Roman artifacts

Shards of pottery, statues with broken noses, chipped columns, fallen fragments of a frieze, are only crumbling bones of a man who owned a helmet and commanded a legion, now dead, corroded, and lost.

Roman Antiquities

— by William Wordsworth

How profitless the relics that we cull, Troubling the last holds of ambitious Rome, Unless they chasten fancies that presume Too high, or idle agitations lull! Of the world’s flatteries if the brain be full, Like this old helmet, or the eyeless skull Of him who gloried in its nodding plume. Heaven out of view, our wishes what are they? Our fond regrets tenacious in their grasp? The Sage’s theory? the Poet’s lay? Mere Fibulae without a robe to clasp; Obsolete lamps, whose light no time recalls; Urns without ashes, tearless lacrymals!