Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
III. A Moment of Dread in Modern Pompeii
By Charles Strong
 
I NEVER with such horror stood aghast,
  As when, in lone Pompeii’s silent street,
  I felt thy mighty pulse, Vesuvius, beat,
  And from thy jaws saw burst the fiery blast.
Thunders were loud, and smoke in columns vast        5
  Mantled the air with darkness, and strange heat
  Warned the sad peasant from his vine-clad seat,
  As down the fruitful slope the red stream passed.
I feared lest might return that dreadful hour,
  When to their gods for help the people ran,        10
  And there was none, in temple, nor in tower:
And to my vision came the enthusiast man,
  Who perished in the breath of that foul shower,
  Nature’s dread secrets obstinate to scan. 1
 
Note 1. The elder Pliny. [back]
 
 
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