Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Cadenabbia. Lake Of Como. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Fourth)


No sound of wheels or hoof-beat breaks
The silence of the summer day,
As by the loveliest of all lakes
I while the idle hours away.

I pace the leafy colonnade,
Where level branches of the plane
Above me weave a roof of shade
Impervious to the sun and rain.

At times a sudden rush of air
Flutters the lazy leaves o'erhead,
And gleams of sunshine toss and flare
Like torches down the path I tread.

By Somariva's garden gate
I make the marble stairs my seat,
And hear the water, as I wait,
Lapping the steps beneath my feet.

The undulation sinks and swells
Along the stony parapets,
And far away the floating bells
Tinkle upon the fisher's nets.

Silent and slow, by tower and town
The freighted barges come and go,
Their pendent shadows gliding down
By town and tower submerged below.

The hills sweep upward from the shore,
With villas scattered one by one
Upon their wooded spurs, and lower
Bellaggio blazing in the sun.

And dimly seen, a tangled mass
Of walls and woods, of light and shade,
Stands, beckoning up the Stelvio Pass,
Varenna with its white cascade.

I ask myself, Is this a dream?
Will it all vanish into air?
Is there a land of such supreme
And perfect beauty anywhere?

Sweet vision! Do not fade away;
Linger, until my heart shall take
Into itself the summer day,
And all the beauty of the lake;

Linger until upon my brain
Is stamped an image of the scene,
Then fade into the air again,
And be as if thou hadst not been.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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