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CXLVI. Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods, From Jove to Jesus— spared and blest by time; 54
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods · Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashes -- glorious dome!
CXLVII. Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts ! Despoil'd yet perfect, with thy circle spreads A holiness appealing to all hearts — To art a model; and to him who treads Rome for the sake of ages, Glory sheds Her light through thy sole aperture; to those Who worship, here are altars for their beads; And they who feel for genius may repose Their eyes on honour'd forms, whose busts around
them close. 65
CXLVIII. There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light 66 What do I gaze on? Nothing: Look again! Two forms are slowly shadow'd on my sight Two insulated phantoms of the brain: It is not so; I see them full and plain An old man, and a female young and fair, Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The blood is nectar: - but what doth she there, With herunmantled neck, and bosom white and bare?
CXLIX. Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life, Where on the heart and from the heart we took Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife, Blest into mother, in the innocent look, Or even the piping cry of lips that brook No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives Man knows not, when from out its cradleul nook She sees her little bud put forth its leaves – What may the fruit be yet? -- I kpow not-Cain was
CL. But here youth offers to old age the food, The milk of his own gift: - it is her sire To whom she rerders back the debt of blood Born with her birth. No; he shall not expire While in those warm and lovely veins the fire Of health and holy feeling can provide Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher
Than Egypt's river:- from that gentle side Drink, drink and live, old man! Heaven's realm
holds no such tide.
CXI. The starry fable of the milky way Has not thy story's purity; it is : A constellation of a sweeter ray, And sacred Nature triumphs more in this Reverse of her decree, than in the abys Where sparkle distant worlds:-Oh, holiest nurse! No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss
To thy sire's heart, replenishing ils source With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe.
CLII. Turn to the Mole which Hadrian'rear’d on high, 67 Imperial mimic of old Egypt's piles, Colossal copyist of deformity, Whose travell’d phantasy from the far Nile's Enormous model, doom'd the artist's toils To build for giants, and for his vain earth His shrunken ashes raise this dome: How smiles The gazer's eye with philosophic mirth, To view the huge design which sprung from such a
CLIII. Butlo! the dome—the vast and wondrous dome, 68 To which Diana's marvel was a cell — Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb! I have beheld the Ephesian's miracle Its columns strew the wilderness, and dwell The liyaena and the jackall in their shade; I have beheld Sophia's bright roofs swell Their glittering mass i' the sun, and have survey'd Its sanctuary the while the usurping Moslem pray'd;
CLIV. But thou, of temples old, or altars new, Standest alone- with nothing like to thee Worthiest of God, the holy and the true. Since Zion's desolation, when that He Forsook his former city, what could be, Of earthly structures, in his honour piled, Of a sublimer aspect? Majesty, Power, Glory, Strength, and Beauty, all are
aisled In this eternal ark of worship undefiled.