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

Appendix: Albano, the Lake


By John Edmund Reade (1800–1870)

(From Italy)

LO, where emerging from the depths of shade

Of wildly tangling woods that round her rise,

The draperies of Nature unarrayed

In rude magnificence, Albano lies!

Her lake of beauty opening to the skies:

Bosomed in crags, which, darkening mid-air,

Reveal naught but the azure of her eyes,

O’ershadowed by the acacia’s golden hair:

A blessing to the eye that lovingly dwells there.

The mirror of Diana! where from high

Reflected, her ethereal face she viewed,

Whose beauty waked, as now, the poet’s sigh;

Lo, the rich shadows of her sacred wood,

Where save her starry nymphs none dared intrude!

There, while they sped the chase, she, goddess coy,

Enthronized in her peerless solitude,

Watched in his sleep the unconscious shepherd-boy,

And owned the virgin’s love, the deep entrancing joy.

Pure, beautiful beliefs! the heart refining

From sensual and dark idolatries,

To every form of Nature life assigning,

Allying her with our humanities:

When woodland depths were godheads’ sanctuaries,

Where the shy Dryad haunts of man could shun;

When the swift shadow shaped on fancy’s eyes

The Oread, when, sequestered from the sun,

The Naiad in her lake spread round her waters dun!