Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Michael Angelo: A Fragment
Part Second.
II. Viterbo
 
VITTORIA COLONNA at the convent window.

VITTORIA.
PARTING with friends is temporary death,
As all death is. We see no more their faces,
Nor hear their voices, save in memory.
But messages of love give us assurance
That we are not forgotten. Who shall say        5
That from the world of spirits comes no greeting,
No message of remembrance? It may be
The thoughts that visit us, we know not whence,
Sudden as inspiration, are the whispers
Of disembodied spirits, speaking to us        10
As friends, who wait outside a prison wall,
Through the barred windows speak to those within.    [A pause.
As quiet as the lake that lies beneath me,
As quiet as the tranquil sky above me,
As quiet as a heart that beats no more,        15
This convent seems. Above, below, all peace!
Silence and solitude, the soul’s best friends,
Are with me here, and the tumultuous world
Makes no more noise than the remotest planet.    [A pause.
O gentle spirit, unto the third circle        20
Of heaven among the blessed souls ascended,
Who, living in the faith and dying for it,
Have gone to their reward, I do not sigh
For thee as being dead, but for myself
That I am still alive. Turn those dear eyes,        25
Once so benignant to me, upon mine,
That open to their tears such uncontrolled
And such continual issue. Still awhile
Have patience; I will come to thee at last.
A few more goings in and out these doors,        30
A few more chimings of these convent bells,
A few more prayers, a few more sighs and tears,
And the long agony of this life will end,
And I shall be with thee. If I am wanting
To thy well-being, as thou art to mine,        35
Have patience; I will come to thee at last.
Ye winds that loiter in these cloister gardens,
Or wander far above the city walls,
Bear unto him this message, that I ever
Or speak or think of him, or weep for him.        40
 
By unseen hands uplifted in the light
Of sunset, yonder solitary cloud
Floats, with its white apparel blown abroad,
And wafted up to heaven. It fades away,
And melts into the air. Ah, would that I        45
Could thus be wafted unto thee, Francesco,
A cloud of white, an incorporeal spirit!
 
 
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