Treasure Island

Thomas Hardy

(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928 / Dorchester / England)

Rome at the Pyramid of Cestius Near the Graves of Shelley and Keats (1887)


Who, then, was Cestius,
   And what is he to me? -
Amid thick thoughts and memories multitudinous
   One thought alone brings he.

   I can recall no word
   Of anything he did;
For me he is a man who died and was interred
   To leave a pyramid

   Whose purpose was exprest
   Not with its first design,
Nor till, far down in Time, beside it found their rest
   Two countrymen of mine.

   Cestius in life, maybe,
   Slew, breathed out threatening;
I know not. This I know: in death all silently
   He does a kindlier thing,

   In beckoning pilgrim feet
   With marble finger high
To where, by shadowy wall and history-haunted street,
   Those matchless singers lie . . .

   --Say, then, he lived and died
   That stones which bear his name
Should mark, through Time, where two immortal Shades abide;
   It is an ample fame.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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