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
In Venice
Cora Kennedy Aitken
 
        “Venite all’ agile,
Barchetta mia,
Santa Lucia,
Santa Lucia!”
Venetian Song

I SAIL adown thy silvery street
What time the night and moonlight meet;
Thy white bare breast heaves soft below,
To music’s languid overflow,
          Venezia!        5
 
I hear the choruses afar,
Where palaces and churches are;
Their voices mingle with the hours
Pealed forth from thy electric towers,
          Venezia!        10
 
One song they sing night after night
Too rapt to ’scape from its delight;
Thy shining ways forever hear
How well thou lovest thy Lucia,
          Venezia!        15
 
I know not who this saint may be,
And yet her lovely face I see,
Bending above me fair and sweet
What time the night and moonlight meet,
          Venezia!        20
 
The gondolas move to and fro,
Silenter than thy waters go.
They would not breathe because their breath
Might send that lovely face to death,
          Venezia!        25
 
Thy soul that face will keep and save,
Though Tintoret be in his grave!
Because it is the supreme thing
Of which thy sons and lovers sing,
          Venezia!        30
 
Forever from thy stately doors
This steadfast flood of music pours,
Till all thy brooding palaces
Cease dreaming of their bygone days,
          Venezia!        35
 
And high above thy sculptured stairs,
Above thy great San Marco’s prayers,
Rises to put thy prayers to shame,
Lucia’s name, Lucia’s name,
          Venezia!        40
 
 
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