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


On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

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 reached its final day:

Men are we, and must grieve when even the shade

Of that which once was great is passed away.