city in Veneto, northern Italy

Verona is a city on the River Adige in Veneto, Italy, with some 258,031 inhabitants. It is one of the seven provincial capitals of the region, and is the largest city municipality (comune) in the region and in north-eastern Italy. The metropolitan area of Verona covers an area of 1,426 km2 (550.58 sq mi) and has a population of 714,310 inhabitants. It is one of the main tourist destinations in Northern Italy because of its artistic heritage and several annual fairs and shows as well as the opera season in the Arena, an ancient Roman amphitheatre.

There is no world without Verona walls

Quotes edit

  • Pleasant Verona! With its beautiful old palaces, and charming country in the distance, seen from terrace walks, and stately, balustraded galleries. With its Roman gates, still spanning the fair street, and casting, on the sunlight of to-day, the shade of fifteen hundred years ago. With its marble-fitted churches, lofty towers, rich architecture, and quaint old quiet thoroughfares, where shouts of Montagues and Capulets once resounded,
        And made Verona's ancient citizens
        Cast by their grave, beseeming ornaments,
        To wield old partizans.
    With its fast-rushing river, picturesque old bridge, great castle, waving cypresses, and prospect so delightful, and so cheerful! Pleasant Verona!
  • Chorus:
    Two households, both alike in dignity
    (In fair Verona, where we lay our scene),
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
  • Prince:
    Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
    By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
    Have thrice disturb’d the quiet of our streets,
    And made Verona’s ancient citizens
    Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
    To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
    Canker’d with peace, to part your canker’d hate.
  • Lady Capulet:
    Verona’s summer hath not such a flower.
  • Friar Lawrence:
    Hence from Verona art thou banishèd.
    Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.
    There is no world without Verona walls,
    But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
    Hence banishèd is banish’d from the world,
    And world’s exile is death. Then banishèd
    Is death misterm’d. Calling death banished,
    Thou cutt’st my head off with a golden axe,
    And smilest upon the stroke that murders me.

