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“The old order changeth, yielding place to new.”

TENNYSON.

“The beauty which it possesses is unfelt, the language it uses is forgotten ; and in the midst of the city to whose service it has so long been consecrated, and still filled by crowds of the descendants of those to whom it owes its magnificence, it stands, in reality, more desolate than the ruins through which the sheep-walk passes unbroken in our English Valleys."

RUSKIN.

ST. MARK'S, VENICE.

A MASS of fluted shafts and marble domes,
Clustered together, form a pyramid
O'er which the sunlight softly searching roams,
Touching each sculptured emblem there amid
A treasure heap of gold and opal hid,
Its long low shape, with wondrous beauty crowned,
Inspiring awe that seemeth to forbid
All baser buildings near to venture round
St. Mark's most sacred shrine, and its enchanted ground.

Great vaulted porches, hollowed out below
In five large circles-on whose roof appear
Mosaics dazzling with their coloured glow,
And alabaster sculptures, like a tear
From weeping eyes most delicately clear,
Or like the amber wept from ancient trees,
Which

of old where now the peasants hear
The rush of many waters, when the breeze
Has lashed the waves to fury on the Baltic seas.

grew

Sculpture fantastic in its wondrous shapes
All intertwined together; here it weaves
An endless network of bright clustering grapes,
Pomegranate mingled ; here are trailing leaves,
Palm branch and lily; here a branch receives
A weight of clinging birds, while all around
Flutter their mates, even as on English eaves
The swallows fly and cling; there buds are wound
With leafage set amidst the gleam of golden ground.

And as the crown of all, an Angel band
Sceptred and robed across the gateways lean,
Each facing each ; full solemnly they stand
Guarding the entrance, indistinctly seen
Upon the golden fretwork of the screen.
And round the porches there are pillars placed,
Jasper, and porphyry, and sullen green
Of snowflaked serpentine, pure marble traced
With veined labyrinths and mazy lines inlaced.

And over all, amid the capitals,
Where rooted knots of herbage intertwine
With soft acanthus, which down-drifting falls
In wild festoons about the mystic sign
Of holy Cross or leaves of wandering vine,
Over the archivolts, where stands displayed
Of language and of life an endless line-
Angels and heavenly signs and labours laid
On mortal men below, in order due portrayed

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