Written on contemplating a Pile of splendid Ruins
“Say, Time, whose, once, yon stately pile, (I cried)
Which, now, thou crumbled ruthless with the soil?”
He answer’d not — but spread his pinions wide,
And flew, with eager haste, to ampler spoil.
“Say, then prolific Fame, whose breath supplies
Life to bright works of wonder, what were those?”
Abash’d with blushes only she replies,
Like one whose bosom heaves with secret woes.
Lost in amaze I turn’d my steps aside,
When, o’er the pile, I saw Oblivion stride,
With mien imperious, and with vacant eyne.
“Perchance thou know’st (I cried) — Ah speak! declare!”
Abrupt, she answer’d hoarse, and shook the air,
“Whose once it was, I seek not, now, tis Mine!”