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


The Carnival

By Lord Byron (1788–1824)

(From Beppo)

OF all the places where the Carnival

Was most facetious in the days of yore,

For dance, and song, and serenade, and ball,

And masque, and mime, and mystery, and more

Than I have time to tell now, or at all,

Venice the bell from every city bore;

And at the moment when I fix my story

That sea-born city was in all her glory.

They ’ve pretty faces yet, those same Venetians,

Black eyes, arched brows, and sweet expressions still;

Such as of old were copied from the Grecians,

In ancient arts by moderns mimicked ill;

And like so many Venuses of Titian’s

(The best ’s at Florence,—see it, if ye will),

They look when leaning over the balcony,

Or stepped from out a picture by Giorgione,

Whose tints are truth and beauty at their best;

And when you to Manfrini’s palace go,

That picture (howsoever fine the rest)

Is loveliest to my mind of all the show:

It may perhaps be also to your zest,

And that ’s the cause I rhyme upon it so:

’T is but a portrait of his son, and wife,

And self; but such a woman! love in life!