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



By Vincenzo da Filicaja (1642–1707)

Anonymous translation

THOU buried city, o’er thy site I muse!—

What! does no monumental stone remain

To say, “Here yawned the earthquake-riven plain,

Here stood Catania, and here Syracuse”?

Along thy sad and solitary sand

I seek thee in thyself, yet find instead

Naught but the dreadful stillness of the dead.

Startled and horror-struck, I wondering stand,

And cry: O, terrible, tremendous course

Of God’s decrees! I see it, and I feel it here:

Shall I not comprehend and dread its force?

Rise, ye lost cities! let your ruins rear

Their massy forms on high, portentous corse,

That trembling ages may behold and fear!