Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Bay of Naples
By T. W. Stone
 
SEE how the peaceful ripple breaks
In calmness on the verdant shore,
While zephyr, gently breathing, wakes
The slumbering spirit of each flower,
Which glows in beauteous brilliancy,        5
Along the margin of the tide,
And oft arrests the wandering eye,
As o’er the waves we gently glide.
 
Let us unfold the swelling sail,
Beneath the silent, silvery moon;        10
And catch the softly murmuring gale,
Which breathes in midnight’s solemn noon.
And thou, my friend, shalt guide us now
Along the bosom of the bay,
While seated on the lofty prow,        15
We mark the ripple, that our way
Leaves on the waters, like the streak
Of morning, on an Alpine height,
When Sol’s first radiant daybeams break,
In all the glow of infant light.        20
 
What sounds resound along the shores!
What echoes wake from off the seas!
While music from Italian bowers
Comes mingled with the evening breeze;
The careless sailor floats along,        25
Slow wafted by the ebbing flood,
And swells the chorus of the song,
Which joyous peals from hill and wood.
And laughing bands of youth are there,
Who deftly dance to lightest measure,        30
And sea, and shore, and earth, and air,
Resound to mellow notes of pleasure.
 
But, ah! ’t is past; a deeper brown
Has tinged the foliage of the wood,
Vesuvius’ mighty shadows frown        35
Majestically o’er the flood;
The moon has set, and shadowy sleep
Now holds dominion o’er mankind,
Binding in slumber’s vision deep,
The force of thought and power of mind.        40
 
In shadowy grandeur, now appears
The genius of the olden time,
And marks the ravages of years
In her once highly favor’d clime;
Sad on the ruins of the past        45
Dark melancholy broods alone;
Marking the wreck of temples vast,
The ruin’d shrine and altar stone.
 
Fair land! where oft, in days of yore,
The hymns of liberty were sung;        50
Thy boasted empire ’s now no more,
Thy lyre of freedom all unstrung.
But, still the spirit loves to tread
Where sleep the great of ages ended,
For, musing on thy mighty dead,        55
They seem with all thy scenery blended.
They seem to whisper in thy trees,
They seem to flit along thy mountains,
They seem to float in evening’s breeze,
They seem to haunt thy limpid fountains.        60
 
 
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