Rome: Faded Splendor

At the beginning of January I spent a week touring the eternal city of the Caesars: Rome. As a lover of Roman history it was a dream come true, but my purpose there was not only for pleasure. It was also a source of inspiration for both writing, and a special project – more on that later. Expect a number of Rome related posts in the next few weeks! 

For now, a poem based on the Canzone structure made famous by Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca:

 

The fire of my heart has dwindled,
For leaving her enduring sorrows.
O’ Rome, Never shall it rekindle,
While prison-bound, the days of your tomorrows.

Weeping city for whom do you lament?
“One sun is one too few!”* you cry.
Where art thou Caesar, Balance bringer?
Divine star, when shall you greet the sky?

Whom so august, shall bear us forth?
Will Vesta’s** hearth aflame once more?
Old forum, how this silence deafens.
Where once bore legends upon your floor.

Now creeping in the shadows, long.
“Mos maiorum”*** I hear thee say!
But what of memory still remains?
To return us back to hallowed days?

Look upon the people, carrying you within.
Blood of Aeneas****, strength and honour bound.
So long as men remember, timeless tales tell.
Eternal is my legacy, and to eternity I dwell!

 

* A reference to Dante’s view of the papacy and emperors as the twin suns that protect the roman people. Dante shared a similar lament in his Purgatorio at the absence of the strong leadership of the emperor leading to common people believing themselves to be above the law.

**Vesta was the Roman goddess of the home and hearth. Her temple, home to the vestal virgins, was said to have an eternal fire burning there.

***Latin – way of the ancestors

****Aeneas was a trojan prince that according to Roman myth(See Virgil’s Aeneid) fled the fall of troy and settled in the plains of Latium, his ancestor Romulus founded Rome. Thus he was believed to be the ancestor of all Romans.

4 comments

    1. Their breathtaking to walk around! A terrible shame how much has been plundered for re-use in churches over the centuries, however. The palatine hill is covered in exquisite palatial gardens still that made for a serene spot to sit and look out over the forums and temples below.

      Nice article on the founding myth as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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