Attila's Throne, Torcello

Joaquin Miller

Yet here stood Attila once, and here
Attila came with sword and flame,
And set his throne of hollow'd stone
In her high mart.  And it remains
Still lord o'er all.  Where once the tears
Of mute petition fell, the rains
Of heaven fall.  Lo! all alone
There lifts this massive empty throne.

I climb'd and sat that throne of stone
To contemplate, to dream, to reign
Ay, reign above myself; to call
The people of the past again
Before me as I sat alone
In all my kingdom. There were kine
That browsed along the reedy brine,
And now and then a tusky boar
Would  shake  the high  reeds of the shore,
A bird blow by,-but that was all.

The carved stone chair near the cathedral on the island of Torcello is very old - it dates from the 5th century. Attila, the conquering hun, never came to Torcello, and the seat was probably used by the local governor. There are many legends associated with it, though, including that anyone who sits on it will return to Torcello.

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