by Joachim du Bellay
Du Bellay (1522-1560) spent four years at the Vatican with his uncle, the Cardinal Jean du Bellay. His feelings about Rome are expressed in this sonnet, on the theme of sic transit gloria mundi. The 20th-century poet Ezra Pound matches him at almost every turn.
Nouveau venu, qui cherches Rome en Rome
Vois quel orgueil, quelle ruine et comme
Rome de Rome est le seul monument,
Reste de Rome. O mondaine inconstance !
— Joachim Du Bellay,
O thou newcomer who seek’st Rome in Rome
Behold how pride and ruin can befall
Rome that art Rome’s one sole last monument,
Remains of Rome. O world, thou unconstant mime!
— Ezra Pound