Sent to “The Philological Circle” of Florence for its
meeting in commemoration of Dante, January 27, 1881,
the anniversary of his first condemnation.
PROUD of her clustering spires, her new-built towers,
Our Venice, stolen from the slumbering sea,
A sister’s kindliest greeting wafts to thee,
Rose of Val d’ Arno, queen of all its flowers!
Thine exile’s shrine thy sorrowing love embowers,
Yet none with truer homage bends the knee,
Or stronger pledge of fealty brings, than we,
Whose poets make thy dead Immortal ours.
Lonely the height, but ah, to heaven how near!
Dante, whence flowed that solemn verse of thine
Like the stern river from its Apennine
Whose name the far-off Scythian thrilled with fear:
Now to all lands thy deep-toned voice is dear,
And every language knows the Song Divine!
(Oliver Wendell Holmes)
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