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

Monte Gargano

Monte Gargano

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

(From The Widow of Crescentius)

WHERE, through Gargano’s woody dells,

O’er bending oaks the north-wind swells,

A sainted hermit’s lowly tomb

Is bosomed in umbrageous gloom,

In shades that saw him live and die

Beneath their waving canopy.

’T was his, as legends tell, to share

The converse of immortals there;

Around that dweller of the wild

There “bright appearances” have smiled,

And angel wings at eve have been

Gleaming the shadowy boughs between.

And oft from that secluded bower

Hath breathed, at midnight’s calmer hour,

A swell of viewless harps, a sound

Of warbled anthems pealing round.

O, none but voices of the sky

Might wake that thrilling harmony,

Whose tones, whose very echoes, made

An Eden of the lonely shade!

Years have gone by; the hermit sleeps

Amidst Gargano’s woods and steeps;

Ivy and flowers have half o’ergrown

And veiled his low sepulchral stone:

Yet still the spot is holy, still

Celestial footsteps haunt the hill;

And oft the awe-struck mountaineer

Aerial vesper-hymns may hear

Around those forest-precincts float,

Soft, solemn, clear, but still remote.

Oft will Affliction breathe her plaint

To that rude shrine’s departed saint,

And deem that spirits of the blest

There shed sweet influence o’er her breast.