« AnteriorContinuar »
Among those woods where Silvia's stag was lying, Dragg’d into slavery, with how many more
To fall with grace, with dignity to sink,
While life is gushing, and the plaudits ring
As models for the sculptor.
But their days,
That echoes from the mountains to the sea ! Of fortune there; what moving accidents
And mark, beneath us, like a bursting cloud, From ambuscade and open violence !
The battle moving onward! Had they slain Mingling, the sounds came up; and hence how oft All, that the earth should from her womb bring We might have caught among the trees below,
forth Glittering with helm and shield, the men of Tibur ;* New nations to destroy them? From the depth Or in Greek vesture, Greek their origin,
Of forests, from what none had dared explore, Some embassy, ascending to Præneste jt
Regions of thrilling ice, as though in ice How oft descried without thy gates, Aricia, Engender'd, multiplied, they pour along, Entering the solemn grove for sacrifice,
Shaggy and huge! Host after host, they come ; Senate and people! Each a busy hive,
The Goth, the Vandal; and again the Goth! Glowing with life!
Once more we look, and all is still as night, But all ere long are lost All desolate! Groves, temples, palaces, In one.
We look, and where the river rolls Swept from the sight, and nothing visible, Southward its shining labyrinth, in her strength Amid the sulphurous vapours that exhale A city, girt with battlements and towers,
As from a land accurst, save here and there, On seven small hills is rising. Round about, An empty tomb, a fragment like the limb At rural work the citizens are seen,
Of some dismember'd giant. In the midst None unemploy'd ; the noblest of them all A city stands, her domes and turrets crown'd Binding their sheaves or on their threshing-floors, With many a cross; but they that issue forth As though they had not conquer'd. Everywhere Wander like strangers who had built among Some trace of valour or heroic virtue!
The mighty ruins, silent, spiritless ; Here is the sacred field of the Horatii,
And on the road, where once we might have met There are the Quintian meadows. Here the hill, Cæsar and Cato, and men more than kings, How holy, where a generous people, twice, We meet, none else, the pilgrim and the beggar. Twice going forth, in terrible anger sate (way, Arm'd; and, their wrongs redress’d, at once gave
VII. Helmet and shield, and sword and spear thrown down,
THE ROMAN PONTIFFS. And every hand uplifted, every heart
Those ancient men, what were they, who Pour'd out in thanks to heaven.
Once again A sway beyond the greatest conquerors ; We look; and, lo, the sea is white with sails
Setting their feet upon the necks of kings, Innumerable, wafting to the shore
And, through the world subduing, chaining d wn Treasures untold; the vale, the promontories, The free, immortal spirit? Were they not A dream of glory; temples, palaces,
Mighty magicians ? Theirs a wondrous spell, Call d up as by enchantment; aqueducts
Where true and false were with infernal art Among the groves and glades rolling along Close interwoven; where together met Rivers, on many an arch high over head;
Blessings and curses, threats and promises ;
And with the terrors of futurity,
And architectural pomp, such as none else ; (Buckler and spear hung up—but not to rust,) And dazzling light, and darkness visible ! Held poverty no evil, no reproach,
What in his day the Syracusan sought, Living on little with a cheerful mind,
Another world to plant his engines on, The Decii, the Fabricii ? Where the spade They had; and, having it, like gods, not men, And reaping-hook, among their household things Moved this world at their pleasure. Ere they came, Duly transmitted ? In the hands of men
Their shadows, stretching far and wide, were Made captive; while the master and his guests,
known, Reclining, quaff in gold, and roses swim,
And two, that look'd beyond the visible sphere, Summer and winter, through the circling year, Gave notice of their coming—he who saw On their Falernian-in the hands of men
The Apocalypse ; and he of elder time,
Who in an awful vision of the night
Saw the Four Kingdoms. Distant as they were, * La Riccia.
9 Mons Sacer Well might those holy men be fill'd with fcar!
That she might fling them from her, saying, “ Thus,
Thus I renounce the world and worldly things !” CAIUS CESTIUS.
