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.
Close of Our Summer at Frascati
Frances Anne Kemble (1809–1893)
THE END is come: in thunder and wild rain
Autumn has stormed the golden house of Summer.
She, going, lingers yet,—sweet glances throwing
Of kind farewell upon the land she loves
And leaves. No more the sunny landscape glows        5
In the intense, uninterrupted light
And splendor of transparent, cloudless skies;
No more the yellow plain its tawny hue
Of sunburnt ripeness wears; even at noon
Thick watery veils fall on the mountain-ranges,        10
And the white sun-rays, with pale slanting brushes,
Paint rainbows on the leaden-colored storms.
Through milky, opal clouds the lightning plays,
Visible presence of that hidden power,—
Mysterious soul of the great universe,        15
Whose secret force runs in red human veins,
And in the glaring white veins of the tempest;
Uplifts the hollow earth, the shifting sea;
Makes stormy reformations in the sky,
Sweeping, with searching besoms of sharp winds,        20
The foul and stagnant chambers of the air,
Where the thick, heavy summer vapors slumber;
And, working in the sap of all still-growth,
In moonlight nights, unfolding leaves and blossoms,—
Of all created life the vital element        25
Appearing still in fire,—whether in the sea,
When its blue waves turn up great swathes of stars;
Or in the glittering, sparkling winter ice-world;
Or in the flickering white and crimson flames
That leap in the northern sky; or in the sparks        30
Of love or hate that flash in human eyes.
Lo, now, from day to day and hour to hour
Broad verdant shadows grow upon the land,
Cooling the burning landscape; while the clouds,
Disputing with the sun his heaven-dominion,        35
Checker the hillsides with fantastic shadows.
The glorious unity of light is gone,
The triumph of those bright and boundless skies;
Where, through all visible space, the eye met nothing
Save infinite brightness,—glory infinite.        40
No more at evening does the sun dissolve
Into a heaving sea of molten gold,
While over it a heaven of molten gold
Panted, with light and heat intensely glowing,
While to the middle height of the pure ether,        45
One deepening sapphire from the amber spreads.
Now trains of melancholy, gorgeous clouds,
Like mourners at an emperor’s funeral,
Gather round the down-going of the sun;
Dark splendid curtains, with great golden fringes,        50
Shut up the day; masses of crimson glory,
Pale lakes of blue, studded with fiery islands,
Bright golden bars, cold peaks of slaty rock,
Mountains of fused amethyst and copper,
Fierce flaming eyes, with black o’erhanging brows,        55
Light floating curls of brown and golden hair,
And rosy flushes, like warm dreams of love,
Make rich and wonderful the dying day,
That, like a wounded dolphin, on the shore
Of night’s black waves, dies in a thousand glories.        60
These are the very clouds that now put out
The serene beauty of the summer heavens.
The autumn sun hath virtue yet, to make
Right royal hangings for his sky-tent of them;
But, as the days wear on, and he grows faint        65
And pale and colorless, these are the clouds
That, like cold shrouds, shall muffle up the year,
Shut out the lovely blue, and draw round all—
Plain, hill, and sky—one still, chill wintry gray.
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