Poems of Places edit

Quotes reported in: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed., Poems of Places: An Anthology, Vols. XI–XIII (1876–79)
  • Happy the Man, who his whole time doth bound
    Within th' enclosure of his little ground.
    Happy the Man, whom the same humble place,
    (Th' hereditary Cottage of his Race)
    From his first rising infancy has known,
    And by degrees sees gently bending down.
    With natural propension to that Earth
    Which both preserved his Life, and gave him birth.
    Him no false distant lights by fortune set.
    Could ever into foolish wandrings get.
    He never dangers either saw, or fear'd:
    The dreadful stormes at Sea he never heard.
    He never heard the shrill allarms of War,
    Or the worse noises of the Lawyers Bar.
    No change of Consuls marks to him the year,
    The change of seasons is his Calendar.
    The Cold and Heat, Winter and Summer shows,
    Autumn by Fruits, and Spring by Flow’rs he knows.
    He measures Time by Land-marks, and has found
    For the whole day the Dial of his ground.
    A neighbouring Wood born with himself he sees.
    And loves his old contemporary Trees.
    H’as only heard of near Verona’s Name,
    And knows it like the Indies, but by Fame.
    Does with a like concernment notice take
    Of the Red-Sea, and of Benacus Lake.
    Thus Health and Strength he to' a third age enjoyes,
    And sees a long Posterity of Boys.
    About the spacious World let others roam.
    The Voyage Life is longest made at home.
  • Near to his evening region was the Sun,
      When Hurgonil with his lamented load,
    And faithful Tybalt their sad march begun
      To fair Verona, where the court aboad.
    They slowly rode till night’s dominion ceast:
      When infant morn (her scarce wak’d beames display’d)
    With a scant face peep’d shylie through the east;
      And seem’d as yet of the black world afraid.
    But by increase of swift expansive light,
      The lost horizon was apparent grown,
    And many tow’rs salute at once their sight;
      The distant glories of a royal town.
    Verona, sprung from noble Vera’s name;
      Whom careless time (still scatt’ring old records
    Where they are loosly gather’d up by fame)
      Proclaimes the chief of ancient Tuscan lords.
    Verona borders on that fatal plaine,
      Whose barren thirst was quench’d with valiant blood,
    When the rough Cymbrians by fierce Marius slain,
      Left hills of bodies where their ensignes stood.
    So safely proud this town did now appear;
      As if it but immortal dwellers lack’d;
    As if Theodoric had ne’r been there,
      Nor Attila her wealth and beauty sack’d.
    Here Hurgonill might follow with his eye
      (As with deep stream it through the city pass’t)
    The fruitfull and the frighted Adice,
      Which thence from noise and nets to sea does haste.
    And on her peopled bank they might behold
      The toyles of conquest paid with works of pride;
    The palace of king Agilulf the old,
      Or monument, for ere ’twas built he dy’d.
    To it that temple joynes, whose lofty head
      The prospect of a swelling hill commands;
    In whose coole wombe the city springs are bred:
      On Dorique pillers this tall temple stands.
    This to sooth Heav’n the bloody Clephes built;
      As if Heav’n’s king so soft and easy were,
    So meanly hous’d in Heav’n, and kind to guilt,
      That he would be a tyrant’s tenant here.
    And now they might arrest their wand’ring sight
      With that which makes all other objects lost;
    Makes Lombard greatness flat to Roman height,
      And modern builders blush, that else would boast;
    An amphytheater which has controll’d
      Unheeded conquests of advancing age,
    Windes which have made the trembling world look old,
      And the fierce tempests of the Gothick rage,
    This great Flaminius did in youth erect,
      Where cities sat to see whole armies play
    Death’s serious part: but this we may neglect,
      To mark the bus’ness which begins with day.
    As day new open’ng fills the hemisphear,
      And all at once; so quickly ev’ry street
    Does by an instant op’ning full appear,
      When from their dwellings busy dwellers meet.
    From wider gates oppressors sally there;
      Here creeps the afflicted through a narrow dore;
    Groans under wrongs he has not strength to bear,
      Yet seeks for wealth to injure others more.
    And here the early lawyer mends his pace;
      For whom the earlier cliant waited long;
    Here greedy creditors their debtors chase,
      Who scape by herding in th’ indebted throng.
    Th’ advent’rous merchant whom a storm did wake,
      (His ship’s on Adriatic billowes tost)
    Does hope of eastern winds from steeples take,
      And hastens there a currier to the coast.
    * * * * *
    There from sick mirth neglected feasters reel,
      Who cares of want in wine’s false Lethe steep.
    There anxious empty gamsters homeward steal,
      And fear to wake, ere they begin to sleep.
    Here stooping lab’rers slowly moving are;
      Beasts to the rich, whose strength grows rude with ease;
    And would usurp, did not their rulers’ care
      With toile and tax their furious strength appease.
    There th’ aged walk, whose needless carefulness
      Infects them past the mind’s best med’cine, sleep;
    There some to temples early vows address,
      And for th’ ore busie world most wisely weep.
    To this vast inn where tydes of strangers flow,
      The morn and Hurgonil together came;
    The morn, whose dewy wings appear’d but slow,
      When men the motion mark’d of swifter Fame.
    For Fame (whose journeys are through ways unknown,
      Traceless and swift, and changing as the wind)
    The morn and Hurgonil had much out-gone,
      Whilst Truth mov’d patiently within behind.
  • Thrice blest Verona! since the holy three
    With their imperial presence shine on thee;
    Honoured by them, thy treacherous site forgets
    The vaunted tomb of all the Capulets;
    Thy Scaligers—for what was Dog the Great,
    Can Grande (which I venture to translate,)
    To these sublimer pugs? Thy poet too,
    Catullus, whose old laurels yield to new;
    Thine amphitheatre, where Romans sate;
    And Dante’s exile sheltered by thy gate;
    Thy good old man, whose world was all within
    Thy wall, nor knew the country held him in:
    Would that the royal guests it girds about
    Were so far like, as never to get out!
    Ay, shout! inscribe! rear monuments of shame,
    To tell Oppression that the world is tame;
    Crowd to the theatre with loyal rage,
    The comedy is not upon the stage;
    The show is rich in ribandry and stars,
    Then gaze upon it through thy dungeon bars;
    Clap thy permitted palms, kind Italy,
    For thus much still thy fettered hands are free!
