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



By William Wetmore Story (1819–1895)

THE MIDNIGHT, thick with cloud,

Hangs o’er the city’s jar,

The spirit’s shell is in the crowd,

The spirit is afar;

Far, where in shadowy gloom

Sleeps the dark orange grove,

My sense is drunk with its perfume,

My heart with love.

The slumberous, whispering sea,

Creeps up the sands to lay

Its sliding bosom fringed with pearls

Upon the rounded bay.

List! all the trembling leaves

Are rustling overhead,

Where purple grapes are hanging dark

On the trellised loggia spread.

Far off, a misted cloud,

Hangs fair Inarimé.

The boatman’s song from the lighted boat

Rises from out the sea.

We listen,—then thy voice

Pours forth a honeyed rhyme;

Ah! for the golden nights we passed

In our Italian time.

There is the laugh of girls

That walk along the shore,

The marinaio calls to them

As he suspends his oar.

Vesuvius rumbles sullenly,

With fitful lurid gleam,

The background of all Naples life,

The nightmare of its dream.

O lovely, lovely Italy,

I yield me to thy spell!

Reach the guitar, my dearest friend,

We ’ll sing, “Home! fare thee well!”

O world of work and noise,

What spell hast thou for me?

The siren Beauty charms me here

Beyond the sea.