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

Appendix: Cuma (Cumæ)


By Nicholas Michell (1807–1880)

(From Ruins of Many Lands)

THOU breeze! why bear the violet’s rich perfume?

Ye birds! why soar and sing on wanton plume?

Through the long grass why flow, ye crystal streams?

And why, thou sun! pour down thy gladdening beams?

Cimmerian darkness here its cloud should spread,

And silence claim this City of the Dead.

Cumæ! that lives in Virgil’s matchless lay,

Mother of states ere Rome commenced her sway!

Who braved Etruria’s might, and dared the power

Of Afric’s chief in Carthage’ proudest hour;

Where are her busy forums, merchant-fleets,

Her mustering armies, and her crowded streets?

Where her bronzed shrine that gleamed along the wave,

And, more than all, her Sibyl’s mystic cave?

Pride of Campania! daughter of the sea!

Gone is her wealth, and bowed her majesty;

Where once her palace shone, her towers arose,

Turf wraps the soil, a shadowy forest grows!

There, blent with weeds, the wild-flower wastes its breath,

And beasts and reptiles halve the spot with Death.