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

Rome, the Campagna

The Campagna

By Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)

LO, the Campagna! How those startling words

Sweep like swift fingers o’er enchanted cords,

Thrilling the heart with infinite delight!

Lo, the Campagna! The incredulous sight!

Sailing from this, the eagle’s wild domain

Cleaves the far blue of the historic plain,

Fainting with pleasure. How, on this high bar,

The soul dilates, and trembles like a star

New born! And, lo! as in a sea of rest

Rome lies, a palmy island of the blest,

Glowing with glory. Lo! the aspiring dome,

The smaller sky that overarches Rome,—

Rome, and the minds of millions,—till it grows

Greater than that it emulates, and shows

How Power still sways, with her titanic will,

The ancestral sceptre on her sevenfold hill!

Here, where I stand, the weary pilgrim line

Drops on its knees before the long-sought shrine.

The way-worn mother, with her rapture wild,

Holds towards the Dome the wide-eyed, wondering child.

Here youths and maidens kneel, with marvellous stare,

With pleasure taking precedence of prayer;

Drinking the sight, of which, in some far year,

The curious grandchild at their side shall hear.

Here manhood, from some foreign harvest-field,

Kneels, as beside his mother’s feet he kneeled;

And age, with white locks, bowing to the dust,

Salutes the goal, the temple of his trust,

His old arms crossed upon his tranquil breast,

Where all the passions lie in pious rest;

The lamb and lion,—and the child’s control,—

The reign of peace. Millennium of the soul!

How beautiful! Old pilgrim, here by thee

The heretic within me bows the knee.