Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VIII. National Spirit
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VIII. National Spirit.  1904.
I. Patriotism
Canada Not Last
William Douw Schuyler-Lighthall (1857–1954)
LO Venice, gay with color, lights and song,
  Calls from St. Mark’s with ancient voice and strange:
I am the Witch of Cities! glide along
  My silver streets that never wear by change
Of years: forget the years, and pain, and wrong,        5
And ever sorrow reigning men among.
  Know I can soothe thee, please and marry thee
To my illusions. Old and siren strong,
  I smile immortal, while the mortals flee
  Who whiten on to death in wooing me.        10
Say, what more fair by Arno’s bridgèd gleam
  Than Florence, viewed from San Miniato’s slope
At eventide, when west along the stream
  The last of day reflects a silver hope!—
Lo, all else softened in the twilight beam:—        15
The city’s mass blent in one hazy cream,
  The brown Dome ’midst it, and the Lily tower,
And stern Old Tower more near, and hills that seem
  Afar, like clouds to fade, and hills of power
  On this side greenly dark with cypress, vine and bower.        20
End of desire to stray I feel would come
  Though Italy were all fair skies to me,
Though France’s fields went mad with flowery foam
  And Blanc put on a special majesty,
Not all could match the growing thought of home        25
Nor tempt to exile. Look I not on Rome—
  This ancient, modern, mediæval queen—
Yet still sigh westward over hill and dome,
  Imperial ruin and villa’s princely scene
  Lovely with pictured saints and marble gods serene.        30
Rome, Florence, Venice—noble, fair and quaint,
  They reign in robes of magic round me here;
But fading, blotted, dim, a picture faint,
  With spell more silent, only pleads a tear.
Plead not! Thou hast my heart, O picture dim!        35
  I see the fields, I see the autumn hand
Of God upon the maples! Answer Him
  With weird, translucent glories, ye that stand
Like spirits in scarlet and in amethyst!
I see the sun break over you: the mist        40
  On hills that lift from iron bases grand
  Their heads superb!—the dream, it is my native land.

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