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.
Milan Cathedral
Henry Glassford Bell (1803–1874)
O PEERLESS church of old Milan,
  How brightly thou com’st back to me,
With all thy minarets and towers,
  And sculptured marbles fair to see!
With all thy airy pinnacles        5
  So white against the cloudless blue;
With all thy richly storied panes,
  And mellowed sunlight streaming through.
O lovely church of loved Milan,
  Can sadness with thy brightness blend?        10
Lo! moving down that high-arched aisle,
  Those mourners for an absent friend.
In every hand a lighted torch,
  Above the dead a sable pall,
On every face a look that tells,        15
  She was the best beloved of all.
And low and faint the funeral chant
  Subdued the pealing organ’s tone,
As past the altars of her faith
  They slow and silent hear her on.        20
O holy church of proud Milan,
  A simpler tomb enshrines for me
The one I loved, who never stood
  As now I stand to gaze on thee.
Yet all I see perchance she sees,        25
  And chides not the unbidden tear,
That flows to think how vain the wish,
  My life’s companion, thou wert here!
O solemn church of gay Milan,
  I owe that pensive hour to thee;        30
And oft may sacred sadness dwell
  Within my soul to temper glee!
Those airy pinnacles that shine
  So white against the dark blue sky,
Ascend from tranquil vaults where bones        35
  Which wait the resurrection lie!

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