Verse > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow > Complete Poetical Works
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).  Complete Poetical Works.  1893.
 
Translations
From the Italian.
The Terrestrial Paradise
 
Purgatorio XXVIII. 1–33.

LONGING already to search in and round
  The heavenly forest, dense and living-green,
  Which tempered to the eyes the new-born day.
Withouten more delay I left the bank,
  Crossing the level country slowly, slowly,        5
  Over the soil, that everywhere breathed fragrance.
A gently-breathing air, that no mutation
  Had in itself, smote me upon the forehead
  No heavier blow than of a pleasant breeze,
Whereat the tremulous branches readily        10
  Did all of them bow downward towards that side
  Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain;
Yet not from their upright direction bent
  So that the little birds upon their tops
  Should cease the practice of their tuneful art;        15
But, with full-throated joy, the hours of prime
  Singing received they in the midst of foliage
  That made monotonous burden to their rhymes,
Even as from branch to branch it gathering swells,
  Through the pine forests on the shore of Chiassi,        20
  When Æolus unlooses the Sirocco.
Already my slow steps had led me on
  Into the ancient wood so far, that I
  Could see no more the place where I had entered.
And lo! my further course cut off a river,        25
  Which, tow’rds the left hand, with its little waves,
  Bent down the grass, that on its margin sprang.
All waters that on earth most limpid are,
  Would seem to have within themselves some mixture,
  Compared with that, which nothing doth conceal,        30
Although it moves on with a brown, brown current,
  Under the shade perpetual, that never
  Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.
 
 
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