Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Italy
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Italy: Vols. XI–XIII.  1876–79.
Sir Arthur Helps (1813–1875)
(From Oulita, the Serf. Act IV. Scene II.)

                    VENICE, dear to every one
Whose gracious star has led him to behold her;
So dear that in the memory she remains,
Like an old love, who would, indeed, have been
Our only love, but died, and all the past        5
Is full of her untried perfections, while
Amidst the unknown recesses of our hearts
Enthroned she sits, in tenderest mist of thought,
Like the soft brilliancy of autumn haze,
Seen at the setting of the sun: and such        10
Is Venice,—to repeat her name is sweet,
Just as I love to say the word Oulita.
And then of the dark, swanlike gondolas
We talked; and how, midst crumbling palaces,
Great churches, richly inlaid mosques and columns,        15
Each step an ample field for history,
And under bridges mossed with dripping sea-weed
(A thousand silvery lights reflected from
The rippling waters, upwards on the arches
Playing fondly, like glad insects in the sun),        20
The dark-clad gondola went gurgling by,
Its inmate lost in sweetest meditation,—
Went gurgling by, went gurgling by.

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