Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Italy
By Edward Coate Pinkney (1802–1828)
 
KNOW’ST 1 thou the land which lovers ought to choose?
Like blessings there descend the sparkling dews;
In gleaming streams the crystal rivers run,
The purple vintage clusters in the sun;
Odors of flowers haunt the balmy breeze,        5
Rich fruits hang high upon the verdant trees;
And vivid blossoms gem the shady groves
Where bright-plumed birds discourse their careless loves.
Beloved!—speed we from this sullen strand
Until thy light feet press that green shore’s yellow sand.        10
 
Look seaward thence, and nought shall meet thine eye
But fairy isles like paintings on the sky;
And, flying fast and free before the gale,
The gaudy vessel with its glancing sail;
And waters glittering in the glare of noon,        15
Or flecked with broken lines of crimson light
When the far fisher’s fire affronts the night.
Lovely as loved! towards that smiling shore
Bear we our household gods, to fix for ever more.
 
It looks a dimple on the face of earth,        20
The seal of beauty, and the shrine of mirth;
Nature is delicate and graceful there,
The place of genius, feminine and fair;
The winds are awed, nor dare to breathe aloud;
The air seems never to have borne a cloud,        25
Save where volcanoes send to heaven their curled
And solemn smokes, like altars of the world.
Thrice beautiful! to that delightful spot
Carry our married hearts, and be all pain forgot.
 
There Art, too, shows, when Nature’s beauty palls,        30
Her sculptured marbles, and her pictured walls;
And there are forms in which they both conspire
To whisper themes that know not how to tire:
The speaking ruins in that gentle clime
Have but been hallowed by the hand of Time,        35
And each can mutely prompt some thought of flame
—The meanest stone is not without a name.
Then come, beloved!—hasten o’er the sea
To build our happy hearth in blooming Italy.
 
Note 1. Pinkney, son of the late Hon. William Pinkney, of Baltimore, was born in London, in October, 1802, while his father was minister of the United States at the court of St James. He passed his infancy in England, and on the return of his father to this country, he was placed as a student in Baltimore College, at the age of ten or eleven. Two or three years after this, he obtained the post of midshipman in the United States navy. In this station he continued nine years, visiting in the course of his service, various parts of the globe. On the death of his father he quitted the navy, and devoted himself to the practice of the law. He died in 1828. His volume of poems was published in 1825. [back]
 
 
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