Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
Apennines, The
The Ascent of the Apennines
Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)
THE PLAINS recede; the olives dwindle:
  The ilex and chestnut are left behind:
The skirts of the billowy pinewoods kindle
  In the evening lights and the wind.
Not here we sigh for the Alpine glory        5
  Of peak primeval and death-pale snow:
Not here for the cold green, and glacier hoary,
  Or the blue caves that yawn below.
The landscape here is mature and mellow;
Fruit-like, not flower-like;—long hills embrowned;        10
Gradations of violet purple and yellow
  From flushed stream to ridge church-crowned:
’T is a region of mystery, hushed and sainted:
  As still as the dreams of those artists old
When the thoughts of Dante his Giotto painted:—        15
  The summit is reached! Behold!
Like a sky condensed lies the lake far down;
  It curves like the orbit of some fair planet!
  A fire-wreath falls on the cliffs that frown
  Above it,—dark walls of granite!        20
Thick-set, like an almond tree newly budded,
The hillsides with homesteads and hamlets glow:
With convent towers are the red rocks studded,
  With villages zoned below.
Down drops by the island’s woody shores        25
The bannered barge with its rhythmic oars.
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