Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ULTIMATE NATION, by RICHARD EUGENE BURTON



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THE ULTIMATE NATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Once babylon, by beauty tenanted
Last Line: She makes his ways her ways eternally?
Subject(s): Babylon; Death; Fate; God; Nations; Rome, Italy; Sin; Dead, The; Destiny


ONCE Babylon, by beauty tenanted,
In pleasure palaces and walks of pride,
Like a great scarlet flower reared her head,
Drank in the sun and laughed, and sinned and died.

Where Tyre and Sidon teemed with ships aload,
The wharves are idle and the waters lone;
And to the Temple that was His abode
In vain Jerusalem recalls her own.

Brooding the bygone from her sculptured seats,
In living rock her mighty memories hewn,
Along the Nile, wonder of water streets,
Old fertile Egypt is a stranger's boon.

Mark Athens, breathed upon by breath of gods,
With bards and sages to reveal her signs,
Leap like a flame above life's iron clods,
To fall in ashes upon vacant shrines.

And Rome, firm-founded in a wide emprise;
Her laws and legions, her imperial goal,
Avail not when her sometime honor dies,
Smothered in shows that kill the mounting soul.

Such names of pride and power have been brought low,
Lapsing alike into the cavernous years;
Out of the grayness of the long ago
Their ghosts flit homeless and we guess their tears.

The destiny of nations! They arise,
Have their heyday of triumph, and in turn
Sink into silence and the lidless eyes
Of fate salute them from their final urn.

How splendid-sad the story! How the gust
And pain and bliss of living transient seem.
Cities and pomps and glories shrunk to dust,
And all that ancient opulence a dream.

Must a majestic rhythm of rise and fall
Conquer the peoples once so proud on earth?
Does man but march in circles, after all,
Playing his curious game of death and birth?

Or shall an ultimate nation, God's own child,
Arise and rule, nor ever conquered be;
Untouched of time because, all undefiled,
She makes His ways her ways eternally?





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