English poetry

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The Ruins Of Time

The Ruins Of Time

(Quevedo, Mire los muros de la partia mia and
Buscas en Roma a Roma, (!)O peregrino!)

I

I saw the musty shingles of my house,
Raw wood and fixed once, now a wash of moss
Eroded by the ruin of age
Furning all fair and green things into waste.
I climbed the pasture. I saw the dim sun drink
The ice just thawing from the boldered fallow,
Woods crowd the foothills, sieze last summer’s field,
And higher up, the sickly cattle bellow.
I went into my house. I saw how dust
And ravel had devoured its furnishing;
Even my cane was withered and more bent,
Even my sword was coffined up in rust-
There was no hilt left for the hand to try.
Everything ached, and told me I must die.

II

You search in Rome for Rome? O Traveller!
In Rome itself, there is no room for Rome,
The Aventine is its own mound and tomb,
Only a corpse recieves the worshipper.
And where the Capitol once crowned the forum,
Are medals ruined by the hands of time;
They show how more was lost by chance and time
The Hannibal or Ceasar could consume.
The Tiber flows still, but its waste laments
A city that has fallen in its grave-
Each wave’s a woman beating at her breast.
O Rome! Form all you palms, dominion, bronze
And beauty, what was firm has fled. What once
Was fugitive maintains its permenance.



Poem The Ruins Of Time - Robert Lowell