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


Palazzo on the Canal Grande

By Anonymous

(From Beatrice)

SAD night is o’er the City of the Isles,

And o’er a palace that amid her glooming

With a radiant halo smiles,

While music from its windows booming

Floats the voice of masque and measure

Through distant domes and marble piles,

And hymns the jubilee of youth and pleasure.

Between the ripple dimly plashing,

And the dark roof looming high,

Lost in the funereal sky,

Like many-colored jewels flashing,

Small lamps in loops and rosaries of fire,

Verdant and blood-red, trembling, turning,

Yellow, blue, in the deep water burning,

From dark till dawning

Sot all aglow the wide concave,

And splash and stain the marble and the nave.

From balconies in air,

The emblazoned silken awning

Flows like a lazy sail;

And gondoliers down there,

And masks upon the stair,

Hear music swelling o’er them like a gale.

Italian grace and gayety,

And silver-bearded policy,

Princes and soldiers, sage and great,

The craft and splendor of the state,

Proud dames, and Adria’s fair daughters,

The sirens of Venetian waters,

Beautiful as summer dreams

Dreamed in haunted forest glade

By silvery streams in leafy gleams,

Floating through the awful shade.

The noble palace peopled was right meetly,

And in its wide saloons the dance went featly,

And high above the hum

Swelled the thunder and the hoot

Of theorbo and of viol, of the hautboy and the flute,

And the roaring of the drum.