« AnteriorContinuar »
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Whose voice had swell’d the hubbub in his youth, Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Were hush'd, Bologna; silence in the streets, Her playmate from her birth, and her first love. The squares, when hark, the clattering of fleet hoofs!
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress, And soon a courier, posting as from far, She was all gentleness, all gayety,
Housing and holster, boot and belted coat, Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue. And doublet, stain'd with many a various soil, But now the day was come, the day, the hour; Stopt and alighted. 'Twas where hangs aloft Now frowning, smiling, for the hundredth time, That ancient sign, the pilgrim, welcoming The nurse, that ancient lady, preach'd decorum; All who arrive there, all, perhaps, save those And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Clad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell, Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco. Those on a pilgrimage ; and now approach'd
Great was the joy ; but at the nuptial feast, Wheels, through the lofty porticoes resounding, When all sate down, the bride herself was wanting. Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade Nor was she to be found! Her father cried, As the sky changes. To the gate they came; « 'Tis but to make a trial of our love!"
And, ere the man had half his story done, And fillid his glass to all; but his hand shook, Mine host received the master-one long used And soon from guest to guest the panic spread. To sojourn among strangers, everywhere 'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco, (Go where he would, along the wildest track) Laughing, and looking back, and flying still, Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost, Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
And leaving footsteps to be traced by those But now, alas ! she was not to be found;
Who love the haunts of genius; one who saw, Nor from that hour could any thing be guess'd, Observed, nor shunnid the busy scenes of life, But that she was not!
But mingled not, and, 'mid the din, the stir,
Much had passid, Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Since last we parted; and those five short yearsOrsini lived—and long might you have seen Much had they told! His clustering locks were An old man wandering as in quest of something,
turn'a Something he could not find-he knew not what. Gray; nor did aught recall the youth that swam When he was gone, the house remaind a while From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice, Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers. Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten. Flash'd lightning-like, nor linger'd on the way, When on an idle day, a day of search
Waiting for words. Far, far into the night 'Mid the old lumber in the gallery,
We sate, conversing—no unwelcome hour, That mouldering chest was noticed ; and 'twas said The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose, By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, Rising, we climb'd the rugged Apennine. “Why not remove it from its lurking-place ?" Well I remember how the golden sun 'Twas done as soon as said ; but on the way Filld with its beams th' unfathomable gulfs, It burst, it fell; and lo, a skeleton,
As on we travell’d, and along the ridge, With here and there a pearl, an emerald stone, 'Mid groves of cork, and cistus, and wild sig, A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold.
His motley household came-Not last nor least, All else had perishd-save a wedding ring, Battista, who, upon the moonlight sea And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
Of Venice, had so ably, zealously Engraven with a name, the name of both, Served, and, at parting, Aung his oar away “Ginevra.”
To follow through the world; who without stain There then had she found a grave! Had worn so long that honourable badge,* Within that chest had she conceal'd herself, The gondolier's, in a patrician house Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy; Arguing unlimited trust.-Not last nor least, When a spring lock, that lay in ambush there, Thou, though declining in thy beauty and strength, Fasten'd her down for ever!
Faithful Moretto, to the latest hour
Guarding his chamber door, and now along
The silent, sullen strand of Missolonghi
Howling in grief. 'Twas night; the noise and bustle of the day
He had just left that place Were o'er. The mountebank no longer wrought Of old renown, once in the Adrian sea,t Miraculous cures-he and his stage were gone; Ravenna; where, from Dante's sacred tomb And he who, when the crisis of his tale
He had so oft, as many a verse declares, Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear, Drawn inspiration ; where, at twilight time, Sent round his cap; and he who thrumm’d his wire Through the pine forest wandering with loose rein,
with pleading look and plaintive strain Wandering and lost, he had so oft behelds Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries, * So well portray'd, and by a son of thine,
* The principal gondolier, il fante di poppa, was almost
always in the confidence of his master, and employed en + See the Cries of Bologna, as drawn by Annibal Ca- occasions that required judgment and address. racci. He was of very humble origin; and, lo correct his + Adrianum mare.Cic. brother's vanity, once sent him a portrait of their father, # See the prophecy of Dante. the tailor, ihreading his ncedle.
S See the tale as told by Boccaccio and Dryden.
(What is not visible to a poet's eye?)
