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  • In a Gondola
    Venice (Veneto)

    'Twas night in Venice. Then down to the tide,
    Where a tall and a shadowy gondolier
    Leaned on his oar, like a lifted spear:—
    'Twas night in Venice; then side by side
    We sat in his boat. Then oar a-trip
    On the black boat's keel, then dip and dip;—
    These boatmen should build their boats more wide,
    For we were together, and side by side.

    The sea it was level as seas of light,
    As still as the light ere a hand was laid
    To the making of lands, or the seas were made.
    'Twas fond as a bride on her bridal night
    When a great love swells in her soul like a sea,
    And makes her but less than divinity.
    'Twas night,—The soul of the day, I wis:
    A woman's face hiding from her first kiss.

    'Twas night in Venice. On o'er the tide—
    These boats they are narrow as they can be,
    These crafts they are narrow enough, and we,
    To balance the boat, sat side by side—
    Out under the arch of the Bridge of Sighs,
    On under the arch of the star-sown skies:
    We two were together on the Adrian Sea,—
    The one fair woman of the world to me.

    These narrow-built boats, they rock when at sea,
    And they make one afraid. So she leaned to me ;
    And that is the reason alone there fell
    Such golden folds of abundant hair
    Down over my shoulder, as we sat there.
    These boatmen should build their boats more wide,
    Wider for lovers; as wide—Ah, well!
    But who is the rascal to kiss, and tell?

    VENICE, 1874.

    Return to Folk Songs Page

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

    Miller, Joaquin. Songs of Italy. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1878. 34-35


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