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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Edmund William Gosse 1849–1928

De Rosis Hibernis


AMBITIOUS Nile, thy banks deplore

Their Flavian patron’s deep decay;

Thy Memphian pilot laughs no more

To see the flower-boat float away;

Thy winter-roses once were twined

Across the gala-streets of Rome,

And thou, like Omphale, couldst bind

The vanquished victor in his home.

But if the barge that brought thy store

Had foundered in the Lybian deep,

It had not slain thy glory more,

Nor plunged thy rose in salter sleep;

Nor gods nor Cæsars wait thee now,

No jealous Pæstum dreads thy spring,

Thy flower enfolds no augur’s brow,

Nor gives thy poet strength to sing.

Yet, surely, when the winds are low,

And heaven is all alive with stars,

Thy conscious roses still must glow

Above thy dreaming nenuphars;

They recollect their high estate,

The Roman honors they have known,

And while they ponder Cæsar’s fate

They cease to marvel at their own.