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A broken pillar

George Byron (1788 - 1824)
A broken pillar

I canter by the spot each afternoon
Where perish'd in his fame the hero-boy,
Who lived too long for men, but died too soon
For human vanity, the young De Foix!
A broken pillar not uncouthly hewn,
But which neglect is hastening to destroy,
Records Ravenna's carnage on its face,
Hile weeds and ordure rankle round the base.

I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid;
A little cupola, more neat than solemn,
Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid
To the bard's tomb, and not the warrior's column.
The time must come when both, alike decay'd,
The chieftain's trophy and the poet's volume,
Will sink where lie the songs and wars of earth,
Before Pelides' death or Homer's birth.

With human blood that column was cemented,
With human filth that column is defiled,
As if the peasant's coarse contempt were vented,
To show his loathing of the spot he spoil'd.
Thus is the trophy used, and thus lamented
Should ever be those blood-hounds, from whose wild
Istinct of gore and glory earth has known
Those sufferings Dante saw in hell alone.

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Last modified date: 25/02/2014


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