Samuel Rogers

'T was night; the noise and bustle of the day
Were o'er. The mountebank no longer wrought
Miraculous cures, —he and his stage were gone;
And he who, when the crisis of his tale
Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear,
Sent round his cap ; and he who thrummed his wire
And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain
Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries,
So well portrayed, and by a son of thine,
Whose voice had swelled the hubbub in his youth,
Were hushed, Bologna, — silence in the streets,
The squares, when, hark, the clattering of fleet hoofs;
And soon a courier, posting as from far,
Housing and holster, boot and belted coat
And doublet, stained with many a various soil,
Stopt and alighted. 'T was where hangs aloft
That ancient sign, the pilgrim, welcoming
All who arrive there, all perhaps save those
Cad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell,
Those on a pilgrimage! And now approached
Wheels, through the lofty porticos resounding,
Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade
As the sky changes. To the gate they came;
And, ere the man had half his story done,
Mine host received the Master, — one long used
To sojourn among strangers, everywhere
(Go whore he would, along the wildest track)
Flinging a charm that shall not soon be- lost,
And leaving footsteps to be traced by those
Who love the haunts of genius; one who saw,
Observed, nor shunned the busy scenes of life,
But mingled not, and mid the din, the stir,
Lived as a separate spirit.
Much had passed
Since last we parted ; and those five short years, —
Much had they told! His clustering locks were turned
Gray; nor did aught recall the youth that swam
From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
Flashed lightning-like, nor lingered on the way,
Wailing for words. Far, far into the night
We sat, conversing, — no unwelcome hour
The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,
Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.

Main Location:

Bologna, Italy