Per me si va nella citta dolente.
He came to the desert of London town
Gray miles long;
He wandered up and he wandered down,
Singing a quiet song.
The fire that filled my heart of old
Gave luster while it burned;
Now only ashes gray and cold
Are in its silence urned.
Once in a saintly passion
I cried with desperate grief,
"O Lord, my heart is black with guile,
Of sinners I am chief."
Eastwards through busy streets I lingered on;
Jostled by anxious crowds, who, heart and brain,
Were so absorbed in dreams of Mammon-gain,
That they could spare no time to look upon
What precious thing are you making fast
In all these silken lines?
That one long dirge-moan sad and deep,
Low, muffled by the solemn stress
Of such emotion as doth steep
The soul in brooding quietness,
Give a man a horse he can ride,
Give a man a boat he can sail;
And his rank and wealth, his strength and health,
On sea nor shore shall fail.
He cried out through the night:
"Where is the light?
Open Heaven's door?
"Why are your songs all wild and bitter sad
As funeral dirges with the orphans' cries?