Humble Beginnings

Why, Rome was naked once, a bastard smudge,
Tumbled on straw, the denfellow of whelps,
Fattened on roots, and, when a-thirst for milk,
He crept beneath and drank the swagging udder
Of Tyber’s brave she-wolf; and Heaven’s Judea
Was folded in a pannier.

[Kelsall, 1851]