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


The “Santa Casa” at Loretto

By Sir Aubrey de Vere (1814–1902)

A POET’S, not a pilgrim’s, vow was mine;

And with unworthy eyes, though pleased, I scanned

That house walled round with sculptured forms divine,

Labor illustrious of a Tuscan hand:

If angels hither from earth’s holiest strand

Wafted the hut those sumptuous walls enshrine,

Not less the artist here with potent wand

Wafts back the wanderer’s soul to Palestine:

There lays, there lulls it in a peaceful haven,

O’er which, distinct as stars o’er sleeping seas,

All Christian truths and human, blended, bow,

Embodied in those gospel imageries.

Of song-raised temples we have heard ere now,—

Lo, here a visible hymn in marble graven!