Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Mantua
The Apothecary
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 

I DO remember an apothecary—
And hereabouts he dwells—whom late I noted
In tattered weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples. Meagre were his looks;
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones;        5
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff’d, and other skins
Of ill-shap’d fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders, and musty seeds,        10
Remnants of packthread, and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter’d to make up a show.
Noting this penury, to myself I said,
And if a man did need a poison now—
Whose sale is present death in Mantua—        15
Here lives a caitiff wretch would sell it him.
O, this same thought did but forerun my need;
And this same needy man must sell it me.
As I remember, this should be the house;
Being holiday, the beggar’s shop is shut.—        20
What, ho! apothecary!
 
 
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