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

Euganean Hills

The Euganean Hills

By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

’MID the mountains Euganean,

I stood listening to the pæan

With which the legioned rooks did hail

The sun’s uprise majestical;

Gathering round with wings all hoar,

Through the dewy mist they soar

Like gray shades, till the eastern heaven

Bursts, and then, as clouds of even,

Flecked with fire and azure, lie

In the unfathomable sky,

So their plumes of purple grain,

Starred with drops of golden rain,

Gleam above the sunlight woods,

As in silent multitudes

On the morning’s fitful gale

Through the broken mist they sail;

And the vapors cloven and gleaming

Follow down the dark steep streaming,

Till all is bright and clear and still

Round the solitary hill.

Beneath is spread like a green sea

The waveless plain of Lombardy,

Bounded by the vaporous air,

Islanded by cities fair.

Underneath day’s azure eyes,

Ocean’s nursling, Venice lies,—

A peopled labyrinth of walls,

Amphitrite’s destined halls,

Which her hoary sire now paves

With his blue and beaming waves.

Lo! the sun upsprings behind,

Broad, red, radiant, half reclined

On the level quivering line

Of the waters crystalline;

And before that chasm of light,

As within a furnace bright,

Column, tower, and dome, and spire,

Shine like obelisks of fire,

Pointing with inconstant motion

From the altar of dark ocean

To the sapphire-tinted skies;

As the flames of sacrifice

From the marble shrines did rise

As to pierce the dome of gold

Where Apollo spoke of old.


Lo, the sun floats up the sky,

Like thought-wingéd Liberty,

Till the universal light

Seems to level plain and height;

From the sea a mist has spread,

And the beams of morn lie dead

On the towers of Venice now,

Like its glory long ago.


Noon descends around me now:

’T is the noon of autumn’s glow,

When a soft and purple mist

Like a vaporous amethyst,

Or an air-dissolvéd star

Mingling light and fragrance, far

From the curved horizon’s bound,

To the point of heaven’s profound,

Fills the overflowing sky;

And the plains that silent lie

Underneath. The leaves unsodden

Where the infant frost has trodden

With his morning-wingéd feet,

Whose bright print is gleaming yet;

And the red and golden vines,

Piercing with their trellised lines

The rough, dark-skirted wilderness;

The dun and bladed grass no less,

Pointing from this hoary tower

In the windless air; the flower

Glimmering at my feet; the line

Of the olive-sandalled Apennine

In the south dimly islanded;

And the Alps, whose snows are spread

High between the clouds and sun;

And of living things each one;

And my spirit, which so long

Darkened this swift stream of song,

Interpenetrated lie

By the glory of the sky;

Be it love, light, harmony,

Odor, or the soul of all

Which from heaven like dew doth fall,

Or the mind which feeds this verse

Peopling the lone universe.

Noon descends, and after noon

Autumn’s evening meets me soon,

Leading the infantine moon,

And that one star, which to her

Almost seems to minister

Half the crimson light she brings

From the sunset’s radiant springs:

And the soft dreams of the morn

(Which like winged winds had borne

To that silent isle, which lies

’Mid remembered agonies,

The frail bark of this lone being,)

Pass, to other sufferers fleeing,

And its ancient pilot, Pain,

Sits beside the helm again.