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.
 
Arquà
Petrarch’s Tomb
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

  THERE is a tomb in Arqua;—reared in air,
  Pillared in their sarcophagus, repose
  The bones of Laura’s lover; here repair
  Many familiar with his well-sung woes,
  The pilgrims of his genius. He arose        5
  To raise a language, and his land reclaim
  From the dull yoke of her barbaric foes;
  Watering the tree which bears his lady’s name
With his melodious tears, he gave himself to fame.
 
  They keep his dust in Arqua, where he died;        10
  The mountain-village where his latter days
  Went down the vale of years; and ’t is their pride,—
  An honest pride,—and let it be their praise,
  To offer to the passing stranger’s gaze
  His mansion and his sepulchre; both plain        15
  And venerably simple, such as raise
  A feeling more accordant with his strain
Than if a pyramid formed his monumental fame.
 
  And the soft hamlet where he dwelt
  Is one of that complexion which seems made        20
  For those who their mortality have felt,
  And sought a refuge from their hopes decayed
  In the deep umbrage of a green hill’s shade,
  Which shows a distant prospect far away
  Of busy cities, now in vain displayed,        25
  For they can lure no further; and the ray
Of a bright sun can make sufficient holiday,
 
  Developing the mountains, leaves, and flowers,
  And shining in the brawling brook, whereby,
  Clear as its current, glide the sauntering hours        30
  With a calm languor, which, though to the eye
  Idlesse it seem, hath its morality.
  If from society we learn to live,
  ’T is solitude should teach us how to die;
  It hath no flatterers; vanity can give        35
No hollow aid; alone man with his God must strive.
 
 
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