When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments When I am inclined to be serious, I love to wan- Were, one by one, removed, e’en to the last, der up and down before the tomb of Caius Cestius. That she might say, flinging them from her,“ Thus, The Protestant burial-ground is there; and most of Thus I renounce the world !” when all was changed, the little monuments are erected to the young: And, as a nun, in homeliest guise she knelt, young men of promise, cut off when on their travels, Veil'd in her veil, crown'd with her silver crown, full of enthusiasm, full of enjoyment; brides, in the Her crown of lilies as the spouse of Christ, bloom of their beauty, on their first journey; or Well might her strength forsake her, and her knees children, borne from home search of health. Fail in that hour! Well might the holy man, This stone was placed by his fellow travellers, He at whose feet she knelt, give as by stealth young as himself, who will return to the house of ('Twas in her utmost need; nor, while she lives, his parents without him; that, by a husband or a Will it go from her, fleeting as it was) father, now in his native country. His heart is That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love buried in that grave.
And pity! It is a quiet and sheltered nook, covered in the
Like a dream the whole is fled;
A languor and a lethargy of soul,
Death-like, and gathering more and more, till death
Comes to release thee. Ah, what now to thee, THE NUN.
What now to thee the treasure of thy youth? "Tis over; and her lovely cheek is now
As nothing! On her hard pillow—there, alas! to be
But thou canst not yet reflect Nightly, through many and many a dreary hour, Calmly ; so many things, strange and perverse, Wan, often wet with tears, and (ere at length That meet, recoil, and go but to return, Her place is empty, and another comes)
The monstrous birth of one eventful day,
Troubling thy spirit—from the first, at dawn,
To the black pall, the requiem.
All in turn With all its pomp and harmony, is now
Revisit thee, and round thy lowly bed Floating before her. She arose at home,
Hover, uncall’d. The young and innocent heart, To be the show, the idol of the day;
How is it beating ? Has it no regrets?
But thine exhausted frame has sunk to rest.
THERE is an insect, that, when evening comes, Naught save the crucifix, the rosary,
Small though he be and scarce distinguishable, And the gray habit lying by to shroud
Like evening clad in soberest livery, Her beauty and grace.
Unsheaths his wings, and through the woods and When on her knees she fell, glades Entering the solemn place of consecration, Scatters a marvellous splendour. On he wheels, And from the latticed gallery came a chant Blazing by fits as from excess of joy, of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical, Each gush of light a gush of ecstasy ; Verse after verse sung out, how holily!
Nor unaccompanied; thousands that fling The strain returning, and still, still returning, A radiance all their own, not of the day, Methought it acted like a spell upon her,
Thousands as bright as he, from dusk till dawn, And she was casting off her earthly dross ; Soaring, descending. Yet was it sad as sweet, and, ere it closed,
In the mother's lap Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn, Well may the child put forth his little hands, And the long tresses in her hands were laid, Singing the nursery-song he learnt so soon
And the young nymph, preparing for the dance. said I, “ as a remedy in some future fit of the
Come hither; and the shepherds gathering round, Ours is a nation of travellers ;* and no wonder,
when the elements, air, water, fire, attend at our Spangling her head with stars."
bidding, to transport us from shore to shore; when Oft have I met
the ship rushes into the deep, her track the foam as This shining race, when in the Tusculan groves of some mighty torrent; and, in three hours or less, My path no longer glimmer'd ; oft among
we stand gazing and gazed at among a foreign Those trees, religious once and always green, people. None want an excuse. If rich, they go to That yet dream out their stories of old Rome enjoy ; if poor, to retrench; if sick, to recover ; if Over the Alban lake; oft met and hail'd,
studious, to learn; if learned, to relax from their Where the precipitate Anio thunders down, studies. But whatever they may say, whatever they And through the surging mist a poet's house
may believe, they go for the most part on the same (So some aver, and who would not believe ?) errand ; nor will those who reflect, think that Reveals itself.
errand an idle one. Yet cannot I forget
Almost all men are over anxious. No sooner do Ilim, who rejoiced me in those walks at eve, they enter the world, than they lose that taste for My earliest, pleasantest; who dwells unseen, natural and simple pleasures, so remarkable in early And in our northern clime, when all is still, life. Every hour do they ask themselves what Nightly keeps watch, nightly in bush or brake
progress they have made in the pursuit of wealth or His lonely lamp rekindling.* Unlike theirs, honour ; and on they go as their fathers went before His, if less dazzling, through the darkness knows them, till, weary and sick at heart, they look back No intermission ; sending forth its ray
with a sigh of regret to the golden time of their Through the green leaves, a ray serene and clear childhood. As virtue's own.
