WORLD POETRY WORLD
MUSIC #4, RETURN,
RETURN, RETURN
AGAIN, THE RUINED
 
CITY  ET ALS
Wondrously wrought and fair its wall of
stone,
Shattered by Fate! The castles rent
asunder,
The work of giants moldered away!
Its roofs are breaking and falling; its
towers crumble
In ruin. Plundered those walls with
grated doors —
Their mortar white with frost. Its
battered ramparts
are shorn away and ruined, all
undermined
By eating age. The mighty men that
built it,
Departed hence, undone by death, are
held
Fast in the earthâs embrace. Tight is
the clutch
Of the grave, while overhead of living
men
A hundred generations pass away.
The city wall

Long this red wall, now mossy gray,
withstood,
While kingdom followed kingdom in the
land,
Unshaken âneath the storms of
heaven — yet now
Its towering gate hath fallen. . . .
Radiant the mead-halls in that city
bright,
Yea, many were its baths. High rose its
wealth
Of hornèd pinnacles, while loud within
Was heard the joyous revelry of men —
Till mighty Fate came with her sudden
change!
Wide-wasting was the battle where
they fell.
Plague-laden days upon the city came;
Death snatched away that mighty host
of men. . . .
There in the olden time full many a
thane,
Shining with gold, all gloriously
adorned,
Haughty in heart, rejoiced when hot
with wine;
Upon him gleamed his armor, and he
gazed
On gold and silver and all precious
gems;
On riches and on wealth and treasured
jewels,
A radiant city in a kingdom wide.
The hot baths

There stood the courts of stone. Hot
within,
The stream flowed with its mighty
surge. The wall
Surrounded all with its bright bosom;
there
The baths stood, hot within its heart. . .
.
The city buildings fell apart, the works
Of giants crumble. Tumbled are the
towers
Ruined the roofs, and broken the
barred gate,
Frost in the plaster, all the ceilings
gape,
Torn and collapsed and eaten up by
age.
And grit holds in its grip, the hard
embrace
Of earth, the dead-departed
master-builders,
Until a hundred generations now
Of people have passed by. Often this
wall
Stained red and grey with lichen has
stood by
Surviving storms while kingdoms rose
and fell.
And now the high curved wall itself has
fallen
The heart inspired, incited to swift
action.
Resolute masons, skilled in rounded
building
Wondrously linked the framework with
iron bonds.
The public halls were bright, with lofty
gables,
Bath-houses many; great the cheerful
noise,
And many mead-halls filled with human
pleasures.
Till mighty fate brought change upon it
all,
Slaughter was widespread, pestilence
was rife,
And death took all those valiant men
away.
The martial halls became deserted
places,
The cities crumbled, its repairers fell,
Its armies to the earth. And so these
halls
Are empty, and this red curved roof
now sheds
Its tiles, decay has brought it to the
ground,
Smashed it to piles of rubble, where
long since
A host of heroes, glorious,
gold-adorned,
Gleaming in splendour, proud and
flushed with wine,
Shone in their armour, gazed on gems
and treasure,
On silver, riches, wealth and jewelry,
On this bright city with its wide domains.
Stone buildings stood, and the hot
streams cast forth
Wide sprays of water, which a wall
enclosed
In its bright compass, where convenient
Stood hot baths ready for them at the
centre.
Hot streams poured forth over the
clear grey stone,
To the round pool and down into the
baths.