O Rome, Rome! I have dreamt of thee
In my fondest dreams. I have longed to see
Thy towers amid the halo rise
Of sweet Italia's sunlit skies,
And wafted by the fav'ring breeze
Of fortune cross intervening seas,
Now where the Cæsars stood, I stand,
Self-exiled from my native land.
To one whose life hath all been cast
In a country without a past,
Thy broken walls and towers seem
Prophetic in the sunlight's gleam;
Though now the march of empire rolls
Triumphant with its myriad souls,
And could not by a foreign force
Be crushed, still might, like thee, perforce,
By a Brutus' or a Cassius' thrust
Be left to mingle with the dust;
And fewer monuments would leave
Than thou its glory to retrieve.
Thy relics are sublime, O Rome!
Are rich in lore; and now I come
To wander through thy corridors,
And tread thy old mosaic floors,
To build thy palaces again,
And people all the vacant plain
And barren hills where thou didst stand
Supreme in power, triumphant, grand.
When I wander alone at night
Beneath the moon's subduing light,
And thy diminished streets I tread,
And ponder o'er thy grandeur fled,
I wonder how it all could be
Such apathy should come o'er thee.
Yon bloody circus now might hold
The remnant left of thee, twice told.