The Roman Forum

Nicholas Michell

The Forum, glory of departed time!
Where temples dazzled, arches rose sublime,
And statues burned with life— what see we now?
Stones, fragments, dust — yet pride is loath to bow;
A few pale columns point to what hath been,
The last, lone, sorrowing orphans of the scene,
And mouldered walls, fair marbles, ages' spoil,
Reluctant mingle with the meaner soil:
Still Phocas' pillar struggles with decay,
And thy hold arch, Severus, spans the way;
But gone the car, and lightning-breathing steed,
And where an emperor stood, now waves the weed;
No more along the Forum's stately side
The musing sage sweeps by in toga'd pride,
Or hear we from the platform's glittering beak
The fiery orator in thunder speak;*
But there the herdsman leans, and sheep and swine
Pollute the once rich path and radiant shrine:
Caesar, Augustus, Tully! gaze ye here,
Frown from the grave, and drop th' indignant tear.

Main Location:

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy