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The Ruins Of Time Analysis

Author: poem of Robert Lowell Type: poem Views: 11

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   (Quevedo, Mire los muros de la partia mia and

     Buscas en Roma a Roma, (!)O peregrino!)


I saw the musty shingles of my house,

raw wood and fixed once, now a wash of moss

eroded by the ruin of age

furning all fair and green things into waste.

I climbed the pasture. I saw the dim sun drink

the ice just thawing from the boldered fallow,

woods crowd the foothills, sieze last summer's field,

and higher up, the sickly cattle bellow.

I went into my house. I saw how dust

and ravel had devoured its furnishing;

even my cane was withered and more bent,

even my sword was coffined up in rust—

there was no hilt left for the hand to try.

Everything ached, and told me I must die.


You search in Rome for Rome? O Traveller!

in Rome itself, there is no room for Rome,

the Aventine is its own mound and tomb,

only a corpse recieves the worshipper.

And where the Capitol once crowned the forum,

are medals ruined by the hands of time;

they show how more was lost by chance and time

the Hannibal or Ceasar could consume.

The Tiber flows still, but its waste laments

a city that has fallen in its grave—

each wave's a woman beating at her breast.

O Rome! Form all you palms, dominion, bronze

and beauty, what was firm has fled. What once

was fugitive maintains its permenance.

Submitted by Peter Carter


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem appears to be about, obviously the destruction of things by time, but also talks about accepting death. In stanza 2, Rome is an extended metaphor for a person. You cannot look inside yourself for a younger you. The metaphor of Rome enforces the fact that even the greatest of things die with age.

| Posted on 2010-05-13 | by a guest

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