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

Appendix: Arcetri


By Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)

(From Italy)

NEARER we hail

Thy sunny slope, Arcetri, sung of old

For its green wine; dearer to me, to most,

As dwelt on by that great Astronomer,

Seven years a prisoner at the city-gate,

Let in but in his grave-clothes. Sacred be

His villa (justly was it called The Gem!)

Sacred the lawn, where many a cypress threw

Its length of shadow, while he watched the stars!

Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight

Glimmered, at blush of morn he dressed his vines,

Chanting aloud in gayety of heart

Some verse of Ariosto! There, unseen,

In manly beauty Milton stood before him,

Gazing with reverent awe,—Milton, his guest,

Just then come forth, all life and enterprise;

He in his old age and extremity,

Blind, at noonday exploring with his staff;

His eyes upturned as to the golden sun,

His eyeballs idly rolling. Little then

Did Galileo think whom he received;

That in his hand he held the hand of one

Who could requite him, who would spread his name

O’er lands and seas,—great as himself, nay, greater;

Milton as little that in him he saw,

As in a glass, what he himself should be,

Destined so soon to fall on evil days

And evil tongues,—so soon, alas, to live

In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,

And solitude.