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
The Fountain of Trevi
Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)
 
THE COLISEUM lifts at night
  Its broken cells more proudly far
Than in the noonday’s naked light,
  For every rent enshrines a star:
  On Cæsar’s hill the royal Lar        5
Presides within his mansion old:
  Decay and Death no longer mar
The moon’s atoning mist of gold.
 
Still lingering near the shrines renewed,
  We sadly, fondly, look our last;        10
Each trace concealed of spoilage rude
  From old or late iconoclast,
  Till, Trajan’s whispering forum passed,
We hear the waters, showering bright,
  Of Trevi’s ancient fountain, cast        15
Their woven music on the night.
 
The Genius of the Tiber nods
  Benign, above his tilted urn:
Kneel down and drink! the beckoning gods
  This last libation will not spurn.        20
  Drink, and the old enchantment learn
That hovers yet o’er Trevi’s foam,—
  The promise of a sure return,
Fresh footsteps in the dust of Rome!
 
Kneel down and drink! the golden days        25
  Here lived and dreamed shall dawn again;
Albano’s hill, through purple haze,
  Again shall crown the Latin plain.
  Whatever stains of Time remain,
Left by the years that intervene,        30
  Lo! Trevi’s fount shall toss its rain
To wash the pilgrim’s forehead clean.
 
Drink, and depart! for Life is just;
  She gives to Faith a master-key
To ope the gate of dreams august,        35
  And take from joys in memory
  The certainty of joys to be;
And Trevi’s basins shall be bare
  Ere we again shall fail to see
Their silver in the Roman air.        40
 
 
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