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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT, 1820

XXIX. STANZAS

COMPOSED IN THE SIMPLON PASS

          VALLOMBROSA! I longed in thy shadiest wood
          To slumber, reclined on the moss-covered floor,
          To listen to ANIO'S precipitous flood,
          When the stillness of evening hath deepened its roar;
          To range through the Temples of PAESTUM, to muse
          In POMPEII preserved by her burial in earth;
          On pictures to gaze where they drank in their hues;
          And murmur sweet songs on the ground of their birth.

          The beauty of Florence, the grandeur of Rome,
          Could I leave them unseen, and not yield to regret?         10
          With a hope (and no more) for a season to come,
          Which ne'er may discharge the magnificent debt?
          Thou fortunate Region! whose Greatness inurned
          Awoke to new life from its ashes and dust;
          Twice-glorified fields! if in sadness I turned
          From your infinite marvels, the sadness was just.

          Now, risen ere the light-footed Chamois retires
          From dew-sprinkled grass to heights guarded with snow,
          Toward the mists that hang over the land of my Sires,
          From the climate of myrtles contented I go.                 20
          My thoughts become bright like yon edging of Pines
          On the steep's lofty verge: how it blackened the air!
          But, touched from behind by the Sun, it now shines
          With threads that seem part of his own silver hair.

          Though the toil of the way with dear Friends we divide,
          Though by the same zephyr our temples be fanned
          As we rest in the cool orange-bower side by side,
          A yearning survives which few hearts shall withstand:
          Each step hath its value while homeward we move;--
          O joy when the girdle of England appears!                   30
          What moment in life is so conscious of love,
          Of love in the heart made more happy by tears?


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