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And he sinks, as sank the town,
Walled about with drifts of snow,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
PASSAGE OF THE APENNINES.
To the whisper of the Apennine;
But when night comes, a chaos dread
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
TO THE APENNINES.
JR peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines !
In the soft light of these serenest skies ;
Fair as the hills of Paradise they rise,
The glory of a brighter world, might spring
And heaven's fleet messengers might rest the wing, To view the fair earth in its summer sleep, Silent, and cradled by the glimmering deep.
Below you lie men's sepulchres, the old
Etrurian tombs, the graves of yesterday ; The herd's white bones lie mixed with human mould, –
Yet up the radiant steeps that I survey Death never climbed, nor life's soft breath, with pain, Was yielded to the elements again.
Ages of war have filled these plains with fear:
How oft the hind has started at the clash Of spears, and yell of meeting armies here,
Or seen the lightning of the battle flash
From clouds, that, rising with the thunder's sound, Hung like an earth-born tempest o'er the ground !
Ab me! what armed nations Asian horde
And Lybian host, the Scythian and the Gaul-
Like ocean-tides uprising at the call
How crashed the towers before beleaguering foes,
Sacked cities smoked, and realms were rent in twain; And commonwealths against their rivals rose,
Trode out their lives, and earned the curse of Cain : While in the noiseless air and light that flowed Round
far brows, eternal Peace abode. Here pealed the impious hymn, and altar flames
Rose to false gods, a dream-begotten throng, Jove, Bacchus, Pan, and earlier, fouler names ;
While, as the unheeding ages passed along, Ye, from your station in the middle skies, Proclaimed the essential Goodness, strong and wise. In you the heart that sighs for freedom seeks
Her image; there the winds no barrier know, Clouds come, and rest, and leave your fairy peaks ;
While even the immaterial Mind, below, And Thought, her winged offspring, chained by power, Pine silently for the redeeming hour.
William Cullen Bryant. THE ASCENT OF THE APENNINES.
THE plains recede; the olives dwindle:
The ilex and chestnut are left behind : The skirts of the billowy pinewoods kindle
In the evening lights and the wind.
Of peak primeval and death-pale snow :
Or the blue caves that yawn below.
From flushed stream to ridge church-crowned : 'T is a region of mystery, hushed and sainted :
As still as the dreams of those artists old When the thoughts of Dante bis Giotto painted :
The summit is reached ! Beliold !
It curves like the orbit of some fair planet !
Above it, dark walls of granite !
The hillsides with homesteads and hamlets glow: With convent towers are the red rocks studded,
With villages zoned below.
Aubrey de Vere.
Arno, the River.
THE RIVER ARNO.
ND I: “Through midst of Tuscany there wanders
A streamlet that is born in Falterona,
And not a hundred miles of course suffice it; From thereupon do I this body. bring.
To tell you who I am were speech in vain,
Because my name as yet makes no great noise.” “If well thy meaning I can penetrate
With intellect of mine," then answered me
He who first spake, “thou speakest of the Arno." And said the other him: “Why concealed
This one the appellation of that river,
Even as a man doth of things horrible?” And thus the shade that questioned was of this
Himself acquitted: “I know not; but truly
'T is fit the name of such a valley perish; For from its fountain-head (where is so pregnant
The Alpine mountain whence is cleft Peloro
That in few places it that mark surpasses) To where it yields itself in restoration
Of what the heaven doth of the sea dry up,
Whence have the rivers that which goes with them, Virtue is like an enemy avoided
By all, as is a serpent, through misfortune
Of place, or through bad habit that impels them; Ou which account have so transformed their nature