Continuing with Isabella’s interest in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, we have another two stanzas from Canto IV, these two discussing the destruction of Rome and its notable buildings: the Coliseum and the Pantheon.
“While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand;
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls – the World.” From our own land
Thus spake the pilgrims o’er this mighty wall
In Saxon times, which we are wont to call
Ancient; and these three mortal things are still
On their foundations, and unalter’d all;
Rome and her ruin past redemption’s skill,
The world, the same wide den -of thieves,
Or what ye will.
Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime –
Shrine of all saints, and temple of all gods,
From Jove to Jesus – spared and blest-by time;
Looking tranquility, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashes – glorious dome!
Shalt thou not last? Time’s scythe and tyrants’ rods
Shiver upon thee – sanctuary and home
Of art and piety – Pantheon! – pride of Rome!