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.
 
Appendix: Arcetri
Arcetri
Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)
 
(From Italy)

                    NEARER we hail
Thy sunny slope, Arcetri, sung of old
For its green wine; dearer to me, to most,
As dwelt on by that great Astronomer,
Seven years a prisoner at the city-gate,        5
Let in but in his grave-clothes. Sacred be
His villa (justly was it called The Gem!)
Sacred the lawn, where many a cypress threw
Its length of shadow, while he watched the stars!
Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight        10
Glimmered, at blush of morn he dressed his vines,
Chanting aloud in gayety of heart
Some verse of Ariosto! There, unseen,
In manly beauty Milton stood before him,
Gazing with reverent awe,—Milton, his guest,        15
Just then come forth, all life and enterprise;
He in his old age and extremity,
Blind, at noonday exploring with his staff;
His eyes upturned as to the golden sun,
His eyeballs idly rolling. Little then        20
Did Galileo think whom he received;
That in his hand he held the hand of one
Who could requite him, who would spread his name
O’er lands and seas,—great as himself, nay, greater;
Milton as little that in him he saw,        25
As in a glass, what he himself should be,
Destined so soon to fall on evil days
And evil tongues,—so soon, alas, to live
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
And solitude.        30
 
 
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