by Ezra Pound
[from Personæ, 1926]
From the French of Joachim du Bellay
“Troica Roma resurges.” — Propertius
O thou newcomer who seek’st Rome in Rome
And find’st in Rome no thing thou canst call Roman;
Arches worn old and palaces made common
Rome’s name alone within these walls keeps home.
Behold how pride and ruin can befall
One who hath set the whole world ’neath her laws,
All-conquering, now conquerèd, because
She is Time’s prey, and Time conquereth all.
Rome that art Rome’s one sole last monument,
Rome that alone hast conquered Rome the town,
Tiber alone, transient and seaward bent,
Remains of Rome. O world, thou unconstant mime!
That which stands firm in thee Time batters down,
And that which fleeteth doth outrun swift Time.