And know that where we stand, stood oft and long, The spectre knight, the hell-hounds and their oft till the day was gone, Raphael himself, prey,
He and his haughty rival-patiently, The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth Humbly, to learn of those who came before, Suddenly blasted. 'Twas a theme he loved ; To steal a spark from their authentic fire, But others claim'd their turn; and many a tower, Theirs, who first broke the gloom, sons of the Sbatter'd, uprooted from its native rock,
morning. Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
There, on the seat that runs along the wall, Appear'd and vanish’d, (many a sturdy steer* South of the church, east of the belfry tower, Yoked and unyoked,) while as in happier days (Thou canst not miss it,) in the sultry time He pour'd his spirit forth. The past forgot, Would Dante sit conversing, and with those All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured Who little thought that in his hand he held Present or future.
The balance, and assign'd at his good pleasure
To each his place in the invisible world,
Hadst plagued him sore, and carefully requiting
To fire. Sit down a while-then by the gates Of all things low or little ; nothing there
Wondrously wrought, so beautiful, so glorious, Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
That they might serve to be the gates of heaven, Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do Enter the baptistery. That place he loved, Things long regretted, oft, as many know, Calling it his! And in his visits there None more than I, thy gratitude would build Well might he take delight! For, when a child, On slight foundations: and, if in thy life
Playing, with venturous feet, near and yet nearer
They in thy train-ah, little did they think, A life of trouble, and ere long to leave
The going up and down another's stairs.
Yet still are breathing; and shed round at noon
A two-fold influence-only to be felt, And he who would assail thee in thy grave, A light, a darkness, mingling each with each; 0, let him pause! For who among us all,
Both and yet neither. There, from age to age, Tried as thou wert-e'en from thine earliest years, Two ghosts are sitting on their sepulchres. When wandering, yet unspoilt, a highland boy That is the duke Lorenzo. Mark him well. Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of fame; He meditates, his head upon his hand. Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek, What scowls beneath his broad and helm-like Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
bonnet ? Her charmed cup-ah, who among us all
Is it a face, or but an eyeless skull ?
It fascinates, and is intolerable.
His mien is noble, most majestical!
Then most so, when the distant choir is heard,
At morn or eve-nor fail thou to attend Of all the fairest cities of the earth,
On that thrice-hallow'd day, when all are there; None are so fair as Florence. 'Tis a gem
When all, propitiating with solemn songs, Of purest ray, a treasure for a casket!
With light, and frankincense, and holy water, And what a glorious lustre did it shed
Visit the dead. Then wilt thou feel his power When it emerged from darkness! Search within,
But let not sculpture, painting, poesy, Without, all is enchantment! 'Tis the past
Or they, the masters of these mighty spells, Contending with the present; and in turn
Detain us. Our first homage is to virtue.
Where, in what dungeon of the citadel
(It must be known—the writing on the wall Massaccio; and he slumbers underneath. Wouldst thou behold his monument? Look round: Cannot be gone—twas cut in with his dagger,
Ere, on his knees to God, he slew himself,)
Where, in what dungeon, did Filippo Strozzi, * They wait for the traveller's carriage at the foot of The last, the greatest of the men of Florence, every hill.
Breathc out his soul-Jest in his agony,
When on the rack and call upon to answer, How can I spare myself, sparing none else.
Grant me the strength, the will-and 0 forgive
That debt paid, The sinful soul of a most wretched son. But with a sigh, a tear for human frailty,
'Tis a most wretched father who implores it.” We may return, and once more give a loose Long on Garzia's neck he hung, and wept To the delighted spirit--worshipping,
Tenderly, long press'd him to his bosom ; In her small temple of rich workmanship,* And then, but while he held him by the arm, Venus herself, who, when she left the skies, Thrusting him backward, turn'd away his face, Came hither.
And stabb'd him to the heart.
Well might De Thou, XXI.
When in his youth he came to Cosmo's court, DON GARZIA.
Think on the past; and, as he wander'd through
Upon two portraits there, drawn on the wall
One in a cardinal's habit, one in black,
Those of the unhappy brothers, and infer Aloft he sits upon his horse of brass ;
From the deep silence that his questions drew, And they, who read the legend underneath,
The terrible truth. Go and pronounce him happy. Yet there is
Well might be heave a sigh A chamber at Grosseto, that, if walls
For poor humanity, when he beheld Could speak, and tell of what is done within, That very Cosmo shaking o'er his fire, Would turn your admiration into pity.
Drowsy and deaf and inarticulate, Half of what pass'd died with him ; but the rest Wrapt in his night-gown, o'er a sick man's mess, All he discover'd when the fit was on,
In the last stage-death-struck and deadly pale ; All that, by those who listen'd, could be glean'd His wife, another, not his Eleonora, From broken sentences and starts in sleep,
At once his nurse and his interpreter. Is told, and by an honest chronicler.
XXII. Two of his sons, Giovanni and Garzia, (The eldest had not seen his sixteenth summer,)
THE CAMPAGNA OF FLORENCE.
