Because the blogosphere has been celebrating Venice in February and because I have read 3 works set in Venice but had no time to write the accompanying posts, I thought I’d find a poem set in Venice for this month’s Read More Poetry event.

Cue sonnet by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, inspired in 1849 as he sat before this painting in The Louvre.

At the time of his writing,the painting was attributed to Giorgione.  That attribution is now rejected.  While Rossetti looked at a Giorgione, we are now seeing a Titian.  Either way, I don’t think this painting would have inspired me as much as it did Rossetti.

Water, for anguish of the solstice:—nay,
But dip the vessel slowly,—nay, but lean
And hark how at its verge the wave sighs in
Reluctant. Hush! Beyond all depth away
The heat lies silent at the brink of day:
Now the hand trails upon the viol-string
That sobs, and the brown faces cease to sing,
Sad with the whole of pleasure. Whither stray
Her eyes now, from whose mouth the slim pipes creep
And leave it pouting, while the shadowed grass
Is cool against her naked side? Let be:—
Say nothing now unto her lest she weep,
Nor name this ever. Be it as it was,—
Life touching lips with Immortality.

An analysis of the poem can be found here.

Advertisements