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And trace the smooth Clitumnus to his source,
To see the Mincio draw his watery store
Through the long windings of a fruitful shore,
And hoary Albula's infected tide
O'er the warm bed of smoking sulphur glide.
Fired with a thousand raptures, I survey
Eridamus through flowery meadows stray,
The king of floods! that, rolling o'er the plains,
The towering Alps of half their moisture drains,
And, proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows,
Distributes wealth and plenty where he flows.
Sometimes, misguided by the tuneful throng,
I look for streams immortalized in song,
That lost in silence and oblivion lie,
(Dumb are their fountains and their channels dry),
Yet run forever by the Muse's skill,
And in the smooth description murmur still.
Sometimes to gentle Tiber I retire,
And the famed river's empty shores admire,
That destitute of strength derives its course
From thrifty urns and an unfruitful source;
Yet sung so often in poetic lays,
With scorn the Danube and the Nile surveys.
See how the golden groves around me smile, That shun the coast of Britain's stormy isle, Or when transplanted and preserved with care, Curse the cold clime, and starve in northern air. Here kindly warmth their mounting juice ferments To nobler tastes and more exalted scents : Even the rough rocks with tender myrtle bloom,
And trodden weeds send out a rich perfume.
Bear me, some god, to Baia's gentle seats,
Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats;
Where western gales eternally reside,
And all the seasons lavish all their pride:
Blossoms and fruits and flowers together rise,
And the whole year in gay confusion lies.
AR to the right, where Apennine ascends,
Bright as the summer Italy extends.
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride;
While oft some temple's mouldering tops between
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blest.
Whatever fruits in different climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground;
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year:
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die,
These, here disporting, own the kindred soil,
Nor ask luxuriance from the planter's toil;
While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
Low in the dust; and we admire thee now
As we admire the beautiful in death.
Thine was a dangerous gift, when thou wert born,
The gift of Beauty. Would thou hadst it not;
Or wert as once, awing the caitiffs vile
That now beset thee, making thee their slave!
Would they had loved thee less, or feared thee more! -But why despair? Twice hast thou lived already; Twice shone among the nations of the world,
As the sun shines among the lesser lights
Of heaven; and shalt again. The hour shall come
When they who think to bind the ethereal spirit,
Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey,
Watch with quick eye, and strike and strike again
If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess
Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame
Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously,
And, dying, left a splendor like the day,
That like the day diffused itself, and still
Blesses the earth, the light of genius, virtue,
Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death,
LIKE on autumn evenings to ride out Without being forced to bid my groom be sure My cloak is round his middle strapped about, Because the skies are not the most secure ; I know, too, that if stopped upon my route, Where the green alleys windingly allure, Reeling with grapes red wagons choke the way, In England 't would be dung, dust, or a dray.
I also like to dine on becaficas,
To see the sun set, sure he'll rise to-morrow, Not through a misty morning twinkling weak as
A drunken man's dead eye in maudlin sorrow,
But with all heaven to himself; the day will break as
Beauteous as cloudless, nor be forced to borrow
That sort of farthing candlelight which glimmers
Where reeking London's smoky caldron simmers.
I love the language, that soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
With syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
That not a single accent seems uncouth,
Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural, Which we're obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.
I like the women too (forgive my folly),
From the rich peasant-cheek of ruddy bronze,
And large black eyes that flash on you a volley
Of rays that say a thousand things at once,
To the high dama's brow, more melancholy,
But clear, and with a wild and liquid glance,
Heart on her lips, and soul within her eyes,
Soft as her clime, and sunny as her skies.
NOREVER and forever shalt thou be
Unto the lover and the poet dear,
Thou land of sunlit skies and fountains clear,
Of temples, and gray columns, and waving woods,
And mountains, from whose rifts the bursting floods
Rush in bright tumult to the Adrian sea:
O thou romantic land of Italy!
Mother of painting and sweet sounds! though now
The laurels are all torn from off thy brow,
Yet, though the shape of Freedom now no more
May walk in beauty on thy piny shore,
Shall I, upon whose soul thy poets' lays,
And all thy songs and hundred stories, fell
Like dim Arabian charms, break the soft spell
That bound me to thee in mine earlier days?
Never, divinest Italy, thou shalt be
For aye the watchword of the heart to me.
Famous thou art, and shalt be through all time: Not that because thine iron children hurled Like arrows o'er the conquest-stricken world