THE ROMAN WALL

by Will H. Ogilvie

 

The grey moor dips to the mist-blue valley;

The valley stoops to the silver Tyne;

And here on the ridge of earth and sky,

Where the blackcock feeds and the curlews cry,

Is the long Wallís lonely line.

 

Do the Legions come in the night, I wonder,

Trying to gather with ghostly hands

The stones that Time with his towering breakers

Has flung afar on these moorland acres

Like sea-wrack flung on the Solway Sands?

 

Do the moonbeams glint on the sheen of the Eagles?

Do the burnished helms in the starlight glow?

Is there no sound heard of the horseís feet

And the wagon-tyres on the wheel-worn street

When the ghostly trumpets blow?

 

Do they stand by the Wall, the cohort captains,

And harken, leaning on idle spears,

To the step of the grim, resistless Foemen

Who broke the triumph of Rome and Roman

Under the heel of his trampling years?

 

Conquering Time! Ė yet he, too, took pity

On glory thrust from itís golden throne,

And the flower on the old wall planted deep ---

A wreath on the grave where the warriors sleep

And mindful of War-Gods watch their own.

 

See: I take for remembrance, red with ruin,

From the Wall where the clashing vanguards meet,

This bloom that the crumbling stones have cherished,

This after-flower of an Empire perished,

To bind in my garland of rare regret!

 

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