Such as an army's baffled strength delays,
Standing with half its battlements alone,
And with two thousand years of ivy grown,
The garland of Eternity, where wave
The green leaves over all by Time o'erthrown;—
What was this tower of strength? within its cave
What treasure lay so locked, so hid?—A woman's grave.
But who was she, the Lady of the dead,
Tombed in a palace? Was she chaste and fair?
Worthy a king's—or more—a Roman's bed?
What race of Chiefs and Heroes did she bear?
What daughter of her beauties was the heir?
How lived—how loved—how died she? Was she not
So honoured—and conspicuously there,
Where meaner relics must not dare to rot,
Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot?
- So massily begirt—what lay?——.—[MS. M.]
is now placed in front of this towering sepulchre: Cæciliæ. Q. Cretici. F. Metellæ. Crassi."
"The Savelli family were in possession of the fortress in 1312, and the German army of Henry VII. marched from Rome, attacked, took, and burnt it, but were unable to make themselves, by force, masters of the citadel—that is, the tomb." The "fence of stone" refers to the quadrangular basement of concrete, on which the circular tower rests. The tower was originally coated with marble, which was stripped off for the purpose of making lime. The work of destruction is said to have been carried out during the interval between Poggio's (see his De Fort. Var., ap. Sall., Nov. Thes. Ant. Rom., 1735, i. 501, sq.) first and second visits to Rome. (See Hobhouse's Hist. Illust., pp. 202, 203; Handbook for Rome, p. 360.)]