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



By Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)

(From Italy)

’T WAS night; the noise and bustle of the day

Were o’er. The mountebank no longer wrought

Miraculous cures,—he and his stage were gone;

And he who, when the crisis of his tale

Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear,

Sent round his cap; and he who thrummed his wire

And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain

Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries,

So well portrayed, and by a son of thine,

Whose voice had swelled the hubbub in his youth,

Were hushed, Bologna,—silence in the streets,

The squares, when, hark, the clattering of fleet hoofs;

And soon a courier, posting as from far,

Housing and holster, boot and belted coat

And doublet, stained with many a various soil,

Stopt and alighted. ’T was where hangs aloft

That ancient sign, the pilgrim, welcoming

All who arrive there, all perhaps save those

Clad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell,

Those on a pilgrimage. And now approached

Wheels, through the lofty porticos resounding,

Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade

As the sky changes. To the gate they came;

And, ere the man had half his story done,

Mine host received the Master,—one long used

To sojourn among strangers, everywhere

(Go where he would, along the wildest track)

Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost,

And leaving footsteps to be traced by those

Who love the haunts of genius; one who saw,

Observed, nor shunned the busy scenes of life,

But mingled not, and mid the din, the stir,

Lived as a separate spirit.
Much had passed

Since last we parted; and those five short years,—

Much had they told! His clustering locks were turned

Gray; nor did aught recall the youth that swam

From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,

Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought

Flashed lightning-like, nor lingered on the way,

Waiting for words. Far, far into the night

We sat, conversing,—no unwelcome hour

The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,

Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.