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



By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

A Song of the Siren

STILL is the Siren warbling on thy shore,

Bright city of the waves! Her magic song

Still, with a dreamy sense of ecstasy,

Fills thy soft summer air: and while my glance

Dwells on thy pictured loveliness, that lay

Floats thus o’er fancy’s ear; and thus to thee,

Daughter of sunshine! doth the Siren sing.

“Thine is the glad wave’s flashing play,

Thine is the laugh of the golden day,—

The golden day, and the glorious night,

And the vine with its clusters all bathed in light!

Forget, forget, that thou art not free,

Queen of the summer sea!

“Favored and crowned of the earth and sky!

Thine are all voices of melody,

Wandering in moonlight through fane and tower,

Floating o’er fountain and myrtle bower;

Hark! how they melt o’er thy glittering sea,—

Forget that thou art not free!

“Let the wine flow in thy marble halls,

Let the lute answer thy fountain falls,

And deck thy feasts with the myrtle bough,

And cover with roses thy glowing brow!

Queen of the day and the summer sea,

Forget that thou art not free!”

So doth the Siren sing, while sparkling waves

Dance to her chant. But sternly, mournfully,

O city of the deep! from sibyl grots

And Roman tombs the echoes of thy shore

Take up the cadence of her strain alone,

Murmuring, “Thou art not free!”