Now travel, and foreign travel more particularly,
restores to us in a great degree what we have lost. XI.
When the anchor is heaved, we double down the FOREIGN TRAVEL.
leaf; and for a while at least all effort is over. It was in a splenetic humour that I sate me down The old cares are left clustering round the old to my scanty fare at Terracina ; and how long I objects; and at every step, as we proceed, the should have contemplated the lean thrushes in array slightest circumstance amuses and interests. All before me, I cannot say, if a cloud of smoke, that is new and strange. We surrender ourselves, and drew the tears into my eyes, had not burst from the feel once again as children. Like them, we enjoy green and leafy boughs on the hearth-stone. “Why,” eagerly ; like them, when we fret, we fret only for I exclaimed, starting up from the table,“ why did the moment; and here indeed the resemblance is I leave my own chimney-corner ? —But am I not on very remarkable, for if a journey has its pains as the road to Brundusium ? And are not these the well as its pleasures, (and there is nothing unmixed very calamities that befell Horace and Virgil, and in this world,) the pains are no sooner over than Mæcenas, and Plotius, and Varius ? Horace laughed they are forgotten, while the pleasures live long in at them—then why should not I? Horace resolved the memory. to turn them to account; and Virgil-cannot we Nor is it surely without another advantage. If hear him observing, that to remember them will, life be short, not so to many of us are its days and by-and-by, be a pleasure ?” My soliloquy recon- its hours. When the blood slumbers in the veins, ciled me at once to my fate ; and when, for the how often do we wish that the earth would turn twentieth time, I had looked through the window faster on its axis, that the sun would rise and set on a sea sparkling with innumerable brilliants, a before it does, and, to escape from the weight of sea on which the heroes of the Odyssey and the time, how many follies, how many crimes are comEneid had sailed, I sat down as to a splendid ban-mitted! Men rush on danger, and even on death. quet. My thrushes had the flavour of ortolans; and Intrigue, play, foreign and domestic broil, such are I ate with an appetite I had not known before. their resources; and, when these things fail, they
“Who," I cried, as I poured out my last glass of destroy themselves. Falernian,t (for Falernian it was said to be, and Now in travelling we multiply events, and innoin my eyes it ran bright and clear as a topaz stone) cently. We set out, as it were, on our adventures ; -“who would remain at home, could he do other and many are those that occur to us, morning, noon, wise? Who would submit to tread that dull, but and night. The day we come to a place which we daily round; his hours forgotten as soon as spent ?” have long heard and read of, and in Italy we do so and, opening my journal-book and dipping my pen continually, it is an era in our lives; and from that into my ink-horn, I determined, as far as I could, to justify myself and my countryman in wandering * As indeed it always was, contributing those of every over the face of the earth. “ It may serve me,” degree, from a milors with his suite w him whose only
attendant is his shadow. Coryate in 1608 performed his * The glow-worm.
journey on fool ; and, relurning, hung up his shoes in his
village church as an ex-voto. Goldsmith, a century and + We were now within a few hours of the Campania a half afterwards, followed in nearly the same path; Felix. On the colour and flavour of Falernian, consult playing a lune on his flute to procure admillance, whenGalen and Dioscorides.
ever he approached a collage at nightfall.
moment the very name calls up a picture. How again to-morrow,' I cried. "Fool that I was, to delightfully too does the knowledge flow in upon think of leaving a world, where such pleasure was us, and how fast !* Would he who sat, in a corner to be had, and so cheaply !!” of his library, poring over books and maps, learn more or so much in the time, as he who, with his
XII. eyes and his heart open, is receiving impressions, all
THE FOUNTAIN day long, from the things themselves ?t How ac
It was a well curately do they arrange themselves in our memo- of whitest marble, white as from the quarry; ry, towns, rivers, mountains; and in what living And richly wrought with many a high relief, colours do we recall the dresses, manners, and Greek sculpture-in some earlier day perhaps customs of the people! Our sight is the noblest of A tomb, and honour'd with a hero's ashes. all our senses. “ It fills the mind with most ideas, The water from the rock fill'd, overflow'd it ; converses with its objects at the greatest distance, Then dash'd away, playing the prodigal, and continues longest in action without being tired.” | And soon was lost-stealing unseen, unheard, Our sight is on the alert when we travel ; and its Through the long grass, and round the twisted roots exercise is then so delightful, that we forget the Of aged trees; discovering where it ran profit in the pleasure.