Where Cimabuè found a shepherd boy*
The phases of the moon, look round below
On Arno's vale, where the dove-colour'd oxen
Filling the air with sweetness—and on thee,
Thy groves and gardens, pinnacles and towers, Massive and dungeon-like, thither he led;
Drawn to our feet. And having enter'd in and lock'd the door,
From that small spire, just caught The father fix'd his eyes upon the son,
By the bright ray, that church among the rest And closely questioned him. No change betray'd By one of old distinguish'd as the bride, Or guilt or fear. Then Cosmo lifted up
Let us pursue in thought (what can we better?) The bloody sheet, “ Look there ! Look there !” he Those who assembled there at matin prayers it cried,
Who, when vice revell’d, and along the street « Blood calls for blood-and from a father's hand! Tables were set, what time the bearer's bell -Unless thyself wilt save him that sad office. Rang to demand the dead at every door, What !” he exclaim'd, when, shuddering at the sight, Came out into the meadows; and, a while The boy breathed out, “ I stood but on my guard.” | Wandering in idleness, but not in folly, “ Darest thou then blacken one who never wrong'a Sate down in the high grass and in the shade thee,
Of many a tree sun proof-day after day,
Round the hill they went,
A place for luxury—the painted rooms,
Let in but in his grave clothes. Sacred be The open galleries and middle court
His cottage, (justly was it call'd the Jewel!) Not unprepared, fragrant and gay with flowers. Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight Then westward to another, nobler yet ;
Glimmer'd, at blush of dawn he dress'd his vines, That on the right, now known as thc Palmieri, Chanting aloud in gayety of heart Where art with nature vied a paradise,
Some verse of Ariosto. There, unseen, With verdurous walls, and many a trellis'd walk In manly beauty Milton stood before him, All rose and jasmine, many a forest vista Gazing with reverent awe-Milton, his guest, Cross'd by the deer. Then to the Ladies' Valley; Just then come forth, all life and enterprise ; And the clear lake, that seem'd as by enchantment He in his old age and extremity, To lift up to the surface every stone
Blind, at noonday exploring with his staff; Of lustre there, and the diminutive fish
His eyes upturn'd as to the golden sun, Innumerable, dropt with crimson and gold, His eyeballs idly rolling. Little then Now motionless, now glancing to the sun.
Did Galileo think whom he bade welcome; Who has not dwelt on their voluptuous day? That in his hand he held the hand of one The morning banquet by the fountain side, Who could requite him—who would spread his name The dance that follow'd, and the noontide slumber; O'er lands and seas-great as himself, nay greater ; Then the tales told in turn, as round they lay
Milton as little that in him he saw, On carpets, the fresh waters murmuring ;
As in a glass, what he himself should be, And the short interval fill’d up with games
Destined so soon to fall on evil days Of chess, and talk, and reading old romances, And evil tongues—so soon, alas ! to live Till supper time, when many a siren voice In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round, Sung down the stars, and in the grass the torches
Well pleased, could we pursue
Sailing on either sea. Downward he runs,
Scattering fresh verdure through the desolate wild, The musical chimes of the great bells that hung
Down by the City of Hermits, and, ere long,
Then through these gardens to the Tuscan sea, Dropt in the virgin's chamber.
Reflecting castles, convents, villages,
That dark ridge And those great rivals in an elder day, Stretching away in the south-east, conceals it; Florence and Pisa—who have given him fame, Not so his lowly roof and scanty farm,
Fame everlasting, but who stain'd so oft His copse and rill, if yet a trace be left,
His troubled waters. Oft, alas! were seen, Who lived in Val di Pesa, suffering long
When flight, pursuit, and hideous rout were there Exile and want, and the keen shafts of malice, Hands, clad in gloves of steel, held up imploring ; With an unclouded mind. The glimmering tower The man, the hero, on his foaming steed, On the gray rock beneath, his landmark once, Borne underneath—already in the realms Now serves for ours, and points out where he ate Of darkness. His bread with cheerfulness.
