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


From Ravenna to Rome

By Claudian (c. 370–c. 404)

Journey of Honorious

Translated by Joseph Addison

THEY leave Ravenna, and the mouths of Po,

That all the borders of the town o’erflow;

And, spreading round in one continued lake,

A spacious, hospitable harbor make.

Hither the seas at stated times resort,

And shove the loaden vessels into port;

Then with a gentle ebb retire again,

And render back their cargo to the main.

So the pale moon the restless ocean guides,

Driven to and fro by such submissive tides.

Fair Fortune next, with looks serene and kind,

Receives them in her ancient fane enshrined;

Then the high hills they cross, and from below

In distant murmurs hear Metaurus flow;

Till to Clitumno’s sacred streams they come,

That send white victims to almighty Rome,

When her triumphant sons in war succeed,

And slaughtered hecatombs around them bleed.

At Narni’s lofty seats arrived, from far

They view the windings of the hoary Nar;

Through rocks and woods impetuously he glides,

While froth and foam the fretting surface hides.

And now the royal guest, all dangers passed,

Old Tiber and his nymphs salutes at last;

The long laborious pavement here he treads,

That to proud Rome the admiring nations leads;

While stately vaults and towering piles appear,

And show the world’s metropolis is near.