Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
 
Venice
Ducal Palace
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(From Marino Faliero, Act V, Scene III)

I SPEAK to Time and to Eternity,
Of which I grow a portion, not to man.
Ye elements! in which to be resolved
I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit
Upon you! Ye blue waves! which bore my banner,        5
Ye winds! which fluttered o’er as if you loved it,
And filled my swelling sails as they were wafted
To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth,
Which I have bled for, and thou foreign earth,
Which drank this willing blood from many a wound!        10
Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to Heaven! Ye skies, which will receive it!
Thou sun! which shinest on these things, and thou!
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns!—Attest!
I am not innocent,—but are these guiltless?        15
I perish, but not unavenged; far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,
And show these eyes, before they close, the doom
Of this proud city, and I leave my curse
On her and hers forever! Yes, the hours        20
Are silently engendering of the day,
When she, who built ’gainst Attila a bulwark,
Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield
Unto a bastard Attila, without
Shedding so much blood in her last defence        25
As these old veins, oft drained in shielding her,
Shall pour in sacrifice. She shall be bought
And sold, and be an appanage to those
Who shall despise her! She shall stoop to be
A province for an empire, petty town        30
In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates,
Beggars for nobles, panders for a people!
Then when the Hebrew in thy palaces,
The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
Walks o’er thy mart, and smiles on it for his!        35
When thy patricians beg their bitter bread
In narrow streets, and in their shameful need
Make their nobility a plea for pity!
 
 
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