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I stood as calm as marble statues must, But never will my memory lose the scene
Till all of us have crumbled^ into dust. The Phrygian king, when standing to his lips
In waters cool, with fruits above him hung, Dying of thirst and hunger, did not feel
Such agony as then my spirit wrung. Oft when Lucullus gave a brilliant feast,
A guest came near this marble form of mine, Goblet in hand, and I, a bacchant too,
Could catch the fragrant odor of the wine, And think'st thou not Tantalus suffered least ?"
And other busts and statues held converse,
Of poets, wits and sages, of the day When Rome sat proud upon her seven hills,
And o'er the world, as mistress, held her sway; How at the sumptuous feasts within those halls,
When rich Lucullus, wealthy from the spoil Of eastern victories, about him held—
Far from the city's din and mad turmoil— The beauty and the chivalry of earth.
They spoke of grand Mascenas, who was friend To young Lucretius, Virgil, and the rest,
Whose rich and never-dying verse should lend Immortal name to Roman deeds and worth.