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



By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

I RODE one evening with Count Maddalo

Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow

Of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand

Of hillocks, heaped from ever-shifting sand,

Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds,

Such as from earth’s embrace the salt ooze breeds,

Is this, an uninhabited sea-side,

Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,

Abandons; and no other object breaks

The waste, but one dwarf tree and some few stakes

Broken and unrepaired, and the tide makes

A narrow space of level sand thereon,

Where ’t was our wont to ride while day went down.

This ride was my delight. I love all waste

And solitary places, where we taste

The pleasure of believing what we see

Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be;

And such was this wide ocean, and this shore

More barren than its billows: and yet more

Than all, with a remembered friend I love

To ride as then I rode;—for the winds drove

The living spray along the sunny air

Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,

Stripped to their depths by the awakening north;

And from the waves sound like delight broke forth

Harmonizing with solitude, and sent

Into our hearts aerial merriment.