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



By Giovanni della Casa (1503–1556)

Translated by Felicia Hemans

THESE marble domes, by wealth and genius graced,

With sculptured forms, bright hues, and Parian stone,

Were once rude cabins midst a lonely waste,

Wild shores of solitude, and isles unknown.

Pure from each vice, ’t was here a venturous train

Fearless in fragile barks explored the sea;

Not theirs a wish to conquer or to reign,

They sought these island precincts—to be free.

Ne’er in their souls ambition’s flame arose,

No dream of avarice broke their calm repose;

Fraud, more than death, abhorred each artless breast:

O, now, since fortune gilds their brightening day,

Let not those virtues languish and decay,

O’erwhelmed by luxury, and by wealth oppressed!