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96 OTHER VERSE
Adown a fruit-tree shaded road that led Beside the walls of many a lordly home;
Then on to Tusculum, the place where lie The moss-grown ruins of the gleaming pile
That great Lucullus bravely built, ere yet The gentle Nazarene, with God's sweet smile,
Had come to bless, and save the world, and die.
I wandered 'mid the crumbling walls, and mused
Upon the scenes that, centuries ago, Had been enacted there in luxury,
And of the wealth and splendor, and the flow Of wit and wine among the Roman lords;
Of beauties of the time, in robes that clung In graceful folds about their faultless forms;
The singers, and the dulcet songs they sung, Where now the lizard and the winking toad
Lived undisturbed, and vapors damp and dank Arose from rotting weeds and scum-hid pools,
And where the gliding snakes, white bleached and lank, Slid in and out, in this their foul abode.
Akimbo, 'mid the ruins, here and there,
Stood broken marble columns, 'gainst the walls, And, tumbled from their niches, statues lay, Chipped and defaced, along the weed-grown halls.