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Caesar's Rome
by Swami Krishnananda

To skies o'er Rome you soared on gaieties day.
On throne you sat and down you looked on man
As chattels herd on whom to rain your might.
Silver and gold and all of passion's meat
Belongs to you, the king of kings, you thought.
And javelin, swords and spears kept you safe.
You ate and drank and slept and cuddled soft,
And ruled the earth with thud of power's feet.

The nineteen mouths of Psyche's dragon opened,
And joy's relief did fatten through that feast.
You gazed with cruel sight the lion's rip
The hapless folk that took the name of God –
The god of Caesar, and not Caesar's crown.
In song and dance and repast of the touch,
Of tactile sense and fragrances of flowers,
In banquets regaling the rout of taste,
The majesty that robed Hadrian's throne,
Of Trojans and all Antinoüs in mirth,
Which earth aloft did hold as monarchy,
Brought heaven down, which gods all vied above.

Romans were chosen by the angel's law,
And slaves condemned to less than human ilk.
To grind and yoke and toil and sweat throughout,
To pamper Eden Augustus begot,
So Rome did think in vainglorious pride.
But forgot you the poet's wise dictum:
The path of glory leads but to the grave.