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


The Fountain of Trevi

By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)

THE COLISEUM lifts at night

Its broken cells more proudly far

Than in the noonday’s naked light,

For every rent enshrines a star:

On Cæsar’s hill the royal Lar

Presides within his mansion old:

Decay and Death no longer mar

The moon’s atoning mist of gold.

Still lingering near the shrines renewed,

We sadly, fondly, look our last;

Each trace concealed of spoilage rude

From old or late iconoclast,

Till, Trajan’s whispering forum passed,

We hear the waters, showering bright,

Of Trevi’s ancient fountain, cast

Their woven music on the night.

The Genius of the Tiber nods

Benign, above his tilted urn:

Kneel down and drink! the beckoning gods

This last libation will not spurn.

Drink, and the old enchantment learn

That hovers yet o’er Trevi’s foam,—

The promise of a sure return,

Fresh footsteps in the dust of Rome!

Kneel down and drink! the golden days

Here lived and dreamed shall dawn again;

Albano’s hill, through purple haze,

Again shall crown the Latin plain.

Whatever stains of Time remain,

Left by the years that intervene,

Lo! Trevi’s fount shall toss its rain

To wash the pilgrim’s forehead clean.

Drink, and depart! for Life is just;

She gives to Faith a master-key

To ope the gate of dreams august,

And take from joys in memory

The certainty of joys to be;

And Trevi’s basins shall be bare

Ere we again shall fail to see

Their silver in the Roman air.