Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII. 1876–79.


In Venice

By 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,


    I hear the choruses afar,

    Where palaces and churches are;

    Their voices mingle with the hours

    Pealed forth from thy electric towers,


    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,


    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,


    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,


    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,


    Forever from thy stately doors

    This steadfast flood of music pours,

    Till all thy brooding palaces

    Cease dreaming of their bygone days,


    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,