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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)

MY soul to-day

Is far away,

Sailing the Vesuvian Bay;

My wingèd boat,

A bird afloat,

Swings round the purple peaks remote;

Round purple peaks

It sails, and seeks

Blue inlets and their crystal creeks,

Where high rocks throw,

Through deeps below,

A duplicated golden glow.

Far, vague, and dim,

The mountains swim;

While on Vesuvius’s misty brim,

With outstretched hands,

The gray smoke stands

O’erlooking the volcanic lands.

Here Ischia smiles

O’er liquid miles;

And yonder, bluest of the isles,

Calm Capri waits,

Her sapphire gates

Beguiling to her bright estates.

I heed not if

My rippling skiff

Float swift or slow from cliff to cliff;

With dreamful eyes

My spirit lies

Under the walls of Paradise.

Under the walls

Where swells and falls

The Bay’s deep breast at intervals,

At peace I lie,

Blown softly by,—

A cloud upon this liquid sky.

The day, so mild,

Is heaven’s own child,

With earth and ocean reconciled;

The airs I feel

Around me steal

Are murmuring to the murmuring keel.

Over the rail

My hand I trail

Within the shadow of the sail;

A joy intense,

The cooling sense

Glides down my drowsy indolence.

With dreamful eyes

My spirit lies

Where Summer sings and never dies;

O’erveiled with vines,

She glows and shines

Among her future oil and wines.

Her children, hid

The cliffs amid,

Are gamboling with the gamboling kid;

Or down the walls,

With tipsy calls,

Laugh on the rocks like waterfalls.

The fisher’s child,

With tresses wild,

Unto the smooth, bright sand beguiled,

With glowing lips

Sings as she skips,

Or gazes at the far-off ships.

Yon deep bark goes

Where traffic blows,

From lands of sun to lands of snows;

This happier one,

Its course is run

From lands of snow to lands of sun.

O happy ship,

To rise and dip,

With the blue crystal at your lip!

O happy crew,

My heart with you

Sails, and sails, and sings anew!

No more, no more

The worldly shore

Upbraids me with its loud uproar:

With dreamful eyes

My spirit lies

Under the walls of Paradise!