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



By Théodore Aubanel (1829–1886)

Translated by H. W. Preston

ROME, with thine old red palaces arow,

And the great sunlight on thy highways beating,

Gay folk, and ladies at the windows sitting,—

They may be fair,—I am too sad to know!

I have climbed Trajan’s column, and saw thence

The Quirinal here, and there the Vatican,

The Pope’s green gardens, how the Tiber ran

Yellow under its bridges, far, far hence;

And, lifted mountain-like the pines above,

Saint Peter’s awful dome,—ah me, ah me!

Saint Peter of Avignon I would see

Blossom with slender spire from out its grove!

Here were Rome’s ancient ramparts,—quarried stone

Crumbling, fire-scarred, with brambles matted thick;

There, the huge Coliseum’s tawny brick,

The twin arcs hand in hand. But there is one

In mine own country I saw clearer yet.

Thou art the Arles arena in my eyes,

Great ruin! And my homesick spirit cries

For one I love, nor ever can forget.

And still, as from my watch-tower I discerned,

Out in the waste Campagna, errant flocks

Of hornéd bulls tossing their fierce, black locks

As in our own Camargue, the thought returned:

Why dost thou not forget? Thou thought’st to leave

By land, by sea, some portion of thy woe;

But time is wasting, and thy life wears low,

And ever more and more thou seem’st to grieve.