Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
IV. Diocletian at Salona
By Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)
 
TAKE back these vain insignia of command,
  Crown, truncheon, golden eagle, bawbles all,
  And robe of Tyrian dye, to me a pall;
  And be forever alien to my hand,
Though laurel-wreathed, War’s desolating brand.        5
  I would have friends, not courtiers, in my hall;
  Wise books, learn’d converse, beauty free from thrall,
  And leisure for good deeds, thoughtfully planned.
Farewell, thou garish World! thou Italy,
  False widow of departed Liberty!        10
  I scorn thy base caresses. Welcome the roll,
Between us, of mine own bright Adrian sea!
  Welcome these wilds, from whose bold heights my soul
  Looks down on your degenerate Capitol!
 
 
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