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.
 
Syracuse
Syracuse
Homer (fl. 850 B.C.)
 
(From The Odyssey, Book V)
Translated by W. C. Bryant

BUT when he reached that island, far away,
Forth from the dark-blue ocean-swell he stepped
Upon the sea-beach, walking till he came
To the vast cave in which the bright-haired nymph
Made her abode. He found the nymph within;        5
A fire blazed brightly on the hearth, and far
Was wafted o’er the isle the fragrant smoke
Of cloven cedar, burning in the flame,
And cypress-wood. Meanwhile, in her recess,
She sweetly sang, as busily she threw        10
The golden shuttle through the web she wove.
And all about the grotto alders grew,
And poplars, and sweet-smelling cypresses.
In a green forest, high among whose boughs
Birds of broad wing, wood-owls, and falcons built        15
Their nests, and crows, with voices sounding far,
All haunting for their food the ocean-side,
A vine, with downy leaves and clustering grapes,
Crept over all the cavern rock. Four springs
Poured forth their glittering waters in a row,        20
And here and there went wandering side by side.
Around were meadows of soft green, o’ergrown
With violets and parsley. ’T was a spot
Where even an immortal might awhile
Linger, and gaze with wonder and delight.        25
 
 
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