The Last Doge to Fettered Venice

by Eugene Lee-Hamilton

Eugene Lee-Hamilton

I saw a phantom sitting in her rags,

Upon a throne that sea-gods wrought of old;

Her tatters, stamped with blazonry of gold,

Seemed made of remnants of victorious flags;

Her face was fair, though wrinkled like a hag's,

And in the sun she shivered as with cold;

While round her breast she tightened each torn fold,

To hide her chains, more thick than felon drags.

O Venice, in the silence of the night,

I think of when the vessels used to bring

The gems and spices of the plundered East

Up to my feet, and, like an endless flight

Of hurrying sea-birds on a broad white wing,

Heaped up the gift, that ever still increased.

Last updated January 14, 2019