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


To Italy

By Vincenzo da Filicaja (1642–1707)

Translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ITALY! Italy! thou who ’rt doomed to wear

The fatal gift of beauty, and possess

The dower funest of infinite wretchedness

Written upon thy forehead by despair;

Ah! would that thou wert stronger, or less fair,

That they might fear thee more, or love thee less,

Who in the splendor of thy loveliness

Seem wasting, yet to mortal combat dare!

Then from the Alps I should not see descending

Such torrents of armed men, nor Gallic horde

Drinking the wave of Po, distained with gore,

Nor should I see thee girded with a sword

Not thine, and with the stranger’s arm contending,

Victor or vanquished, slave forevermore.