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Divina Commedia
Oft have I seen at some cathedral door
.

A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat,
.

Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet
.

Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor
.

Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er;
.

Far off the noises of the world retreat;
.

The loud vociferations of the street
.

Become an undistinguishable roar.

.

So, as I enter here from day to day,
.


And leave my burden at this minster gate,
.


Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
.


The tumult of the time disconsolate
.


To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
.


While the eternal ages watch and wait.
II.
2.

How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
.

This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
.

Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
.

Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
.

And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!
.

But fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves
.

Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves,
.

And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers!
.

Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain,
.


What exultations trampling on despair,
.


What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong,
.


What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
.


Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
.


This medi?val miracle of song!
III.
Written December 22, 1865.
3.

I enter, and I see thee in the gloom
.

Of the long aisles, O poet saturnine!
.

And strive to make my steps keep pace with thine.

.

The air is filled with some unknown perfume;
.

The congregation of the dead make room
.

For thee to pass; the votive tapers shine;
.

Like rooks that haunt Ravenna's groves of pine
.

The hovering echoes fly from tomb to tomb.

.

From the confessionals I hear arise
.


Rehearsals of forgotten tragedies,
.


And lamentations from the crypts below;
.


And then a voice celestial that begins
.


With the pathetic words, "Although your sins
.


As scarlet be," and ends with "as the snow.
"
IV.
Written May 5, 1867.
4.

With snow-white veil and garments as of flame,
.

She stands before thee, who so long ago
.

Filled thy young heart with passion and the woe
.

From which thy song and all its splendors came;
.

And while with stern rebuke she speaks thy name,
.

The ice about thy heart melts as the snow
.

On mountain heights, and in swift overflow
.

Comes gushing from thy lips in sobs of shame.

.

Thou makest full confession; and a gleam,
.


As of the dawn on some dark forest cast,
.


Seems on thy lifted forehead to increase;
.


Lethe and Euno? -- the remembered dream
.


And the forgotten sorrow -- bring at last
.


That perfect pardon which is perfect peace.

V.
Written January 16, 1866.
5.

I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze
.

With forms of Saints and holy men who died,
.

Here martyred and hereafter glorified;
.

And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
.

Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays,
.

With splendor upon splendor multiplied;
.

And Beatrice again at Dante's side
.

No more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise.

.

And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs
.


Sing the old Latin hymns of peace and love
.


And benedictions of the Holy Ghost;
.


And the melodious bells among the spires
.


O'er all the house-tops and through heaven above
.


Proclaim the elevation of the Host!
VI.
Written March 7, 1866.
6.

O star of morning and of liberty!
.

O bringer of the light, whose splendor shines
.

Above the darkness of the Apennines,
.

Forerunner of the day that is to be!
.

The voices of the city and the sea,
.

The voices of the mountains and the pines,
.

Repeat thy song, till the familiar lines
.

Are footpaths for the thought of Italy!
.

Thy fame is blown abroad from all the heights,
.


Through all the nations, and a sound is heard,
.


As of a mighty wind, and men devout,
.


Strangers of Rome, and the new proselytes,
.


In their own language hear thy wondrous word,
.


And many are amazed and many doubt.
Written by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow