Lord Byron

I stood in Venice

From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

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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