Tully was not so eloquent as thou,
Thou nameless column with the buried base!
What are the laurels of the Cæsar's brow?
Crown me with ivy from his dwelling-place.
Whose arch or pillar meets me in the face,
Titus or Trajan's? No—'tis that of Time:
Triumph, arch, pillar, all he doth displace
Scoffing; and apostolic statues climb
To crush the imperial urn, whose ashes slept sublime,
- [By the "nameless" column Byron means the column of Phocas, in the Forum. But, as he may have known, it had ceased to be nameless when he visited Rome in 1817. During some excavations which were carried out under the auspices of the Duchess of Devonshire, in 1813, the soil which concealed the base was removed, and an inscription, which attributes the erection of the column to the Exarch Smaragdus, in honour of the Emperor Phocas, A.D. 608, was brought to light. The column was originally surmounted by a gilded statue, but it is probable that both column and statue were stolen from earlier structures and rededicated to Phocas. Hobhouse (Hist. Illust., pp. 240-242) records the discovery, and prints the inscription in extenso.]
- ——all he doth deface.—[MS. M.]
- The column of Trajan is surmounted by St. Peter; that of Aurelius by St. Paul. (See Hist. Illust., p. 214.)
Substructions of the Domus Aurea have been discovered on the site of the Baths of Titus and elsewhere, but not on the Palatine itself. Martial, Epig. 695 (Lib. Spect., ii.), celebrates Vespasian's restitution of the Domus Aurea and its "policies" to the people of Rome.
"Hic ubi sidereus propius videt astra colossus
Et crescunt media pegmata celsa via,
Invidiosa feri radiabant atria regis
Unaque jam tota stabat in urbe domus."
"Here where the Sun-god greets the Morning Star,
And tow'ring scaffolds block the public way,
Fell Nero's loathed pavilion flashed afar,
Erect and splendid 'mid the town's decay."]