Stanzas Composed in the Simplon Pass

William Wordsworth


VALLOMBROSA! I longed in thy shadiest wood

To slumber, reclined on the moss-covered floor,

To listen to Anio’s precipitous flood,

When the stillness of evening hath deepened its roar;

To range through the temples of Pæstum, to muse

In Pompeii preserved by her burial in earth;

On pictures to gaze where they drank in their hues;

And murmur sweet songs on the ground of their birth!


The beauty of Florence, the grandeur of Rome,

Could I leave them unseen, and not yield to regret?

With a hope (and no more) for a season to come,

Which ne’er may discharge the magnificent debt?

Thou fortunate Region! whose Greatness inurned

Awoke to new life from its ashes and dust;

Twice-glorified fields! if in sadness I turned

From your infinite marvels, the sadness was just.


Now, risen ere the light-footed chamois retires

From dew-sprinkled grass to heights guarded with snow,

Toward the mists that hang over the land of my sires,

From the climate of myrtles contented I go.

My thoughts become bright like yon edging of pines

On the steep’s lofty verge: how it blackened the air!

But, touched from behind by the sun, it now shines

With threads that seem part of his own silver hair.


Though the toil of the way with dear friends we divide,

Though by the same zephyr our temples be fanned,

As we rest in the cool orange-bower side by side,

A yearning survives which few hearts shall withstand:

Each step hath its value while homeward we move;—

O joy when the girdle of England appears!

What moment in life is so conscious of love,

Of love in the heart made more happy by tears?