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In vain, and never more, save when the cloud
Unto my native soil, they have not yet
The world hath left me, what it found me, pure, And if I have not gather'd yet its praise, I sought it not by any baser lure;
Man wrongs, and Time avenges, and my name May form a monument not all obscure, Though such was not my ambition's end or aim, To add to the vain-glorious list of those Who dabble in the pettiness of fame, And make men's fickle breath the wind that blows Their sail, and deem it glory to be class'd With conquerors, and virtue's other foes, In bloody chronicles of ages past.
I would have had my Florence great and free: (1) O Florence! Florence! unto me thou wast Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He Wept over, "but thou wouldst not ;" as the bird Gathers its young, I would have gather'd thee Beneath a parent pinion, hadst thou heard
My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce, Against the breast that cherish'd thee was stirr'd Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce, And doom this body forfeit to the fire. Alas! how bitter is his country's curse To him who for that country would expire, But did not merit to expire by her,
And loves her, loves her even in her ire. The day may come when she will cease to err, The day may come she would be proud to have The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfer (2) Of him, whom she denied a home, the grave.
But this shall not be granted; let my dust
Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reassume
Cadé tra' buoni è pur di lode degno." Sonnet of Dante, in which be represents Right, Generosity, and Temperance as banished from among men, and seeking refuge from Love, who inhabits his bosom.
(2) "Ut si quis predictorum ullo tempore in fortiam dicti communis pervenerit, talis perveniens igne comburatur, sic quod moriatur." Second sentence of Florence against Dante, and the fourteen accused with him. The Latin is worthy of the sentence.~[On the 27th of January, 1302, Dante was mulcted eight thousand lire, and condemned to two years' banishment; and in ease the fine was not paid, his goods were to be couuscated. Un the eleventh of March, the same year, he was sentenced to a puL
Forsooth is over, and repeal'd her doom;
No, she denied me what was mine-my roof, And shall not have what is not hers-my tomb. Too long her armed wrath hath kept aloof
The breast which would have bled for her, the heart That beat, the mind that was temptation-proof, The man who fought, toil'd, travell'd, and each part Of a true citizen fulfill'd, and saw
For his reward the Guelf's ascendant art Pass his destruction even into a law.
These things are not made for forgetfulness, Florence shall be forgotten first; too raw The wound, too deep the wrong, and the distress Of such endurance too prolong'd, to make My pardon greater, her injustice less, Though late repented; yet-yet for her sake I feel some fonder yearnings, and for thine, My own Beatrice, I would hardly take Vengeance upon the land which once was mine, And still is hallow'd by thy dust's return,
Which would protect the murderess like a shrine, And save ten thousand foes by thy sole urn.
Though, like old Marius (3) from Minturnæ's marsh And Carthage ruins, my lone breast may burn At times with evil feelings hot and harsh,
And sometimes the last pangs of a vile foe Writhe in a dream before me, and o'erarch My brow with hope of triumph, 1 t them go! Such are the last infirmities of those
Who long have suffer'd more than mortal woe; And yet, being mortal still, have no repose
But on the pillow of Revenge-Revenge, Who sleeps to dream of blood, and waking glows With the oft-baffled slakeless thirst of change, When we shall mount again, and they that trod Be trampled on, while Death and Até range O'er humbled heads and sever'd necks-Great
Take these thoughts from me—to thy hands I yield My many wrongs, and thine almighty rod Will fall on those who smote me,-be my shield! As thou hast been in peril, and n pain, In turbulent cities, and the tented fieldIn toil, and many troubles borne in vain
For Florence. (4)—I appeal from her to Thee!
nishment due only to the most desperate of malefact: rs. The decree, that he and his associates in exile should be burned, if they fell into the hands of their enemies, was first discovered, in 1772, by the Conte Ludovico Savioli. See Tiraboschi, where the sentence is given at length.-E.]
(3) Proconsul of Africa.-After the expiration of his government, he was prosecuted by the province for extortion and cruelty, convicted on the clearest evidence, fined, and banished from Italy. Yet, reserving the greater part of his former spoils, he lived in a wanton exile; while the Africans returned home with the wretched consolation of having defrayed their own expenses, and seen the money levied on their oppressor carried to the Rotan treasury.-E.
(4) In one so highly endowed by nature, and so consummate by instruction, we may well sympathise with a resentment which
That make communion sweet, and soften painTo feel me in the solitude of kings
Without the power that makes them bear a
To envy every dove his nest and wings Which waft him where the Apennine looks down On Arno, till he perches, it may be, Within my all-inexorable town,
Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,(1)
Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought Destruction for a dowry (2)—this to seeAnd feel, and know without repair, hath taught A bitter lesson; but it leaves me free:
I have not vilely found, nor basely sought, They made an exile--not a slave of me.
