Roman Elegies I
Tell me you stones, O speak, you towering palaces!
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Streets, say a word! Spirit of this place, are you dumb?
All things are alive in your sacred walls
eternal Rome, only for me all’s still.
Who will whisper to me, at what window
will I see the sweet thing who will kindle me, and quicken?
Already I guess the ways, walking to her and from her,
ever and always I’ll go, while sweet time slips by.
I’m gazing at church and palace, ruin and column,
like a serious man making sensible use of a journey,
but soon it will happen, and all will be one vast temple,
Love’s temple, receiving its new initiate.
Though you are a whole world, Rome, still, without Love,
the world’s not the world, Rome cannot be Rome.