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.
 
Introductory
Italy
William Wetmore Story (1819–1895)
 
ALL is Italian here!—the orange grove,
Through whose cool shade we every morning rove
To pluck its glowing fruit; our villa white
With loggias broad, where far into the night
We sit and breathe the intoxicating air        5
With orange-blossoms filled, or free from care
In the cool shadow of the morning lie
And dream, and watch the lazy boats go by,
Laden with fruits for Naples, the soft gales
Swelling and straining in their lateen sails,        10
Or with their canvas hanging all adroop,
While the oars flash, and rowers rise and stoop.
Look at this broad, flat plain heaped full of trees,
With here and there a villa,—these blue seas
Whispering below the sheer cliffs on the shore,        15
These ochre mountains bare or olived o’er,
The road that clings to them along the coast,
The arching viaducts, the thick vines tost
From tree to tree, that swing with every breeze,—
What can be more Italian than all these?        20
The streets, too, through whose narrow, dusty track
We ride in files, each on our donkey’s back,
When evening’s shadow o’er the high gray walls,
O’ertopped with oranges and olives, falls,
And at each corner ’neath its roof of tiles,        25
Hung with poor offerings, the Madonna smiles
In her rude shrine so picturesque with dirt.
Is this not Italy? Your nerves are hurt
By that expression,—dirt,—nay, then I see
You love not nature, art, nor Italy.
*        *        *        *        *
        30
 
 
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