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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

William Wordsworth

403. 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,—

Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid

When her long life hath reach’d its final day:

Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade

Of that which once was great has pass’d away.