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short time after his return to the captivity assigned to him in Candia.
But the measure of affliction dealt out to the venerable Doge was not yet quite filled ; his cup of bitterness still lacked one additional drop to cause its overflow, and it was not long found wanting. The groundless hatred entertained by Loredano against the Doge, and which sought its gratification by every possible means, now led him, being appointed one of the Council of Ten, to propose that the Doge should be deposed.
But even the Council, ill-disposed as they were towards Foscari, were ashamed to adopt this course with a man who had grown grey in the service of the State; and whose advanced years and shattered health promised soon to release him from the cares of office. After repeated debates on the subject, it was at length decided that the Doge should be requested to resign—a process considered equivalent to a command.
The oath formerly extorted from Foscari, never to offer his resignation, precluded him from acceding to the proposal ; but they stood on little further ceremony, for they forthwith declared his office vacant, and ordered him to quit the ducal palace within three days, under pain of having all his property confiscated.
Deprived of the insignia of state, in a manner, too, that rendered the act unnecessarily humiliating, he was told that he must retire by a private stair
case. Summoning up a portion of his native dignity, the venerable old man declared he would descend only by the same stairs by which, so many years before, he had entered the palace as Doge.
Five days afterwards, Malapieri was named successor to Foscari, who hearing the bell ring which announced this event, burst a blood-vessel in the attempt to suppress his emotion, and expired in a few hours after.
I loitered on the bridge of the Rialto to-day, my thoughts full of our Shakspeare, that universal genius, who has appropriated and identified the scenes of other lands with the creations of his own wondrous brain, rendering many of the spots thus immortalized, as familiar to the natives of his own clime as to those who had resided on them from infancy. Who, with an English heart, has not thought of Shylock and Antonio on the Rialto, and not felt proud of belonging to the same country as he who called these characters into action ?
This is my last evening at Venice, and the sadness experienced at leaving any place, perhaps for the last time, is greatly increased here by the knowledge that every year, nay, every month, takes
away some charm from this fast decaying, but most picturesque of all cities.
I leave thee, Venice, never more perchance
To see thy wonders, Adriatic Queen,
Like Venus risen from Ocean, thou hast been
Vainly thy beauties painters would inhance
By their bright art, they equal not the scene
All who have memories of the past, I ween,
Bringing rich trophies from each distant shore,
Who on her wave the bridegroom's troth ring wore,
To sink in ruin-all thy glories o'er!
PADUA.—Spent the greater part of the day at Arqua, in the house of Petrarch, among the Euganean hills. The drive to it from Padua is charming, passing through a fertile country, presenting at every turn the most rural and cheerful pictures. A large house, called Catio, belonging to the Duke of Modena, is the only object that breaks the rural character of the scenery.
Sheltered by a hill from the north wind, the climate is peculiarly genial; and the spot on which
; the poet's house stands, the brow of a gentle eminence, commands a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape, which is richly interspersed with abundance of trees and vines, through which green glades and pretty houses are seen peeping forth.
The seclusion and rustic character of the place, the simple, yet picturesque appearance of the dwelling, and the associations called up in the mind, by finding oneself beneath the roof that sheltered the laureled head of Petrarch, invest this spot with a
powerful interest. From the projecting window where he often saw the sun descend, gilding with its rosy rays the surrounding scene, I too sat, contemplating the same picture, tinged with the same bright hues; and experiencing probably similar emotions to those excited in his mind, by the calm yet delicious scene, and the pleasant sounds that enlivened it, proceeding from countless birds tuning their throats in bush and brake, and the lowing of the cows in the distance. Yes, I experienced similar feelings to Petrarch, although the power to describe them as he could have done, is denied me: yet even this sympathy with such a mind is gratifying
If any thing could dispose one to feel less reverence towards Petrarch's dwelling, it would be the ludicrous paintings that desecrate, and not decorate its
in some of which Laura is personified in a manner that would have greatly shocked the modesty attributed to her by her lover.
The chair in which Petrarch was found dead is still preserved; it is of oak, of a quaint form, and rudely carved. The skeleton of his favourite cat is also shown; but I turned from these perishing memorials, to look out on the unchanged aspect of Nature, on which his eyes have doubtless often dwelt. Here, I reflected on the wisdom that led the poet to abandon the homage offered to him in the crowded haunts of men, and in the intoxicating atmosphere of courts, for the tranquil and homely dwelling in
which I was seated, where his mind, free from interruption, could yield to those habits of contemplation and study in which he so much loved to indulge.
I remembered a passage in one of his letters, in which he reverts with complacency to his mode of existence at Arqua. “I think, I read, and I write; hence my life and amusements are like those enjoyed in my youth : I find that, notwithstanding I have studied so many years, I have still much to acquire. I
envy no one, and know not hatred. In my early days, with the folly and presumption peculiar to inexperience I undervalued others, and overrated myself; but now, in old age, if I despise the world, I still more depreciate myself. I think only of those I love, and desire nothing but to die with piety and honour. I dread many domestics; and would have none, if my infirmities did not compel me.
, little dwelling on the Euganean hills, I hope to pass my remaining days in quiet, thinking ever of my dead and absent friends."
In the room in which I sat was this letter written, the substance of which my memory has retained: and in it also was the calm evening of Petrarch's life brought to its close. It was here that he wrote the Treatise on Government, which among many compliments to him for whom it was meant, contained none so striking as that implied by the frankness with which he hinted at his faults. It was here, too, he was often visited by Francesco