Rome in Her Ruins
translated from the Spanish of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas by Felicia D. Hemans
Amidst these scenes, O Pilgrim, seek’st thou Rome?
Vain is thy search—the pomp of Rome is fled;
Her silent Aventine is glory’s tomb;
Her walls, her shrines, but relics of the dead.
That hill, where Caesars dwelt in other days,
Forsaken mourns, where once it towered sublime;
Each mouldering medal now far less displays
The triumphs won by Latium, than by Time.
Tiber alone survives;—the passing wave
That bathed her towers now murmurs by her grave,
Wailing with plaintive sound her fallen fanes.
Rome! Of thine ancient grandeur all is past
That seemed for years eternal, framed to last;—
Nought but the wave, a fugitive, remains.
Rome Entombed in Her Ruins
translated from the Spanish of Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas
Looking for Rome, in Rome, traveler?
You won’t find Rome in Rome herself!
Her walls, once proudly boasted as so impregnable,
are now mere skeletons, and the Aventine Hill
resembles nothing more than a graveyard.
The Palatine Hill lies buried where it used to reign;
and the medallions, chipped away by Time,
look more like rubble from ancient battles
than the once-proud insignia of Rome.
Only the River Tiber remains intact.
Her tide, which once provided flowing water
for the city, now – with tears of grief –
mourns her as a tomb.
Rome! Your grandeur and your beauty have fled!
Everything that was solid has dissolved away.
Only the transient remains and endures!
Always desirous of doing something a little more innovative than other authors, for my book, "A SALUTE TO SPANISH POETRY: 100 MASTERPIECES FROM SPAIN AND LATIN AMERICA", I decided to include two versions of "Rome in Her Ruins", a famous poem popularized by Mrs Hemans. So first, her translation, and then mine.