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 Falls of Terni
John Edmund Reade (1800–1870)
(From Italy)

  A GORGE cleft through the mountain’s mighty heart:
  Volcanic throes within her breast we hear,
  Or pent-up winds, or earth’s spasmodic start?
  No, ’t is the cleaving Terni’s wild career;
  On, where yon clouds like shrouded giants rear        5
  Their shapes in azure distance, while the swell
  Of the strife gathering on the startled ear
  The sounds of their eternal conflict tell,
Loud as o’er distant storms the thunder’s sinking knell.
  Lo! hurrying on enwreathed in mist and foam,        10
  His robes caught upward in delirious flight,
  Velino rushes from his mountain home,
  In beauty and in terror, from yon height
  One desperate bound hath hurled him, flashing might
  And wrath and madness from his skyey throne        15
  Shot like a flying minister of light;
  High o’er the whirlpool wreck his crown is shown
Forever hovering there in glittering state alone;
  A glory haloing his ruin; there
  Tortured and writhing in the abyss he lies,        20
  Yet on his shivered forehead he doth bear
  The flickering hues and light of his lost skies;
  Behold in eddying wreaths how o’er him rise
  The smoke, the reek, the steam of his wild breath,
  And the gleam flashed forth from his arrowy eyes,        25
  How lend they darkening ’gainst the mountain heath,
A horror to the scene, that war of life and death!

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