The poem opens with the words Vicisti, Galilæe, Latin for "You have conquered, O Galilean," the apocryphal Last words of the Emperor Julian. He had tried to reverse the official endorsement of Christianity by the Roman Empire. The poem is cast in the form of a lament by a person professing the paganism of classical antiquity and lamenting its passing, and expresses regret at the rise of Christianity. Lines 35 and 36 express this best:
The line "Time and the Gods are at strife" inspired the title of Lord Dunsany's Time and the Gods.