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

Sermione (Sirmio)

Sirmio; Lago di Garda

By Catullus (c. 84–c. 54)

Translated by Thomas Moore

SWEET Sirmio! thou, the very eye

Of all peninsulas and isles,

That in our lakes of silver lie,

Or sleep, enwreathed by Neptune’s smiles,—

How gladly back to thee I fly!

Still doubting, asking,—can it be

That I have left Bithynia’s sky,

And gaze in safety upon thee?

O, what is happier than to find

Our hearts at ease, our perils past;

When, anxious long, the lightened mind

Lays down its load of care at last;

When, tired with toil o’er land and deep,

Again we tread the welcome floor

Of our own home, and sink to sleep

On the long-wished-for bed once more.

This, this it is, that pays alone

The ills of all life’s former track.

Shine out, my beautiful, my own

Sweet Sirmio! greet thy master back.

And thou, fair lake, whose water quaffs

The light of heaven like Lydia’s sea,

Rejoice, rejoice,—let all that laughs

Abroad, at home, laugh out for me.