Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(From Casa Guidi Windows)


                        OUR Italy ’s

The darling of the earth,—the treasury, piled

  With reveries of gentle ladies, flung

Aside, like ravelled silk, from life’s worn stuff,—

  With coins of scholars’ fancy, which, being rung

On workday counter, still sound silver-proof,—

  In short, with all the dreams of dreamers young,

Before their heads have time for slipping off

  Hope’s pillow to the ground. How oft, indeed,

We all have sent our souls out from the north,

  On bare white feet which would not print nor bleed,

To climb the Alpine passes and look forth,

  Where the low murmuring Lombard rivers lead

Their bee-like way to gardens almost worth

  The sight which thou and I see afterward

From Tuscan Bellosguardo, wide awake,

  When standing on the actual, blessed sward

Where Galileo stood at nights to take

  The vision of the stars, we find it hard,

Gazing upon the earth and heaven, to make

  A choice of beauty.

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