Littell's Living Age/Volume 155/Issue 1998/To Virgil

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Originally published in Nineteenth Century.

To Virgil

Written at the Request of the Mantuans for the Nineteenth Centenary of Virgil's Death.

Roman Virgil, thou that singest
     Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
     wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language
     more than he that sang the Works and Days,
All the chosen coin of fancy
     flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,
     tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the Muses
     often flowering in a lonely word;

Poet of the happy Tityrus
     piping underneath his beechen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr
     whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying
     in the blissful years again to be,
Summers of the snakeless meadow,
     unlaborious earth and oarless sea;

Thou that seëst Universal
     Nature moved by Universal mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness
     at the doubtful doom of human kind;

Light among the vanish'd ages;
     star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
Golden branch amid the shadows,
     kings and realms that pass to rise no more;

Now thy Forum roars no longer,
     fallen every purple Cæsar's dome —
Tho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm
     sound forever of Imperial Rome —

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd,
     and the Rome of freemen holds her place,
I, from out the Northern Island
     sunder'd once from all the human race,

I salute thee, Mantovano
     I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure
     ever moulded by the lips of man.