Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882 / London / England)

Tiber, Nile, And Thames


THE head and hands of murdered Cicero,
Above his seat high in the Forum hung,
Drew jeers and burning tears. When on the rung
Of a swift-mounted ladder, all aglow,
Fluvia, Mark Antony's shameless wife, with show
Of foot firm-poised and gleaming arm upflung,
Bade her sharp needle pierce that god-like tongue
Whose speech fed Rome even as the Tiber's flow.
And thou, Cleopatra's Needle, that hadst thrid
Great skirts of Time ere she and Antony hid
Dead hope!—hast thou too reached, surviving death,
A city of sweet speech scorned,—on whose chill stone
Keats withered, Coleridge pined, and Chatterton,
Breadless, with poison froze the God-fired breath?

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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