Julia Alpinula

George Gordon, Lord Byron

From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

  Julia Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess, died soon after a vain endeavor to save her father, condemned to death as a traitor by Aulus Cœcina.


  BY a lone wall a lonelier column rears

  A gray and grief-worn aspect of old days;

  ’T is the last remnant of the wreck of years,

  And looks as with the wild bewildered gaze

  Of one to stone converted by amaze,

  Yet still with consciousness; and there it stands

  Making a marvel that it not decays,

  When the coeval pride of human hands,

Levelled Aventicum, hath strewed her subject lands.


  And there—O, sweet and sacred be the name!—

  Julia—the daughter, the devoted—gave

  Her youth to heaven; her heart, beneath a claim

  Nearest to heaven’s, broke o’er a father’s grave.

  Justice is sworn ’gainst tears, and hers would crave

  The life she lived in; but the judge was just,

  And then she died on him she could not save.

  Their tomb was simple, and without a bust,

And held within their urn one mind, one heart, one dust.