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And Tasso is their glory and their shame.
Hark to his strain l 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 insulted mind he sought to quench, and blend
With the surrounding maniacs, in the hell
Where he had plunged it. Glory without end
Scatter'd the clouds away—and on that name attend

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 thee with scorn—
Alfonso! how thy ducal pageants shrink
From thee! if in another station born,
Scarce fit to be the slave of him thou madest to mourn:


Thou / form'd to eat, and be despised, 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 quire,
And Boileau, whose rash envy could allow ()
No strain which shamed his country's creaking lyre,
That whetstone of the teeth—monotony in wirel

(1) See “Historical Notes,” at the end of this canto, No. X.

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XXXIX. Peace to Torquato's injured shade 1 'twas his In life and death to be the mark where Wrong Aim'd with her poison'd arrows, but to miss. Oh, victor unsurpass'd in modern song ! Each year brings forth its millions; but how long The tide of generations shall roll on, , And not the whole combined and countless throng Compose a mind like thine? though all in one [sun. Condensed their scatter'd rays, they would not form a XL. Great as thou art, yet parallel'd 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, [worth.

Sang ladye-love and war, romance and knightly

(1) [“Scott,” says Lord Byron, in his MS. Diary, for 1821, “is certainly the most wonderful writer of the day. His novels are a new literature in themselves, and his poetry as good as any—if not better (only on an erroneous system), — and only ceased to be so popular, because the vulgar were tired of hearing “Aristides called the Just,” and Scott the Best, and ostracised him. I know no reading to which I fall with such alacrity as a work of his. I love him, too, for his manliness of character, for the extreme pleasantness of his conversation, and his good-nature towards myself, personally. May he prosper 1 for he deserves it.” In a letter, written to Sir Walter, from Pisa, in 1822, he says – “I owe to you far more than the usual obligation for the courtesies of literature and common friendship; for you went out of your way, in 1817, to do me a service, when it required not merely kindness, but courage, to do so; to have been recorded by you in such a manner, would have been a proud memorial at any time, but at such a time, when “All the world and his wife,” as the proverb goes, were trying to trample upon me, was something still higher to my self-esteem. Had it been a common criticism, however eloquent or panegyrical, I should have felt pleased and grateful, but not to the extent which the extraordinary good-heartedness of the whole proceeding must induce in any mind capable of such sensations.”— E.]


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The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust ()
The iron crown of laurel's 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, (2)
And the false semblance but disgraced his brow ;
Yet still, if fondly Superstition grieves,
Know, that the lightning sanctifies below (8)

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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 couldst 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, [foe. (4)

Victor or vanquish'd, thou the slave of friend or

(1,2,3) see “Historical Notes,” at the end of this canto, Nos. XL, XII,


(4) The two stanzas xlii and xliii. are, with the exception of a line or

XLIV. Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him, () The Roman friend of Rome's least-mortal mind, The friend of Tully: as my bark did skim The bright blue waters with a fanning wind, Came Megara before me, and behind AEgina lay, Piraeus 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;


For Time hath not rebuilt them, but uprear'd
Barbaric dwellings on their shatter'd site,
Which only make more mourn’d and more endear'd
The few last rays of their far-scatter'd light,
And the crush'd relics of their vanish'd might.
The Roman saw these tombs in his own age,
These sepulchres of cities, which excite
Sad wonder, and his yet surviving page

The moral lesson bears, drawn from such pilgrim


two, a translation of the famous sonnet of Filicaja:– “Italia, Italia, O tu cui feo la sorte!” (1) The celebrated letter of Servius Sulpicius to Cicero, on the death of his daughter, describes as it then was, and now is, a path which I often traced in Greece, both by sea and land, in different journeys and voyages. “On my return from Asia, as I was sailing from AEgina towards Megara, I began to contemplate the prospect of the countries around me: AEgina was behind, Megara before me; Piraeus on the right, Corinth on the left: all which towns, once famous and flourishing, now lie overturned and buried in their ruins. Upon this sight, I could not but think presently within myself, Alas! how do we poor mortals fret and vex ourselves if any of our friends happen to die or be killed, whose life is yet so short, when the carcasses of so many noble cities lie here exposed before me in one view.”-See Middleton's Cicero vol. ii. p. 371.

XLVI. That page is now before me, and on mine His country's ruin added to the mass Of perish'd states he mourn’d in their decline, And I in desolation: all that was Of then destruction is ; and now, alas ! Rome—Rome imperial, bows her to the storm, In the same dust and blackness, and we pass * The skeleton of her Titanic form, () Wrecks of another world, whose ashes still are warm. XLVII. Yet, Italy 1 through every other land [side; Thy wrongs should ring, and shall, from side to Mother of Arts 1 as once of arms; thy hand Was then our guardian, and is still our guide; Parent of our Religion whom the wide Nations have knelt to for the keys of heaven I Europe, repentant of her parricide, Shall yet redeem thee, and, all backward driven, Roll the barbarian tide, and sue to be forgiven. XLVIII. But Arno wins us to the fair white walls, Where the Etrurian Athens claims and keeps A softer feeling for her fairy halls. Girt by her theatre of hills, she reaps Her corn, and wine, and oil, and Plenty leaps To laughing life, with her redundant horn. Along the banks where smiling Arno sweeps Was modern Luxury of Commerce born, And buried Learning rose, redeem'd to a new morn. \ (1) It is Poggio, who, looking from the Capitoline hill upon ruined Rome,

breaks forth into the exclamation, “Ut nunc omni decore nudata, prostratajacet, instar gigantei cadaveris corrupti atque undique exesi.”

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