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



By Robert Southey (1774–1843)

Addressed to W. R. Turner, R. A., on His View of the Lago Maggiore from the Town of Arona

TURNER, thy pencil brings to mind a day

When from Laveno and the Beuscer Hill

I over Lake Verbanus held my way

In pleasant fellowship, with wind at will;

Smooth were the waters wide, the sky serene,

And our hearts gladdened with the joyful scene;—

Joyful, for all things ministered delight,—

The lake and land, the mountains and the vales;

The Alps their snowy summits reared in light,

Tempering with gelid breath the summer gales;

And verdant shores and woods refreshed the eye,

That else had ached beneath that brilliant sky.

To that elaborate island were we bound,

Of yore the scene of Borromean pride,—

Folly’s prodigious work; where all around,

Under its coronet, and self-belied,

Look where you will, you cannot choose but see

The obtrusive motto’s proud “Humility!”

Far off the Borromean saint was seen,

Distinct, though distant, o’er his native town,

Where his Colossus with benignant mien

Looks from its station on Arona down;

To it the inland sailor lifts his eyes,

From the wide lake, when perilous storms arise.

But no storm threatened on that summer day;

The whole rich scene appeared for joyance made;

With many a gliding bark the mere was gay,

The fields and groves in all their wealth arrayed:

I could have thought the sun beheld with smiles

Those towns and palaces and populous isles.

From fair Arona, even on such a day,

When gladness was descending like a shower,

Great painter, did thy gifted eye survey

The splendid scene; and, conscious of its power,

Well hath thine hand inimitable given

The glories of the lake and land and heaven.