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.
The Vaudois Valleys
Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)
YES! thou hast met the sun’s last smile
  From the haunted hills of Rome;
By many a bright Ægean isle
  Thou hast seen the billows foam.
From the silence of the Pyramid,        5
  Thou hast watched the solemn flow
Of the Nile, that with its waters hid
  The ancient realm below.
Thy heart hath burned, as shepherds sung
  Some wild and warlike strain,        10
Where the Moorish horn once proudly rung
  Through the pealing hills of Spain.
And o’er the lonely Grecian streams
  Thou hast heard the laurels moan,
With a sound yet murmuring in thy dreams        15
  Of the glory that is gone.
But go thou to the pastoral vales
  Of the Alpine mountains old,
If thou wouldst hear immortal tales
  By the wind’s deep whispers told!        20
Go, if thou lov’st the soil to tread
  Where man hath nobly striven,
And life, like incense, hath been shed,
  An offering unto Heaven.
For o’er the snows and round the pines        25
  Hath swept a noble flood;
The nurture of the peasant’s vines
  Hath been the martyr’s blood!
A spirit stronger than the sword
  And loftier than despair,        30
Through all the heroic region poured,
  Breathes in the generous air.
A memory clings to every steep
  Of long-enduring faith,
And the sounding streams glad record keep        35
  Of courage unto death.
Ask of the peasant where his sires
  For truth and freedom bled;
Ask where were lit the torturing fires,
  Where lay the holy dead;        40
And he will tell thee, all around,
  On fount and turf and stone,
Far as the chamois’ foot can bound,
  Their ashes have been sown!
Go, when the Sabbath bell is heard        45
  Up through the wilds to float,
When the dark old woods and caves are stirred
  To gladness by the note;
When forth, along their thousand rills,
  The mountain people come,        50
Join thou their worship on those hills
  Of glorious martyrdom.
And while the song of praise ascends,
  And while the torrent’s voice,
Like the swell of many an organ, blends,        55
  Then let thy soul rejoice.
Rejoice, that human hearts, through scorn,
  Through shame, through death, made strong,
Before the rocks and heavens have borne
  Witness of God so long!        60

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