Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

I.

I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O’er the far times when many a subject land
Looked to the wingèd Lion’s marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

I.

Is thy face like thy mother’s, my fair child!
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes, they smiled,
And then we parted, – not as now we part,
But with a hope. –
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices: I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour’s gone by,

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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

I.

Come, blue-eyed maid of heaven! – but thou, alas,
Didst never yet one mortal song inspire –
Goddess of Wisdom! here thy temple was,
And is, despite of war and wasting fire,
And years, that bade thy worship to expire:
But worse than steel, and flame, and ages slow,
Is the drear sceptre and dominion dire
Of men who never felt the sacred glow
That thoughts of thee and thine on polished breasts bestow.
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Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

I.

Oh, thou, in Hellas deemed of heavenly birth,
Muse, formed or fabled at the minstrel’s will!
Since shamed full oft by later lyres on earth,
Mine dares not call thee from thy sacred hill:
Yet there I’ve wandered by thy vaunted rill;
Yes! sighed o’er Delphi’s long-deserted shrine
Where, save that feeble fountain, all is still;
Nor mote my shell awake the weary Nine
To grace so plain a tale – this lowly lay of mine.
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