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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

II. Descriptive and Narrative


(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 78, 79.)

OH Rome! my country! city of the soul!

The orphans of the heart must turn to thee,

Lone mother of dead empires! and control

In their shut breasts their petty misery.

What are our woes and sufferance? Come and see

The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way

O’er steps of broken thrones and temples, ye!

Whose agonies are evils of a day—

A world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.

The Niobe of nations! there she stands,

Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe;

An empty urn within her wither’d hands,

Whose holy dust was scatter’d long ago;

The Scipios’ tomb contains no ashes now;

The very sepulchres lie tenantless

Of their heroic dwellers: dost thou flow,

Old Tiber! through a marbles wilderness?

Rise, with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress.