Classic Ground.

I gave the reins to Fancy, as the day1
Withdrew its golden presence from my room,2
And, noble in their glory and their gloom,3
Had glimpses of old grandeurs passed away.4
And there was Greece, with all her greatness, gone5
A sounding pageant on the track of time ;6
And Athens, rising from her sleep sublime,7
Set on her queenly brow the Parthenon.8
And Wisdom sought again his ancient height,9
And Music revelled in her wonted isles,10
And Beauty gave once more divinest smiles11
To scenes rejoicing in her early light.12
And then uprose proud Venice from her waves,13
Dipped in a golden sheen of sea and sky,14
And visions of old splendours glimmered by,15
And regal phantoms, called from grandest graves ;16
With thoughts of Tasso, and the gondoliers17
Who filled each moonlit vista with his lays ;18
The pity and the pride of olden days,19
Othello’s wrong and Belvidera’s tears.20
Until there came a tumult, and the cry21
Of rushing peoples, maddened with their fame,22
Led like one living ocean by a name23
To touch the purple robe of Victory ;24
When mightier still swept past the awful shade25
Of world-commanding and imperial Rome,26
Rich in triumphal arch and heaving dome,27
Proud soaring pillar. and long colonnade.28
Till in her later ruin, sadly grand,29
She raised, from desolation darkly spread,30
The semblance of a hoary, crownless head,31
That leant upon a cold, unsceptred hand.32
Then, mid-like, faded Athens, Venice, Rome ;33
And Fancy, from her dream of power and art34
Returned to dearer places, found the heart35
Still lingering in the quiet paths of home !36