ePub 版

Enter the ABBOT. Abbot. Where is your master? Her.

Abbot. I must speak with him.

Yonder in the tower. Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appear'd to skirt the horison, yet they stood
Within a bowshot-Where the Cæsars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levell'd battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;-
But the gladiator's bloody circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection!
While Cæsar's chambers, and the Augustan halls,
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.—
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Then it seems I must be herald Which soften'd down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,

Reverend father, stop

As 't were anew, the gaps of centuries;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old!—
The dead but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.—

"T is impossible; He is most private, and must not be thus Intruded on.

Upon myself I take

The forfeit of my fault, if fault there be-
But I must see him.

Thou hast seen him once


This eve already.
Herman! I command thee,
Knock, and apprise the Count of my approach.

Her. We dare not.

Of my own purpose.

I pray you, pause.

Why so?


And I will tell you further.

But step this way,


Interior of the Tower.

MANFRED alone.

The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow shining mountains.-Beautiful!
Ilinger yet with Nature, for the night

Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,

I learn'd the language of another world.

I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering,-upon such a night
I stood within the Coliseum's wall, (2)
Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
The trees which grew along the broken arches
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber; and
More near, from out the Cæsars' palace came

The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song

He departs

Alone—we know not how-unshrived-untendedWith strange accompaniments and fearful signsI shudder at the sight-but must not leave him. Manfred (speaking faintly and slowly.) Old man! 't is not so difficult to die. [MANFRED having said this, expires. Herman. His eyes are fix'd and lifeless.-He is gone. Manuel. Close them-My old hand quivers. Whither? I dread to think - but he is gone.-E. (1) "The opening of this scene is, perhaps, the finest passage in the drama; and its solemn, calm, and majestic character throws an air of grandeur over the catastrophe, which was in danger of appearing extravagant, and somewhat too much in the style of Joe Devil and Dr. Faustus." Wilson.

'T was such a night! 'Tis strange that I recall it at this time; But, I have found, our thoughts take wildest flight Even at the moment when they should array Themselves in pensive order.

Enter the ABBOT.


My good lord!
I crave a second grace for this approach;
But yet let not my humble zeal offend
By its abruptness-all it hath of ill
Recoils on me; its good in the effect
May light upon your head-could I say heart-
Could I touch that, with words or prayers, I should
Recall a noble spirit which hath wander'd,

But is not yet all lost.


Thou know'st me not;
My days are number'd, and my deeds recorded:
Retire, or 't will be dangerous-Away!

Abbot. Thou dost not mean to menace me?
Not I;

(2) "Drove at midnight to see the Coliseum by moonlight: but what can I say of the Coliseum? it must be seen; to describe it I should have thought impossible, if I had not read Manfred. To see it aright, as the Poet of the North tells us of the fair Melrose, one must see it by the pale moonlight.' The stillness of night, the whispering echoes, the moonlight shadows, and the awful grandeur of the impending ruins, form a scene of romantic sublimity, such as Byron alone could describe as it deserves. His description is the very thing itself." Matthews's Diary of an Invalid.

[blocks in formation]


Look there, I say,
And steadfastly;-now tell me what thou seest ?.
Abbot. That which should shake me,
I see a dusk and awful figure rise,
Like an infernal god, from out the earth;
His face wrapt in a mantle, and his form

Robed as with angry clouds: he stands between
Thyself and me-but I do fear him not.

but I fear
[it not-

His sight may shock thine old limbs into paisy.
I say to thee-retire!


Thou false fiend, thou liest
My life is in its last hour,-that I know,
Nor would redeem a moment of that hour;
I do not combat against death, but thee

Man. Thou hast no cause he shall not harm And thy surrounding angels; my past power


Was purchased by no compact with thy crew,
But by superior science-penance—daring-
And length of watching-strength of mind--and

In knowledge of our fathers-when the earth
Saw men and spirits walking side by side,
And gave ye no supremacy : I stand
Upon my strength—1 do defy-deny—
Spurn back, and scorn ye!—
Have made thee-



And I reply-
Never-till I have battled with this fiend :-
What doth he here?

[blocks in formation]

Why-ay-what doth he here?— I did not send for him,—he is unbidden.


