Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
Lines Written after Visiting the Monasteries at Catania
John Hookham Frere (1769–1846)
MONKS and holy clerks profest
Lead the sweetest and the best,
The securest life of all.
Look within the convent wall,
See the countenances there        5
Unannoyed by worldly care,
Unaffected happy faces,
With the features and the traces
Of habitual tranquillity;
With the joyous affability        10
That bespeaks a heart and head,
Undisturbed at board and bed,
Studious hours and holy rites,
Occupy their days and nights;
Study, learning, and devotion,        15
Leading onward to promotion;
Here discreet and trusty Friars
Rule the Brotherhood as Priors;
Some are known as casuists,
Theologians, canonists;        20
One among them, here and there,
Rises to the Prelate’s chair.
Thence again his parts and knowledge,
Fix him in the sacred college,
With the robe of Cardinal;        25
Last,—the topmost point of all,—
The majestic throne of Pope
Stands within the verge of hope;
That supreme and awful state
Which the noble and the great        30
With devout obeisance greet,
Humbly falling at his feet.

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