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John Howard Reid

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Rome in Her Ruins
by John Howard Reid
Rated "G" by the Author.
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This famous poem by Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas was first translated into English by Felicia D. Hemans. In my opinion, Mrs Hemans did an excellent job. I invite readers to compare her version with my own in A SALUTE TO SPANISH POETRY: "100 MASTERPIECES FROM SPAIN AND LATIN AMERICA RENDERED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY JOHN HOWARD REID".


 

Rome in Her Ruins

 

translated from the Spanish of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas by Felicia D. Hemans

   

Amidst these scenes, O Pilgrim, seek’st thou Rome?

Vain is thy search—the pomp of Rome is fled;

Her silent Aventine is glory’s tomb;

Her walls, her shrines, but relics of the dead.

 

 

That hill, where Caesars dwelt in other days,

Forsaken mourns, where once it towered sublime;

Each mouldering medal now far less displays

The triumphs won by Latium, than by Time.

 

 

Tiber alone survives;—the passing wave

That bathed her towers now murmurs by her grave,

Wailing with plaintive sound her fallen fanes.

 

 

Rome! Of thine ancient grandeur all is past

That seemed for years eternal, framed to last;—

Nought but the wave, a fugitive, remains.

 

 

 

Rome Entombed in Her Ruins

 

translated from the Spanish of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas

   

Looking for Rome, in Rome, traveler?

You won’t find Rome in Rome herself!

Her walls, once proudly boasted as so impregnable,

are now mere skeletons, and the Aventine Hill

resembles nothing more than a graveyard.

 

 

The Palatine Hill lies buried where it used to reign;

and the medallions, chipped away by Time,

look more like rubble from ancient battles

than the once-proud insignia of Rome.

 

 

Only the River Tiber remains intact.

Her tide, which once provided flowing water

for the city, now – with tears of grief –

mourns her as a tomb.

 

 

Rome! Your grandeur and your beauty have fled!

Everything that was solid has dissolved away.

Only the transient remains and endures!

 

 

John Howard Reid
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