground,

And scattered never-fading roses round.

And now my bold romantic thought aspires

To hear the echo of celestial lyres;

Then catch some sound to bear delighted home,

And boast I learnt the verse at Virgil’s tomb;

Or stretched beneath thy myrtle’s fragrant shade,

With dreams ecstatic hovering o’er my head,

See forms august, and laurelled ghosts ascend,

And with thyself, perhaps, the long procession end.

I came,—but soon the phantoms disappeared;

Far other scenes than wanton Hope had reared;

No faery rites, no funeral pomp I found;

No trophied walls with wreaths of laurel round:

A mean unhonored ruin faintly showed

The spot where once thy mausoleum stood:

Hardly the form remained; a nodding dome

O’ergrown with moss is now all Virgil’s tomb.