Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC

          ONCE did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
          And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
          Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
          Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
          She was a maiden City, bright and free;
          No guile seduced, no force could violate;
          And, when she took unto herself a Mate,
          She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
          And what if she had seen those glories fade,
          Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;               10
          Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
          When her long life hath reached its final day:
          Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
          Of that which once was great, is passed away.


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