  • Cross Adria’s gulf, and land where softly glide
    A stream’s crisp waves, to join blue Ocean’s tide;
    Still westward hold thy way, till Alps look down
    On old Verona’s walled and classic town.
    Fair is the prospect; palace, tower, and spire,
    And blossomed grove, the eye might well admire;
    Heaven-piercing mountains capped with endless snow,
    Where winter reigns, and frowns on earth below;
    Old castles crowning many a craggy steep,
    From which in silver sounding torrents leap:
    Southward the plain where Summer builds her bowers,
    And floats on downy gales the soul of flowers;
    Where orange-blossoms glad the honeyed bee,
    And vines in festoons wave from tree to tree;
    While, like a streak of sky from heaven let fall,
    The deep blue river, glittering, winds through all;
    The woods that whisper to the zephyr’s kiss,
    Where nymphs might taste again Arcadian bliss;
    The sun-bright hills that bound the distant view,
    And melt like mists in skies of tenderest blue,—
    All charm the ravished sense, and dull is he
    Who, cold, unmoved, such glorious scene can see.
    Here did the famed Catullus rove and dream,
    And godlike Pliny drink of Wisdom’s stream;
    Wronged by his friends, and exiled by his foes,
    Amid these vales did Dante breathe his woes,
    Raise demons up, call seraphs from the sky,
    And frame the dazzling verse that ne’er shall die.
    Here, too, hath Fiction weaved her loveliest spell,
    Visions of beauty float o’er crag and dell;
    But chief we seem to hear at evening hour
    The sigh of Juliet in her starlit bower,
    Follow her form slow gliding through the gloom,
    And drop a tear above her mouldered tomb.
    Sweet are these thoughts, and in such favoured scene
    Methinks life’s stormiest skies might grow serene,
    Care smooth her brow, the troubled heart find rest,
    And, spite of crime and passion, man be blest.
    But to our theme: The pilgrim comes to trace
    Verona’s ruins, not bright Nature’s face;
    Be still, chase lightsome fancies, ere thou dare
    Approach yon pile, so grand yet softly fair;
    The mighty circle, breathing beauty, seems
    The work of genii in immortal dreams.
    So firm the mass, it looks as built to vie
    With Alps’ eternal ramparts towering nigh.
    Its graceful strength each lofty portal keeps,
    Unbroken round the first great cincture sweeps;
    The marble benches, tier on tier, ascend,
    The winding galleries seem to know no end.
    Glistening and pure, the summer sunbeams fall,
    Softening each sculptured arch and rugged wall.
    We tread the arena; blood no longer flows,
    But in the sand the pale-eyed violet blows,
    While ivy, covering many a bench, is seen,
    Staining its white with lines of liveliest green,—
    Age-honouring plant! that weds not buildings gay,
    With love, still faithful, clinging to decay.
  • Fame tells us that Verona’s court
      Was a fair place. The feet might still
      Wander forever at their will
    In many ways of sweet resort;
      And still in many a heart around
      The poet’s name due honor found.
    Watch we his steps. He comes upon
      The women at their palm-playing.
      The conduits round the gardens sing
    And meet in scoops of milk-white stone,
      Where wearied damsels rest and hold
      Their hands in the wet spurt of gold.
    One of whom, knowing well that he,
      By some found stern, was mild with them,
      Would run and pluck his garment’s hem,
    Saying, “Messer Dante, pardon me,”—
      Praying that they might hear the song
      Which first of all he made, when young.
    “Donne che avete!” ... Thereunto
      Thus would he murmur, having first
      Drawn near the fountain, while she nursed
    His hand against her side: a few
      Sweet words, and scarcely those, half said;
      Then turned, and changed, and bowed his head.
    * * * * *
    So you may read and marvel not
      That such a man as Dante—one
      Who, while Can Grande’s deeds were done,
    Had drawn his robe round him and thought—
      Now at the same guest-table fared
      Where keen Uguccio wiped his beard.
    Through leaves and trellis-work the sun
      Left the wine cool within the glass.
      They feasting where no sun could pass;
    And when the women, all as one,
      Rose up with brightened cheeks to go,
      It was a comely thing, we know.
    But Dante recked not of the wine;
      Whether the women stayed or went,
      His visage held one stern intent:
    And when the music had its sign
      To breathe upon them for more ease,
      Sometimes he turned and bade it cease.
    And as he spared not to rebuke
      The mirth, so oft in council he
      To bitter truth bore testimony:
    And when the crafty balance shook
      Well poised to make the wrong prevail,
      Then Dante’s hand would turn the scale.
    And if some envoy from afar
      Sailed to Verona’s sovereign port
      For aid or peace, and all the court
    Fawned on its lord, “the Mars of war,
      Sole arbiter of life and death,”—
      Be sure that Dante saved his breath.
    And Can La Scala marked askance
      These things, accepting them for shame
      And scorn, till Dante’s guestship came
    To be a peevish sufferance:
      His host sought ways to make his days
      Hateful; and such have many ways.
    There was a Jester, a foul lout
      Whom the court loved for graceless arts;
      Sworn scholiast of the bestial parts
    Of speech; a ribald mouth to shout
      In folly’s horny tympanum
      Such things as make the wise man dumb.
    Much loved, him Dante loathed. And so,
      One day when Dante felt perplexed
      If any day that could come next
    Were worth the waiting for or no,
      And mute he sat amid their din,
      Can Grande called the Jester in.
    Rank words, with such, are wit’s best wealth.
      Lords mouthed approval; ladies kept
      Twittering with clustered heads, except
    Some few that took their trains by stealth
      And went. Can Grande shook his hair
      And smote his thighs and laughed i’ the air.
    Then, facing on his guest, he cried,—
      “Say, Messer Dante, how it is
      I get out of a clown like this
    More than your wisdom can provide.”
      And Dante: “’Tis man’s ancient whim
      That still his like seems good to him.”
    Also a tale is told, how once,
      At clearing tables after meat,
      Piled for a jest at Dante’s feet
    Were found the dinner’s well-picked bones;
      So laid, to please the banquet’s lord,
      By one who crouched beneath the board.
    Then smiled Can Grande to the rest:—
      “Our Dante’s tuneful mouth indeed
      Lacks not the gift on flesh to feed!”
    “Fair host of mine,” replied the guest,
      “So many bones you’d not descry
      If so it chanced the dog were I.”

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