Imperial Inscriptions       

 
Pompey

 

Observe this sometime famous general dead;

Caesar he might have been but kept his head:

Had he but lost it once before instead,

Caesar had shifted from his laurel bed.

 

Augustus

 

The grace is Greek, the risky, stance superb,

As, like a charioteer, he bends to curb

Rome and the Senate with a sparkling threat;

Then rounds the circus without one upset.

 

Marcus Aurelius

 

If only to be good were good enough;

But always there is one thing wanting – love;

He rules with justice, writes his frigid thoughts,

And, Stoic, skips the crosses for the noughts.

 

Julian the Apostate

 

Here gentle Julian lies, who fought with God:

Even the Pagans found his ardour odd.

One hand flung out, and like a child is curled

This god-forsaken emperor of the world.

 

Alaric

 

So long foretold, a thousand years held back:

Now the dumb Senate waits in robes of black

For one as silent, who with grief comes home -

The Gothic phoenix to the fires of Rome.