By the fresh verdure. Overcome with heat, Like a river that gathers, that refines as it runs, I threw me down; admiring, as I lay, like a spring that takes its course through some rich That shady nook, a singing place for birds, vein of mineral, we improve and imperceptibly– That grove so intricate, so full of flowers, Dor in the head only, but in the heart. Our preju- More than enough to please a child a-Maying. dices leave us, one by one. Seas and mountains are The sun was down, a distant convent-bell no longer our boundaries. We learn to love, and Ringing the Angelus ; and now approach'd esteem, and admire beyond them. Our benevolence The hour for stir and village gossip there, extends itself with our knowledge. And must we The hour Rebekah came, when from the well not return better citizens than we went ? For the She drew with such alacrity to serve more we become acquainted with the institutions The stranger and his camels. Soon I heard of other countries, the more highly must we value Footsteps ; and lo, descending by a path our own.
Trodden for ages, many a nymph appear'd,
Appear'd and vanishd, bearing on her head I threw down my pen in triumph “ The ques-Her earthen pitcher. It call’d up the day tion,” said I,“ is set to rest for ever. And yet—"Ulysses landed there ; and long I gazed,
“ And yet—" I must still say. The wisest of men Like one awaking in a distant time. seldom went out of the walls of Athens; and for At length there came the loveliest of them all, that worst of evils, that sickness of the soul, to Her little brother dancing down before her ; which we are most liable when most at our ease, and ever as he spoke, which he did ever, is there not after all a surer and yet pleasanter Turning and looking up in warmth of heart remedy, a remedy for which we have only to cross And brotherly affection. Stopping there, the threshold? A Piedmontese nobleman, into She join'd her rosy hands, and, filling them whose company I fell at Turin, had not long before with the pure element, gave him to drink; experienced its efficacy: and his story, which he And, while he quench'd his thirst, standing on told me without reserve, was as follows.
tiptoe, "I was weary of life, and, after a day, such as Look'd down upon him with a sister's smile, few have known and none would wish to remember, Nor stirr'd till he had done, fix'd as a statue. was hurrying along the street to the river, when I Then hadst thou seen them as they stood, Canova, felt a sudden check. I turned and beheld a little Thou hadst endow'd them with immortal youth ; boy, who had caught the skirt of my cloak in his And they had evermore lived undivided, anxiety to solicit my notice. His look and manner Winning all hearts-of all thy works the fairest. were irresistible. Not less so was the lesson he had learnt.
XIII. **There are six of us; and we are dying for want
BANDITTI. of food.? Why should I not,' said I to myself, “re 'Tis a wild life, fearful and full of change, lieve this wretched family? I have the means; The mountain robber's. On the watch he lies, and it will not delay me many minutes. But what, Levelling his carbine at the passenger ; if it does ” The scene of misery he conducted me And, when his work is done, he dares not sleep. to I cannot describe. I threw them my purse ; and Time was, the trade was nobler, if not honests ibeir burst of gratitude overcame me. It filled my When they that robb'd were men of better faith eyes—it went as a cordial to my heart. 'I will call Than kings or pontiffs, when, such reverence
The poet drew among the woods and wilds, • To judge at once of a nation, we have only to throw | A voice was heard, that never bade to spare, our eyes on the markets and the fields. If the markets Crying aloud, “Hence to the distant hills ! are well supplied, the fields well cultivated, all is right Tasso approaches; he, whose song beguiles If otherwise, we may say, and say truly, these people are
The day of half its hours; whose sorcery barbarous or oppressed. - Assuredly not
, if the last has laid a proper foundation. Dazzles the sense, turning our forest glades Knowledge makes knowledge as money makes money,
To lists that blaze with gorgeous armory, hor ever perhaps so fast as on a journey.
