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.
 
Brindisi (Brundusium)
Brundusium
Lucan (39–65 A.D.)
 
(From Pharsalia)
Translated by Nicholas Rowe

UNEQUAL thus to Cæsar, Pompey yields
The fair dominion of Hesperia’s fields:
Swift through Apulia march his flying powers,
And seek the safety of Brundusium’s towers.
  This city a Dictæan people hold,        5
Here placed by tall Athenian barks of old;
When with false omens from the Cretan shore,
Their sable sails victorious Theseus bore.
Here Italy a narrow length extends,
And in a scanty slip projected ends.        10
A crooked mole around the waves she winds,
And in her folds the Adriatic binds.
Nor yet the bending shores could form a bay,
Did not a barrier isle the winds delay,
And break the seas tempestuous in their way.        15
Huge mounds of rocks are placed by nature’s hand,
To guard around the hospitable strand;
To turn the storm, repulse the rushing tide,
And bid the anchoring bark securely ride.
Hence Nereus wide the liquid main displays,        20
And spreads to various ports his watery ways;
Whether the pilot from Corcyra stand,
Or for Illyrian Epidamnus’ strand.
Hither when all the Adriatic roars,
And thundering billows vex the double shores;        25
When sable clouds around the welkin spread,
And frowning storms involve Ceraunia’s head;
When white with froth Calabrian Sason lies,
Hither the tempest-beaten vessel flies.
 
 
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