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, Hills of
The Cœlian Hill
Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829–1925)
OF all the seven which Rome doth boast,
  (Fair hills and nobly crowned!)
I love the Cœlian Hill the most,
  And think it holy ground.
’T was here the deacon Laurence died,        5
  And here was Gregory’s cell;
The heart by honors sorely tried
  Remembered it right well;—
And as his pious envoys bore
  The British cross on high,        10
He, like a sailor turned from shore,
  Looked backward with a sigh,
And though he held within his hand
  The Church from east to west,
He thought of all the Christian land        15
  This Cœlian Hill the best.
I cannot tell, I know not why,
  But Rome from hence doth wear
Peculiar brightness in the sky
  And beauty in the air.        20
A dreamy light is in the trees,
  The winding walks are still,
And quietly the perfumed breeze
  Creeps o’er the Cœlian Hill.
As tranquil convents faintly chime        25
  The passing hours of prayer,
They give the only hints that time
  Has marked its progress there.
The martyr’s home, the saint’s retreat,
  Have filled the place with rest,        30
The centuries with silent feet
  Have touched its leafy crest;
And Gregory, rising from his sleep,
  Himself would scarcely know
That past of his was buried deep        35
  A thousand years ago!

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