To Virgil, Written at the Request of the Mantuans for the Nineteenth Centenary of Virgil's Death

Original Text: 

Alfred lord Tennyson, Works (London: Macmillan, 1891). tenn T366 A1 1891a Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).

1Roman Virgil, thou that singest
2      Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
3Ilion falling, Rome arising,
4      wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;
7All the chosen coin of fancy
8      flashing out from many a golden phrase;
10      tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
11All the charm of all the Muses
12      often flowering in a lonely word;
14      piping underneath his beechen bowers;
16      whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;
18      in the blissful years again to be,
19Summers of the snakeless meadow,
20      unlaborious earth and oarless sea;
21Thou that seëst Universal
22      Nature moved by Universal Mind;
23Thou majestic in thy sadness
24      at the doubtful doom of human kind;
25Light among the vanish'd ages;
26      star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
28      kings and realms that pass to rise no more;
29Now thy Forum roars no longer,
30      fallen every purple Cæsar's dome--
31Tho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm
32      sound forever of Imperial Rome--
33Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd,
34      and the Rome of freemen holds her place,
35I, from out the Northern Island
36      sunder'd once from all the human race,
38      I that loved thee since my day began,
39Wielder of the stateliest measure
40      ever moulded by the lips of man.

Notes

5] Landscape-lover: Tennyson's friend F. T. Palgrave wrote Landscape in Poetry from Homer to Tennyson (1897). Back to Line
6] he that sang: the Greek poet Hesiod of the eighth century, B.C., author of the Works and Days. Back to Line
9] An evocation of the theme and tone of Virgil's Georgics. Back to Line
13] Tityrus: a shepherd in Virgil's Eclogue I. Back to Line
15] An incident in Eclogue VI. Back to Line
17] Pollio: C. Asinius Pollio, a patron of Virgil, mentioned in Eclogue IV.21-22, suggested by Æneid, Book VI. Back to Line
27] See also Æneid, Book VI. Back to Line
37] Refers to Virgil's birthplace, Mantua. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1882
RPO poem Editors: 
H. M. McLuhan
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.110.
Rhyme: