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Nor knew we well what pleased us most, Not the clipt palm of which they boast;
But distant colour, happy hamlet, A moulder'd citadel on the coast,
Or tower, or high hill-convent, seen
Or olive-hoary cape in ocean ;
Where oleanders flush'd the bed
Of silent torrents, gravel-spread;
And, crossing, oft we saw the glisten Of ice, far up on a mountain head.
We loved that hall, tho' white and cold,
Those niched shapes of noble mould,
A princely people's awful princes, The grave, severe Genovese of old.
At Florence too what golden hours,
What drives about the fresh Cascinè, Or walks in Boboli’s ducal bowers.
In bright vignettes, and each complete, Of tower or duomo, sunny-sweet,
Or palace, how the city glitter'd, Thro' cypress avenues, at our feet.
But when we crost the Lombard plain Remember what a plague of rain;
Of rain at Reggio, rain at Parma ;
At Lodi, rain, Piacenza, rain.
And stern and sad (so rare the smiles Of sunlight) look'd the Lombard piles ;
Porch-pillars on the lion resting, And sombre, old, colonnaded aisles.
O Milan, O the chanting quires,
The height, the space, the gloom, the glory ! A mount of marble, a hundred spires !
I climb'd the roofs at break of day;
I stood among the silent statues,
How faintly-flush'd, how phantom-fair,
A thousand shadowy-pencilld valleys
Remember how we came at last
To Como; shower and storm and blast
Had blown the lake beyond his limit, And all was flooded ; and how we past
From Como, when the light was gray,
The rich Virgilian rustic measure
Like ballad-burthen music, kept,
To that fair port below the castle
Or hardly slept, but watch'd awake
The moonlight touching o’er a terrace One tall Agavè above the lake.
What more? we took our last adieu,
But ere we reach'd the highest summit I pluck'd a daisy, I gave it you.
It told of England then to me,
O love, we two shall go no longer
So dear a life your arms enfold
Yet here to-night in this dark city,
I found, tho' crush'd to hard and dry,
Still in the little book you lent me,
And I forgot the clouded Forth,
The bitter east, the misty summer