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.
Rome Entered
Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)
THE LOUD vettura rings along the way,
White as the road with dust. The purple day
O’er Monte Mario dies from off the dome,
And, lo! the first star leads us into Rome.
O glorious city! Through the deepening shade        5
A thousand heroes, like the gods arrayed,
And bards, with laurel rustling on their hair,
Walk proudly, and speak grandly, till the air
Is full of solemn majesty, and night
Is half-way robbed by temples marble white.        10
Yon tramping steeds and yonder glittering wheel
Chariot a Cæsar, while the commonweal
Greets him with pæans, and we proudly march
On toward the Forum. The triumphal arch,
Burning with banners, and the murmuring street,        15
Deep strewn with roses, till the air is sweet
With floating odors. How the heralds blow
Their wild delirious trumpets, notes that go
Like swift flames soaring with the fiery tune,
Bursting from clarions blazing in the noon!        20
Whence come we? from what conquest? with what spoil?
Whence are these captives, bleeding as they toil
Under our load of trophies? Whips, and groans,
And blood, that shames the rose leaves on the stones
For depth of crimson! And the dew of tears        25
Blistering the noonday dust! O’ercome with years
And toil and grief, there drops the way-worn slave
Under the horses; and the conquering wave,
Above his carcass, pours its glorious flood
Down through the Forum in a path of blood,        30
Roaring with triumph! Do I wake or sleep?
Thank Heaven, ’t was but a dream; a ruined heap
The house of Cæsar and of Nero lies!
And o’er the golden wall the owlet nightly cries.

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