In Rome By Abram Joseph Ryan

    At last the dream of youth
     Stands fair and bright before me,
    The sunshine of the home of truth
     Falls tremulously o’er me.

    And tower, and spire, and lofty dome
     In brightest skies are gleaming;
    Walk I, to-day, the ways of Rome,
     Or am I only dreaming?

    No, ’tis no dream; my very eyes
     Gaze on the hill-tops seven;
    Where crosses rise and kiss the skies,
     And grandly point to Heaven.

    Gray ruins loom on ev’ry side,
     Each stone an age’s story;
    They seem the very ghosts of pride
     That watch the grave of glory.

    There senates sat, whose sceptre sought
     An empire without limit;
    There grandeur dreamed its dream and thought
     That death would never dim it.

    There rulers reigned; yon heap of stones
     Was once their gorgeous palace;
    Beside them now, on altar-thrones,
     The priests lift up the chalice.

    There legions marched with bucklers bright,
     And lances lifted o’er them;
    While flags, like eagles plumed for flight,
     Unfurled their wings before them.

    There poets sang, whose deathless name
     Is linked to deathless verses;
    There heroes hushed with shouts of fame
     Their trampled victim’s curses.

    There marched the warriors back to home,
     Beneath yon crumbling portal,
    And placed upon the brow of Rome
     The proud crown of immortal.

    There soldiers stood with armor on,
     In steel-clad ranks and serried,
    The while their red swords flashed upon
     The slaves whose rights they buried.

    Here pagan pride, with sceptre, stood,
     And fame would not forsake it,
    Until a simple cross of wood
     Came from the East to break it.

    That Rome is dead — here is the grave —
     Dead glory rises never;
    And countless crosses o’er it wave,
     And will wave on forever.

    Beyond the Tiber gleams a dome
     Above the hill-tops seven;
    It arches o’er the world from Rome,
     And leads the world to Heaven.

    December 6, 1872.