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



By Homer (fl. 850 B.C.)

(From The Odyssey, Book V)
Translated by W. C. Bryant

BUT when he reached that island, far away,

Forth from the dark-blue ocean-swell he stepped

Upon the sea-beach, walking till he came

To the vast cave in which the bright-haired nymph

Made her abode. He found the nymph within;

A fire blazed brightly on the hearth, and far

Was wafted o’er the isle the fragrant smoke

Of cloven cedar, burning in the flame,

And cypress-wood. Meanwhile, in her recess,

She sweetly sang, as busily she threw

The golden shuttle through the web she wove.

And all about the grotto alders grew,

And poplars, and sweet-smelling cypresses.

In a green forest, high among whose boughs

Birds of broad wing, wood-owls, and falcons built

Their nests, and crows, with voices sounding far,

All haunting for their food the ocean-side,

A vine, with downy leaves and clustering grapes,

Crept over all the cavern rock. Four springs

Poured forth their glittering waters in a row,

And here and there went wandering side by side.

Around were meadows of soft green, o’ergrown

With violets and parsley. ’T was a spot

Where even an immortal might awhile

Linger, and gaze with wonder and delight.