Sweet the memory is to me
    Of a land beyond the sea,
    Where the waves and mountains meet,
    Where, amid her mulberry-trees
    Sits Amalfi in the heat,
    Bathing ever her white feet
    In the tideless summer seas.

    In the middle of the town,
    From its fountains in the hills,
    Tumbling through the narrow gorge,
    The Canneto rushes down,
    Turns the great wheels of the mills,
    Lifts the hammers of the forge.

    'T is a stairway, not a street,
    That ascends the deep ravine,
    Where the torrent leaps between
    Rocky walls that almost meet.
    Toiling up from stair to stair
    Peasant girls their burdens bear;
    Sunburnt daughters of the soil,
    Stately figures tall and straight,
    What inexorable fate
    Dooms them to this life of toil?

    Lord of vineyards and of lands,
    Far above the convent stands.
    On its terraced walk aloof
    Leans a monk with folded hands,
    Placid, satisfied, serene,
    Looking down upon the scene
    Over wall and red-tiled roof;
    Wondering unto what good end
    All this toil and traffic tend,
    And why all men cannot be
    Free from care and free from pain,
    And the sordid love of gain,
    And as indolent as he.

    Where are now the freighted barks
    From the marts of east and west?
    Where the knights in iron sarks
    Journeying to the Holy Land,
    Glove of steel upon the hand,
    Cross of crimson on the breast?
    Where the pomp of camp and court?
    Where the pilgrims with their prayers?
    Where the merchants with their wares,
    And their gallant brigantines
    Sailing safely into port
    Chased by corsair Algerines?

    Vanished like a fleet of cloud,
    Like a passing trumpet-blast,
    Are those splendors of the past,
    And the commerce and the crowd!
    Fathoms deep beneath the seas
    Lie the ancient wharves and quays,
    Swallowed by the engulfing waves;
    Silent streets and vacant halls,
    Ruined roofs and towers and walls;
    Hidden from all mortal eyes
    Deep the sunken city lies:
    Even cities have their graves!

    This is an enchanted land!
    Round the headlands far away
    Sweeps the blue Salernian bay
    With its sickle of white sand:
    Further still and furthermost
    On the dim discovered coast
    Paestum with its ruins lies,
    And its roses all in bloom
    Seem to tinge the fatal skies
    Of that lonely land of doom.

    On his terrace, high in air,
    Nothing doth the good monk care
    For such worldly themes as these,
    From the garden just below
    Little puffs of perfume blow,
    And a sound is in his ears
    Of the murmur of the bees
    In the shining chestnut-trees;
    Nothing else he heeds or hears.
    All the landscape seems to swoon
    In the happy afternoon;
    Slowly o'er his senses creep
    The encroaching waves of sleep,
    And he sinks as sank the town,
    Unresisting, fathoms down,
    Into caverns cool and deep!

    Walled about with drifts of snow,
    Hearing the fierce north-wind blow,
    Seeing all the landscape white,
    And the river cased in ice,
    Comes this memory of delight,
    Comes this vision unto me
    Of a long-lost Paradise
    In the land beyond the sea.


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