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



By Sir William Davenant (1606–1668)

(From Gondibert)

NEAR to his evening region was the Sun,

When Hurgonil with his lamented load,

And faithful Tybalt their sad march begun

To fair Verona, where the court aboad.

They slowly rode till night’s dominion ceast:

When infant morn (her scarce wak’d beames display’d)

With a scant face peep’d shylie through the east;

And seem’d as yet of the black world afraid.

But by increase of swift expansive light,

The lost horizon was apparent grown,

And many tow’rs salute at once their sight;

The distant glories of a royal town.

Verona, sprung from noble Vera’s name;

Whom careless time (still scatt’ring old records

Where they are loosly gather’d up by fame)

Proclaimes the chief of ancient Tuscan lords.

Verona borders on that fatal plaine,

Whose barren thirst was quench’d with valiant blood,

When the rough Cymbrians by fierce Marius slain,

Left hills of bodies where their ensignes stood.

So safely proud this town did now appear;

As if it but immortal dwellers lack’d;

As if Theodoric had ne’r been there,

Nor Attila her wealth and beauty sack’d.

Here Hurgonill might follow with his eye

(As with deep stream it through the city pass’t)

The fruitfull and the frighted Adice,

Which thence from noise and nets to sea does haste.

And on her peopled bank they might behold

The toyles of conquest paid with works of pride;

The palace of king Agilulf the old,

Or monument, for ere ’t was built he dy’d.

To it that temple joynes, whose lofty head

The prospect of a swelling hill commands;

In whose coole wombe the city springs are bred:

On Dorique pillers this tall temple stands.

This to sooth Heav’n the bloody Clephes built;

As if Heav’n’s king so soft and easy were,

So meanly hous’d in Heav’n, and kind to guilt,

That he would be a tyrant’s tenant here.

And now they might arrest their wand’ring sight

With that which makes all other objects lost;

Makes Lombard greatness flat to Roman height,

And modern builders blush, that else would boast;

An amphytheater which has controll’d

Unheeded conquests of advancing age,

Windes which have made the trembling world look old,

And the fierce tempests of the Gothick rage,

This great Flaminius did in youth erect,

Where cities sat to see whole armies play

Death’s serious part: but this we may neglect,

To mark the bus’ness which begins with day.

As day new open’ng fills the hemisphear,

And all at once; so quickly ev’ry street

Does by an instant op’ning full appear,

When from their dwellings busy dwellers meet.

From wider gates oppressors sally there;

Here creeps the afflicted through a narrow dore;

Groans under wrongs he has not strength to bear,

Yet seeks for wealth to injure others more.

And here the early lawyer mends his pace;

For whom the earlier cliant waited long;

Here greedy creditors their debtors chase,

Who scape by herding in th’ indebted throng.

Th’ advent’rous merchant whom a storm did wake,

(His ship ’s on Adriatic billowes tost)

Does hope of eastern winds from steeples take,

And hastens there a currier to the coast.


There from sick mirth neglected feasters reel,

Who cares of want in wine’s false Lethe steep.

There anxious empty gamsters homeward steal,

And fear to wake, ere they begin to sleep.

Here stooping lab’rers slowly moving are;

Beasts to the rich, whose strength grows rude with ease;

And would usurp, did not their rulers’ care

With toile and tax their furious strength appease.

There th’ aged walk, whose needless carefulness

Infects them past the mind’s best med’cine, sleep;

There some to temples early vows address,

And for th’ ore busie world most wisely weep.

To this vast inn where tydes of strangers flow,

The morn and Hurgonil together came;

The morn, whose dewy wings appear’d but slow,

When men the motion mark’d of swifter Fame.

For Fame (whose journeys are through ways unknown,

Traceless and swift, and changing as the wind)

The morn and Hurgonil had much out-gone,

Whilst Truth mov’d patiently within behind.