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ROBERT HAVEN SCHAUFFLER
“Oh for a beaker full of the warm South!”
MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY
ITALY is the land of poetry.
No other country has so touched men of genius to their best issues; and just as mankind has been introduced to English history mainly by the art of Shakspere and Scott, so Italy has come chiefly to be known and loved in the lines of Virgil, Dante, Shakspere, Byron, Shelley, the Brownings and their descendants. In every part of the peninsula the shades of poets dead and gone hover vaguely about the traveler, and at every turn of the road he is exasperated by some elusive, halfremembered line, until he comes to long for a pocket friend who shall do for his soul what the potent Baedeker does for body and mind.
In traveling last year the editor found this need so pressing that he determined to gather compactly together the most precious poems on Italy from the different nations and centuries, arranging them in the order of a natural tour from Verona and Milan across the lakes to the Riviera, down the western side through Florence, Rome and Naples to Reggio, the toe of the “boot," and up the eastern side, thro Taranto, Ancona and Venice to Asolo.
In selecting from the elder poets the editor has been substantially aided by the three volumes on Italy in Longfellow's “Poems of Places,” published in 1877. Since that year the tide of travel has set so strongly toward "the warm south” that nearly all of our contemporary poets have been inspired in some measure by Italy. Swinburne, Aldrich, Symonds, Symons, Wilde, Moody, Woodberry, Lazarus, Weir Mitchell,—these moderns have been portraying Italy with a constant growth in vividness, in vigor, in delicacy, in fidelity and sensitiveness to the real Italian atmosphere,-a growth comparable to the rise of American painting within the last thirty years. But, of all the recent works in this volume, three poems—“At Tiber Mouth,” by Sir Rennell Rodd; Carducci's "Monte Cavo," and "Browning at Asolo," by Robert Underwood Johnson—seem to the editor pre-eminent among modern poems of places.
The editor desires to express his appreciation of the kindness of Mr. Gamaliel Bradford, Jr.; Miss Edith Thomas, Mr. Robert Underwood Johnson, Messrs. G. P. Putnams; Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; J. B. Lippincott & Co., Charles Scribner's Sons, and others, who have granted him permission to reprint selections from works bearing their copyright.
R. H. S.