Our mountain caves to regal palaces.
Hence, nor descend till he and his are gone. The grave of one that from the precipice
Fell in an evil hour. Their bridle bells
Before my lady abbess, and discuss
O’er her spiced bowl-then shrive the sisterhood, Now crafty, cruel, torturing ere they slay
Sitting by turns with an inclining ear Th’unhappy captive, and with bitter jests
In the confessional. Mocking misfortune; vain, fantastical,
He moves his lips Wearing whatever glitters in the spoil ;
As with a curse—then paces up and down, And most devout, though when they kneel and Now fast, now slow, brooding and muttering on; pray,
Gloomy alike to him the past, the future. With every bead they could recount a murder. But hark, the nimble tread of numerous feet! As by a spell they start up in array,
– 'Tis but a dappled herd come down to slake As by a spell they vanish-theirs a band,
Their thirst in the cool wave. He turns and aimsNot as elsewhere of outlaws, but of such
Then checks himself, unwilling to disturb As sow and reap, and at the cottage door
The sleeping echoes. Sit to receive, return the traveller's greeting;
Once again he earths; Now in the garb of peace, now silently
Slipping away to house with them beneath, Arming and issuing forth, led on by men
His old companions in that hiding place, Whose names on innocent lips are words of fear, The bat, the toad, the blind-worm, and the newt; Whose lives have long been forfeit.
And hark, a footstep, firm and confident,
Some there are As of a man in haste. Nearer it draws; That, ere they rise to this bad eminence,
And now is at the entrance of the den. Lurk, night and day, the plague spot visible, Hla! 'tis a comrade, sent to gather in The guilt that says, Beware ; and mark we now The band for some great enterprise. Him, where he lies, who couches for his prey
Who wants At the bridge foot, in some dark cavity
A sequel, may read on. Th’unvarnish'd tale, Scoop'd by the waters, or some gaping tomb, That follows, will supply the place of one. Nameless and tenantless, whence the red fox 'Twas told me by the Marquis of Ravina, Slunk as he enter'd. There he broods, in spleen When in a blustering night he shelter'd me, Gnawing his beard; his rough and sinewy frame In that brave castle of his ancestors O’erwritten with the story of his life:
O’er Garigliano, and is such, indeed, On his wan cheek a sabre cut, well earn'd
As every day brings with it-in a land In foreign warfare; on his breast the brand Where laws are trampled on, and lawless men Indelible, burnt in when to the port
Walk in the sun ; but it should not be lost, He clank'd his chain, among a hundred more For it may serve to bind us to our country. Dragg'd ignominiously; on every limb
Then sprung and led me captive. Many a wild He comes slowly forth We traversed; but Rusconi, 'twas no less, Unkennelling, and up that savage dell
March'd by my side, and, when I thirsted, climbid Anxiously looks; his cruse, an ample gourd, The cliffs for water; though whene'er he spoke, (Duly replenish'd from the vintner's cask,) 'Twas briefly, sullenly; and on he led, Slung from his shoulder ; in his breadth of belt Distinguish'd only by an amulet, Two pistols and a dagger yet uncleansed,
That in a golden chain hung from his neck, A parchment scrawld with uncouth characters, A crystal of rare virtue. Night fell fast, And a small vial, his last remedy,
When on a heath, black and immeasurable, His cure when all things fail. No noise is heard, He turn’d and bade them halt. "Twas where the Save when the rugged bear and the gaunt wolf
earth Howl in the upper region, or a fish
Heaves o’er the dead—where erst some Alaric Leaps in the gulf beneath :-But now he kneels Fought his last fight, and every warrior threw And (like a scout when listening to the tramp A stone to tell for ages where he lay. Of horse or foot) lays his experienced ear
Then all advanced, and, ranging in a square, Close to the ground, then rises and explores, Stretch'd forth their arms as on the holy cross, Then kneels again, and, his short rifle gun
From each to each their sable cloaks extending, Against his cheek, waits patiently.
That, like the solemn hangings of a tent,
Cover'd us round; and in the midst I stood, Portly, gray-headed, on their gallant steeds, Weary and faint, and face to face with one Descend where yet a mouldering cross o’erhangs Whose voice, whose look dispenses life and death,