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.
 
Soracte, the Mountain
Soracte
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

  ONCE more upon the woody Apennine,
  The infant Alps, which—had I not before
  Gazed on their mightier parents, where the pine
  Sits on more shaggy summits, and where roar
  The thundering lauwine—might be worshipped more;        5
  But I have seen the soaring Jungfrau rear
  Her never-trodden snow, and seen the hoar
  Glaciers of bleak Mont Blanc both far and near,
And in Chimari heard the thunder-hills of fear,
 
  The Acroceraunian mountains of old name;        10
  And on Parnassus seen the eagles fly
  Like spirits of the spot, as ’t were for fame,
  For still they soared unutterably high:
  I ’ve looked on Ida with a Trojan’s eye;
  Athos, Olympus,—Ætna, Atlas, made        15
  These hills seem things of lesser dignity,
  All, save the lone Soracte’s height, displayed
Not now in snow, which asks the lyric Roman’s aid.
 
  For our remembrance, and from out the plain
  Heaves like a long-swept wave about to break,        20
  And on the curl hangs pausing: not in vain
  May he, who will, his recollections rake
  And quote in classic raptures, and awake
  The hills with Latian echoes; I abhorred
  Too much to conquer for the poet’s sake        25
  The drilled dull lesson, forced down word by word
In my repugnant youth, with pleasure to record
 
  Aught that recalls the daily drug which turned
  My sickening memory; and though time hath taught
  My mind to meditate what then it learned,        30
  Yet such the fixed inveteracy wrought
  By the impatience of my early thought,
  That, with the freshness wearing out before
  My mind could relish what it might have sought,
  If free to choose, I cannot now restore        35
Its health; but what it then detested, still abhor.
 
  Then farewell, Horace; whom I hated so,
  Not for thy faults, but mine: it is a curse
  To understand, not feel thy lyric flow,
  To comprehend, but never love thy verse:        40
  Although no deeper moralist rehearse
  Our little life, nor bard prescribe his art,
  Nor livelier satirist the conscience pierce,
  Awakening without wounding the touched heart,
Yet fare thee well,—upon Soracte’s ridge we part.        45
 
 
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