[The Roman Elegies were written in the same year as the Venetian Epigrams -- viz. 1790.]
SPEAK, ye stones, I entreat! Oh speak, ye palaces lofty!
Utter a word, oh ye streets! Wilt thou not, Genius, awake?
All that thy sacred walls, eternal Rome, hold within them Teemeth with life; but to me, all is still silent and dead. Oh, who will whisper unto me, -- when shall I see at the casement That one beauteous form, which, while it scorcheth, revives? Can I as yet not discern the road, on which I for ever To her and from her shall go, heeding not time as it flies? Still do I mark the churches, palaces, ruins, and columns. As a wise traveller should, would he his journey improve. Soon all this will be past; and then will there be but one temple,
Amor's temple alone, where the Initiate may go. Thou art indeed a world, oh Rome; and yet, were Love absent,
Then would the world be no world, then would e'en Rome be no Rome.
Do not repent, mine own love, that thou so soon didst
Trust me, I deem thee not bold! reverence only I feel. Manifold workings the darts of Amor possess; some but scratching,
Yet with insidious effect, poison the bosom for years. Others mightily feather'd, with fresh and newly-born sharp-ness
Pierce to the innermost bone, kindle the blood into flame.