Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Addington Symonds 1840–93



VENICE, thou Siren of sea-cities, wrought

By mirage, built on water, stair o’er stair,

Of sunbeams and cloud-shadows, phantom-fair,

With naught of earth to mar thy sea-born thought!

Thou floating film upon the wonder-fraught

Ocean of dreams! Thou hast no dream so rare

As are thy sons and daughters, they who wear

Foam-flakes of charm from thine enchantment caught!

O dark brown eyes! O tangles of dark hair!

O heaven-blue eyes, blonde tresses where the breeze

Plays over sun-burn’d cheeks in sea-blown air!

Firm limbs of moulded bronze! frank debonair

Smiles of deep-bosom’d women! Loves that seize

Man’s soul, and waft her on storm-melodies!