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    Rome Unvisited

    by Oscar Wilde
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    The corn has turned from grey to red,
    Since first my spirit wandered forth
    From the drear cities of the north,
    And to Italia's mountains fled.

    And here I set my face towards home,
    For all my pilgrimage is done,
    Although, methinks, yon blood-red sun
    Marshals the way to Holy Rome.

    O Blessed Lady, who dost hold
    Upon the seven hills thy reign!
    O Mother without blot or stain,
    Crowned with bright crowns of triple gold!

    O Roma, Roma, at thy feet
    I lay this barren gift of song!
    For, ah! the way is steep and long
    That leads unto thy sacred street.


    And yet what joy it were for me
    To turn my feet unto the south,
    And journeying towards the Tiber mouth
    To kneel again at Fiesole!

    And wandering through the tangled pines
    That break the gold of Arno's stream,
    To see the purple mist and gleam
    Of morning on the Apennines

    By many a vineyard-hidden home,
    Orchard and olive-garden grey,
    Till from the drear Campagna's way
    The seven hills bear up the dome!


    A pilgrim from the northern seas--
    What joy for me to seek alone
    The wondrous temple and the throne
    Of him who holds the awful keys!

    When, bright with purple and with gold
    Come priest and holy cardinal,
    And borne above the heads of all
    The gentle Shepherd of the Fold.

    O joy to see before I die
    The only God-anointed king,
    And hear the silver trumpets ring
    A triumph as he passes by!

    Or at the brazen-pillared shrine
    Holds high the mystic sacrifice,
    And shows his God to human eyes
    Beneath the veil of bread and wine.


    For lo, what changes time can bring!
    The cycles of revolving years
    May free my heart from all its fears,
    And teach my lips a song to sing.

    Before yon field of trembling gold
    Is garnered into dusty sheaves,
    Or ere the autumn's scarlet leaves
    Flutter as birds adown the wold,

    I may have run the glorious race,
    And caught the torch while yet aflame,
    And called upon the holy name
    Of Him who now doth hide His face.

    If you're writing a Rome Unvisited essay and need some advice, post your Oscar Wilde essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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