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

                        I ROAM
  By Thrasimene’s lake, in the defiles
  Fatal to Roman rashness, more at home;
  For there the Carthaginian’s warlike wiles
  Come back before me, as his skill beguiles        5
  The host between the mountains and the shore,
  Where Courage falls in her despairing files,
  And torrents, swollen to rivers with their gore,
Reek through the sultry plain, with legions scattered o’er,
 
  Like to a forest felled by mountain winds;        10
  And such the storm of battle on this day,
  And such the frenzy, whose convulsion blinds
  To all save carnage, that beneath the fray
  An earthquake reeled unheededly away!
  None felt stern Nature rocking at his feet,        15
  And yawning forth a grave for those who lay
  Upon their bucklers for a winding-sheet;
Such is the absorbing hate when warring nations meet!
 
  The earth to them was as a rolling bark
  Which bore them to eternity; they saw        20
  The ocean round, but had no time to mark
  The motions of their vessel; Nature’s law,
  In them suspended, recked not of the awe
  Which reigns when mountains tremble, and the birds
  Plunge in the clouds for refuge and withdraw        25
  From their down-toppling nests; and bellowing herds
Stumble o’er heaving plains, and man’s dread hath no words.
 
  Far other scene is Thrasimene now;
  Her lake a sheet of silver, and her plain
  Rent by no ravage save the gentle plough;        30
  Her aged trees rise thick as once the slain
  Lay where their roots are; but a brook hath ta’en,
  A little rill of scanty stream and bed—
  A name of blood from that day’s sanguine rain;
  And Sanguinetto tells ye where the dead        35
Made the earth wet, and turned the unwilling waters red.
 
 
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