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


The Last Supper

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

  • By Leonardo da Vinci, in the refectory of the Convent of Maria della Grazia, Milan.

  • THOUGH searching damps and many an envious flaw

    Have marred this work, the calm, ethereal grace,

    The love, deep-seated in the Saviour’s face,

    The mercy, goodness, have not failed to awe

    The elements; as they do melt and thaw

    The heart of the beholder, and erase

    (At least for one rapt moment) every trace

    Of disobedience to the primal law.

    The annunciation of the dreadful truth

    Made to the Twelve survives: lip, forehead, cheek,

    And hand reposing on the board in ruth

    Of what it utters, while the unguilty seek

    Unquestionable meanings, still bespeak

    A labor worthy of eternal youth!