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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


I. Juvenile Poems. The Venetian Gondolier

HERE rest the weary oar!—soft airs

Breathe out in the o’erarching sky;

And Night-sweet Night—serenely wears

A smile of peace: her noon is nigh.

Where the tall fir in quiet stands,

And waves, embracing the chaste shores,

Move over sea-shells and bright sands,

Is heard the sound of dipping oars.

Swift o’er the wave the light bark springs,

Love’s midnight hour draws lingering near;

And list!—his tuneful viol strings

The young Venetian Gondolier.

Lo! on the silver-mirrored deep,

On earth, and her embosomed lakes,

And where the silent rivers sweep,

From the thin cloud fair moonlight breaks

Soft music breathes around, and dies

On the calm bosom of the sea;

Whilst in her cell the novice sighs

Her vespers to her rosary.

At their dim altars bow fair forms,

In tender charity for those,

That, helpless left to life’s rude storms,

Have never found this calm repose.

The bell swings to its midnight chime,

Relieved against the deep blue sky.

Haste!—dip the oar again—’t is time

To seek Genevra’s balcony.