Rome, I am in Rome! Oft as the morning ray

by Rogers


I am in Rome! Oft as the morning ray

Visits these eyes, waking at once, I cry,

Whence this excess of joy? What has befallen me?

And from within a thrilling voice replies—

Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts

Rush on my mind—a thousand images;

And I spring up as girt to run a race!

Thou art in Rome! the city that so long

Reign'd absolute—the mistress of the world!

The mighty vision that the Prophet saw

And trembled; that from nothing, from the least,

The lowliest village (what, but here and there

A reed-roof'd cabin by a river side?)

Grew into everything; and, year by year,

Patiently, fearlessly working her way

O'er brook and field, o'er continent and sea;

Not like the merchant with his merchandise,

Or traveller with staff and scrip exploring;

But hand to hand and foot to foot, through hosts,

Through nations numberless in battle array,

Each behind each; each, when the other fell,

Up, and in arms—at length subdued them all.

Thou art in Rome! the city where the Gauls,

Entering at sun-rise through her open gates,

And through her streets silent and desolate

Marching to slay, thought they saw gods, not men;

The city, that by temperance, fortitude,

And love of glory tower'd above the clouds,

Then fell—but, falling, kept the highest seat,

And in her loveliness, her pomp of woe,

Where now she dwells, withdrawn into the wild,

Still o'er the mind maintains, from age to age,

Its empire undiminish'd. There, as though

Grandeur attracted grandeur, are beheld

All things that strike, ennoble; from the depths

Of Egypt, from the classic fields of Greece—

Her groves, her temples—all things that inspire

Wonder, delight! Who would not say the forms.

Most perfect most divine, had by consent

Flock'd thither to abide eternally

Within those silent chambers where they dwell

In happy intercourse?