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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


A Room in the Villa Taverna

By Frances Anne Kemble (1809–1893)

THREE windows cheerfully poured in the light:

One from the east, where o’er the Sabine hills

The sun first rose on the great Roman plain,

And shining o’er the garden, with its fountains,

Vine-trellises, and heaps of rosy bloom,

Struck on the glittering laurel-trees, that shone

With burnished golden leaves against my lattice.

One towards the north, close-screened with a dark wall

Of bay and ilex, with tall cypress-shafts

Piercing with graceful spires the limpid air,

Like delicate shadows in transparent water.

One towards the west,—above a sunny green,

Where merry black-eyed Tusculan maidens laid

The tawny woof to bleach between the rays

Of morning light and the bright morning dew.

There spread the graceful balustrade, and down

Swept the twin nights of steps, with their stone vases,

And thick-leaved aloes, like a growth of bronze,

To the broad court, where from a twilight cell,

A Naiad, crowned with tufts of trembling green

Sang towards the sunny palace all day long.