Pilate's Tomb

Nicholas Michell

But o'er those mouldering arches once so fair
A pyramid high lifts its peak in air;
How shrinks the heart oppressed by thoughts of gloom,
To know that hoary structure Pilate's tomb!
Yes, here sleeps he who doomed that One to die,
Whom nations hail the Lord of earth and sky:
Perchance he walked this spot with tortured brain
And moody brow — the clouded brow of Cain,
Remorse and anguish, never to depart,
Feeding like vultures on his withering heart.
Here might he lean his head upon his breast,
Fearing the grave, yet sighing for its rest;
The pains of body reckless could he bear,
His pains were of the mind — and hell was there.
Come, Lethe-born Forgetfulness! and throw
Your veil of shadows o'er that man of woe!
Root from his heart compunction's poisoned fang,
Cheat baleful Memory of her bitter pang!
To live and not to think of other years,
To brave his fate, not shed repentant tears,
Renounce each feeling — dead to joy and pain —
Was all perchance he asked, but asked in vain.

In Vienne stands an ancient Roman portico with four arches. On top of it is a pyramid-like structure. This has long been rumoured to be the tomb of Pontius Pilate.