"Lago di Como" [poem]
LAGO DI COMO
IT was a little peaceful bay 1
Beneath the precipices grey, 2
Lay deep and blue and calm, but clear
As is the sapphire; and you saw
The precipices sharp and sheer,
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And the white cloudsʼ careering war,
And the blue sky, and the high hills
ʼNeath the cold waters where they slept
Seemed fed by thousand mountain rills
Flowed upward from the crystal depth.
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And all along that quiet bay a
A range of little shipping lay,
With their red flags drooped downward right,
And sheltered by their awnings white
From the high sunʼs red, scorching look,
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That oʼer the living waters shook
A blaze of hot and swarthy glow.
When we had launch├Ęd from below
The shade of the tall cliffs, and came
Where Como rolled his breast of flame,
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Down southward winding far away,
The olivesʼ tints of gentle grey
Stooped to his borders, from between
The hillsʼ uncultivated green.
And orange‐groves him girded round,
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Blossoming oʼer him fragrantly;
And in the sleep of his profound
White villages shone silently. b
And from our prow the rippleʼs flash
Threw forth its little sparkles paly;
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The light sound of the oarsʼ dash
Came dancing on the waters gaily.
There was blue above, and blue below,
And the gleam of the eternal snow.
Forth from the fastnesses it came
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Of the high Alpsʼ retiring chain. c
And all along the shore, whereʼer
The storm‐winds wont to chafe the wave,
The crucifix is shrined there;
That Christ may hear the passioned prayer
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—May hear, may pity, and may save!