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  • The Gondolier
    Venice (Veneto)

    In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more.
    Childe Harold Can. IV.

    Can Tasso's songs be silent now?
    Me thought the gondolier would vow
    Eternal homage to their flow.

    Yet, as he guides his graceful bark
    Through noiseless streets he sings, but hark!
    His thoughts are distant, gloomy, dark.

    He sings of Venice in other days;
    Her power, her beauty fills his lays,
    Nor of his age he tunes the praise.

    He sings in snatches, plaintive, low,
    Nor merriment his accents know,
    Yet music's saddest charm they show.

    And like a phantom gliding onward,
    How little does his boat accord
    With its gay freight and winsome lord.

    As floating 'neath the arches crumbling,
    And ruined palaces now tumbling
    Into the sea with speedy humbling.

    Ah, who can tell the sad reflection
    Swift-crowding on the mind's dejection,
    The softening power of recollection!

    For she to him was like a maiden
    Whom youth and gayety did gladden,
    Nor care nor sorrow ever sadden.

    Who dwelt in mirth's seductive rounds,
    And followed pace with music's sounds,
    Where dance and luxury abounds:

    Until o'erpowered with joy and sleep,
    And glee no more her revels keep,
    She sinks to rest upon the deep.

    Ages of glory have passed away,
    The gilded boats with color's play,
    Yet he alone survives the day,

    And in his sable home abides—
    'Neath the Rialto still he glides—
    The graceful gallant of the tides.

    Return to Folk Songs Page

    Additional Resources
    Famous Italians Folk Dances Folktales
    Folklore/Legends Proverbs/Proverbi Traditions

    Loudoun, Robert. Songs of Venice: and other poems. Cleveland: William W. Williams, 1885. 24-26


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