On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic

In recent years, I’ve often found myself returning to this poem by William Wordsworth, especially the last two lines.

“Once did she hold the gorgeous east in fee;

And was the safeguard of the west: the worth

Of Venice did not fall below her birth,

Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.

She was a maiden City, bright and free

No guild seduced, no force could violate

And, when she took unto herself a Mate

She must espouse the everlasting Sea.

And what if she saw these glories fade,

Those titles vanish and that strength decay;

Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid

When her long life hath reached its final day:

Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade

Of that which once was great, is passed away.”

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