ROME UNVISITED

by Oscar Wilde

I.



The corn has turned from grey to red,

Since first my spirit wandered forth

From the drear cities of the north,

And to Italia's mountains fled.

And here I set my face towards home,

For all my pilgrimage is done,

Although, methinks, yon blood-red sun

Marshals the way to Holy Rome.

O Blessed Lady, who dost hold

Upon the seven hills thy reign!

O Mother without blot or stain,

Crowned with bright crowns of triple gold!

O Roma, Roma, at thy feet

I lay this barren gift of song!

For, ah! the way is steep and long

That leads unto thy sacred street.



II.



And yet what joy it were for me

To turn my feet unto the south,

And journeying towards the Tiber mouth

To kneel again at Fiesole!

And wandering through the tangled pines

That break the gold of Arno's stream,

To see the purple mist and gleam

Of morning on the Apennines

By many a vineyard-hidden home,

Orchard and olive-garden grey,

Till from the drear Campagna's way

The seven hills bear up the dome!



III.



A pilgrim from the northern seas -

What joy for me to seek alone

The wondrous temple and the throne

Of him who holds the awful keys!

When, bright with purple and with gold

Come priest and holy cardinal,

And borne above the heads of all

The gentle Shepherd of the Fold.

O joy to see before I die

The only God-anointed king,

And hear the silver trumpets ring

A triumph as he passes by!

Or at the brazen-pillared shrine

Holds high the mystic sacrifice,

And shows his God to human eyes

Beneath the veil of bread and wine.



IV.



For lo, what changes time can bring!

The cycles of revolving years

May free my heart from all its fears,

And teach my lips a song to sing.

Before yon field of trembling gold

Is garnered into dusty sheaves,

Or ere the autumn's scarlet leaves

Flutter as birds adown the wold,

I may have run the glorious race,

And caught the torch while yet aflame,

And called upon the holy name

Of Him who now doth hide His face.





ARONA.


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