A View across the Roman Campagna

1861 over the dumb campagna-sea, Out in the offing through mist and rain, Saint Peter’s Church heaves silently Like a mighty ship in pain, Facing the tempest with struggle and strain. Motionless waifs of ruined towers, Soundless breakers of desolate land! The sullen surf of the mist devours That mountain-range upon either hand, Eaten away from its outline grand. And over the dumb campagna-sea Where the ship of the Church heaves on to wreck, Alone and silent as God must be The Christ walks!—Ay, but Peter’s neck Is stiff to turn on the foundering deck. Peter, Peter, if such be thy name, Now leave the ship for another to steer, And proving thy faith evermore the same Come forth, tread out through the dark and drear, Since He who walks on the sea is here! Peter, Peter!—he does not speak,— He is not as rash as in old Galilee. Safer a ship, though it toss and leak, Then a reeling foot on a rolling sea! —And he’s got to be round in the girth, thinks he. Peter, Peter!—he does not stir,— His nets are heavy with silver fish: He reckons his gains, and is keen to infer, “The broil on the shore, if the Lord should wish,— But the sturgeon goes to the Cæsar’s dish.” Peter, Peter, thou fisher of men, Fisher of fish wouldst thou live instead,— Haggling for pence with the other Ten, Cheating the market at so much a head, Griping the bag of the traitor dead? At the triple crow of the Gallic cock Thou weep’st not, thou, though thine eyes be dazed: What bird comes next in the tempest shock? Vultures! See,—as when Romulus gazed, To inaugurate Rome for a world amazed!

1826
Sub Title: 
Descriptive Poems: III. Places

More from Poet

Mondd újra s újra mondd és újra mondd,
hogy szeretsz! Bár az ismételt szavak
kakukknótához hasonlítanak,
emlékezz rá, hogy se mező, se domb
nincs kakukknóta nélkül, ha a lomb
újul tavasszal s kizöldül a mag.
Egyszeri szó, mint szellem hangja, vak
...

Her hair was tawny with gold, her eyes with purple were dark, Her cheeks’ pale opal burnt with a red and restless spark. Never was lady of Milan nobler in name and in race; Never was lady of Italy fairer to see in the face. Never was lady on earth more true as woman and wife, Larger in judgment...

Sienna I Love thee, love thee, Giulio! Some call me cold, and some demure, And if thou hast ever guessed that so I love thee … well;—the proof was poor, And no one could be sure. Before thy song (with shifted rhymes To suit my name) did I undo The persian? If it moved sometimes, Thou...

From “Aurora Leigh” WHOEVER lives true life, will love true love. I learned to love that England. Very oft, Before the day was born, or otherwise Through secret windings of the afternoons, I threw my hunters off and plunged myself Among the deep hills, as a hunted stag Will take the waters,...

1861 over the dumb campagna-sea, Out in the offing through mist and rain, Saint Peter’s Church heaves silently Like a mighty ship in pain, Facing the tempest with struggle and strain. Motionless waifs of ruined towers, Soundless breakers of desolate land! The sullen surf of the mist...