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

Etna (Ætna), the Mountain


By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

UNDER Mount Etna he lies,

It is slumber, it is not death;

For he struggles at times to arise,

And above him the lurid skies

Are hot with his fiery breath.

The crags are piled on his breast,

The earth is heaped on his head;

But the groans of his wild unrest,

Though smothered and half suppressed,

Are heard, and he is not dead.

And the nations far away

Are watching with eager eyes;

They talk together and say,

“To-morrow, perhaps to-day,

Enceladus will arise!”

And the old gods, the austere

Oppressors in their strength,

Stand aghast and white with fear

At the ominous sounds they hear,

And tremble, and mutter, “At length!”

Ah me! for the land that is sown

With the harvest of despair!

Where the burning cinders, blown

From the lips of the overthrown

Enceladus, fill the air.

Where ashes are heaped in drifts

Over vineyard and field and town,

Whenever he starts and lifts

His head through the blackened rifts

Of the crags that keep him down.

See, see! the red light shines!

’T is the glare of his awful eyes!

And the storm-wind shouts through the pines

Of Alps and of Apennines,

“Enceladus, arise!”