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There is a tomb in Arqua ;-rear'd in air,
Pillar'd in their sarcophagus, repose
The bones of Laura's lover : here repair
Many familiar with his well-sung woes,
The pilgrims of his genius. He arose
To raise a language, and his land reclaim
From the dull yoke of her barbaric foes :
Watering the tree which bears his lady's name With his melodious tears, he gave himself to fame.
XXXI. They keep his dust in Arqua, where he died ; The mountain-village where his latter days Went down the vale of years; and 'tis their pride An honest pride--and let it be their praise, To offer to the passing stranger's gaze His mansion and his sepulchre; both plain And venerably simple, such as raise
A feeling more accordant with his strain, Than if a pyrainid form’d his monumental fane.
And the soft quiet bamlet where he dwelt
Is one of that complexion which seems made
For those who their mortality have felt,
And sought a refuge from their hopes decay’d
In the deep umbrage of a green hill's shade,
Which shows a distant prospect far away
Of busy cities, now in vain display'd,
For they can lure no further; and the ray
Of a bright sun can make sufficient holiday,
Developing the mountains, leaves, and flowers,
And shining in the brawling brook, where-by,
Clear as its current, glide the sauntering hours
With a calm languor, which, though to the eye
Idlesse it seem, hath its morality.
If from society we learn to live,
'Tis solitude should teach us how to die;
It hath no flatterers; vanity can give,.
No hollow aid ; alone-man with his God must strive :
Or, it may be, with demons, who impair
The strength of better thoughts, and seek their prey
In melancholy bosoins, such as were
Of moody texture from their earliest day,
And loved to dwell in darkness and dismay,
Deeming themselves predestin'd to a doom
Which is not of the pangs that pass away;
Making the sun like blood, the earth a tomb,
The tomb a hell, and hell itself a nurkier gloom.
XXXV. Ferrara! in thy wide and grass-grown streets, Whose symmetry was not for solitude, There seems as 'twere a curse upon the seats Of former sovereigns, and the antique brood Of liste, which for many an age wade good Its strength within thy walls, and was of yore Patron or tyrant, as the changing mood Of petly power impelld, of those who wore The wreath which Dante's brow alone had worn before.
And Tasso is their glory and their shame.
Hark to his strain ! and then survey his cell!
And see how dearly earn’d Torquato’s fame,
And where Alfonso bade his poet dwell :
The miserable despot:could not quell
The insulied mind he sought to quench, and blend
With the surrounding maniacs, in the hell
Where he bad plung’d it. Glory without end
Scatter'd the clouds away--and on that name atiend
The tears and praises of all time; while thine
Would rot in its oblivion in the sink
Of worthless dust, which from thy boasted line
Is shaken into nothing ; but the link
Thou formest in his fortunes bids us think
Of thy poor malice, naming three with scorn-
Alfonso ! how thy ducal pageants shrink
From thee! if in another station born,
Scarce fit to be the slave of him thou mad'st to mourn :
Thou ! form’d to eat, and be despis’d, and die,
Even as the beasts that perish, save that thou
Hadst a more splendid trough and wider sty :
He! with a glory round his furrow'd brow, .
Which emanated then, and dazzles now
In face of all his foes, the Cruscan qnire;
And Boileau, whose rash envy could allow
No strain which shamed his country's creaking lyre, That whetstone of the teeth-monotony in wire!
Peace to Torquato's injur'd shade! 'twas his
In life and death to be the mark where Wrong
Aim'd with her poison'd arrows; but to miss.
Oh! victor unsurpassed in modern song!
Each year brings forth its millions ; but how long
The tide of generations shall roll on,
And not the whole combin'd and countless throng
Compose a mind like thinc ? though all in one Condens’d their scatter'd rays, they would not form a sun.
Great as thou art, yet paralleled by those,
Thy countrymen, before thee born to shine,
The bards of Hell and Chivalry: first rose
The Tuscan father's comedy divine;
Then , not unequal to the Florentine,
The southern Scott, the minstrel who call’d forth
A new creation with his magic line,
And, like the Ariosto of the North,
Sang ladye-love and war, romance and knightly worth.
XLI. The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust » The iron crown of laurels mimic'd leaves; Nor was the ominous element unjust, For the true laurel-wreath which Glory weaves Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves, And the false semblance but disgraced his brow; Yet still, if foudly Superstition grieves, Know, that the lightning sanctifies below Whate'er it strikes ;-yon head is doubly sacred now.
Italia! oh Italia! thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty, which became
A funeral dower of present woes and past,
On thy sweet brow is sorrow plough'd by-shame,
And annals graved in characters of flame.
Oh God! that thou wert in thy nakedness
Less lovely or more powerful, and could'st claim
Thy right, and awe the robbers back, who press
To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress;
Then might'st thou more appal; or, less desired,
Be homely and be peaceful, undeplored
For thy destructive charms; then, still untired,
Would not be seen the armed torrents pour'd
Down the deep Alps; nor would the hostile horde
Of many-nation'd spoilers from the Po
Quaff blood and water ; nor the stranger's sword
Be thy sad weapon of defence, and so,
Victor or yanquish'd, thou the slave of friend or foc.
Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him,-
The Roman friend of Rome's least-nortal mind,
The friend of Tully : as my bark did skim
The bright blue waters with a fanning wind,
Came Megara before me, and behind
Ægina lay, Piræus on the right,
And Corinth on the left; I lay reclined
Along the prow, and saw all these unite
In ruin, even as he had seen the desolate sight;