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

Baja (Baiæ)


By James Thomson (1834–1882)

THERE Baiæ sees no more the joyous throng;

Her bank all beaming with the pride of Rome:

No generous vines now bask along the hills,

Where sport the breezes of the Tyrrhene main:

With baths and temples mixed, no villas rise;

Nor, art sustained amid reluctant waves,

Draw the cool murmurs of the breathing deep:

No spreading ports their sacred arms extend:

No mighty moles the big intrusive storm,

From the calm station, roll resounding back.

An almost total desolation sits,

A dreary stillness saddening o’er the coast;

Where, when soft suns and tepid winters rose,

Rejoicing clouds inhaled the balm of peace;

Where citied hill to hill reflected blaze;

And where, with Ceres Bacchus wont to hold

A genial strife. Her youthful form, robust,

E’en Nature yields; by fire and earthquake rent:

Whole stately cities in the dark abrupt

Swallowed at once, or vile in rubbish laid,

A nest for serpents; from the red abyss

New hills, explosive, thrown; the Lucrine lake

A reedy pool: and all to Cuma’s point,

The sea recovering his usurped domain,

And poured triumphant o’er the buried dome.