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.
 
Brescia
The Patriot
Robert Browning (1812–1889)
 
IT was roses, roses, all the way,
  With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
  The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day!        5
 
The air broke into a mist with bells,
  The old walls rooked with the crowds and cries.
Had I said, “Good folks, mere noise repels,
  But give me your sun from yonder skies!”
They had answered, “And afterward, what else?”        10
 
Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun,
  To give it my loving friends to keep.
Naught man could do have I left undone,
  And you see my harvest, what I reap
This very day, now a year is run.        15
 
There ’s nobody on the house-tops now,—
  Just a palsied few at the windows set,—
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
  At the Shambles’ Gate,—or, better yet,
By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.        20
 
I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
  A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
  For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year’s misdeeds.        25
 
Thus I entered Brescia, and thus I go!
  In such triumphs people have dropped down dead.
“Thou, paid by the world,—what dost thou owe
  Me?” God might have questioned; but now instead
’T is God shall requite! I am safer so.        30
 
 
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