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

Etna (Ætna), the Mountain


By Virgil (70–19 B.C.)

(From Æneid, Book III)
Translated by C. P. Cranch

THE PORT is large,

And sheltered from the winds. But Ætna near,

With frightful desolation roars, at times

Sending up bursts of black clouds in the air,

With rolling smoke of pitch, and flashing sparks,

And globes of flame that lick the very stars.

Then, from the bowels of the mountain torn,

Huge stones are hurled, and melted rocks heaped up,

A roaring flood of fire. ’T is said that here

Enceladus, half blasted by the bolts

Of heaven, was thrust beneath the mountainous mass;

And mighty Ætna, piled above, sends forth

His fiery breathings from the broken flues;

And every time he turns his weary sides,

All Sicily groans and trembles, and the sky

Is wreathed in smoke.