Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Venice
Palazzo Lioni
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(From Marino Faliero, Act IV, Scene I)

AROUND me are the stars and waters,—
Worlds mirrored in the ocean, goodlier sight
Than torches glared back by a gaudy glass;
And the great element, which is to space
What ocean is to earth, spreads its blue depths,        5
Softened with the first breathings of the spring;
The high moon sails upon her beauteous way
Serenely smoothing o’er the lofty walls
Of those tall piles and sea-girt palaces,
Whose porphyry pillars, and whose costly fronts,        10
Fraught with the orient spoil of many marbles,
Like altars ranged along the broad canal,
Seem each a trophy of some mighty deed
Reared up from out the waters, scarce less strangely
Than those more massy and mysterious giants        15
Of architecture, those Titanian fabrics,
Which point in Egypt’s plains to times that have
No other record. All is gentle: naught
Stirs rudely; but, congenial with the night,
Whatever walks is gliding like a spirit.        20
The tinklings of some vigilant guitars
Of sleepless lovers to a wakeful mistress,
And cautious opening of the casement, showing
That he is not unheard; while her young hand,
Fair as the moonlight of which it seems part,        25
So delicately white, it trembles in
The act of opening the forbidden lattice,
To let in love through music, makes his heart
Thrill like his lyre-strings at the sight; the dash
Phosphoric of the oar, or rapid twinkle        30
Of the far lights of skimming gondolas,
And the responsive voices of the choir
Of boatmen answering back with verse for verse;
Some dusky shadow checkering the Rialto,
Some glimmering palace roof, or tapering spire,        35
Are all the sights and sounds which here pervade
The ocean-born and earth-commanding city.
 
 
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