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.
Tiber, the River
The Tiber
Virgil (70–19 B.C.)
(From Æneid, Book VII)
Translated by C. P. Cranch

THE SEA was flushing in the morning’s rays,
And from the ethereal heights Aurora’s car
With rose and saffron gleamed; when suddenly
The winds were stilled, and every breath of air,
And the oars struggled through the sluggish sea.        5
And here Æneas from the deep descries
A spacious grove. Through this the Tiber pours
His smiling waves along, with rapid whirls,
And yellow sand, and bursts into the sea.
And all around and overhead were birds        10
Of various hues, accustomed to the banks
And river-bed; from tree to tree they flew,
Soothing the air with songs. Then to the land
He bids the crews direct the vessels’ prows,
And joyfully the shadowy river gains.
*        *        *        *        *
All through that night the Tiber calmed his flood,
And, ebbing backward, stood with tranquil waves,
Smoothing its surface like a placid lake,
That without struggling oars the ships might glide.
So on their way they speed with joyous shouts.        20
Along the waters slip the well-tarred keels;
The waves with wonder gaze, and from afar
The woods, unused to such a sight, admire
Upon the stream the heroes’ glittering shields
And painted vessels. Night and day their oars        25
They ply, pass the long bending river’s curves;
And through green shades of overhanging trees
They pierce, along the tranquil waters borne.
The fiery sun had reached his noonday height,
When from afar they see a citadel,        30
And walls, and scattered houses here and there;
Which now Rome matches with the skies, but then
Evander’s small and humble town. Then swift
They turn their prows, and near the city’s walls.

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