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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

XXXVIII

SCENE IN VENICE

BLACK Demons hovering o'er his mitred head,
To Caesar's Successor the Pontiff spake;
"Ere I absolve thee, stoop! that on thy neck
"Levelled with earth this foot of mine may tread."
Then he, who to the altar had been led,
He, whose strong arm the Orient could not check,
He, who had held the Soldan at his beck,
Stooped, of all glory disinherited,
And even the common dignity of man!--
Amazement strikes the crowd: while many turn
Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn
With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban
From outraged Nature; but the sense of most
In abject sympathy with power is lost.