Interred in ages past thou keepest
All frail and momentary things,
And like a child, Ravenna, sleepest
Beneath Eternity’s drowsed wings.
No slaves, with their mosaics loaded,
Now pass the Roman gate; and all
The gilding burns away, corroded,
On the basilica’s cold wall.
The rude sepulchral arches weather
Beneath the ooze’s lingering kiss,
O’er coffined queen and monk together
For ever creeps the verdigris.
Dumb are the burial-halls, and shady
And chill their doors, lest Galla rise.
The very stones, that sainted Lady
Would calcine with her sombre eyes.
Forgot are wars, wiped out for ever
Their trail of blood, their harms, their rage.
Placidia, wake not! Chant thou never
The passions of a vanished age!
Far out the sea has ebbed; a riot
Of roses clasps the wall, in bloom;
The storms of life must not disquiet
Theodoric, dreaming in his tomb.
The people, and the homes they sat in,
The vine-hung wastes are graves. Alone
The lettered bronze, the sovereign Latin,
Rings like a trumpet on the stone;
And only the Ravenna lasses
With mute fixed looks, forbear to hide
A rare, a shy regret that passes
For that still unreturning tide.
Sole, nightly o’ver those valleys bending,
The wraith of Dante aquiline
Counts on the future, to me sending
His song of the New Life divine.