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


Virgil’s Tomb

By William Gibson (1826–1887)

WE seek, as twilight saddens into gloom,

A poet’s sepulchre; and here it is,—

The summit of a tufa precipice.

Ah! precious every drape of myrtle bloom

And leaf of laurel crowning Virgil’s tomb!

The low vault entering, hark! what sound is this?

The night is black beneath us in the abyss,

Through one damp port disclosed, as from earth’s womb,

That rumbling sound appalls us! Through the steep

Is hewn Posilipo’s most marvellous grot;

And to the prince of Roman bards, whose sleep

Is in this singular and lonely spot,

Doth a wild rumor give a wizard’s name,

Linking a tunnelled road to Maro’s fame!