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.
 
Thrasimene, the Lake
Lines Written at the Village of Passignano, on the Lake of Thrasimene
Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)
 
THE MOUNTAINS stand about the quiet lake,
That not a breath its azure calm may break;
No leaf of these sere olive-trees is stirred,
In the near silence far-off sounds are heard;
The tiny bat is flitting overhead;        5
The hawthorn doth its richest odors shed
Into the dewy air; and over all,
Veil after veil, the evening shadows fall,
Withdrawing one by one each glimmering height,
The far, and then the nearer, from our sight,—        10
No sign surviving in this tranquil scene,
That strife and savage tumult here have been.
 
  But if the pilgrim to the latest plain
Of carnage, where the blood like summer rain
Fell but the other day,—if in his mind        15
He marvels much and oftentimes to find
With what success has Nature each sad trace
Of man’s red footmarks labored to efface,—
What wonder, if this spot we tread appears
Guiltless of strife, when now two thousand years        20
Of daily reparation have gone by,
Since it resumed its own tranquillity?
This calm has nothing strange, yet not the less
This holy evening’s solemn quietness,
The perfect beauty of this windless lake,        25
This stillness which no harsher murmurs break
Than the frogs croaking from the distant sedge,
These vineyards dressed unto the water’s edge,
This hind that homeward driving the slow steer
Tells how man’s daily work goes forward here,        30
Have each a power upon me while I drink
The influence of the placid time, and think
How gladly that sweet Mother once again
Resumes her sceptre and benignant reign,
But for a few short instants scared away        35
By the mad game, the cruel, impious fray
Of her distempered children,—how comes back,
And leads them in the customary track
Of blessing once again; to order brings
Anew the dislocated frame of things,        40
And covers up, and out of sight conceals
What they have wrought of ill, or gently heals.
 
 
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