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


To Italy

By Pietro Bembo (1470–1547)

Anonymous translation

FAIR land, once loved of Heaven o’er all beside,

Which blue waves gird and lofty mountains screen!

Thou clime of fertile fields and sky serene,

Whose gay expanse the Apennines divide!

What boots it now, that Rome’s old warlike pride

Left thee of humbled earth and sea the queen?

Nations, that served thee then, now fierce convene

To tear thy locks and strew them o’er the tide.

And lives there son of thine so base at core,

Who, luring foreign friends to thine embrace,

Stabs to the heart thy beauteous, bleeding frame?

Are these the noble deeds of ancient fame?

Thus do ye God’s almighty name adore?

O hardened age! O false and recreant race!