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Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime-
Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods,
From Jove to Jesus spared and blest by time; (64)
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashes-glorious dome !
Shalt thou not last? Time's scythe and tyrants' rods
Shiver upon thee-sanctuary and home
Of art and piety-Pantheon !-pride of Rome !
Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts !
Despoil'd yet perfect, with thy circle spreads
A holiness appealing to all hearts-
To art a model; and to him who treads
Rome for the sake of ages, Glory sheds
Her light through thy sole aperture; to those
Who worship, here are altars for their beads;
And they who feel for genius may repose
Their eyes on honour'd forms, whose busts around them
There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light (66)
What do I gaze on ? Nothing: Look again !
Two forms are slowly shadow'd on my sight-
Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
It is not so; I see them full and plain-
An old man, and a female young and fair,
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The blood is nectar :-but what doth she there,
With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare ?
Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life,
Where on the heart and from the heart we took
Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife,
Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives
Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook
She sees her little bud put forth its leaves-
What may the fruit be yet? I know not-Cain was Eve's.
But here youth offers to old age the food, ,
The milk of his own gift:-it is her sire
To whom she renders back the debt of blood
Born with her birth. No; he shall not expire
While in those warm and lovely veins the fire
Of health and holy feeling can provide
Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher
Than Egypt's river:—from that gentle side
Drink, drink and live, old man! Heaven's realm holds no
The starry fable of the milky way
Has not thy story's purity; it is
A constellation of a sweeter ray,
And sacred Nature triumphs more in this
Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss
Where sparkle distant worlds :-Oh, holiest nurse!
No drop of that clear stream its way
shall miss To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe.
Turn to the Mole which Hadrian reard on high, (67)
Imperial mimic of old Egypt's piles,
Colossal copyist of deformity,
Whose travell’d phantasy from the far Nile's
Enormous model, doom'd the artist's toils
To build for giants, and for his vain earth
His shrunken ashes raise this dome: How smiles
The gazer's eye with philosophic mirth,
To view the huge design which sprung from such a birth!
But lo! the domethe vast and wondrous dome, (68)
To which Diana's marvel was a cell
Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb !
I have beheld the Ephesian's miracle-
Its columns strew the wilderness, and dwell
The hyæna and the jackall in their shade;
I have beheld Sophia's bright roofs swell.
Their glittering mass i’ the sun, and have survey'd
Its sanctuary the while the usurping Moslem pray’d;
But thou, of temples old, or altars new,
Standest alone-with nothing like to thee
Worthiest of God, the holy and the true.
Since Zion's desolation, when that He
Forsook his former city, what could be,
Of earthly structures, in his honour piled,
Of a sublimer aspect ? Majesty,
Power, Glory, Strength, and Beauty, all are aisled In this eternal ark of worship undefiled.
Enter: its grandeur overwhelms thee not;
And why? it is not lessen'd; but thy mind,
Expanded by the genius of the spot,
Has grown colossal, and can only find
A fit abode wherein appear enshrined
Thy hopes of immortality; and thou
Shalt one day, if found worthy, so defined,
See thy God face to face, as thou dost now
His Holy of Holies, nor be blasted by his brow.