Abbot. Alas! lost mortal! what with guests like
Hast thou to do? I tremble for thy sake:
Why doth he gaze on thee, and thou on him!
Ah! he unveils his aspect : on his brow
The thunder-scars are graven; from his eye
Glares forth the immortality of hell-

Man. Pronounce-what is thy mission ?


Abbot. What art thou, unknown being? answer!

But thy many crimes

What are they to such as thee?
Must crimes be punish'd but by other crimes,
And greater criminals ?—Back to thy hell!
Thou hast no power upon me, that I feel;
Thou never shalt possess me, that I know:
What I have done is done; I bear within
A torture which could nothing gain from thine:
The mind, which is immortal, makes itself


Spirit. The genius of this mortal.-Come! 't is Requital for its good or evil thoughts-
Is its own origin of ill and end-


Man. I am prepared for all things, but deny
The power which summons me. Who sent thee here?
Spirit. Thou 'It know anon—Come! come'
I have commanded
Things of an essence greater far than thine,
And striven with thy masters. Get thee hence!
Spirit. Mortal! thine hour is come-Away! I say.
Man. I knew, and know my hour is come, but not
To render up my soul to such as thee:
Away! I'll die as I have lived-alone.

And its own place and time-its innate sense,
When stripp'd of this mortality, derives
No colour from the fleeting things without;
But is absorb'd in sufferance or in joy,
Born from the knowledge of its own desert.
Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not
tempt me;

I have not been thy dupe, nor am thy prey,But was my own destroyer, and will be My own hereafter.-Back, ye baffled fiends! Spirit. Then I must summon up my brethren.-The hand of death is on me-but not yours! Rise! [Other Spirits rise up. [The Demons disappear. Abbot. Avaunt! ye evil ones!-Avaunt! I say,- Abbot. Alas! how pale thou art-thy lips are Ye have no power where piety hath power, whiteAnd I do charge ye in the name


Old man!
We know ourselves, our mission, and thine order;
Waste not thy holy words on idle uses,
It were in vain: this man is forfeited.
Once more I summon him—Away! away!

Man. I do defy ye,-though I feel my soul
Is ebbing from me, yet I do defy ye;

And thy breast heaves-and in thy gasping throat
The accents rattle-Give thy prayers to Heaven-
Pray-albeit but in thought,—but die not thus.

Man. 'T is over-my dull eyes can fix thee not;
But all things swim around me, and the earth
Heaves as it were beneath me. Fare thee well-
Give me thy hand.


Cold-cold-even to the heart

But yet one prayer—Alas! how fares it with thee ?
Man. Old man! 't is not so difficult to die. (1)
[MANFRED expires.


(1) In the first edition, this line was accidentally left out. discovering the omission, Lord Byron wrote to Mr. Murray, "You have destroyed the whole effect and moral of the poem, by omitting the last line of Manfred's speaking."-E.

"Byron's tragedy, Manfred, was to me a wonderful phenomenon, and one that closely touched me. This singularly intellectual poet has taken my Faustus to himself, and extracted from it the strongest nourishment for his hypochondriac humour. He bas made use of the impelling principles in his own way, for his own purposes, so that no one of them remains the same; and it | is particularly on this account that I cannot enough admire his genius. The whole is in this way so completely formed anew, that it would be an interesting task for the critic to point out, not only the alterations he has made, but their degree of resemblance with, or dissimilarity to, the original: in the course of which, I cannot deny, that the gloomy heat of an unbounded and exuberant despair becomes at last oppressive to us. Yet is the dissatisfaction we feel always connected with esteem and admiration.

turning his sad contemplations inwards, he applies to himself the fatal history of the king of Sparta. It is as follows:-Pausanias, a Lacedæmonian general, acquires glory by the important victory at Platæa, but afterwards for feits the confidence of his countrymen through his arrogance, obstinacy, and secret in

