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.
 
Naples
Virgil’s Tomb
Anonymous
 
I CAME, great bard, to gaze upon thy shrine,
And o’er thy relics wait the inspiring Nine:
For sure, I said, where Maro’s ashes sleep,
The weeping Muses must their vigils keep:
Still o’er their favorite’s monument they mourn,        5
And with poetic trophies grace his urn:
Have placed the shield and martial trumpet here;
The shepherd’s pipe, and rural honors there:
Fancy had decked the consecrated ground,
And scattered never-fading roses round.        10
And now my bold romantic thought aspires
To hear the echo of celestial lyres;
Then catch some sound to bear delighted home,
And boast I learnt the verse at Virgil’s tomb;
Or stretched beneath thy myrtle’s fragrant shade,        15
With dreams ecstatic hovering o’er my head,
See forms august, and laurelled ghosts ascend,
And with thyself, perhaps, the long procession end.
  I came,—but soon the phantoms disappeared;
Far other scenes than wanton Hope had reared;        20
No faery rites, no funeral pomp I found;
No trophied walls with wreaths of laurel round:
A mean unhonored ruin faintly showed
The spot where once thy mausoleum stood:
Hardly the form remained; a nodding dome        25
O’ergrown with moss is now all Virgil’s tomb.
 
 
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