In recent years, I’ve often found myself returning to this poem by William Wordsworth, especially the last two lines.
“Once did she hold the gorgeous east in fee;
And was the safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City, bright and free
No guild seduced, no force could violate
And, when she took unto herself a Mate
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she saw these glories fade,
Those titles vanish and that strength decay;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reached its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
Of that which once was great, is passed away.”