Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  A Poet’s Prophecy

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Introductory to America

A Poet’s Prophecy

By Luigi Pulci (1432–1484)

(From Morgante Maggiore)
Translated by W. H. Prescott

KNOW that this theory is false; his bark

The daring mariner shall urge far o’er

The western wave,—a smooth and level plain,

Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.

Man was in ancient days of grosser mould,

And Hercules might blush to learn how far

Beyond the limits he had vainly set,

The dullest sea-boat soon shall wing her way.

Men shall descry another hemisphere,

Since to one common centre all things tend;

So earth, by curious mystery divine

Well balanced, hangs amid the starry spheres.

At our Antipodes are cities, states,

And throngéd empires, ne’er divined of yore.

But see, the sun speeds on his western path

To glad the nations with expected light.