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



By James Thomson (1834–1882)

(From Liberty)

NOR be the then triumphant state forgot;

Where, pushed from plundered earth, a remnant still

Inspired by me, through the dark ages kept

Of my old Roman flame some sparks alive:

The seeming god-built city! which my hand

Deep in the bosom fixed of wondering seas.

Astonished mortals sailed, with pleasing awe,

Around the sea-girt walls by Neptune fenced,

And down the briny street; where on each hand,

Amazing seen amid unstable waves,

The splendid palace shines; and rising tides,

The green steps marking, murmur at the door.

To this fair queen of Adria’s stormy gulf,

The mart of nations! long, obedient seas

Rolled all the treasure of the radiant East.

But now no more. Than one great tyrant worse

(Whose shared oppression lightens, as diffused),

Each subject tearing, many tyrants rose.

The least the proudest. Joined in dark cabal,

They jealous, watchful, silent, and severe,

Cast o’er the whole indissoluble chains;

The softer shackles of luxurious ease

They likewise added, to secure their sway.

Thus Venice fainter shines; and Commerce thus,

Of toil impatient, flags the drooping sail.