THE Spirit of the fervent days of old, When words were things that came to pass, and thought
Flash'd o'er the future, bidding men behold Their children's children's doom already brought Forth from the abyss of time which is to be, The chaos of events, where lie half-wrought Shapes that must undergo mortality;
What the great seers of Israel wore within, That spirit was on them, and is one me, And if, Cassandra-like, amidst the din
Of conflict none will hear, or hearing heed This voice from out the wilderness, the sin Be theirs, and my own feelings be my meed, The only guerdon I have ever known.
Hast thou not bled? and hast thou still to bleed, Italia? Ah! to me such things, foreshown
With dim sepulchral light, bid me forget
odd that honest Lionardo's examples, with the exception of Seneca, and, for any thing I know, of Aristotle, are not the most felicitous. Tully's Terentia, and Socrates' Xantippe, by no means contributed to their husbands' happiness, whatever they might do to their philosophy. Cato gave away his wife—of Varro's we know nothing-and of Seneca's, only that she was disposed to die with him, but recovere!, and lived several years afterwards. But, says Lionardo, "L'uomo è animale civile, secondo piace a tutti i filosofi ;" and thence concludes that the greatest proof of the animal's civism is "la prima congiunzione, dalla quale multiplicata nasce la città."
(2) "The violence of Gemma's temper proved a source of the bitterest suffering to Dante; and in that passage of the Inferno, where one of the characters says
Thee, whom I late saw in thy loftiest reign,
The sense of earth and earthly things comes back,
Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear,
To lift my eyes more to the passing sail
And yet my harpings will unfold a tale
Did not my verse embalm full many an act
In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume
Then future thousands crow'd around their tomb, And pilgrims come from climes where they have known
The name of him-who now is but a name,
To live in narrow ways with little men,
exile and poverty rendered perpetually fresh. But the heart of
(1) This lady, whose name was Gemma, sprung from one of the most powerful Guelf families, named Donati. Corso Donati was the principal adversary of the Ghibelines. She is described as being "Admodum morosa, ut de Xantippe Socratis philosophi conjuge scriptum esse legimus," according to Gianozzo Manetti. But Lionardo Aretino is scandalised with Boccace, in his Life of Dante, for saying that literary men should not marry : "Qui il Boccaccio non ha pazienza, e dice, le mogli esser contrarie agli studj; e non si ricorda che Socrate, il più nobile filosofo che mai fosse, ebbe moglie e figliuoli e uffici della Repubblica nella sua Città; e Aristotele che, etc. etc. ebbe due mogli in vari tempi, ed ebbe figliuoli, e ricchezze assai.-E Marco Tulio-e Catone-e Varrone-e Seneca-ebbero moglie," etc. etc. It is
La fiera moglie più ch'altro, mi nuoce,
his own conjugal unhappiness must have recurred forcibly and pajutuily to his mind." Cary.-E.
Thou 'rt mine- my bones shall be within thy breast,
My soul within thy language, which once set With our old Roman sway in the wide West; But I will make another tongue arise
As lofty and more sweet, in which express'd The hero's ardour, or the lover's sighs,
Shall find alike such sounds for every theme
And make thee Europe's nightingale of song;
Woe! woe! the veil of coming centuries
Is rent,—a thousand years, which yet supine Lie like the ocean waves ere winds arise,
Heaving in dark and sullen undulation,
The unborn earthquake yet is in the womb,
Revived in thee, blooms forth to man restored:
Thou, Italy! whose ever-golden fields,
Their ministry: the nations take their prey,
All paths of torture, and, insatiate yet,
The storms yet sleep, the clouds still keep their Nine moons shall rise o'er scenes like this and set; (1)
The chiefless army of the dead, which late
Had but the royal Rebel lived, perchance
With brighter stars, and robes with deeper blue; Thou, in whose pleasant places Summer builds Her palace, in whose cradle Empire grew,
And form'd the Eternal City's ornaments
Where earthly first, then heavenly glory made
In feeble colours, when the eye-from the Alp
Nearer and nearer yet, and dearer still
The Goth hath been,-the German, Frank, and
Are yet to come,-and on the imperial hill
By the old barbarians, there awaits the new,
Oh! when the strangers pass the Alps and Po, Crush them, ye rocks! floods, whelm them! and for ever:
Why sleep the idie avalanches so,
To topple on the lonely pilgrim's head?
