BETA

A Farewell to Naples.

I.

A glorious amphitheatre, whose girth1
Exceeds three-fold th’ horizons of the north,2
Mixing our pleasure in a goblet wide,3
With hard, firm rim through clear air far descried ;4
llumined mountains, on whose heavenly slopes,5
Quick, busy shades rehearse, while Phœbus drops,6
Dramatic parts in scenic mysteries ;7
Far-shadowing islands, and exulting seas8
With cities girt, that catch, till day is done,9
Successive glances from the circling sun,10
And cast a snowy gleam across the blue ; —11
A gulf that, to its lakelike softness true,12
Reveres the stillness of the syren’s cell,13
Yet knows the ocean’s roll, and loves it well ;14
A gulf where Zephyr oft, with noon-tide heat15
Oppressed, descends to bathe his sacred feet,16
And, at the first cold touch, at once reviving,17
Sinks to the wings in joy, before him driving18
A feathery foam into the lemon groves ; —19
Evasive, zone-like sands and secret coves ;20
Translucent waves that, heaved with motion slow,21
On fanes submerged a brighter gleam bestow ;22
Fair hamlets, streets with odorous myrtles spread,23
Bruised by processions grave with soundless tread,24
That leave (the Duomo entered) on the mind25
A pomp confused, and music on the wind ;26
Smooth, mounded banks like inland coasts and capes,27
That take from seas extinct their sinuous shapes,28
And girdle plains whose growths, fire-fed below,29
In bacchanal exuberance burst and blow ;30
A light Olympian and an air divine31
Naples ! if these are blessings, they are thine.32

II.

Thy sands we paced in sunlight and soft gloom,33
From Tasso’s birthplace roamed to Virgil’s tomb.34
Baia ! thy haunts we trod, and glowing caves35
Whose ambushed ardours pant o’er vine-decked waves.36
Thy cliffs we coasted, loitered in thy creeks,37
O shaggy island* with the five gray peaks !38
Explored thy grotto, scaled thy fortress, where39
Thy dark-eyed maids trip down the rocky stair,40
With the cast backward, laugh of playful scorn,41
And cheek carnationed with the lights of morn.42
The hills Lactarean lodged us in their breast :43
Shadowy Sorrento to her spicy rest44
Called us from far with gales embalmed, yet pure ;45
Her orange brakes we pierced, and ranged her rifts obscure.46
Breathless along Pompeii’s streets we strayed47
By songless fount, mosaic undecayed,48
Voluptuous tomb, still forum, painted hall,49
Where wreathed Bacchantes float on every wall ;50

* Capri.
Where Ariadne, by the purple deep,51
Hears not those panting sails, but smiles in sleep ;52
Where yet Silenus grasps the woodland cup,53
And buried pleasure from its grave looks up.54
Lastly, the great Vesuvian steep we clomb ;55
Then, Naples ! made once more with thee our home.56
We leave thee now—but first with just review,57
We cast the account, and strike the balance true58
And thus, as forth we move, we take our last adieu.59

III.

From her whom genius never yet inspired,60
Or virtue raised, or pulse heroic fired ;61
From her who, in the grand historic page,62
Maintains one barren blank from age to age ;63
From her, with insect life and insect buz,64
Who, evermore unresting, nothing does ;65
From her who, with the future and the past66
No commerce holds, no structure rears to last :67
From streets where sere and jesters, side by side,68
Range the rank markets, and their gains divide ;69
Where faith in art, and art in sense is lost,70
And toys and gewgaws form a nation’s boast ;71
Where Passion, from Affection’s bond cut loose,72
Revels in orgies of its own abuse ;73
And appetite, from Passion’s portals thrust,74
Creeps on its belly to its grave of dust ;75
Where Vice her mask disdains, where Fraud is loud,76
And naught but Wisdom dumb and Justice cowed ; —77
Lastly, from her who planted here unawed,78
’Mid headen-topped hills, and waters bright and broad,79
Lacks heart to gather, and lacks strength to bear,80
From these, one impulse of the free and fair ;81
And girt not less with ruin, lives to show82
That worse than wasted weal is wasted woe,—83
We part ; forth issuing through her closing gate,84
With unreverting faces, not ingrate.85