Childe Harold's Pilgrimage [I stood in Venice]
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs, A palace and a prison on each hand: I saw from out the wave her structures rise As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand: A thousand years their cloudy wings expand Around me, and a dying Glory smiles O'er the far times, when many a subject land Looked to the wingéd Lion's marble piles, Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles! She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean, Rising with her tiara of proud towers At airy distance, with majestic motion, A ruler of the waters and their powers: And such she was--her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers: In purple was she robed, and of her feast Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased. In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier; Her palaces are crumbling to the shore, And music meets not always now the ear: Those days are gone--but Beauty still is here; States fall, arts fade--but Nature doth not die, Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear, The pleasant place of all festivity, The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!
This poem is in the public domain.