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.
 
Cannæ
Cannæ
Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)
 
SAVE where Garganus, with low-ridgéd bound,
  Protects the north, the eye outstretching far
Surveys one sea of gently swelling ground,
  A fitly moulded “Orchestra of War.”
 
Here Aufidus, between his humble banks        5
  With wild thyme plotted, winds along the plain,
A devious path, as when the serried ranks
  Passed over it, that passed not back again.
 
The long-horned herds enjoy the cool delight,
  Sleeping half-merged, to shun the deep sun-glow,        10
Which, that May-morning, dazed the Roman sight,
  But fell innocuous on the subtler foe.
 
We feel the wind upon our bosoms beat,
  That whilom dimmed with dust those noble eyes,
And rendered aimless many a gallant feat,        15
  And brought disgrace on many a high emprise.
 
And close beside us rests the ancient well,
  Where at the end of that accursed day,
Apulian peasants to their grandsons tell,
  The friend and follower of wise Fabius lay;        20
 
Here fainting lay, compelled by fate to share
  Shame not his own,—here spurned the scanty time
Still left for flight, lest, living he might bear
  Hard witness to his colleague’s generous crime.
 
I have seen many fields where men have fought        25
  With mightier issues, but not one, I deem,
Where history offers to reflecting thought
  So sharp a check of greatness so supreme.
 
 
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