Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VIEW ACROSS THE ROMAN CAMPAGNA, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING



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A VIEW ACROSS THE ROMAN CAMPAGNA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Over the dumb campagna-sea
Last Line: To inaugurate rome for a world amazed!
Subject(s): Campagna Di Roma, Italy


OVER the dumb campagna-sea,
Out in the offing through mist and rain,
Saint Peter's Church heaves silently
Like a mighty ship in pain,
Facing the tempest with struggle and strain.
Motionless waifs of ruined towers,
Soundless breakers of desolate land!
The sullen surf of the mist devours
That mountain-range upon either hand,
Eaten away from its outline grand.
And over the dumb campagna-sea
Where the ship of the Church heaves on to
wreck,
Alone and silent as God must be
The Christ walks! -- Ay, but Peter's neck
Is stiff to turn on the foundering deck.
Peter, Peter, if such be thy name,
Now leave the ship for another to steer,
And proving thy faith evermore the same
Come forth, tread out through the dark and
drear,
Since He who walks on the sea is here!
Peter, Peter! -- he does not speak, --
He is not as rash as in old Galilee.
Safer a ship, though it toss and leak,
Then a reeling foot on a rolling sea!
-- And he's got to be round in the girth, thinks he.
Peter, Peter! -- he does not stir, --
His nets are heavy with silver fish:
He reckons his gains, and is keen to infer,
"The broil on the shore, if the Lord should
wish, --
But the sturgeon goes to the Caesar's dish."
Peter, Peter, thou fisher of men,
Fisher of fish wouldst thou live instead, --
Haggling for pence with the other Ten,
Cheating the market at so much a head,
Griping the bag of the traitor dead?
At the triple crow of the Gallic cock
Thou weep'st not, thou, though thine eyes be
dazed:
What bird comes next in the tempest shock?
Vultures! See, -- as when Romulus gazed,
To inaugurate Rome for a world amazed!




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