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LX. What is her pyramid of precious stones? () Of porphyry, jasper, agate, and all hues Of gem and marble, to encrust the bones Of merchant-dukes? 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, Are gently prest with far more reverent tread Than ever paced the slab which paves the princely head. LXI. There be more things to greet the heart and eyes In Arno's dome 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 accustom'd to entwine My thoughts with Nature rather in the fields, Than Art in galleries: though a work divine Y Calls for my spirit's homage, yet it yields Less than it feels, because the weapon which it wields (1) See “Historical Notes,” at the end of this canto, No. XXII.
(1) See “Historical Notes,” at the end of this canto, No. XXIII. —[An
I, XV. Far other scene is Thrasimene now ; Her lake a sheet of silver, and her plain Rent by no ravage save the gentle plough; Her aged trees rise thick as once the slain Lay where their roots are; but a brookhath ta'en— A little rill of scanty stream and bed— A name of blood from that day's sanguine rain; And Sanguinetto tells ye where the dead [red.() Made the earth wet, and turn'd the unwilling waters
LXVI. But thou, Clitumnus 1 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; the purest god of gentle waters! And most serene of aspect, and most clear; Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughters— Amirror and a bath for Beauty's youngest daughters!
earthquake which shook all Italy occurred during the battle, and was unfelt by any of the combatants. – E.]
(1) [“The lovely peaceful mirror reflected the mountains of Monte Pulciama, and the wild fowl skimming its ample surface, touched the waters with their rapid wings, leaving circles and trains of light to glitter in gray repose. As we moved along, one set of interesting features yielded to another, and every change excited new delight. Yet, was it not among these tranquil scenes that Hannibal and Flaminius met? Was not the blush of blood upon the silver lake of Thrasimene?”— H. W. WILLIAMS.]
(2) No book of travels has omitted to expatiate on the temple of the Clitumnus, between Foligno and Spoleto; and no site, or scenery, even in Italy, is more worthy a description. For an account of the dilapidation of this temple, the reader is referred to “Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold,” p. 35.
And on thy happy shore a Temple (!) still,
... Who dwells and revels in thy glassy deeps;
While, chance, some scatter'd water-lily sails Down where the shallower wave still tells its bubbling tales.
(1) [“This pretty little gem stands on the acclivity of a bank overlooking its crystal waters, which have their source at the distance of some hundred yards towards Spoleto. The temple, fronting the river, is of an oblong form, in the Corinthian order. Four columns support the pediment, the shafts of which are covered in spiral lines, and in forms to represent the scales of fishes: the bases, too, are richly sculptured. Within the building is a chapel, the walls of which are covered with many hundred names; but we saw none which we could recognise as British. Can it be that this classical temple is seldom visited by our countrymen, though celebrated by Dryden and Addison? To future travellers from Britain it will surely be rendered interesting by the beautiful lines of Lord Byron, flowing as sweetly as the lovely stream which they describe.” – H. W. WILLIAMS.]
(2) [“Perhaps there are no verses in our language of happier descriptive
LXIX. 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, curls round the rocks of jet That gird the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,
LXX. 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 - [vent With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful
power than the two stanzas which characterise the Clitumnus. In general poets find it so difficult to leave an interesting subject, that they injure the distinctness of the description by loading it so as to embarrass, rather than excite, the fancy of the reader; or else, to avoid that fault, they confine themselves to cold and abstract generalities. Byron has, in these stanzas, admirably steered his course betwixt these extremes: while they present the outlines of a picture as pure and as brilliant as those of Claude Lorraine, the task of filling up the more minute particulars is judiciously left to the imagination of the reader; and it must be dull indeed if it does not supply what the poet has left unsaid, or but generally and briefly intimated. While the eye glances over the lines, we seem to feel the refreshing coolness of the scene—we hear the bubbling tale of the more rapid streams, and see the slender proportions of the rural temple reflected in the crystal depth of the calm pool. – Bishop Heber.]