by 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