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


Leonardo’s “Last Supper” at Milan

By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

COME! if thy heart be pure, thy spirits calm.

If thou hast no harsh feelings, or but those

Which self-reproach inflicts,—ah no, bestows,—

Her wounds, here probed, find here their gentlest balm.

O the sweet sadness of that lifted palm!

The dreadful deed to come his lips disclose;

Yet love and awe, not wrath, that countenance shows,

As though they sang even now that ritual psalm

Which closed the feast piacular. Time hath done

His work on this fair picture; but that face

His outrage awes. Stranger! the mist of years

Between thee hung and half its heavenly grace,

Hangs there, a fitting veil; nor that alone,—

Gaze on it also through a veil of tears!