Vittoria Colonna by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Vittoria Colonna

VITTORIA COLONNA, on the death of her husband, the Marchese di Pescara, retired to her castle at Ischia (Inarimé), and there wrote the Ode upon his death, which gained her the title of Divine.

Once more, once more, Inarimé, I see thy purple hills!—once more I hear the billows of the bay Wash the white pebbles on thy shore.

High o'er the sea-surge and the sands, Like a great galleon wrecked and cast Ashore by storms, thy castle stands, A mouldering landmark of the Past.

Upon its terrace-walk I see A phantom gliding to and fro; It is Colonna,—it is she Who lived and loved so long ago.

Pescara's beautiful young wife, The type of perfect womanhood, Whose life was love, the life of life, That time and change and death withstood.

For death, that breaks the marriage band In others, only closer pressed The wedding-ring upon her hand And closer locked and barred her breast.

She knew the life-long martyrdom, The weariness, the endless pain Of waiting for some one to come Who nevermore would come again.

The shadows of the chestnut trees, The odor of the orange blooms, The song of birds, and, more than these, The silence of deserted rooms;

The respiration of the sea, The soft caresses of the air, All things in nature seemed to be But ministers of her despair;

Till the o'erburdened heart, so long Imprisoned in itself, found vent And voice in one impassioned song Of inconsolable lament.

Then as the sun, though hidden from sight, Transmutes to gold the leaden mist, Her life was interfused with light, From realms that, though unseen, exist,

Inarimé!Inarimé! Thy castle on the crags above In dust shall crumble and decay, But not the memory of her love.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow