Lord Byron

poems:

21

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!

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