Nicholas Michell

But lo! famed Nimes, that second Rome, is near,
The hum of busy thousands greets the ear.
Ay, life goes on — its chains of mystery link
Age unto age, these rise while others sink;
Man just as active, full of schemes is found,
Courts Joy's bright form, and runs his giddy round,
Now, as a thousand buried years before —
So will his days sweep on till time be o'er.
City! where classic Beauty deigns awhile,
Watching the past, to hover and to smile,
As standing by thy temple, whose excess
Of rich adornment, and light loveliness,
Might clothe full many a pile with beaming grace,
We view it e'en as some rare beauty's face;
The mouldings chaste, the marbles smooth and white,
The deep rich frieze, the columns' graceful height —
Each part is true to the symmetric whole,
Which, like harmonious music, charms the soul;
E'en spell-bound, very Ruin seems to stand,
And fain would smite, but dares not lift his hand.
Another huge ellipsis framed of stone,
Where every block might form a Titan's throne,
With arches, circling benches, perfect yet,
But ah! whose toiling builders men forget —
Nimes boasts her amphitheatre, where flowed
The life-stream once, young Joy's, yet
Death's abode. We lean above the wall — the low winds creep,
Whispering through stones, where ivies droop and weep.

Author's Note: Nimes, for its striking remains of architectural grandeur, and the number of its monuments, takes the precedence of all other towns in the South of France, and has been called "a second Rome."