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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN ITALY

VII

AT ROME

I have a private interest in this Sonnet, for I doubt whether it would ever have been written but for the lively picture given me by Anna Ricketts of what they had witnessed of the indignation and sorrow expressed by some Italian noblemen of their acquaintance upon the surrender, which circumstances had obliged them to make, of the best portion of their family mansions to strangers.

THEY--who have seen the noble Roman's scorn
Break forth at thought of laying down his head,
When the blank day is over, garreted
In his ancestral palace, where, from morn
To night, the desecrated floors are worn
By feet of purse-proud strangers; they--who have read
In one meek smile, beneath a peasant's shed,
How patiently the weight of wrong is borne;
They--who have heard some learned Patriot treat
Of freedom, with mind grasping the whole theme
From ancient Rome, downwards through that bright dream
Of Commonwealths, each city a starlike seat
Of rival glory; they--fallen Italy--
Nor must, nor will, nor can, despair of Thee!