On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes (1807). See The Manuscript of William Wordsworth's Poems, in Two Volumes (1807): A Facsimile (London: British Library, 1984). bib MASS (Massey College Library, Toronto).
1Once did She hold the gorgeous east in fee;
3Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
5She was a maiden City, bright and free;
6No guile seduced, no force could violate;
8She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
9And what if she had seen those glories fade,
10Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;
11Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
13Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
14Of that which once was great is passed away.


2] After the tremendous expansion of her power in the thirteenth century, Venice did much to protect western Europe from the Turks. Back to Line
4] the eldest Child of Liberty. The Venetians prided themselves in the belief that theirs was the oldest independent state in Europe. Back to Line
7] After a great naval victory of the Venetians in 1177, the Pope gave the Doge of Venice a ring with which to wed the Adriatic, that the world might know that the sea is subject to Venice, "as a bride is to her husband." The ceremony of wedding the Adriatic was celebrated annually by the Doge throwing a ring into it. Back to Line
12] Napoleon entered Venice on May 16, 1797, and proclaimed the end of the Republic. In October of the same year he handed Venice over to Austria. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.372.