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

Fort Fuentes

Fort Fuentes

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

  • The ruins of Fort Fuentes form the crest of a rocky eminence that rises from the plain at the head of the Lake of Como, commanding views up the Valteline, and toward the town of Chiavenna. The prospect in the latter direction is characterized by melancholy sublimity…. While descending, we discovered on the ground, apart from the path, and at a considerable distance from the ruined chapel, a statue of a child in pure white marble, uninjured by the explosion that had driven it so far down the hill.

  • DREAD hour! when, upheaved by war’s sulphurous blast,

    This sweet-visaged cherub of Parian stone

    So far from the holy enclosure was cast,

    To couch in this thicket of brambles alone,—

    To rest where the lizard may bask in the palm

    Of his half-open hand, pure from blemish or speck,

    And the green, gilded snake, without troubling the calm

    Of the beautiful countenance, twine round his neck;

    Where haply, (kind service to piety due!)

    When winter the grove of its mantle bereaves,

    Some bird (like our own honored redbreast) may strew

    The desolate slumberer with moss and with leaves:

    Fuentes once harbored the good and the brave,

    Nor to her was the dance of soft pleasure unknown;

    Her banners for festal enjoyment did wave

    While the thrill of her fifes through the mountains was blown:

    Now gads the wild vine o’er the pathless ascent;—

    O silence of Nature, how deep is thy sway,

    When the whirlwind of human destruction is spent,

    Our tumults appeased, and our strifes passed away!