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Their children's children would in vain adore
His life, his fame, his grave, though rifled—not thine own.
Boccaccio 2 to his parent earth bequeathed
With many a sweet and solemn requiem breathed
And Santa Croce 6 wants their mighty dust;
1 Petrarch was crowned poet laureate at Rome in 1341.
2 Boccaccio was buried near the place of his birth, Cetaldo.
3 Boccaccio did for Italian prose what Wyclif did for English. The Tuscan is the purest literary Italian.
Boccaccio's tombstone was torn
4 The hyena digs bodies from the grave. away by bigot spite.
5 "His tomb was not allowed to claim a passing sigh because its inscription mentioned the name of the person for whom the sigh was claimed, viz., Boccaccio, the enemy of the monks" (TOZER).
6 Byron called Santa Croce the Westminster Abbey of Italy. 7 Tacitus says the "bust was conspicuous by its absence."
The immortal exile;1-Arqua, too, her store Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps, While Florence vainly begs her banished dead and weeps.
What is her pyramid of precious stones?
There be more things to greet the heart and eyes
Are gently pressed with far more reverent tread Than ever paced the slab which paves the princely head. 540
Is of another temper, and I roam
By Thrasimene's lake, in the defiles
1 Dante, the greatest Italian poet.
2 "I went to the Medici Chapel, -fine frippery, in great slabs of various expensive stones, to commemorate fifty rotten and forgotten carcasses (BYRON). 3 The Florence picture gallery.
4 Near which the Roman army was defeated by Hannibal.
Fatal to Roman rashness, more at home;
Like to a forest felled by mountain winds;
Such is the absorbing hate when warring nations meet!
Far other scene is Thrasimene now;
Her lake a sheet of silver, and her plain
1 An earthquake occurred while the battle was in progress.
The Earth to them was as a rolling bark Which bore them to Eternity; they saw The Ocean round, but had no time to mark The motions of their vessel; Nature's law, In them suspended, recked not of the awe Which reigns when mountains tremble, and the birds Plunge in the clouds for refuge, and withdraw From their down-toppling nests; and bellowing herds 575 Stumble o'er heaving plains, and man's dread hath no words.
Rent by no ravage save the gentle plow;
Her agèd trees rise thick as once the slain
But thou, Clitumnus!2 in thy sweetest wave
Her limbs where nothing hid them, thou dost rear
A name of blood from that day's sanguine rain;
Made the earth wet, and turned the unwilling waters red. 585
1 The name of a brook; from sanguis, "blood."
2 A small branch of the Tiber.
3 "Unwatched, along Clitumnus
And most serene of aspect, and most clear;
And on thy happy shore a Temple still,
Its memory of thee; beneath it sweeps
MACAULAY'S Lays of Ancient Rome.
4 A small chapel of white marble.
Pass not unblessed the Genius of the place!1
With Nature's baptism,-'tis to him ye must
The roar of waters! -from the headlong height
The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss;
Their Phlegethon,3 curls round the rocks of jet
And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
Making it all one emerald: -how profound
From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent! 630
1 Pray to the local deity (genius loci),
3 A river in hell.