Longfellow's own Italian translation of a sonnet about the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Self-translation was, he told an American admirer in Florence, "one way of visiting Florence, and I fear the only one for me" (to Arabella Duffy, 25 January 1875). Here is the English original:
Taddeo Gaddi built me. I am old,
Five centuries old. I plant my foot of stone
Upon the Arno, as Saint Michael's own
Was planted on the dragon. Fold by fold
Beneath me as it struggles, I behold
Its glistening scales. Twice hath it overthrown
My kindred and companions. Me alone
It moveth not, but is by me controlled
I can remember when the Medici
Were driven from Florence; longer still ago The final wars of Ghibelline and Guelf.
Florence adorns me with her jewelry;
And when I think that Michael Angelo
Hath leaned on me, I glory in myself.