Two thousand years these temples have been old.
Yet were they not more lovely the first day,
When o'er yon hills the young light blushed and lay
Along the tapering columns, and eve's gold
Over the Tyrrhene sea in glory rolled.
By power of truth, by beauty's royal sway,
While men, and creeds, and kingdoms pass away,
Their gift to charm and awe they calmly hold.
Beauty and truth! by that high grace divine
They force the tribute of the vassal years;
Clouds gloom, the blue wave dimples, the stars shine
To make them fairer; even Time that tears
And shames all other things, here can but bless
And beautify this crumbling loveliness.

by John Hay

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