(2) In June, 1820, Lord Byron thus writes to his publisher :"Enclosed is something which will interest you; to wit, the opi-trigues with the enemies of his country. This man draws upon nion of the greatest man in Germany-perhaps in Europe-upon himself the heavy guilt of innocent blood, which attends him to one of the great men of your advertisements (all famous hands,' his end; for, white commanding the fleet of the allied Greeks, in as Jacob Tonson used to say of his ragamuffins)-in short, a the Black Sea, he is inflamed with a violent passion for a Byeritique of Goethe's upon Manfred. There is the original, an zantine maiden. After long resistance, he at length obtains her English translation, and an Italian one: keep them all in your from her parents, and she is to be delivered up to him at night. archives; for the opinions of such a man as Goethe, whether fa- She modestly desires the servant to put out the lamp, and, while vourable or not, are always interesting-and this is more so, as fa- groping her way in the dark, she overturns it. Pausanias is awakYourable. His Faust I never read, for I don't know German; ened from his sleep-apprehensive of an attack from murderer but Matthew Monk Lewis, in 1816, at Coligny, translated most of he seizes his sword, and destroys his mistress. The horrid sight it to me vivd voce, and I was naturally much struck with it: but never leaves him. Her shade pursues him unceasingly, and he it was the Steinbach and the Jungfrau, and something else, much implores for aid in vain from the gods and the exorcising priests. more than Faustus, that made me write Manfred. The first "That poet must have a lacerated reart who selects such a scene, however, and that of Faustus are very similar." scene from antiquity, appropriates it to himself. and burdens his tragic image with it. The following soliloquy, which is overladen with gloom and a weariness of life, is, by this remark, rendered intelligible. We recommend it as an exercise to all friends of declamation. Hamlet's soliloquy appears improved upon here." |—Goethe here subjoins Manfred's soliloquy, beginning “We are the fools of time and terror," in which the allusion to Pausanias

The following is the extract from Goethe's Kunst und Altherthum (i. e. Art and Antiquity) which the above letter enclosed:


From this German criticism we pass to that of the Edinburgh Review on Manfred:-" It is suggested, in an ingenious paper in a late number of the Edinburgh Magazine, that the general conception of this piece, and much of what is excellent in the manner of its execution, have been borrowed from The Tragical History of Dr Faustus, of Marlow; and a variety of passages are quoted, which the author considers as similar, and, in many respects, superior to others in the poem before us. We cannot agree in the general terms of the conclusion; but there is no doubt a certain resemblance, Loth in some of the topics that are suggested, and in the cast of the diction in which they are expressed. Thus, to induce Faustus to persist in his unlawful studies, he is told that the Spirits of the Elements will serve him,

"We find thus, in this tragedy, the quintessence of the most astonishing talent, born to be its own tormentor. The character of Lord Byron's life and poetry hardly permits a just and equitable appreciation. He has often enough confessed what it is that torments him. He has repeatedly portrayed it; and scarcely any one feels compassion for this intolerable suffering, over which he is ever laboriously ruminating. There are, properly speak ing, two females whose phantoms for ever haunt him, and which, in this piece also, perform principal parts-one under the name of Astarte, the other without form or actual presence, and merely a voice. Of the horrid occurrence which took place with the former, the following is related:-When a bold and enterprising young man, he won the affections of a Florentine lady. Her husband discovered the amour, and murdered his wife; but the murderer was the same night found dead in the street, and there was no one on whom any suspicion could be attached. Lord Byron removed from Florence, and these spirits haunted him all | his life after.

"This romantic incident is rendered highly probable by innumerable allusions to it in his poems. As, for instance, when,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Sometimes like women, or unwedded maids,
Shadowing more beauty in their ayrie browes,
Than have the white breasts of the Queene of Love.'

And again, when the amorous sorcerer commands Helen of Troy to revive again to be his paramour, he addresses her, on her first appearance, in these rapturous lines

Was this the face that launcht a thousand ships,
And burn'd the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen ! make me immortal with a kiss!
Her lips suck forth my soule !-see where it flies.
Come, Helen, come give me my soule againe,
Here will I dwell, for heaven is on that lip,
And all is dross that is not Helena.

O! thou art fairer than the evening ayre,
Clad in the beauty of a thousand starres;
More lovely than the monarch of the skyes,
In wanton Arethusa's azure arms!'

