Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Paul Ferroll (1853).
An Incident (From Chapter VII)
By Caroline Clive (1801–1873)
 
          “Do you remember as we went up the steep path to the inn, seeing an Englishwoman sitting just in the angle of one of the turns? The gardener’s wife who was sewing on the seat at the top, said the lady was lame, and she did not know how she had managed to get down there; but she had been sitting quite still on the same spot for an hour and a half, while her friends were in a boat on the bay.” “I recollect; the woman said she had three or four times peeped over the rock, but the lady always seemed contentissima, come se stesse in Paradiso.” “That’s the exact expression that struck me; it came into verse the other day. Read it, Janet.”

GAËTA’S orange groves were there,
  Half circling round the sun-kiss’d sea;
And all were gone, and left the fair
  Rich garden-solitude to me.
 
My feeble foot refused to tread        5
  The rugged pathway to the bay;
Down the steep rock I saw them thread,
  And gain the boat and glide away.
 
And then the thirst grew strong in me,
  To taste yet farther scenes so bright,—        10
To do like those who wander’d free,
  And share their exquisite delight.
 
With careful trouble then, and pain,
  I pass’d a little down the hill;
Each step obtain’d was hard-earn’d gain,        15
  Each step before, seem’d distant still.
 
But when I reach’d at last the trees
  Which see that lovely scene complete;
I sat there all at peace and ease,
  A monarch of the mossy seat.        20
 
Above me hung the golden glow
  Of fruit which is at one with flowers;
Below me gleam’d the ocean flow,
  Like sapphires in the mid-day hours.
 
A passing-by there was of wings;        25
  The silent, flower-like butterflies;
The sudden beetle as it springs,
  Full of the life of southern skies.
 
A sound there was of words afloat,
  Of sailors, and of children blent,        30
At work and play beside a boat;
  Sounds which the distance mix’d and spent.
 
A brooding silence too was there,
  Of mid-day, and a wide-stretch’d bound;
And I sat still, with open ear,        35
  That drank the silence and the sound.
 
It was an hour, of bliss to die;
  But not to sleep; for ever came
The warm, thin air, and passing by
  Fann’d Sense, and Soul, and Heart to flame.        40
 
The sight I saw that noontide, grew
  A portion of my mem’ry’s pride;
And oh, how often I renew
  The beauty of the steep hill-side.
 
It comes, when by the northern fire,        45
  I sit and shiver in its heat;
While with vain longing I aspire,
  To rest upon my rocky seat.
 
A longing, such, thou gracious land,
  As thou must ever leave on those        50
Who bask on thy enchanted strand,
  And see thy heavenly shapes and hues.
 
And if, methinks, to roam and climb,
  At my free will, to me were giv’n,
O’er such a land, in such a clime,        55
  It would be, what will be, in heaven.
 
 
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