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On Meeting an Old Friend
(After Wordsworth)


I WANDERED, wondering, through Italy;
Through aureate orchards, riotous with trees
One to another draped with grapery.
I saw far hills by dædal sunsets backed;
And skies that grasped and held my helpless gaze;
And poppies popping up continual.
And here and there I stumbled on a town;
Rome, Florence, Venice (names I'd heard before),
And in the towns were pictures several,
And pleasing statues, much to be admired,
And architecture of the braver sort.

Then came I unto Milan. Lo! I found
Not the Cathedral,—not da Vinci's feat,—
Those quickly sank to nothingness beside
The Treasure of the City. For I saw
In some Hotel-like place a Rocking-Chair!
Yea, verily, a real Rocking-Chair!
It was bow-legged, floppy as to arms.
Of a strange balance and uncertain pitch,
It threw one out as fast as one got in,—
But still a Rocking-Chair. I held my breath.
How came this alien on this foreign shore?
This coal, so far from any Newcastle?
This fish, out of its liquid element?
This cat, in garret so exceeding strange?
This pearl, cast before— (No, that's not polite.)
I mused, and ruminated as I mused,
But found no answer.
Now, I remininsce,
And, lolling in Italian memories,
Idly dream. But ever far above
All other architecture, other art,
Paramount looms that Milan Rocking-Chair!

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.

The author died in 1942, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.