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.
 
Spezzia, the Gulf
The Feluca
Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)
 
(From Italy)

DAY glimmered; and beyond the precipice
(Which my mule followed as in love with fear,
Or as in scorn, yet more and more inclining
To tempt the danger where it menaced most)
A sea of vapor rolled. Methought we went        5
Along the utmost edge of this, our world,
And the next step had hurled us headlong down
Into the wild and infinite abyss;
But soon the surges fled, and we descried
Nor dimly, though the lark was silent yet,        10
Thy gulf, La Spezzia. Ere the morning-gun,
Ere the first day-streak, we alighted there;
And not a breath, a murmur! Every sail
Slept in the offing. Yet along the shore
Great was the stir; as at the noontide hour,        15
None unemployed. Where from its native rock
A streamlet, clear and full, ran to the sea,
The maidens knelt and sung as they were wont,
Washing their garments. Where it met the tide,
Sparkling and lost, an ancient pinnace lay        20
Keel upward, and the fagot blazed, the tar
Fumed from the caldron; while, beyond the fort,
Whither I wandered, step by step led on,
The fishers dragged their net, the fish within
At every heave fluttering and full of life,        25
At every heave striking their silver fins
’Gainst the dark meshes.
*        *        *        *        *
  At length the day departed, and the moon
Rose like another sun, illumining
Waters and woods and cloud-capt promontories,        30
Glades for a hermit’s cell, a lady’s bower,
Scenes of Elysium, such as night alone
Reveals below, nor often,—scenes that fled
As at the waving of a wizard’s wand,
And left behind them, as their parting gift,        35
A thousand nameless odors. All was still;
And now the nightingale her song poured forth
In such a torrent of heartfelt delight,
So fast it flowed, her tongue so voluble,
As if she thought her hearers would be gone        40
Ere half was told. ’T was where in the northwest,
Still unassailed and unassailable,
Thy pharos, Genoa, first displayed itself,
Burning in stillness on its craggy seat;
That guiding star so oft the only one,        45
When those now glowing in the azure vault
Are dark and silent. ’T was where o’er the sea
(For we were now within a cable’s length)
Delicious gardens hung; green galleries,
And marble terraces in many a flight,        50
And fairy arches flung from cliff to cliff,
Wildering, enchanting; and, above them all,
A palace, such as somewhere in the East,
In Zenastan or Araby the blest,
Among its golden groves and fruits of gold,        55
And fountains scattering rainbows in the sky,
Rose, when Aladdin rubbed the wondrous lamp,—
Such, if not fairer; and when we shot by,
A scene of revelry, in long array
As with the radiance of the setting sun,        60
The windows blazing. But we now approached
A city far-renowned; and wonder ceased.
 
 
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