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



By Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)

(From Italy)

I AM in Rome! Oft as the morning-ray

Visits these eyes, waking at once I cry,

Whence this excess of joy? What has befallen me?

And from within a thrilling voice replies,

Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts

Rush on my mind, a thousand images;

And I spring up as girt to run a race!

Thou art in Rome! the city that so long

Reigned absolute, the mistress of the world;

The mighty vision that the prophets saw,

And trembled; that from nothing, from the least,

The lowliest village (what but here and there

A reed-roofed cabin by the river-side?)

Grew into everything; and, year by year,

Patiently, fearlessly, working her way

O’er brook and field, o’er continent and sea,

Not like the merchant with his merchandise,

Or traveller with staff and scrip exploring,

But ever hand to hand and foot to foot,

Through nations numberless in battle-array,

Each behind each, each, when the other fell,

Up and in arms, at length subdued them all.

Thou art in Rome! the city, where the Gauls,

Entering at sunrise through her open gates,

And through her streets silent and desolate

Marching to slay, thought they saw gods, not men;

The city, that, by temperance, fortitude,

And love of glory, towered above the clouds,

Then fell,—but, falling, kept the highest seat,

And in her loneliness, her pomp of woe,

Where now she dwells, withdrawn into the wild,

Still o’er the mind maintains, from age to age,

Her empire undiminished.