Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
Descriptive Poems: III. Places
Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)
From “Italy”

  THIS region, surely, is not of the earth.
Was it not dropt from heaven? Not a grove,
Citron or pine or cedar, not a grot
Sea-worn and mantled with the gadding vine,
But breathes enchantment. Not a cliff but flings        5
On the clear wave some image of delight,
Some cabin-roof glowing with crimson flowers,
Some ruined temple or fallen monument,
To muse on as the bark is gliding by,
And be it mine to muse there, mine to glide,        10
From daybreak, when the mountain pales his fire
Yet more and more, and from the mountain-top,
Till then invisible, a smoke ascends,
Solemn and slow, as erst from Ararat,
When he, the Patriarch, who escaped the Flood,        15
Was with his household sacrificing there,—
From daybreak to that hour, the last and best,
When, one by one, the fishing-boats come forth,
Each with its glimmering lantern at the prow,
And, when the nets are thrown, the evening hymn        20
Steals o’er the trembling waters.
Fable and Truth have shed, in rivalry,
Each her peculiar influence. Fable came,
And laughed and sung, arraying Truth in flowers,
Like a young child her grandam. Fable came;        25
Earth, sea, and sky reflecting, as she flew,
A thousand, thousand colors not their own:
And at her bidding, lo! a dark descent
To Tartarus, and those thrice happy fields,
Those fields with ether pure and purple light        30
Ever invested, scenes by him described
Who here was wont to wander and record
What they revealed, and on the western shore
Sleeps in a silent grove, o’erlooking thee,
Beloved Parthenope.
                    Yet here, methinks,
Truth wants no ornament, in her own shape
Filling the mind by turns with awe and love,
By turns inclining to wild ecstasy
And soberest meditation.

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