The catastrophe, too, is bewailed in verses of great elegance and classical beauty

"The grave confidence with which the venerable critic traces the fancies of his brother poet to real persons and events, making no difficulty even of a double murder at Florence to furnish grounds for his theory, affords an amusing instance of the disposition so prevalent throughout Europe, to picture Byron as a man of marvels and mysteries, as well in his life as his poetry. To these exaggerated or wholly false notions of him, the numerous fictions palmed upon the world of his romantic tours and wonderful adventures, in places he never saw, and with persons that never existed, have, no doubt, considerably contributed; and the consequence is, so utterly out of truth and nature are the representa-me, as if it was but yesterday, and could point it out, spot by spot, Leas of his life and character long current upon the Continent, torrent and all."-E.

that it may be questioned whether the real flesh and blood' hero of these pages,-the social, practical-minded, and, with all his j faults and eccentricities, English Lord Byron,-may not, to the over-exalted imaginations of most of his foreign admirers, appear butan ordinary, unromantic, and prosaic personage."-Moose. + On reading this, Lord Byron wrote from Venice:-" Jeffrey is ve kind about Manfred, and defends its originality, which I did not know that any body had attacked. As to the germs of it, they may be found in the Journal which I sent to Mrs. Leigh, shortly before I left Switzerland. I have the whole scene of Manfred before


The Lament of Tasso



AT Ferrara, in the Library, are preserved the original MSS. of Tasso's Gerusalemme and of Guarini's Pastor Fido, with letters of Tasso, one from Titian to Ariosto, and the inkstand and chair, the tomb and the house of the latter. But, as misfortune has a greater interest for posterity, and little or none for the cotemporary, the cell where Tasso was confined in the hospital of St. Anna attracts a more fixed attention than the residence or the monument of | And eagle-spirit of a Child of SongThere Long years of outrage, calumny, and wrong; Ariosto at least it had this effect on me. are two inscriptions, one on the outer gate, the | Imputed madness, prison'd solitude, (2) second over the cell itself, inviting, unnecessarily, And the mind's canker in its savage mood, the wonder and the indignation of the spectator. When the impatient thirst of light and air Ferrara is much decayed, and depopulated: the Parches the heart; and the abhorred grate, castle still exists entire; and I saw the court where Marring the sunbeams with its hideous shade,

LONG years!—It tries the thrilling frame to bear,

Cut is the branch that might have growne full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough
That sometime grew within this learned man.

Parisina and Hugo were beheaded, according to the
annal of Gibbon. (1)

Faustus is gone !-regard his hellish fall,
Whose fiendful torture may exhort the wise,
Only to wonder at unlawful things!'


cheered by delightful remembrances, and elevated by the con-
tident hope of an immortal fame. His is the gathered grief of

But these and many other smooth and fanciful verses in this cu-
rious old drama prove nothing, we think, against the originality
of Manfred; for there is nothing to be found there of the pride,
the abstraction, and the heart-rooted misery in which that origi-
nality consists. Faustus is a vulgar sorcerer, tempted to sell
his soul to the devi for the ordinary price of sensual pleasure, and
earthly power and glory; and who shrinks and shudders in agony
when the forfeit come to be exacted. The style, too, of Marlow,
though elegant and scholar-like, is weak and childish, compared
measure lost the power of misery; and this soliloquy is one which
with the depth and force of much of Lord Byron; and the disgust-many years, over which his soul has brooded, till she has in some
ing buffoonery and low farce of which his piece is principally
we can believe he might have uttered to himself any morning, or
made up place it more in contrast, than in any terms of compa-noon, or night of his solitude, as he seemed to be half com-
rison, with that of his noble successor. In the tone and pitch of the
muning with his own heart, and half addressing the ear of that
human nature from which he was shut out, but of which he felt
composition, as well as in the character of the diction in the more
the continual and abiding presence within bis imagination."—
solemn parts, Manfred reminds us much more of the Prome-
theus of Eschylus, * than of any more modern performance. The
tremendous solitude of the principal person-the supernatural
beings with whom alone he holds communion-the guilt-the
firmness-the misery-are all points of resemblance, to which
the grandeur of the poetic imagery only gives a more striking
effect. The chief differences are, that the subject of the Greek poet
was sanctified and exalted by the established belief of his coun-
try, and that his terrors are nowhere tempered with the sweet-
ness which breathes from so many passages of his English rival.”

