What wonder this?-we
ask the lympid well,
O earth! of thee-and from thy solemn womb
What yieldest thou?-is there life in the abyss-
Doth a new race beneath the lava dwell?
Returns the past, awakening from the tomb?
Rome-Greece!-Oh, come!-Behold-behold! for this!
Our living world-the old Pompeii sees;
And built anew the town of Dorian Hercules!
House upon house-its silent halls once more
Opes the broad portico!-Oh, haste and fill
Again those halls with life!-Oh, pour along
Through the seven-vistad theatre the throng!
Where are ye, mimes?-Come forth, the steel prepare
For crowned Atrides, or Orestes haunt,
Ye choral Furies, with your dismal chant!
The arch of triumph!-whither leads it?-still
Behold the forum!-on the curule chair
Where the majestic image? Lictors, where
Your solemn fasces?-Place upon his throne
The Praetor-here the witness lead, and there
Bid the accuser stand
God! how lone
The clear streets glitter in the quiet day-
The footpath by the doors winding its lifeless way!
The roofs arise in shelter, and around
The desolate Atrium-every gentle room
Wears still the dear familiar smile of home!
Open the doors-the shops-on dreary night
Let lusty day laugh down in jocund light!
See the trim benches ranged in order!-See
The marble-tesselated floor-and there
The very walls are glittering livingly
With their clear colors. But the artist, where!
Sure but this instant he hath laid aside
Pencil and colors!-Glittering on the eye
Swell the rich fruits, and bloom the flowers!-See all
Arts gentle wreaths still fresh upon the wall!
Here the arch Cupid slyly seems to glide
By with bloom-laden basket. There the shapes
Of genii press with purpling feet the grapes,
Here springs the wild Bacchante to the dance,
And there she sleeps [while that voluptuous trance
Eyes the sly faun with never-sated glance]
Now on one knee upon the centaur-steeds
Hovering-the Thyrsus plies.-Hurrah!-away she speeds!
Come-come, why loiter
ye?-Here, here, how fair
The goodly vessels still! Girls, hither turn,
Fill from the fountain the Etruscan urn!
On the winged sphinxes see the tripod.-
Quick-quick, ye slaves, come-fire!-the hearth prepare!
Ha! wilt thou sell?-this coin shall pay thee-this,
Fresh from the mint of mighty Titus!-Lo!
Here lie the scales, and not a weight we miss
So-bring the light! The delicate lamp!-what toil
Shaped thy minutest grace!-quick pour the oil!
Yonder the fairy chest!-come, maid, behold
The bridegrooms gifts-the armlets-they are gold,
And paste out-feigning jewels!-lead the bride
Into the odorous bath-lo! unguents still-
And still the crystal vase the arts for beauty fill!
But where the men of old-perchance
More precious yet in yon papyrus lies,
And see evn still the tokens of their toil-
The waxen tablets-the recording style.
The earth, with faithful watch, has hoarded all!
Still stand the mute penates in the hall;
Back to his haunts returns each ancient god.
Why absent only from their ancient stand
The priests?-waves Hermes his Caducean rod,
And the winged victory struggles from the hand.
Kindle the flame-behold the altar there!
Long hath the god been worshipless-to prayer.