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Chapter 10: the last Roman winter 1897-1898; aet. 78

The city of my love

She sits among th' eternal hills,
Their crown, thrice glorious and dear;
Her voice is as a thousand tongues
Of silver fountains, gurgling clear.

Her breath is prayer, her life is love,
And worship of all lovely things;
Her children have a gracious port,
Her beggars show the blood of kings.

By old Tradition guarded close,
None doubt the grandeur she has seen;
Upon her venerable front
Is written: “I was born a Queen!”

She rules the age by Beauty's power,
As once she ruled by armed might;
The Southern sun doth treasure her
Deep in his golden heart of light.

Awe strikes the traveller when he sees
The'vision of her distant dome,
And a strange spasm wrings his heart
As the guide whispers: “There is Rome!”

And, though it seem a childish prayer,
I've breathed it oft, that when I die,
As thy remembrance dear in it,
That heart in thee might buried lie.

J. W. H.

The closing verse of her early poem, “The City of my love,” expresses the longing that, like Shelley's, her heart “might buried lie” in Rome. Some memory of this wish, some foreboding that the wish might be

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P. B. Shelley (1)
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