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.
 
Rome, Churches of
St. John Lateran
Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829–1925)
 
OF temples built by mortal hands,
  Give honor to the Lateran first;
’T was here the hope of many lands—
  The infant Church was nursed:
 
And grew unto a great estate,        5
  And waxed strong in grace and power,
With Christ for head and faithful mate,
  And learning for her dower.
 
Since first this house to him was raised,
  Three times five hundred years have run;        10
For this let Constantine be praised,
  An English mother’s son!
 
He with his own imperial sword
  Did dig foundations broad and deep,
That henceforth in his hand the Lord        15
  Rome and her hills should keep.
 
In after ages, one by one,
  Arose the altars vowed to Heaven;
Each crest is sacred now, but none
  Like this of all the Seven!        20
 
Behold she stands! The Mother Church!
  A queen among her countless peers!
Ah! open be that sacred porch
  For thrice five hundred years!
 
 
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