Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Lines Written at the Baths of Lucca

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


Lines Written at the Baths of Lucca

By Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)

THE FIREFLIES, pulsing forth their rapid gleams,

Are the only light

That breaks the night;

A stream, that has the voice of many streams,

Is the only sound

All around:

And we have found our way to the rude stone,

Where many a twilight we have sat alone,

Though in this summer-darkness never yet;

We have had happy, happy moments here,

We have had thoughts we never can forget,

Which will go on with us beyond the bier.

The very lineaments of thy dear face

I do not see, but yet its influence

I feel, even as my outward sense perceives

The freshening presence of the chestnut leaves,

Whose vaguest forms my eye can only trace,

By following where the darkness seems most dense.

What light, what sight, what form, can be to us

Beautiful as this gloom?

We have come down, alive and conscious,

Into a blesséd tomb:

We have left the world behind us,

Her vexations cannot find us,

We are too far away;

There is something to gainsay

In the life of every day;

But in this delicious death

We let go our mortal breath,

Naught to feel and hear and see,

But our heart’s felicity;

Naught with which to be at war,

Naught to fret our shame or pride,

Knowing only that we are,

Caring not what is beside.