How fair its pillared stories rise
’Gainst yon blue firmament so pure;
Fair as they met admiring eyes,
Long ages past, they still endure.
Yes, many a race hath left the earth
Since first this Mausoleum rose;
So many, that the name, or birth,
Of dead, or founder, no one knows.
The sculptured pictures, all may see,
Were by a skilful artist wrought;
But, Time! the secret rests with thee,
Which to unravel men have sought.
Of whom were they, the honoured dead,
Whose mem’ry Love would here record?
Lift up the veil, so long o’erspread,
And tell whose dust yon fane doth guard.
Name those whose love outlived the grave
And sought to give for aye to fame
Mementos of the good and brave,
Of whom thou hast effaced the name.
We know but that they lived and died,—
No more this stately tomb can tell:
Here come and read a lesson, Pride,
This monument can give so well.
They lived—they hoped—they suffered—loved—
As all of Earth have ever done;
Were oft by wild Ambition moved,
And basked, perchance, ’neath glory’s Sun.
They deemed that they should leave behind
Undying names. Yet, mark this fane,
For whom it rose, by whom designed,
Learned antiquaries search in vain.
Still doth it wear the form it wore,
Through the dim lapse of by-gone age;
Triumph of Art in days of yore,
Whose Hist’ry fills the classic page.
To honour Victors it is said
’Twas raised, though none their names can trace;
It stands as monument instead,
Unto each long-forgotten race,
Who came, like me, to gaze and brood
Upon it in this lonely spot—
Their minds with pensive thoughts imbued,
That Heroes could be thus forgot.
Yet still the wind a requiem sighs,
And the blue sky above it weeps;
Thu Sun pours down its radiant dyes,
Though none can tell who ’neath it sleeps.
And seasons roll, and centuries pass,
And still unchanged thou keep’st thy place;
While we, like shadows in a glass,
Soon glide away, and leave no trace.
And yon proud Arch, the Victor’s meed,
Is nameless as the neighbouring Tomb:
Victor, and Dead, the Fates decreed
Your memory to oblivion’s gloom.
I see little alteration at Lyons since I formerly passed through it. Its manufactories are, nevertheless, flourishing, though less improvement than could be expected is visible in the external aspect of the place.