Dante and Beatrice.

lst May 1274.

Beautiful Florence !  As in dreams I stray1
Along thy storied streets, meseems as though2
I saw, as Dante saw, long years ago,3
A bevy of young girls come up the way,4
Flushed with the freshness of the fragrant May,5
And of them one especially I know,6
Fair, maiden-modest, and with looks that so7
Bless where they fall, they every pain allay.8
And now she turns, drawn by some mastering spell,9
Where all-a-tremble the young Dante stood,10
And ’neath her grave sweet smile his eyelids fell :11
Divined he then, through Paradise she should12
His footsteps guide up from abysmal Hell13
To Heaven, star-led by saintly womanhood ?14