Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Great Writers
To Virgil
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
 
   [Written at the request of the Mantuans for the Nineteenth Centenary of Virgil’s death, B.C. 19.]

I.
ROMAN Virgil, thou that singest
    Ilion’s lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
    wars, and filial faith, and Dido’s pyre;
 
II.
Landscape-lover, lord of language
        5
    more than he that sang the Works and Days,
All the chosen coin of fancy
    flashing out from many a golden phrase;
 
III.
Thou that singest wheat and woodland,
    tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;        10
All the charm of all the Muses
    often flowering in a lonely word;
 
IV.
Poet of the happy Tityrus
    piping underneath his beechen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr whom        15
    the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;
 
V.
Chanter of the Pollio, glorying
    in the blissful years again to be,
Summers of the snakeless meadow,
    unlaborious earth and oarless sea;        20
 
VI.
Thou that seëst Universal
    Nature moved by Universal Mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness
    at the doubtful doom of human kind;
 
VII.
Light among the vanish’d ages;
        25
    star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
Golden branch amid the shadows,
    kings and realms that pass to rise no more;
 
VIII.
Now thy Forum roars no longer,
    fallen every purple Cæsar’s dome—        30
Tho’ thine ocean-roll of rhythm
    sound for ever of Imperial Rome—
 
IX.
Now the Rome of slaves hath perished,
    and the Rome of freemen holds her place,
I, from out the Northern Island        35
    sundered once from all the human race,
 
X.
I salute thee, Mantovano,
    I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure
    ever moulded by the lips of man.        40
 
 
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