Ruins of Rome
Trip Start Aug 16, 2010
26Trip End Ongoing
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Les Antiquités de Rome, III
O thou newcomer who seek'st Rome in Rome
And find’st in Rome no thing thou canst call Roman;
Arches worn old and palaces made common
Rome’s name alone within these walls keeps home.
Behold how pride and ruin can befall
One who hath set the whole world ’neath her laws,
All-conquering, now conquered, because
She is Time’s prey, and Time conquereth all
Rome that art Rome’s one sole last monument,
Rome that alone hast conquered Rome the town,
Tiber alone, transient and seaward bent,
Remains of Rome. O world, thou unconstant mime!
That which stands firm in thee Time batters down,
And that which fleeteth doth outrun swift Time.
This was written on a small sign on a busy street near the ancient Forum. I must have stood there for 20 minutes that night, pondering this poem. So beautiful and sad, but with a hopeful disposition towards fate.
I'll never forget the silence of the ruins at night. Columns like white ghosts against the blackness of the midnight sky. Their only friend the distant Colosseum; their silent parter through the ages. Like an elderly couple quietly watching the world change around them, as their world slowly slips away stone by stone.
The old stones seem to whisper to me as I gaze at them. Whisper of secrets that only they will ever know, and yet yearn to tell. But think them not aged and feeble, for even in ruin they seem proud. Like the last decedents of a dying race they stand determined, proud and unwavering, until the day they too shall fall.