Verse > Anthologies > George Herbert Clarke, ed. > A Treasury of War Poetry
George Herbert Clarke, ed. (1873–1953).  A Treasury of War Poetry.  1917.
33. Italy in Arms
By Clinton Scollard
OF all my dreams by night and day,
    One dream will evermore return,
The dream of Italy in May;
    The sky a brimming azure urn
    Where lights of amber brood and burn;        5
The doves about San Marco’s square,
    The swimming Campanile tower,
    The giants, hammering out the hour,
        The palaces, the bright lagoons,
The gondolas gliding here and there        10
        Upon the tide that sways and swoons.
The domes of San Antonio,
    Where Padua ’mid her mulberry-trees
Reclines; Adige’s crescent flow
    Beneath Verona’s balconies;        15
    Rich Florence of the Medicis;
Sienna’s starlike streets that climb
    From hill to hill; Assisi well
    Remembering the holy spell
        Of rapt St. Francis; with her crown        20
Of battlements, embossed by time,
        Stern old Perugia looking down.
Then, mother of great empires, Rome,
    City of the majestic past,
That o’er far leagues of alien foam        25
    The shadows of her eagles cast,
    Imperious still; impending, vast,
The Colosseum’s curving line;
    Pillar and arch and colonnade;
    St. Peter’s consecrated shade,        30
        And Hadrian’s tomb where Tiber strays;
The ruins on the Palatine
        With all their memories of dead days.
And Naples, with her sapphire arc
    Of bay, her perfect sweep of shore;        35
Above her, like a demon stark,
    The dark fire-mountain evermore
    Looming portentous, as of yore;
Fair Capri with her cliffs and caves;
    Salerno drowsing ’mid her vines        40
    And olives, and the shattered shrines
        Of Pæstum where the gray ghosts tread,
And where the wilding rose still waves
        As when by Greek girls garlanded.
But hark! What sound the ear dismays,        45
    Mine Italy, mine Italy?
Thou that wert wrapt in peace, the haze
    Of loveliness spread over thee!
    Yet since the grapple needs must be,
I who have wandered in the night        50
    With Dante, Petrarch’s Laura known,
    Seen Vallombrosa’s groves breeze-blown,
        Met Angelo and Raffael,
Against iconoclastic might
        In this grim hour must wish thee well!        55


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