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, Palaces and Villas of
The Sistine Chapel
Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)
 
I.
THE MISERERE
THOSE sounds expiring on mine ear, mine eye
Was by a corresponding impress spelled:
A vision of the angels that rebelled
Still hung before me through the yielding sky,
Sinking on plumes outstretched imploringly.        5
Their tempter’s hopes and theirs forever quelled,
They sank, with hands upon their eyes close-held,
And longed, methought, for death, yet could not die.
Down, ever down, a mournful pageant streaming
With the slow, ceaseless motion of a river,        10
Inwoven choirs to ruin blindly tending,
They sank. I wept as one who weeps while dreaming
To see them, host on host, by force descending
Down the dim gulfs, forever and forever.
 
II.
FROM sadness on to sadness, woe to woe,
        15
Searching all depths of grief ineffable,
Those sighs of the forsaken sink and swell,
And to a piercing shrillness, gathering, grow.
Now one by one, commingling now they flow;
Now in the dark they die, a piteous knell,        20
Lorn as the wail of exiled Israel,
Or Hagar weeping o’er her outcast. No,—
Never hath loss external forced such sighs!
O ye with secret sins that inly bleed,
And drift from God, search out, if ye are wise,        25
Your unrepented infelicities:
And pray, whate’er the punishment decreed,
It prove not exile from your Maker’s eyes.
 
 
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