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



By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

(From The Garden of Boccaccio)

THE BRIGHTNESS of the world, O thou once free,

And always fair, rare land of courtesy!

O Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills,

And famous Arno, fed with all their rills;

Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy!

Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine,

The golden corn, the olive, and the vine.

Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old,

And forests, where beside his leafy hold

The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn,

And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn;

Palladian palace with its storied halls;

Fountains, where Love lies listening to their falls;

Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span,

And Nature makes her happy home with man;

Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed

With its own rill, on its own spangled bed,

And wreathes the marble urn, or leans its head,

A mimic mourner, that with veil withdrawn

Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn;

Thine all delights, and every muse is thine;

And more than all, the embrace and intertwine

Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance!

Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance,

See! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees

The new-found roll of old Mæonides;

But from his mantle’s fold, and near the heart,

Peers Ovid’s holy book of Love’s sweet smart!