Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1110. Browning at Asolo
 
By Robert Underwood Johnson
 
 
THIS is the loggia Browning loved,
  High on the flank of the friendly town;
These are the hills that his keen eye roved,
  The green like a cataract leaping down
  To the plain that his pen gave new renown.        5
 
There to the West what a range of blue!—
The very background Titian drew
  To his peerless Loves! O tranquil scene!
Who than thy poet fondlier knew
  The peaks and the shore and the lore between?        10
 
See! yonder’s his Venice—the valiant Spire,
  Highest one of the perfect three,
Guarding the others: the Palace choir,
The Temple flashing with opal fire—
  Bubble and foam of the sunlit sea.        15
 
Yesterday he was part of it all—
  Sat here, discerning cloud from snow
  In the flush of the Alpine afterglow,
  Or mused on the vineyard whose wine-stirred row
Meets in a leafy bacchanal.        20
 
Listen a moment—how oft did he!—
  To the bells from Fontalto’s distant tower
Leading the evening in … ah, me!
Here breathes the whole soul of Italy
  As one rose breathes with the breath of the bower.        25
 
Sighs were meant for an hour like this
  When joy is keen as a thrust of pain.
Do you wonder the poet’s heart should miss
This touch of rapture in Nature’s kiss
  And dream of Asolo ever again?        30
 
“Part of it yesterday,” we moan?
  Nay, he is part of it now, no fear.
What most we love we are that alone.
His body lies under the Minster stone,
  But the love of the warm heart lingers here.        35
 

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