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.
HANDSOME Naples girl!
With the distaff in your hand,
Whose silver flax threads curl
Like the white waves on the sand;
In this narrow, dingy street,        5
On the dark and steep hillside,
In this hovel, can such sweet
And romantic beauty hide?
Spinning through the sunny day,
Underneath the old church-tower,        10
The waves of Naples Bay
Have not nursed a fairer flower.
You will ne’er that bay forget
Wheresoe’er you may be borne;
It sparkles in your eye of jet,        15
Its pride is in your scorn.
Singing down the narrow street,
In the sultry, silent hours,
Unconsciously your naked feet
Tread on shells and withered flowers:        20
Every day the picture fair,
For which distant poets sigh,
Is drawn upon the summer air,
Before your careless eye.
And you watch the sails that bask        25
In the sunshine, as they go,
But your fancy will not ask
Of your future’s weal or woe,
More than of the distant port
To which drift those fading sails,        30
Or if the voyage be long or short,
Or calm, or vexed with gales.
Handsome Naples girl!
In the dark street high and lone,
While the waves below you sweep and curl,        35
You shall be wooed and won.
In long tribes of fishermen,
Shall float on Naples bay
The blood that crimsons the brown cheek
I look upon to-day.        40

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