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

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892 Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Roman Virgil, thou that singest
         Ilion's lofty temples robed in fire,
Ilion falling, Rome arising,
         wars, and filial faith, and Dido's pyre;

Landscape-lover, lord of language
         more than he that sang the "Works and Days,"
All the chosen coin of fancy
         flashing out from many a golden phrase;

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,
         tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd;
All the charm of all the Muses
         often flowering in a lonely word;

Poet of the happy Tityrus
         piping underneath his beechen bowers;
Poet of the poet-satyr
         whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying
         in the blissful years again to be,
Summers of the snakeless meadow,
         unlaborious earth and oarless sea;

Thou that seëst Universal
         Nature moved by Universal Mind;
Thou majestic in thy sadness
         at the doubtful doom of human kind;

Light among the vanish'd ages;
         star that gildest yet this phantom shore;
Golden branch amid the shadows,
         kings and realms that pass to rise no more;

Now thy Forum roars no longer,
         fallen every purple Cæsar's dome—
Tho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm
         sound forever of Imperial Rome—

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd,
         and the Rome of freemen holds her place,
I, from out the Northern Island
         sunder'd once from all the human race,

I salute thee, Mantovano,
         I that loved thee since my day began,
Wielder of the stateliest measure
         ever moulded by the lips of man.

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Poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–1892



Subjects Arts & Sciences, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Poetry & Poets

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 Alfred, Lord  Tennyson


More than any other Victorian writer, Tennyson has seemed the embodiment of his age, both to his contemporaries and to modern readers. In his own day he was said to be—with Queen Victoria and Gladstone—one of the three most famous living persons, a reputation no other poet writing in English has ever had. As official poetic spokesman for the reign of Victoria, he felt called upon to celebrate a quickly changing industrial and . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Poetry & Poets



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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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