BETA

To Virgil.

Written at the Request of the Mantuans for the
Nineteenth Centenary of Virgil’s Death.

I.

Roman Virgil, thou that singest1
Ilion’s lofty temples robed in fire,2
Ilion falling, Rome arising,3
wars, and filial faith, and Dido’s pyre ;4

II.

Landscape-lover, lord of language5
more than he that sang the Works and Days,6
All the chosen coin of fancy7
flashing out from many a golden phrase ;8

III.

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,9
tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd ;10
All the charm of all the Muses11
often flowering in a lonely word ;12

IV.

Poetry of the happy Tityrus13
piping underneath his beechen bowers ;14
Poet of the poet-satyr15
whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers ;16

V.

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying17
in the blissful years again to be,18
Summers of the snakeless meadow,19
unlaborious earth and oarless sea ;20

VI.

Thou that seëst Universal21
Nature moved by Universal Mind ;22
Thou majestic in thy sadness23
at the doubtful doom of human kind ;24

VII.

Light among the vanish’d ages ;25
star that gildest yet this phantom shore ;26
Golden branch amid the shadows,27
kings and realms that pass to rise no more ;28

VIII.

Now thy Forum roars no longer,29
fallen every purple Cæsar’s dome30
Tho’ thine ocean-roll of rhythm31
sound for ever of Imperial Rome32

IX.

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish’d33
and the Rome of freemen holds her place,34
I, from out the Northern Island35
sunder’d once from all the human race,36

X.

I salute thee, Mantovano,37
I that loved thee since my day began,38
Wielder of the stateliest measure39
ever moulded by the lips of man.40