Verse > Oscar Wilde > Poems
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Oscar Wilde (1854–1900).  Poems.  1881.

18. Urbs Sacra Æterna


ROME! what a scroll of History thine has been 
  In the first days thy sword republican 
  Ruled the whole world for many an age’s span: 
Then of thy peoples thou wert crownèd Queen, 
Till in thy streets the bearded Goth was seen;         5
  And now upon thy walls the breezes fan 
  (Ah, city crowned by God, discrowned by man!) 
The hated flag of red and white and green. 
When was thy glory! when in search for power 
  Thine eagles flew to greet the double sun,  10
  And all the nations trembled at thy rod? 
Nay, but thy glory tarried for this hour, 
  When pilgrims kneel before the Holy One, 
  The prisoned shepherd of the Church of God. 


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