Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/390

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The Commonwealth of Kings—the Men of Rome!
And even since, and now, fair Italy!
Thou art the Garden of the World, the Home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful—thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility;
Thy wreck a glory—and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.


The Moon is up, and yet it is not night—
Sunset divides the sky with her—a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains;[1] Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be,—
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,—
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air—an island of the blest![2]

  1. ["Friuli's mountains" are the Julian Alps, which lie to the north of Trieste and north-east of Venice, "the hoar and aëry Alps towards the north," which Julian and Count Maddalo (vide post, p. 349) saw from the Lido. But the Alpine height along which "a sea of glory" streamed—"the peak of the far Rhætian hill" (stanza xxviii. line 4)—must lie to the westward of Venice, in the track of the setting sun.]
  2. The above description may seem fantastical or exaggerated to those who have never seen an Oriental or an