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Father Ryan's Poems (43)

2006-09-08 16:13

    In Rome

    At last the dream of youth Stands fair and bright before me, The sunshine of the home of truth Falls tremulously o'er me.

    And tower, and spire, and lofty dome In brightest skies are gleaming; Walk I, to-day, the ways of Rome, Or am I only dreaming?

    No, 'tis no dream; my very eyes Gaze on the hill-tops seven; Where crosses rise and kiss the skies, And grandly point to Heaven.

    Gray ruins loom on ev'ry side, Each stone an age's story; They seem the very ghosts of pride That watch the grave of glory.

    There senates sat, whose sceptre sought An empire without limit; There grandeur dreamed its dream and thought That death would never dim it.

    There rulers reigned; yon heap of stones Was once their gorgeous palace; Beside them now, on altar-thrones, The priests lift up the chalice.

    There legions marched with bucklers bright, And lances lifted o'er them; While flags, like eagles plumed for flight, Unfurled their wings before them.

    There poets sang, whose deathless name Is linked to deathless verses; There heroes hushed with shouts of fame Their trampled victim's curses.

    There marched the warriors back to home, Beneath yon crumbling portal, And placed upon the brow of Rome The proud crown of immortal.

    There soldiers stood with armor on, In steel-clad ranks and serried, The while their red swords flashed upon The slaves whose rights they buried.

    Here pagan pride, with sceptre, stood, And fame would not forsake it, Until a simple cross of wood Came from the East to break it.

    That Rome is dead —— here is the grave —— Dead glory rises never; And countless crosses o'er it wave, And will wave on forever.

    Beyond the Tiber gleams a dome Above the hill-tops seven; It arches o'er the world from Rome, And leads the world to Heaven.

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