Ruins in Rome are four a penny, And here along the Appian Way I see the monuments of many Esteemed almighty in their day. . . . Or so he makes me understand - My glib guide of the rubber bus, And tells me with a gesture grand: "Behold! the tomb of Romulus."
Whereat I stared with eyes of awe, And yet a whit dismayed was I, When on its crumbling wall I saw A washing hanging out to dry; Yea, that relict of slow decay, With peristyle and gnarly frieze, Was garnished with a daft display Of bifurcation and chemise.
But as we went our Southward way Another ruin soon I saw; No antique tower, gaunt and grey, But modern manor rubbled raw; And on its sill a maiden sat, And told me in a tone of rue: It was your allied bombs did that . . . But do not think we're blaming you."
Thought I: Time is more kind than we Who blot out beauty with a blow; And truly it was sad to see A gracious mansion levelled low . . . While moulderings of ancient Rome Still serve the peasants for their swine, We do not leave a lovely home A wall to hang a washing line.