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

Rivers of Italy

Rivers of Italy

By Lucan (39–65 A.D.)

(From Pharsalia)
Translated by Nicholas Rowe

BETWEEN the higher and inferior sea

The long-extended mountain takes his way;

Pisa and Ancon bound his sloping sides,

Washed by the Tyrrhene and Dalmatic tides;

Rich in the treasure of his watery stores,

A thousand living springs and streams he pours,

And seeks the different seas by different shores.

From his left falls Crustumium’s rapid flood,

And swift Metaurus red with Punic blood;

There gentle Sapis with Isaurus joins,

And Sena there the Senones confines;

Rough Aufidus the meeting ocean braves,

And lashes on the lazy Adria’s waves;

Hence vast Eridanus with matchless force,

Prince of the streams, directs his regal course;

Proud with the spoils of fields and woods he flows,

And drains Hesperia’s rivers as he goes.

His sacred banks, in ancient tales renowned,

First by the spreading poplar’s shade were crowned;

When the sun’s fiery steeds forsook their way,

And downward drew to earth the burning day;

When every flood and ample lake was dry,

The Po alone his channel could supply.

Hither rash Phaeton was headlong driven,

And in these waters quenched the flames of heaven.

Nor wealthy Nile a fuller stream contains,

Though wide he spreads o’er Egypt’s flatter plains;

Nor Ister rolls a larger torrent down,

Sought he the sea with waters all his own;

But meeting floods to him their homage pay,

And heave the blended river on his way.

These from the left; while from the right there come

The Rutuba and Tiber dear to Rome;

Thence slides Vulturnus’ swift descending flood,

And Sarnus hid beneath his misty cloud;

Thence Lyris, whom the Vestin fountains aid,

Winds to the sea through close Marica’s shade;

Thence Siler through Silernian pastures falls,

And shallow Macra creeps by Luna’s walls.