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

Busento, the River

The Grave in the Busento

By August von Platen-Hallermünde (1796–1835)

Translated by Alfred Basherville

BY Cosenza, songs of wail at midnight wake Busento’s shore,

O’er the wave resounds the answer, and amid the vortex’ roar!

Valiant Goths, like spectres, steal along the banks with hurried pace,

Weeping over Alaric dead, the best, the bravest of his race.

Ah! too soon, from home so far, was it their lot to dig his grave,

While still o’er his shoulders flowed his youthful ringlets’ flaxen wave.

On the shore of the Busento ranged, they with each other vied,

As they dug another bed to turn the torrent’s course aside.

In the waveless hollow turning o’er and o’er the sod, the corse

Deep into the earth they sank, in armor clad, upon his horse.

Covered then with earth again the horse and rider in the grave,

That above the hero’s tomb the torrent’s lofty plants might wave.

And, a second time diverted, was the flood conducted back,

Foaming rushed Busento’s billows onwards in their wonted track.

And a warrior chorus sang, “Sleep with thy honors, hero brave!

“Ne’er shall foot of lucre-lusting Roman desecrate thy grave!”

Far and wide the songs of praise resounded in the Gothic host;

Bear them on, Busento’s billow, bear them on from coast to coast!