Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/478

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Hath it indeed been plundered, or but cleared?
Alas! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neared:
It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all—years—man—have reft away.


But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there—
When the stars twinkle through the loops of Time,
And the low night-breeze waves along the air
The garland-forest, which the gray walls wear,[1]
Like laurels on the bald first Cæsar's head—[2]
When the light shines serene but doth not glare—
Then in this magic circle raise the dead;—
Heroes have trod this spot—'tis on their dust ye tread.[3]


"While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand:[4]

"When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
  1. The ivy-forest, which its walls doth wear.—[MS. M. erased.]
  2. Suetonius [Lib. i. cap. xlv.] informs us that Julius Cæsar was particularly gratified by that decree of the senate which enabled him to wear a wreath of laurel on all occasions. He was anxious not to show that he was the conqueror of the world, but to hide that he was bald. A stranger at Rome would hardly have guessed at the motive, nor should we without the help of the historian.
  3. The Hero race who trod—the imperial dust ye tread.—[MS. M. erased.]
  4. This is quoted in the Decline and Fall of the Roman