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

Vesuvius, the Mountain


By William Gibson (1826–1887)

BUT, lo! the burning mountain’s lava cone

Fills up the vision! Ever does it breathe

From its hot chasms thick sulphur-clouds, which wreathe

Its summit when the still air is unblown.

Mid-height, the mount, with luscious grape o’ergrown,

Swarms with live villages; while underneath

The surface do the no less live flames seethe

The Titan’s heart; convulséd agony shown

In quake and rending of the solid earth!

Not seldom, with a throe more terrible,

He bursts his bonds, and blazes arméd forth

With vengeance engined in his lurid hell!

Beautiful in thy play, O Spirit of Fire,

Mountains may crush not thine unconquerable ire!