venus that loves in stone

< Previous | Next >


Hello folks! In "The Blackgowns Papers" by L. Mariotti I found this sentence: "Byron has taught them to 'stand at Venice on the Bridge of Sighs' and fall into raptures before the 'Venus that loves in stone'."

What does "that loves in stone" mean? What is Venus doing? I cannot understand the relation between 'love' and 'in stone'. I know that the Venus in question is a sculpture made of stone; but why 'loves'??

Thank you!
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello (again). Well, the quotation marks in that extract suggest that these are words actually written by Byron (a poet) in his poetry. Venus was the goddess of love in some ancient culture or other. I suspect it's just a fancy poetic way of referring to Venus as the goddess of love: she loves, and she's in stone (i.e. made of stone).


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The reference is to stanza 49 of "Canto the Fourth" of Lord Byron's lengthy poetic travelogue, Chile Harold's Pilgrimage. Byron is here describing the loveliness of the countryside around Florence in Italy, and says:
    There, too, the goddess loves in stone, and fills/ The air around with beauty; we inhale/ The ambrosial aspect, which, beheld, instils /Part of its immortality; the veil /Of heaven is half undrawn; within the pale / We stand, and in that form and face behold / What Mind can make, when Nature’s self would fail;
    It means that Florence is so beautiful, it is as if its stone buildings were the creation of the goddess of love.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - British
    Just to add that Byron was concerned in the last canto about the decay he´d witnessed in Florence and Venice. The cities were changing and becoming commercialised. He wanted to stress that classical beauty was set in stone and would live for ever, leaving a legacy. His message was that Venus, the goddess of love, loves for ever despite the world crumbling around her.
    Of course he was hoping his poems were also "in stone" and would be remembered long after he had died.
    < Previous | Next >