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Poetry: History

 

Theodoric's Curse

Ungrateful land, that has requited
my nurturance with treason,
the effeminate defiance of flabby men
who flinch from the sword for
the base safety of betrayal.

You claim allegiance to the Emperor?
Who knows better than I the chasm
which gapes between Rome and
Constantinople?  Was it from the Greeks
I bought your grain, or the stone
for churches and temples?
Was it from the East that titles flowed
to adorn you bellies like baubles
put on for procession?
                         No.
From thence issued heresies, and I,
heretic myself, protected you from
upheaval and degeneration,
fostered tolerance and learning,
fattening you on the last days of
your prosperity, and sending
my daughters abroad to purchase for
your sons peace, and senility.

                                Now,
at the last, you would rise against me.
So be it:    but there will be no other,
hereafter, to strengthen your
crumbling walls, or make again a race
worthy to be called Romans.
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