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.
Sunrise in Venice
Joaquin Miller (1837–1913)
NIGHT seems troubled and scarce asleep;
Her brows are gathered in broken rest;
Sullen old lion of grand St. Mark
Lordeth and lifteth his front from the dark,
And a star in the east starts up from the deep,        5
White as my lilies that grow in the west;
And the day leaps up with a star on his breast.
Hist! men are passing hurriedly.
I see the yellow wide wings of a bark
Sail silently over my morning-star.        10
I see men move in the moving dark,
Tall and silent as columns are,—
Great sinewy men that are good to see,
With hair pushed back and with open breasts;
Barefooted fishermen seeking their boats,        15
Brown as walnuts and hairy as goats,—
Brave old water-dogs, wed to the sea,
First to their labors and last to their rests.
Ships are moving! I hear a horn;
A silver trumpet it sounds to me,        20
Deep-voiced and musical, far a-sea
Answers back, and again it calls.
’T is the sentinel-boats that watch the town
All night, as mounting her watery walls,
And watching for pirate or smuggler. Down        25
Over the sea, and reaching away,
And against the east, a soft light falls,—
Silvery soft as the mist of morn,
And I catch a breath like the breath of day.
The east is blooming! Yea, a rose,        30
Vast as the heavens, soft as a kiss,
Sweet as the presence of woman is,
Rises and reaches and widens and grows
Right out of the sea, as a blooming tree;
Richer and richer, so higher and higher,        35
Deeper and deeper it takes its hue;
Brighter and brighter it reaches through
The space of heaven and the place of stars,
Till all is as rich as a rose can be,
And my rose-leaves fall into billows of fire.        40
Then beams reach upward as arms from a sea;
Then lances and arrows are aimed at me.
Then lances and spangles and spars and bars
Are broken and shivered and strewn on the sea;
And around and about me tower and spire        45
Start from the billows like tongues of fire.

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