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

Mola di Gaeta


By Anna Brownell Jameson (1794–1860)

Written at Mola di Gaeta, near the Ruins of Cicero’s Formian Villa

WE wandered through bright climes, and drank the beams

Of southern suns: Elysian scenes we viewed,

Such as we picture oft in those day-dreams

That haunt the fancy in her wildest mood.

Upon the sea-beat vestiges we stood,

Where Cicero dwelt, and watched the latest gleams

Of rosy light steal o’er the azure flood;

And memory conjured up most glowing themes,

Filling the expanded heart, till it forgot

Its own peculiar grief! O, if the dead

Yet haunt our earth, around this hallowed spot,

Hovers sweet Tully’s spirit, since it fled

The Roman Forum,—Forum now no more!

Though cold and silent be the sands we tread,

Still burns the “eloquent air,” and to the shore

There rolls no wave, and through the orange shade

There sighs no breath, which doth not speak of him,

The “Father of his Country”: and though dim

Her day of empire, and her laurel crown

Torn and defaced, and soiled with blood and tears,

And her imperial eagles trampled down,

Still with a queenlike grace, Italia wears

Her garland of bright names,—her coronal of stars,

(Radiant memorials of departed worth!)

That shed a glory round her pensive brow,

And make her still the worship of the earth.