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Like ballad-burden music, kept,
As on the Lariano crept
To that fair port below the castle
Of Queen Theodolind, where we slept;
Or hardly slept, but watched awake
A cypress in the moonlight shake,
The moonlight touching o'er a terrace One tall agavè above the lake.
What more? we took our last adieu,
And up the snowy Splugen drew,
But ere we reached the highest summit I plucked a daisy, I gave it you.
It told of England then to me,
And now it tells of Italy.
O love, we two shall go no longer
To lands of summer across the sea;
So dear a life your arms enfold
Whose crying is a cry for gold:
Yet here to-night in this dark city,
When ill and weary, alone and cold,
I found, though crushed to hard and dry, This nursling of another sky
Still in the little book you lent me, And where you tenderly laid it by:
And I forgot the clouded Forth,
The gloom that saddens heaven and earth,
The bitter east, the misty summer
And gray metropolis of the North.
Perchance to lull the throbs of pain,
Perchance to charm a vacant brain,
Perchance to dream you still beside me,
My fancy fled to the South again.
The darling of the earth,
the treasury, piled
With reveries of gentle ladies, flung
Aside, like ravelled silk, from life's worn stuff, -
With coins of scholars' fancy, which, being rung
On workday counter, still sound silver-proof,
In short, with all the dreams of dreamers young,
Before their heads have time for slipping off
Hope's pillow to the ground. How oft, indeed,
We all have sent our souls out from the north,
On bare white feet which would not print nor bleed,
To climb the Alpine passes and look forth,
Where the low murmuring Lombard rivers lead
Their bee-like way to gardens almost worth
The sight which thou and I see afterward
From Tuscan Bellosguardo, wide awake,
When standing on the actual, blessed sward
Where Galileo stood at nights to take
The vision of the stars, we find it hard,
Gazing upon the earth and heaven, to make
A choice of beauty.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
LL is Italian here!—the orange grove,
Through whose cool shade we every morning rove
To pluck its glowing fruit; our villa white
With loggias broad, where far into the night
We sit and breathe the intoxicating air
With orange-blossoms filled, or free from care
In the cool shadow of the morning lie
And dream, and watch the lazy boats go by,
Laden with fruits for Naples, the soft gales
Swelling and straining in their lateen sails,
Or with their canvas hanging all adroop,
While the oars flash, and rowers rise and stoop.
Look at this broad, flat plain heaped full of trees,
With here and there a villa, these blue seas
Whispering below the sheer cliffs on the shore,
These ochre mountains bare or olived o'er,
The road that clings to them along the coast,
The arching viaducts, the thick vines tost
From tree to tree, that swing with every breeze,
What can be more Italian than all these?
The streets, too, through whose narrow, dusty track
We ride in files, each on our donkey's back,
When evening's shadow o'er the high gray walls,
O'ertopped with oranges and olives, falls,
And at each corner 'neath its roof of tiles,
Hung with poor offerings, the Madonna smiles
In her rude shrine so picturesque with dirt.
Is this not Italy? Your nerves are hurt
By that expression, — dirt, - nay, then I see
You love not nature, art, nor Italy.
THROUGH THE ALPINE GATES.
SWEET it was, when, from that bleak abode
Where avalanches grind the pines to dust,
And crouching glaciers down the hollows thrust
Their glittering claws, I took the sunward road,
Making my guide the torrent, that before
My steps ran shouting, giddy with its joy,
And tossed its white hands like a gamesome boy,
And sprayed its rainbow frolics o'er and o'er!
Full-orbed, in rosy dusk, the perfect moon
That evening shone: the torrent's noise, afar,
No longer menaced, but with mellow tune
Sang to the twinkle of a silver star,
Above the opening valley. "Italy!”
The moon, the star, the torrent, said to me,
'Sleep thou in peace, the morning will unbar
These Alpine gates, and give thy world to thee!"
And morning did unfold the jutting capes
Of chestnut-wooded hills, that held embayed
Warm coves of fruit, the pine's Æolian shade,
Or pillared bowers, blue with suspended grapes;
A land whose forms some livelier grace betrayed;
Where motion sang and cheerful color laughed,
And only gloomed, amid the dancing shapes
Of vine and bough, the pointed cypress-shaft!
On,- on, through broadening vale and brightening sun
I walked, and hoary in their old repose
The olives twinkled: many a terrace rose,
With marbles crowned and jasmine overrun,
And orchards where the ivory silkworm spun.
On leafy palms outspread, its pulpy fruit
The fig-tree held; and last, the charm to close,
A dark-eyed shepherd piped a reedy flute.
My heart beat loud: I walked as in a dream
Where simplest actions, touched with marvel, seem
Enchanted yet familiar: for I knew
The orchards, terraces, and breathing flowers,
The tree from Adam's garden, and the blue
Sweet sky behind the light aerial towers;
And that young faun that piped, had piped before,-
I knew my home: the exile now was o'er!
And when the third rich day declined his lids,
I floated where the emerald waters fold
Gem-gardens, fairy island-pyramids,
Whereon the orange hangs his globes of gold,
Which aloes crown with white, colossal plume,
Above the beds where lavish Nature bids
Her sylphs of odor endless revel hold,
Her zones of flowers in balmy congress bloom!
I hailed them all, and hailed beyond, the plain;
The palace-fronts, on distant hills uplift,