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VERAZZANO AT RHODES AND RHODE ISLAND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In the tides of the warm south wind it lay
Last Line: Bears the fairest isle of the western coast.
Subject(s): America - Exploration; Rhode Island; Verazzano, Giovanni Da (1485-1528)


IN the tides of the warm south wind it lay,
And its grapes turned wine in the fires of noon,
And its roses blossomed from May to May,
And their fragrance lingered from June to June.

There dwelt old heroes at Ilium famed,
There, bards reclusive, of olden odes;
And so fair were the fields of roses, they named
The bright sea-garden the Isle of Rhodes.

Fair temples graced each blossoming field,
And columned halls in gems arrayed;
Night shaded the sea with her jewelled shield,
And sweet the lyres of Orpheus played.

The Helios spanned the sea: its flame
Drew hither the ships of Pelion's pines,
And twice a thousand statues of fame
Stood mute in twice a thousand shrines.

And her mariners went, and her mariners came,
And sang on the seas the olden odes,
And at night they remembered the Helios' flame,
And at morn the sweet fields of the roses of Rhodes.

From the palm land's shade to the land of pines,
A Florentine crossed the Western Sea;
He sought new lands and golden mines,
And he sailed 'neath the flag of the Fleurde-lis.

He saw at last in the sunset's gold,
A wonderful island so fair to view
That it seemed like the Island of Roses old
That his eyes in his wondering boyhood knew.

'T was summer time, and the glad birds sung
In the hush of noon in the solitudes;
From the oak's broad arms the green vines hung;
Sweet odors blew from the resinous woods.

He rounded the shores of the summer sea,
And he said as his feet the white sands pressed,
And he planted the flag of the Fleur-de-lis:
"I have come to the Island of Rhodes in the West.

"While the mariners go, and the mariners come,
And sing on lone waters the olden odes
Of the Grecian seas and the ports of Rome,
They will ever think of the roses of Rhodes."

To the isle of the West he gave the name
Of the isle he had loved in the Grecian sea;
And the Florentine went away as he came,
'Neath the silver flag of the Fleur-de-lis.

O fair Rhode Island, thy guest was true,
He felt the spirit of beauteous things;
The sea-wet roses were faint and few,
But memory made them the gardens of kings.

The Florentine corsair sailed once more,
Out into the West o'er a rainy sea,
In search of another wonderful shore
For the crown of France and the Fleur-de-lis.

But returned no more the Florentine brave
To the courtly knights of fair Rochelle;
'Neath the lilies of France he found a grave,
And not 'neath the roses he loved so well.

But the lessons of beauty his fond heart bore
From the gardens of God were never lost;
And the fairest name of the Eastern shore
Bears the fairest isle of the Western coast.

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