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



By William Sotheby (1757–1833)

SPIRIT! who lovest to live unseen,

By brook or pathless dell,

Where wild woods burst the rocks between

And floods, in streams of silver sheen,

Gush from their flinty cell!

Or where the ivy waves her woof,

And climbs the crag alone,

Haunts the cool grotto, daylight proof,

Where loitering drops that wear the roof

Turn all beneath to stone.

Shield me from summer’s blaze of day,

From noontide’s fiery gale,

And, as thy waters round me play,

Beneath the o’ershadowing cavern lay,

Till twilight spreads her veil.

Then guide me where the wandering moon

Rests on Mæcenas’ wall,

And echoes at night’s solemn noon

In Tivoli’s soft shades attune

The peaceful waterfall.

Again they float before my sight

The bower, the flood, the glade;

Again on you romantic height

The Sibyl’s temple towers in light,

Above the dark cascade.

Down the steep cliff I wind my way

Along the dim retreat,

And mid the torrents’ deafening bray

Dash from my brow the foam away,

Where clashing cataracts meet.

And now I leave the rocks below,

And, issuing forth from night,

View on the flakes that sunward flow,

A thousand rainbows round me glow,

And arch my way with light.

Again the myrtles o’er me breathe,

Fresh flowers my path perfume,

Round cliff and cave wild tendrils wreathe,

And from the groves that bend beneath

Low trail their purple bloom.

Thou grove, thou glade of Tivoli,

Dark flood and rivulet clear,

That wind, where’er you wander by,

A stream of beauty on the eye,

Of music on the ear;

And thou that, when the wandering moon

Illumed the rocky dell,

Didst to my charmed ear attune

The echoes of night’s solemn noon,—

Spirit unseen! farewell!

Farewell!—o’er many a realm I go,

My natal isle to greet,

Where summer sunbeams mildly glow,

And sea-winds health and freshness blow

O’er freedom’s hallowed seat.

Yet there, to thy romantic spot

Shall fancy oft retire,

And hail the bower, the stream, the grot,

Where earth’s sole lord the world forgot,

And Horace smote the lyre.