Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
Descriptive Poems: III. Places
The Gondola
Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861)
AFLOAT; we move—delicious! Ah,
What else is like the gondola?
This level flow of liquid glass
Begins beneath us swift to pass.
It goes as though it went alone        5
By some impulsion of its own.
(How light it moves, how softly! Ah,
Were all things like the gondola!)
How light it moves, how softly! Ah,
Could life, as does our gondola,        10
Unvexed with quarrels, aims, and cares,
And moral duties and affairs,
Unswaying, noiseless, swift, and strong,
For ever thus—thus glide along!
(How light we move, how softly! Ah,        15
Were life but as the gondola!)
With no more motion than should bear
A freshness to the languid air;
With no more effort than expressed
The need and naturalness of rest,        20
Which we beneath a grateful shade
Should take on peaceful pillows laid!
(How light we move, how softly! Ah,
Were life but as the gondola!)
In one unbroken passage borne        25
To closing night from opening morn,
Uplift at whiles slow eyes to mark
Some palace-front, some passing bark;
Through windows catch the varying shore,
And hear the soft turns of the oar!        30
(How light we move, how softly! Ah,
Were life but as the gondola!)

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