Nor did night or burning noon Who sees him not Bring respite. Oft, as that great artist saw,* ('Tis his own sketch—he drew it from himself) Whose pencil had a voice, the cry “ To arms !" Playing the bird-catcher, and sallying forth And the shrill trumpet, hurried up the bank In an autumnal morn, laden with cages,
Those who had stolen an hour to breast the tide, To catch a thrush on every lime-twig there ; And wash from their unharness'd limbs the blood Or in the wood among his woodcutters ;
And sweat of battle. Sudden was the rush, Or in the tavern by the highway side
Violent the tumult; for, already in sight, At tric-trac with the miller ; or at night,
Nearer and nearer yet the danger drew; Doffing his rustic suit, and, duly clad,
Each every sinew straining, every feature, Entering his closet, and, among his books, Each snatching up, and girding, buckling on, Among the great of every age and clime,
Morion, and greave, and shirt of twisted mail, A numerous court, turning to whom he pleased, As for his life—no more, perchance, to taste, Questioning each why he did this or that, Arno, the grateful freshness of thy glades, And learning how to overcome the fear
Thy waters—where, exulting, he had felt
A swimmer's transport, there, alas ! to float
And welter. Nor between the gusts of war,
When flocks were feeding, and the shepherd's pipe For its green wine-dearer to me, to most, Gladden'd the valley, when, but not unarmid, As dwelt on by that great astronomer,t
The sower came forth, and, following him who Seven years a prisoner at the city gate,
* Michael Angelo.
Threw in the seed—did thy indignant waves Sits over all, at once chastising, healing,
The young forgot the lessons they had learnt, Of Ugolino—closing up for ever
And loved when they should hate-like thee, Imelda, That dismal dungeon henceforth to be named Thee and thy Paolo. When last ye met The Tower of Famine.
In that still hour(the heat, the glare was gone, Once indeed 'twas thine, Not so the splendour-through the cedar grove When many a winter flood, thy tributary, A radiance stream'd like a consuming fire, Was through its rocky glen rushing, resounding, As though the glorious orb, in its descent, And thou wert in thy might, to save, restore Had come and rested there)-when last ye met, A charge most precious. To the nearest ford, And those relentless brothers dragg'a bim forth, Hastening, a horseman from Arezzo came, It had been well hadst thou slept on, Imelda, Careless, impatient of delay, a babe
Nor from thy trance of fear awaked, as night Slung in a basket to the knotty staff
Fell on that fatal spot, to wish thee dead, That lay athwart his saddle-bow. He spurs, To track him by his blood, to search, to find, He enters; and his horse, alarm'd, perplex'd, Then fling thee down to catch a word, a look, Halts in the midst. Great is the stir, the strife; A sigh, if yet thou couldst, (alas ! thou couldst not,) And lo, an atom on that dangerous sea,
And die, unseen, unthought of—from the wound The babe is floating! Fast and far he flies; Sucking the poison. Now tempest rock'd, now whirling round and round,
Yet, when slavery came, But not to perish. By thy willing waves
Worse follow'd. Genius, valour left the land, Borne to the shore, among the bulrushes
Indignant—all that had from age to age The ark has rested; and unhurt, secure
Adorn'd, ennobled; and headlong they fell, As on his mother's breast he sleeps within, Tyrant and slave. For deeds of violence, All peace ! or never had the nations heard Done in broad day and more than half redeem'd That voice so sweet, which still enchants, inspires ; By many a great and generous sacrifice That voice, which sung of love, of liberty. Of self to others, came the unpledged bowl, Petrarch lay there And such the images The stab of the stiletto. Gliding by That cluster'd round our Milton, when at eve Unnoticed, in slouch'd hat and muffling cloak, Reclined beside thee, Arno; when at eve, That just discover'd, Caravaggio-like, Led on by thee, he wander'd with delight, A swarthy cheek, black brow, and eye of flame. Framing Ovidian verse, and through thy groves The bravo took his stand, and o'er the shoulder Gathering wild myrtle. Such the poet's dreams ; Plunged to the hilt, or from beneath the rib Yet not such only. For look round and say, Slanting (a surer path, as some averrid) Where is the ground that did not drink warm blood, Struck upward—then slunk off, or, if pursued, The echo that had learnt not to articulate Made for the sanctuary, and there along The cry of murder ?-Fatal was the day
The glimmering aisle, among the worshippers, To Florence, when('twas in a street behind Wander'd with restless step and jealous look, The church and convent of the Holy Cross Dropping thick gore. There is the house--that house of the Donati,
Misnamed to lull suspicion, Towerless, and left long since, but to the last In every palace was the laboratory, Braving assault—all rugged, all emboss'd Where he within brew'd poisons swift and slow, Below, and still distinguished by the rings That scatter'd terror till all things seem'd poisonous, Of brass, that held in war and festival time And brave men trembled if a hand held out Their family standards)-fatal was the day A nosegay or a letter ; while the great To Florence, when, at morn, at the ninth hour, Drank from the Venice-glass, that broke, that A noble dame in weeds of widowhood,
shiver'd, Weeds to be worn hereafter by so many,
If aught malignant, aught of thine was there,
Gave signs infallible of coming ill,
Speaks in no louder,) « Pass not on. That door
Just as you enter, at the threshold-stone;