Roll'd over Pharaoh and his thousands,-why,
Those who o'erthrew proud Xerxes, where yet lie The dead whose tomb Oblivion never knew,
Are the Alps weaker than Thermopylæ?
That to each host the mountain-gate unbar, And leave the march in peace, the passage free? Why, Nature's self detains the victor's car,
And makes your land impregnable, if earth
(1) See "Sacco di Roma," generally attributed to Guicciardini. giorno per giorno, ne! Sacco di Roma dell anno MDXXVII, scritto There is another, written by a Jacopo Puonaparte.-[The ori-da Jacopo Buonaparte, gentiluomo Samminiatese, che vi si trovò ginal MS. of the latter work is preserved in the Royal Library at presente." An edition of it was printed at Cologne in 1755, to Paris. It is entitled, "Ragguaglio Storico di tutto l'occorso, which is prefixed a genealogy of the Buonaparte family.-E.]
To thee, my country! whom before, as now,
Is not as once it shone o'er thee, forgive!
A spirit forces me to see and speak,
And for my guerdon grants not to survive;
Over the gleams that flash athwart thy gloom
And many meteors, and above thy tomb Leans sculptured Beauty, which Death cannot blight; And from thine ashes boundless spirits rise To give thee honour, and the earth delight; Thy soil shall still be pregnant with the wise,
The gay, the learn'd, the generous, and the brave, Native to thee as summer to thy skies, Conquerors on foreign shores, and the far wave,(1) Discoverers of new worlds, which take their name; (2)
For thee alone they have no arm to save, And all thy recompense is in their fame,
A noble one to them, but not to theeShall they be glorious, and thou still the same? Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be
The being and even yet he may be born-
By fresh barbarians, on thy brow replaced;
Yet through this centuried eclipse of woe
And make it broader; the same brilliant sky Which cheers the birds to song shall bid them
And raise their notes as natural and high;
The harlotry of genius, which, like beauty,
Like that of Heaven, immortal, and his thought Borne onward with a wing that cannot tire: Pleasure shall, like a butterfly new caught, Flutter her lovely pinions o'er his theme, And Art itself seem into Nature wrought By the transparency of his bright dream.—
The second, of a tenderer, sadder mood, Shall pour his soul out o'er Jerusalem; He, too, shall sing of arms and Christian blood Shed where Christ bled for man; and his high harp Shall, by the willow over Jordan's flood, Revive a song of Sion, and the sharp
Conflict, and final triumph of the brave
(4) A verse from the Greek tragedians, with which Pompey look leave of Cornelia on entering the boat in which he was
2) The verse and sentiment are taken from Homer. (3) Petrarch..
(4) "Why is it necessary to adopt the invidious and too common practice of weighing the transcendent talents of Ariosto and Tasso in opposite, and as it were contending, scales? Reader! you have already had the delight of perusing the last production of Lord Byron's muse, how must you have admired those
And pious, and the strife of hell to warp Their hearts from their great purpose, until wave The red-cross banners where the first red cross Was crimson'd from his veins who died to save, Shall be his sacred argument; the loss
Of years, of favour, freedom, even of fame
Such shall be his meet guerdon! who was sent
Harder to bear and less deserved, for I
Had stung the factions which I strove to quell ; But this meek man, who with a lover's eye Will look on earth and heaven, and who will deign To embalm with his celestial flattery
As poor a thing as e'er was spawn'd to reign,
And, dying in despondency, bequeath To the kind world, which scarce will yield a tear, A heritage enriching all who breathe With the wealth of a genuine poet's soul, And to their country a rédoubled wreath Unmatch'd by time; not Hellas can unroll
Through her Olympiads two such names, though Of hers be mighty;-and is this the whole [one Of such men's destiny beneath the sun? (4) Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling sense, The electric blood with which their arteries run, Their body's self-tuned soul with the intense Feeling of that which is, and fancy of That which should be, to such a recompense Conduct ? shall their bright plumage on the rough Storm be still scatter'd? Yes, and it must be, For, form'd of far too penetrable stuff, These birds of paradise but long to flee
Back to their native mansion, soon they find Earth's mist with their pure pinions not agree, And die or are degraded, for the mind
Succumbs to long infection, and despair, And vulture passions flying close behind,
exquisitely beautiful and affecting portraitures of the two matchless poets which conclude the third canto of the Prophecy of Dante! We there see them contrasted without such invidious comparison, or depreciation of the one to exalt the other; and characterised in numbers, style, and sentiment, so wonderfully Dantesque, that-mastering our uncongenial language, and habitual modes of thought as well as expression-they seem to have been inspired by the very genius of the inarrivabile Dante himself." Glenbervie, Ricciardetto, p. 106.-E.