The Latin Tongue

Like a loud-booming bell shaking its tower
Of granite blocks, the antique Latin tongue
Shook the whole earth: over all seas it flung
Triremes of war, and bade grim legions scour
The world’s far verges. Its imperial dower
Made Tullius a god: and Flaccus strung
Its phrases into garlands; while among
The high enchanters it gave Maro power.

Then Latin lost its purple pomp of war,
Its wine-veined laughter and patrician tears:
It cast its fleshly grossness, won a soul.
And trafficked far beyond the farthest star
With angel-cohorts, echoing through the years
In sacred Embassies from pole to pole.

 

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