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.
 
Rome
Rome
Virgil (70–19 B.C.)
 
(From Æneid, Book VIII)
Translated by C. P. Cranch

EVANDER then, Rome’s earliest founder, spoke:
“These groves were once by native Fauns and Nymphs
Inhabited, and men who took their birth
From tough oak-trunks. No settled mode of life
Had they, nor culture; nor knew how to yoke        5
Their steers, or heap up wealth, or use their stores
With frugal hands; but the rough chase supplied
Their food, or boughs of trees. Then Saturn came
From high Olympus, fleeing before Jove.
An exile from the kingdoms he had lost.        10
This stubborn race through mountain wilds dispersed
He brought together, and to them gave laws;
And called the region Latium, since he had lurked
In safety on its shores. Beneath his reign
The golden age, so called, was seen. In peace        15
He ruled his people; till by gradual steps
There came a faded and degenerate age,
And love of war succeeded, and of gain.
Then came Ausonians and Sicanians;
And oft the name Saturnia was changed.        20
Then kings succeeded, and the form immense
Of rugged Thybris, from whom came the name
Tiber; while that of Albula was lost.
Me, from my country driven to lands remote,
Chance and inevitable fate have placed        25
Upon these shores; the nymph Carmentis too,
My mother, urging me with warnings dread,
And great Apollo who first prompted me.”
 
Then moving onward, he an altar shows,
And gate, which now the name Carmental bears        30
In Rome; an old revered memorial
Of the prophetic nymph who first foretold
The future heroes of Æneas’ line,
And noble Pallanteum; next, the grove
Points out, which Romulus the Asylum named;        35
Then the Lupercal cool beneath the rocks,
Named after Pan, by old Arcadian wont;
And Argiletum’s grove he shows, and tells
Of Argus’ death, his guest; and calls the spot
To witness, he was guiltless of the deed.        40
Then on to the Tarpeian rock he leads
The way, and to the Capitol, now decked
With gold, then rough with bushes wild.
E’en then the dark religion of the place
Haunted the timorous peasants with vague fears.        45
“Within this grove, upon this wooded hill,”
He said, “some deity his dwelling made;
But who or what, none knows. The Arcadians
Think they have seen great Jove himself, when oft
With his right hand he shook his darkening shield,        50
And called his clouds around him. Yon two towns
With ruined walls thou seest, the relics old
And monuments of ancient days: this one
Was reared by Janus, that by Saturn built;
Saturnia and Janiculum their names.”        55
 
 
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