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.
The Old Man of Verona
Claudian (c. 370–c. 404)
Translated by C. A. Elton

BLEST is the man who in his father’s fields
Has past an age of quiet. The same roof
That screened his cradle yields a shelter now
To his gray hairs. He leans upon a staff
Where as a child he crept along the ground,        5
And in one cottage he has numbered o’er
A length of years. Him fortune has not drawn
Into her whirl of strange vicissitudes;
Nor has he drunk, with ever-changing home,
From unknown rivers. Never on the deep,        10
A merchant, has he trembled at the storm;
Nor, as a soldier, started at the blare
Of trumpets; nor endured the noisy strife
Of the hoarse-clamoring bar: of the great world
Simply unconscious. To the neighboring town        15
A stranger, he enjoys the free expanse
Of open heaven. The old man marks his year,
Not by the names of consuls, but computes
Time by his various crops: by apples notes
The autumn; by the blooming flower the spring.        20
From the same field he sees his daily sun
Go down, and lift again its reddening orb;
And, by his own contracted universe,
The rustic measures the vast light of day.
He well remembers that broad massive oak        25
An acorn; and has seen the grove grow old,
Coeval with himself. Verona seems
To him more distant than the swarthy Ind:
He deems the lake Benacus like the shores
Of the red gulf. But his a vigor hale        30
And unabated: he has now outlived
Three ages; though a grandsire, green in years,
With firm and sinewy arms. The traveller
May roam to farthest Spain: he more has known
Of earthly space; the old man more of life.        35

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.