Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Pisa
In the Pine Forest of the Cascine
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
(From The Recollection)

*        *        *        *        *
WE wandered to the Pine Forest
  That skirts the Ocean’s foam,
The lightest wind was in its nest,
  The tempest in its home.
The whispering waves were half asleep,        5
  The clouds were gone to play,
And on the bosom of the deep
  The smile of Heaven lay;
It seemed as if the hour were one
  Sent from beyond the skies,        10
Which scattered from above the sun
  A light of Paradise.
 
We paused amid the pines that stood
  The giants of the waste,
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude        15
  As serpents interlaced,
And soothed by every azure breath
  That under heaven is blown,
To harmonies and hues beneath,
  As tender as its own;        20
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep,
  Like green waves on the sea,
As still as in the silent deep
  The ocean woods may be.
 
How calm it was!—the silence there        25
  By such a chain was bound,
That even the busy woodpecker
  Made stiller by her sound
The inviolable quietness;
  The breath of peace we drew        30
With its soft motion made not less
  The calm that round us grew.
There seemed from the remotest seat
  Of the wide mountain waste,
To the soft flower beneath our feet,        35
  A magic circle traced;
A spirit interfused around
  A thrilling silent life,
To momentary peace it bound
  Our mortal nature’s strife;—        40
And still I felt the centre of
  The magic circle there
Was one fair form that filled with love
  The lifeless atmosphere.
 
We paused beside the pools that lie        45
  Under the forest bough,
Each seemed as ’t were a little sky
  Gulfed in a world below;
A firmament of purple light,
  Which in the dark earth lay,        50
More boundless than the depth of night,
  And purer than the day;
In which the lovely forests grew,
  As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue        55
  Than any spreading there.
There lay the glade and neighboring lawn,
  And through the dark green wood
The white sun twinkling like the dawn
  Out of a speckled cloud.        60
Sweet views, which in our world above
  Can never well be seen,
Were imaged by the water’s love
  Of that fair forest green.
And all was interfused beneath        65
  With an Elysian glow,
An atmosphere without a breath,
  A softer day below.
Like one beloved the scene had lent
  To the dark water’s breast        70
Its every leaf and lineament
  With more than truth exprest,
Until an envious wind crept by,
  Like an unwelcome thought,
Which from the mind’s too faithful eye        75
  Blots one dear image out.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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