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.
Appendix: Tortona
Giovanni Battista Niccolini (1782–1861)
(From Arnaldo da Bescia)
Translated by W. D. Howells

                A HEAP of ashes now
Crowneth the hill where once Tortona stood;
And, drunken with her blood and with her wine,
Fallen there amidst her spoil upon the dead
Slept the wild beasts of Germany: like ghosts        5
Dim wandering through the darkness of the night,
Those that were left by famine and the sword
Hidden within the heart of thy dim caverns,
Desolate city! rose and turned their steps
Noiselessly towards compassionate Milan.        10
Thither they bore their swords and hopes! I see
A thousand heroes born from the example
Tortona gave. O city, if I could,
O sacred city! upon thy ruins fall
Reverently, and take them in mine arms,        15
The relics of thy brave I ’d gather up
In precious urns, and from the altars here
In days of battle offer to be kissed.

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