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

'These be good rhymes!' as Pope's papa said to him when he was
a boy.'
"The Lament possesses much of the tenderness and pathos of
the Prisoner of Chillon. Lord Byron has not delivered himself
unto any one wild and fearful vision of the imprisoned Tasso,-
he has not dared to allow himself to rush forward with headlong
passion into the horrors of his dungeon, and to describe, as he
could fearfully have done, the conflict and agony of his uttermost
despair,—but he shows us the poet sitting in his cell, and singing
there-a low, melancholy, wailing lament, sometimes, indeed,

settled grief, occasionally subdued into mournful resignation, and so is
bordering on utter wretchedness, but o'tener partaking of a

on ear

scengthen ́d his suffera my pena

De Was W

ID y pleasa ning friend 13 Enal page w 4. Sorrows bav

young creatio

**ing round 1.de from myself

re do I weep and ruise upon a


(1) The original MS. of this poem is dated, "The Apennines, April 20, 1817." It was written in consequence of Lord Byron having visited Ferrara, for a single day, on his way to Florence. In a letter from Rome, he says,-"The Lament of Tasso, which I sent from Florence, has, I trust, arrived. I look upon it as a

"Of the Prometheus of Eschylus I was passionately fond as a boy (it was one of the Greek plays we read thrice a-year at Harrow); indeed, that and the Medea were the only ones, except the Seven be fore Thebes, which ever much pleased me. The Prometheus, if not exactly in my plan, has always been so much in my head, that I can easily conceive its influence over all or any thing that I have written: but I deny Marlow and his progeny, and beg that you will do the same."-B. Letters, 1817.

(2) Tasso's biographer, the Abate Serassi, has left it without
doubt, that the first cause of the poet's punishment was his desire
to be occasionally, or altogether, free from his servitude at the
court of Alfonso. In 1575, Tasso resolved to visit Rome, and
enjoy the indulgence of the jubilee; and this error," says the
Abate, "increasing the suspicion already entertained, that he
was in search of another service, was the origin of his misfor-
Lunes. On his return to Ferrara, the Duke refused to admit him
to an audience, and he was repulsed from the houses of all the

dependants of the court; and not one of the promises which the
Cardinal Albano had obtained for him were carried into effect.
Then it was that Tasso-after having suffered these hardships
for some time, seeing himself constantly discountenanced by the
Duke and the Princesses, abandoned by his friends, and derided
by his enemies-could no longer contain himself within the
bounds of moderation, but, giving vent to his choler, publicly
broke forth into the most injurious expressions imaginable, both
against the Duke and all the house of Este, cursing his past ser-
vice, and retracting all the praises he had ever given in his verses
to those princes, or to any individual connected with them, de-
claring that they were all a gang of poltroons, ingrates, and

ingrati, e riba
Canted to the hospita
Wamadman." Sere
pital of St. Anna, at
which the following
berita di questa stant
e che delirio, d
eee prose, e fu rime
te, nel giorno vi. Lug
c-door of the hospital.
ndow from a small y
or cells. It is nine
but even feet high.
ed of piecemeal, and
Whose whom the verse
Ferrara. The pot
le of March 1579 to De
"Aerous apartment m

ions, be could 'p on is incorrect as to

which was promised to feet at the intercess Ya Hobhouse. es bring the poet b Wach the unconquered bard was thrown ope tion over the be

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Works through the throbbing eyeball to the brain Thou too art ended-what is left me now?
With a hot sense of heaviness and pain;
And bare, at once, Captivity display'd

For I have anguish yet to bear-and how?
I know not that-but in the innate force

Stands scoffing through the never-open'd gate,
Which nothing through its bars admits, save day,
And tasteless food, which I have eat alone
Till its unsocial bitterness is gone;

And I can banquet like a beast of prey,
Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave
Which is my lair, and—it may be—my grave. (1)
All this hath somewhat worn me, and may wear,
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair;
For I have battled with mine agony,
And made me wings wherewith to overfly
The narrow circus of my dungeon wall,
And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall;
And revell❜d among men and things divine,
And pour'd my spirit over Palestine,
In honour of the sacred war for Him,

The God who was on earth and is in heaven,
For he hath strengthen'd me in heart and limb.
That through this sufferance I might be forgiven.
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored.

