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


Milan Cathedral

By John Bruce Norton (1815–1883)

NOT with such sweet emotion would it thrill

My heart, this delicate stone tracery,

From base to finial, climbing toward the sky,

While saint and angel countless niches fill,

If naught more holy than mere craftsman’s skill

Had wrought this fine lace-like embroidery

Of marble; and with lavish industry

Tossed fruit and flower, at its fantastic will,

About, around, in fairy showers y-sprent;—

No; this profusion of ethereal beauty

Sprang from a softer influence than duty:

By reverent love the plan was fashioned;

By earnest love, the obedient chisel led,

Prankt it in tenderest embodiment.