Decline & Fall

course of empire
The Course of Empire: Destruction by Thomas Cole

 

Decline & Fall

The Romans faced decline, they say,
A hundred years or more,
Before the Goths stole Rome away,
All in one day.
It wasn’t just a day, of course,
With forces building at the core
Throughout the hundred years before.

So were there Romans in that fray
Who watched the turning of the tide,
The steady slide, the slow decay ?
And were they powerless to stay
The endless slump of getting worse,
The creeping curse, the seeping sore,
The gradual fade to grey ?

Or did they never smell the rot
They’d got ?  Perhaps too decadent,
Too drunk to see their own descent,
Too busy in the hay.
They maybe missed the skulking spore
Until the joists had given way,
And brought Rome to the floor.

But that was then.  We’ve surely learned
How Rome was burned from within as without:
The morals shine and loudly shout,
And history shall not be spurned.
And yet.., I sometimes look about
And wonder where we’ll be in, say,
A hundred years or more.

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