Verse > Lord Byron > Poems
Lord Byron (1788–1824).  Poetry of Byron.  1881.
II. Descriptive and Narrative
Venice, II
(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 11–13.)

  THE SPOUSELESS Adriatic mourns her lord;
  And, annual marriage, now no more renew’d,
  The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
  Neglected garment of her widowhood!
  St. Mark yet sees his lion where he stood,        5
  Stand, but in mockery of his wither’d power,
  Over the proud Place where an Emperor sued,
  And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour
When Venice was a queen with an unequall’d dower.
  The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigns—        10
  An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt;
  Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains
  Clank over sceptred cities; nations melt
  From power’s high pinnacle, when they have felt
  The sunshine for a while, and downward go        15
  Like lauwine loosen’d from the mountain’s belt;
  Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo!
Th’ octogenarian chief, Byzantium’s conquering foe.
  Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
  Their gilded collars glittering in the sun;        20
  But is not Doria’s menace come to pass?
  Are they not bridled?—Venice, lost and won,
  Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done,
  Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose!
  Better be whelm’d beneath the waves, and shun,        25
  Even in destruction’s depth, her foreign foes,
From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.

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