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

Rome, Churches of

St. Peter’s by Moonlight

By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)

LOW hung the moon when first I stood in Rome;

Midway she seemed attracted from her sphere,

On those twin fountains shining broad and clear

Whose floods, not mindless of their mountain home,

Rise there in clouds of rainbow mist and foam.

That hour fulfilled the dream of many a year:

Through that thin mist, with joy akin to fear,

The steps I saw, the pillars, last, the dome.

A spiritual empire there embodied stood;

The Roman Church there met me face to face:

Ages, sealed up, of evil and of good

Slept in that circling colonnade’s embrace.

Alone I stood, a stranger and alone,

Changed by that stony miracle to stone.