Sidor som bilder

Their children's children would in vain adore
With the remorse of ages; and the crown
Which Petrarch's laureate 1 brow supremely wore,
Upon a far and foreign soil had grown,


His life, his fame, his grave, though rifled—not thine own.


Boccaccio 2 to his parent earth bequeathed
and lies it not her great among,

His dust,

With many a sweet and solemn requiem breathed
'O'er him who formed the Tuscan's siren tongue? 3
That music in itself, whose sounds are song,
The poetry of speech? No;-even his tomb
Uptorn, must bear the hyena bigot's wrong,4
No more amidst the meaner dead find room,
Nor claim a passing sigh, because it told for whom ! 5


And Santa Croce 6 wants their mighty dust;
Yet for this want more noted,
as of yore
The Cæsar's pageant, shorn of Brutus' bust,
Did but of Rome's best son remind her more:7
Happier Ravenna! on thy hoary shore,
Fortress of falling empire! honored sleeps





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?
Of porphyry, jasper, agate, and all hues
Of gem and marble, to incrust the bones
Of merchant dukes? 2 the momentary dews
Which, sparkling to the twilight stars, infuse
Freshness in the green turf that wraps the dead,
Whose names are mausoleums of the Muse,

There be more things to greet the heart and eyes
In Arno's dome 3 of Art's most princely shrine,
Where Sculpture with her rainbow sister vies;
There be more marvels yet-but not for mine;
For I have been accustomed to entwine
My thoughts with Nature rather in the fields,
Than Art in galleries; though a work divine
Calls for my spirit's homage, yet it yields
Less than it feels, because the weapon which it wields


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.

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Fatal to Roman rashness, more at home;
For there the Carthaginian's warlike wiles
Come back before me, as his skill beguiles
The host between the mountains and the shore,
Where Courage falls in her despairing files,
And torrents, swoll'n to rivers with their gore,
Reek through the sultry plain, with legions scattered o'er,


Like to a forest felled by mountain winds;
And such the storm of battle on this day,
And such the frenzy, whose convulsion blinds
To all save carnage, that, beneath the fray,
An earthquake reeled unheededly away!1
None felt stern Nature rocking at his feet,
And yawning forth a grave for those who lay
Upon their bucklers for a winding sheet;

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
Lay where their roots are; but a brook hath ta'en-
A little rill of scanty stream and bed—


But thou, Clitumnus!2 in thy sweetest wave
Of the most living crystal that was e'er
The haunt of river nymph, to gaze and lave

Her limbs where nothing hid them, thou dost rear
Thy grassy banks whereon the milk-white steer
Grazes ;3 the purest god of gentle waters!

A name of blood from that day's sanguine rain;
And Sanguinetto 1 tells ye where the dead

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
Grazes the milk-white steer.

And most serene of aspect, and most clear;
Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughters,
A mirror and a bath for Beauty's youngest daughters!


And on thy happy shore a Temple still,
Of small and delicate proportion, keeps,
Upon a mild declivity of hill,

Its memory of thee; beneath it sweeps
Thy current's calmness; oft from out it leaps
The finny darter with the glittering scales,
Who dwells and revels in thy glassy deeps;
While, chance, some scattered water lily sails
Down where the shallower wave still tells its bubbling tales.

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MACAULAY'S Lays of Ancient Rome.

4 A small chapel of white marble.






Pass not unblessed the Genius of the place!1
If through the air a zephyr more serene
Win to the brow, 'tis his; and if
ye trace
Along his margin a more eloquent green,
If on the heart the freshness of the scene
Sprinkle its coolness, and from the dry dust.
Of weary life a moment lave it clean

With Nature's baptism,-'tis to him ye must
Pay orisons 2 for this suspension of disgust.




The roar of waters! -from the headlong height
Velino cleaves the wave-worn precipice;
The fall of waters! rapid as the light

The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss;
The hell of waters! where they howl and hiss,
And boil in endless torture; while the sweat
Of their great agony, wrung out from this

Their Phlegethon,3 curls round the rocks of jet
That guard the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,


And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again
Returns in an unceasing shower, which round,
With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain,
Is an eternal April to the ground,

Making it all one emerald: -how profound
The gulf! and how the giant element

From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent

With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent! 630

1 Pray to the local deity (genius loci),

2 Prayers.

3 A river in hell.




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