Frater Ave Atque Vale

A poem by Alfred Tennyson


‘Frater Ave atque Vale’

Row us out from Desenzano, to your Sirmione row!
So they row’d, and there we landed–‘O venusta Sirmio!’
There to me thro’ all the groves of olive in the summer glow,
There beneath the Roman ruin where the purple flowers grow,
Came that ‘Ave atque Vale’ of the Poet’s hopeless woe,
Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen-hundred years ago,
‘Frater Ave atque Vale’–as we wander’d to and fro
Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the Garda Lake below
Sweet Catullus's all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!

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