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



By Anonymous

HANDSOME Naples girl!

With the distaff in your hand,

Whose silver flax threads curl

Like the white waves on the sand;

In this narrow, dingy street,

On the dark and steep hillside,

In this hovel, can such sweet

And romantic beauty hide?

Spinning through the sunny day,

Underneath the old church-tower,

The waves of Naples Bay

Have not nursed a fairer flower.

You will ne’er that bay forget

Wheresoe’er you may be borne;

It sparkles in your eye of jet,

Its pride is in your scorn.

Singing down the narrow street,

In the sultry, silent hours,

Unconsciously your naked feet

Tread on shells and withered flowers:

Every day the picture fair,

For which distant poets sigh,

Is drawn upon the summer air,

Before your careless eye.

And you watch the sails that bask

In the sunshine, as they go,

But your fancy will not ask

Of your future’s weal or woe,

More than of the distant port

To which drift those fading sails,

Or if the voyage be long or short,

Or calm, or vexed with gales.

Handsome Naples girl!

In the dark street high and lone,

While the waves below you sweep and curl,

You shall be wooed and won.

In long tribes of fishermen,

Shall float on Naples bay

The blood that crimsons the brown cheek

I look upon to-day.