Poesie: Remembering Rome Burned

On 19 July 64 A.D., Rome burned.  We thought it a worthy occasion to ponder something Mr. Longfellow wrote.

Michael Angelo: A Fragment


Michel piu che mortal, Angel divino.

Similamente operando all’ artista
Ch’ a l’ abito dell’ arte e man che trema.
~ DANTE, Par. xiii. st. 77.


NOTHING that is shall perish utterly,
But perish only to revive again
In other forms, as clouds restore in rain
The exhalations of the land and sea.

Men build their houses from the masonry
Of ruined tombs; the passion and the pain
Of hearts, that long have ceased to beat, remain
To throb in hearts that are, or are to be.

So from old chronicles, where sleep in dust
Names that once filled the world with trumpet tones,
I build this verse; and flowers of song have thrust

Their roots among the loose disjointed stones,
Which to this end I fashion as I must.
Quickened are they that touch the Prophet’s bones.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

Tacitus’ account of the event can be found on THE HISTORICAL DIARIES.  I got the featured image from that blog as well.

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