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

Thrasimene, the Lake


By John Edmund Reade (1800–1870)

(From Italy)

THE AZURE Thrasimene! how the name

Calls up the quickened life-blood to the heart:

Visions of fight and old heroic fame

Before the mind’s eye into being start,

Deeds which their inspiration still impart:

Here fell the Romans’ eagle wings outspread

Struck in the tempest by the ethereal dart;

Here valor sunk, his blood like water shed,

Dying upon his foes, the Roman never fled.

All strife was vain, the darkening mists rolled down,

Blinding them trampled on the marshy strand,

While the foe rushed from yon hill’s sunlit crown,

Front, flank, and rear on the devoted band;

Vain their wild rally, vainer still their stand:

Yet frantic courage hewed its desperate way

To where yon ridge’s triple heights expand:

Conquered and conqueror’s dust have passed away,

But that once blood-dyed stream records the dreadful day.