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

Capri, the Island


By Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)

(From Italy)

WHAT the mountainous Isle

Seen in the South? ’T is where a monster dwelt,

Hurling his victims from the topmost cliff;

Then and then only merciful, so slow,

So subtle, were the tortures they endured.

Fearing and feared he lived, cursing and cursed;

And still the dungeons in the rock breathe out

Darkness, distemper. Strange, that one so vile

Should from his den strike terror through the world;

Should, where withdrawn in his decrepitude,

Say to the noblest, be they where they might,

“Go from the earth!” and from the earth they went:

Yet such things were, and will be, when mankind,

Losing all virtue, lose all energy;

And for the loss incur the penalty,

Trodden down and trampled.