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


Tasso’s Dungeon

By Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)

HOW might the goaded sufferer in this cell,

With nothing upon which his eyes might fall,

Except this vacant court, that dreary wall,—

How might he live? I asked. Here doomed to dwell,

I marvel how at all he could repel

Thoughts which to madness and despair would call.

Enter this vault; the bare sight will appall

Thy spirit, even as mine within me fell,

Until I learned that wall not always there

Had stood,—’t was something that this iron grate

Had once looked out upon a garden fair.

There must have been then here, to calm his brain,

Green leaves, and flowers, and sunshine;—and a weight

Fell from me, and my heart revived again.