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

Ischia, the Island


By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

HERE in this narrow island glen

Between the dark hill and the sea,

Remote from books, remote from men,

I sit; but, O, how near to thee!

I bend above thy broidery frame;

I smell thy flowers; thy voice I hear:

Of Italy thou speak’st; that name

Woke long thy wish,—at last thy tear!

Hadst thou but watched that azure deep;

Those rocks with myrtles mantled o’er;

Misenum’s cape, yon mountains’ sweep;

The smile of that Circean shore!

But seen that crag’s embattled crest,

Whereon Colonna mourned alone,

An eagle widowed in her nest,—

Heart strong and faithful to thine own!

This was not in thy fates. Thy life

Lay circled in a narrower bound:

Child, sister, tenderest mother, wife,—

Love made that circle holy ground.

Love blessed thy home,—its trees, its earth,

Its stones,—that ofttimes trodden road

Which linked the region of thy birth

With that till death thy still abode.

From the loud river’s rocky beach

To that clear lake the woodlands shade,

Love stretched his arms. In sight of each

The place of thy repose is made.