How often on love’s winged feet
She doubtless sought this dear recess,
To deck with floral offerings sweet
Her sepulchre of happiness,
Whose script, despite two thousand years,
Preserves the memory of her tears!
Rome’s annals hint not of the name
Of him whose dust lay treasured here,
But could the fleeting breath of fame
Have made him to her heart more dear?
A word of tenderness outweighs
In woman’s soul a world of praise.
What though, remote from pomp and state,
At Caesar’s court he could not shine?
Less blest had surely been his fate
Upon the lustful Palatine!
And mutual love, wherever viewed,
Is life’s supreme beatitude.
Alas! the urn no longer stands
Within the little alcove dim;
Gone also are the faithful hands
That hung sweet roses on its rim;
And vanished even is the bust
Which watched above the sacred dust.
Yet still its words of love survive
The shocks and tragedies of time,
And bid our drooping hearts revive,
Inculcating the faith sublime
That, while the urn in ruin lies,
Love soars immortal to the skies.
“Forward, comrades, ever forward”!
Shout the leaders in the fight;
“Scale the ramparts! Plant the standard
On the citadel of light!
“Break the chains of superstition!
Crush corruption! Free the slave!
Plant the flowers of love and mercy
On the past’s ensanguined grave!
“Toward the strongholds of oppression
Lead again the hope forlorn!
See! the night is disappearing;
Lo! the coming of the morn”!
Bravely said; yet men have spoken
Just as bravely long ago,
When the hair had raven blackness
Which is now as white as snow;
And alas! how many thousands
Have responded to that call,
Whose forgotten corpses moulder
By the still beleaguered wall!
Forms have changed and words have altered,
But the things remain the same;
Still doth man enslave his brother,—
Always master, save in name.
Still are God’s dumb creatures tortured,
Racial hatreds never cease,
And man’s greatest self-delusion
Is the shibboleth of “Peace.”
Hence, while youth, with hope and courage,
Loudly vents its noble rage;
Age, profoundly disillusioned,
Sad and silent leaves the stage.
Round the classic Inland Ocean,
Where the Roman world held sway,
Storied shores are iridescent
With the splendor of decay;
Persia, Syria, Egypt, Athens,
Proud Byzantium, Carthage, Spain,—
In their mournful desolation
Hear the old sea’s sad refrain:—
“Rising, falling, waxing, waning,
Men and nations come and go;
Reaching glory, then declining,
As the ebb succeeds the flow.
“All florescence is but fleeting:
Each in turn enjoys its day,
Hath its seed-time, bud and flower,
And as surely fades away.