Scoundrels (poltroni, ingrati, e ribaldi). For this offence he
was arrested, conducted to the hospital of St. Anna, and confined
in a solitary cell as a madman." Serassi, Vita del Tasso.-E.
[1] "In the hospital of St. Anna, at Ferrara, they show a cell,
ever the door of which is the following inscription:-' Rispettate,
O posteri, la celebrità di questa stanza, dove Torquato Tasso,
infermo più di tristezza che delirio, ditenuto dimorò anni vii.
mesi ii., scrise verse e prose, e fù rimesso in libertà ad instanza
della cità di Bergamo, nel giorno vi. Luglio, 1586.'—The dungeon
below the ground-floor of the hospital, and the light penetrates
through its grated window from a small yard, which seems to have
been common to other cells. It is nine paces long, between five
and six wide, and about seven feet high. The bedstead, so they
tell, has been carried off piecemeal, and the door half cut away
by the devotion of those whom 'the verse and prose' of the pri-
soner have brought to Ferrara. The poet was confined in this
room from the middle of March 1579 to December 1580, when he
was removed to a contiguous apartment much larger, in which,
to use his own expressions, he could philosophise and walk
about.' The inscription is incorrect as to the immediate cause
of his enlargement, which was promised to the city of Bergamo,
but was carried into effect at the intercession of Don Vincenzo
Gonzago, Prince of Mantua." Hobhouse.

Of my own spirit shall be found resource.
I have not sunk, for I had no remorse,


But this is o'er-my pleasant task is done;-(2)
My long-sustaining friend of many years!
If I do blot thy final page with tears,
Know, that my sorrows have wrung from me none.
But thou, my young creation! my soul's child!
Which ever playing round me came and smiled,
And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet sight,
Thou too art gone-and so is my delight:
And therefore do I weep and inly bleed
With this last bruise upon a broken reed.

(2) "The opening lines bring the poet before us at once, as if the door of the dungeon was thrown open. From this bitter complaint, how nobly the unconquered bard rises into calm, and serene, and dignified exultation over the beauty of that young

Nor cause for such they call'd me mad-and why?

O Leonora ! wilt not thou reply ? (3)

I was indeed delirious in my heart
To lift my love so lofty as thou art;
But still my frenzy was not of the mind;
I knew my fault, and feel my punishment
Not less because I suffer it unbent.
That thou wert beautiful, and I not blind,
Hath been the sin which shuts me from mankind:
But let them go, or torture as they will,
My heart can multiply thine image still;
Successful love may sate itself away,

The wretched are the faithful; 't is their fate
To have all feeling save the one decay,
And every passion into one dilate,
As rapid rivers into ocean pour;

But ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.


Above me, hark! the long and maniac cry
Of minds and bodies in captivity.

And hark! the lash and the increasing howl,
And the half-inarticulate blasphemy!
There be some here with worse than frenzy foul,
Some who do still goad on the o'er-labour'd mind,
And dim the little light that's left behind
With needless torture, as their tyrant will
Is wound up to the iust of doing ill: (4)
With these and with their victims am I class'd,
'Mid sounds and sights like these long years have

creation, his soul's child,' the Gerusalemme Liberala. The exultation of conscious genius then dies away, and we behold him, bound between distraction and disease,' no longer in an inspired mood, but sunk into the lowest prostration of human misery. There is something terrible in this transition from di vine rapture to degraded agony." Wilson.

(3) In a letter to his friend Scipio Gonzaga, shortly after his confinement, Tasso exclaims,—“Ah, wretched me! I had designed to write, besides two epic poems of most noble argument, four tragedies, of which I had formed the plan. I had schemed, too, many works in prose, on subjects the most lofty, and most useful to human life; I had designed to write philosophy with eloquence, in such a manner that there might remain of me an eternal memory in the world. Alas! I had expected to close my life with glory and renown; but now, oppressed by the burden of so many calamities, I have lost every prospect of reputation and of honour The fear of perpetual imprisonment increases my melancholy; the indignities which I suffer augment it; and the squalor of my beard, my hair, and habit, the sordidness and filth, exceedingly annoy me. Sure am I that, if SHE, who so little has corresponded to my attachment-if she saw me in such a state, and in such affliction-she would bave some compassion on me." Opere, t. x. p. 387.-E.

(4)" For nearly the first year of his confinement, Tasso endured all the horrors of a solitary cell, and was under the care of a gaoler whose chief virtue, although be was a poet and a man of letters, was a cruel obedience to the commands of his prince.

« 上一頁繼續 »