Morning on the Alban Lake

Recessive dryads weep their dewy air

Longing for sylvan lovers they forsook,

Shy farmers murmur a seraphic prayer

Halting their threshing with the gnarled crook.


Augural birds limn benevolent trims

In fringes of undying Pines on crests,

An orchid horizon pries in Night's whims

As the drowsy clouds immerse their grey vests.


Diana quietens the woodland caws

In the sacred hiatus of sacraments.

The highlands are clothed in a mystic gauze

Ere the awe of Jupiter's elements.


There we stand by the speculum of Rome

The sacred shrine of primeval manes,

Lauding the southeast wind, the dusting foam

Escorting the unction of sunrise rains.


Oh Alban Lake, your grace endures unchanged

From the Kings of Alba Longa glorious,

I do believe thy nymphs are not estranged

For their songs rise arcane and victorious.


The cadence of ebbing ripples foments

An inner rage, snare of chasms unscathed.

Thy pines and caves by the tide of events

In forgetfulness are forever swathed.


Your honour has not diminished, arcane

Portents you murmur in whirlpools of stress.

Like the secluded fauns who feel the strain

Where no longer myth and truth coalesce.


Apollo thrusts his sizzling arrows

Dispersing these remote aberrations.

Voices are rendered in times' deep barrows,

A caustic wind covers the vibrations.


A few notes: the Alban Lake lies 30 km south east of Rome. On its crests the ancient town of Alba Longa became the primeval enemy of early Rome. Nowadays the most important towns next to the lake are Castel Gandolfo (where the Pope has a summer palace) and Ariccia (where I live). Next to the Lacus Albanus, there is another lake, the Nemi Lake, where a very important temple to Diana had been built in the ancient times. It is mentioned in the first page of Frazer's Golden Bough ... "the priest who slew the slayer, and shall himself be slain". Above Mons Albanus (nowadays Monte Cavo, 1000 m a.s.l.) one of the most ancient temples to Jupiter has been found, he was the God Jupiter of the Latin people, in open contrast with the ancient temple on the Capitoline Hill, in Rome's Royal Era. This was a sacred area for Rome, where naval shows took place and many important archaeological sites have been found. A few notes on the poem: pines are very common in this area and in the ancient world they were a symbol for immortality. The Lake nowadays is a tourist resort for kayaking and swimming although it has not lost its mystic power. A picture can be found here: .