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


To Rome

By Vittorio Alfieri (1749–1803)

Translated by Capel Lofft

UNHEALTHY land! that call’st thyself a state;

Void, desolate! Plains barren and untilled!

Mute spectres of a race; whose looks are filled

With guilt, base fears, fierce and ensanguined hate!

A Senate, nor to act nor to debate,

Vile paltry craft in splendid purple veiled!

Patricians of a folly less concealed

Than their vain wealth! a Prince, imagined great;

By superstition hallowed! City proud

Who hast no citizens! Temples august,

Without religion! Laws corrupt, unjust,

From age to age proceeding still to worse.

Keys (as thou saidst) to which Heaven’s portals bowed

For impious men—Ah, Rome, the seat of every curse.