Mausoleum of Philopappos

Nicholas Michell

Fair tomb, which crowns Museium's rugged side!
That ages watch with jealous care and pride,
Mourning as 'winds wear down the shattered walls.
And now a pillar, now a statue falls;
Here rests the scion of a line of kings,
His deeds no history tells, no minstrel sings;
Perchance he hoarded gold, and ruled the crowd,
And slaves obsequious at his footstool bowed;
Or he might shine the gallant of his day,
Bearing from rivals many a heart away.
Ah! Man may dazzle through his little life,
Applauded, envied, free from care and strife;
But if no more than this, his name will pass,
Razed from Earth's records, lost amid the mass:
Oh! hard the task to stem Time's sweeping shock,
And grave a name on Fame's enduring rock.

Author's Note: The marble monument of Philopappus, on the hill of the Museium, was erected in the time of Trajan. Two of the three niches which it contained remain entire; the statues mentioned by Pausanias were those of the royal Syrian Philopappus, his grandfather Antiochus, and Seleucus Nicator.