ePub 版

Await the moment to assail and tear;

And when at length the winged wanderers stoop, Then is the prey-birds' triumph, then they share The spoil, o'erpower'd at length by one fell swoop. Yet some have been untouch'd who learn'd to bear, Some whom no power could ever force to droop, Who could resist themselves even, hardest care! And task most hopeless; but some such have been, And if my name amongst the number were, That destiny austere, and yet serene,

Were prouder than more dazzling fame unbless'd; The Alp's snow summit nearer heaven is seen Than the volcano's fierce eruptive crest,

Whose splendour from the black abyss is flung, While the scorch'd mountain, from whose burning breast

A temporary torturing flame is wrung, Shines for a night of terror, then repels

Its fire back to the hell from whence it sprung, The hell which in its entrails ever dwells.


MANY are poets who have never penn'd

Their inspiration, and perchance the best: They felt, and loved, and died, but would not lend Their thoughts to meaner beings; they compress'd The god within them, and rejoin'd the stars Unlaurell'd upon earth, but far more blest Than those who are degraded by the jars

Of passion, and their frailties link'd to fame, Conquerors of high renown, but full of scars. Many are poets, but without the name;

For what is poesy but to create

From overfeeling good or ill; and aim At an external life beyond our fate,

And be the new Prometheus of new men, Bestowing fire from heaven, and then, too late, Finding the pleasure given repaid with pain,

And vultures to the heart of the bestower, Who, having lavish'd his high gift in vain, Lies chain'd to his lone rock by the sea-shore ?

(1) The Cupola of St. Peter's.

(2) "If," says Sir Joshua Reynolds, "the high admiration and esteem in which Michael Angelo has been held by all nations, and in all ages, should be put to the account of prejudice, it must still be granted that those prejudices could not have been entertained without a cause: the ground of our prejudice then becomes the source of our admiration. But from whatever it proceeds, or whatever it is called, it will not, I hope, be thought presumptuous in me to appear in the train, I cannot say of his imitators, but of his admirers. I have taken another course, one more suited to my abilities, and to the taste of the times in which I live. Yet, however unequal I feel myself to that attempt, were I now to begin the world again, I would tread in the steps of that great master. To kiss the hem of his garment, to catch the slightest of his perfections, would be glory and distinction enough for an ambitious man." Sir Joshua Reynolds's Discourses, vol. ii., p. 216.-E.

So be it: we can bear.—But thus all they
Whose intellect is an o'ermastering power,
Which still recoils from its encumbering clay
Or lightens it to spirit, whatsoe❜er

The form which their creations may essay,
Are bards; the kindled marble's bust may wear
More poesy upon its speaking brow

Than aught less than the Homeric page may bear;
One noble stroke with a whole life may glow,
Or deify the canvass till it shine
With beauty so surpassing all below,
That they who kneel to idols so divine

Break no commandment, for high heaven is there Transfused, transfigurated: and the line

Of poesy, which peoples but the air

With thought and beings of our thought reflected, Can do no more: then let the artist share The palm, he shares the peril, and dejected

Faints o'er the labour unapproved-Alas!
Despair and Genius are too oft connected.
Within the ages which before me pass

Art shall resume and equal even the sway
Which with Apelles and old Phidias
She held in Hellas' unforgotten day.

Ye shall be taught by Ruin to revive
The Grecian forms at least from their decay,
And Roman souls at last again shall live

In Roman works wrought by Italian hands,
And temples, loftier than the old temples, give
New wonders to the world; and while still stands
The austere Pantheon, into heaven shall soar
A dome, (2) its image, while the base expands
Into a fane surpassing all before,

Such as all flesh shall flock to kneel in : ne'er
Such sight hath been unfolded by a door
As this, to which all nations shall repair,

And lay their sins at this huge gate of heaven.
And the bold Architect unto whose care
The daring charge to raise it shall be given,

Whom all arts shail acknowledge as their lord, (2)
Whether into the marble chaos driven

[blocks in formation]

Over the damn'd before the Judgment-throne, (1)
Such as I saw them, such as all shall see,
Or fanes be built of grandeur yet unknown,
The stream of his great thoughts shall spring from
me, (2)

The Ghibelline, who traversed the three realms
Which form the empire of eternity.
Amidst the clash of swords, and clang of helms,
The age which I anticipate, no less

Shall be the Age of Beauty, and while whelms Calamity the nations with distress,

The genius of my country shall arise, A cedar towering o'er the wilderness, Lovely in all its branches to all eyes,

Fragrant as fair, and recognised afar, Wafting its native incense through the skies. Sovereigns shall pause amidst their sport of war, Wean'd for an hour from blood, to turn and gaze On canvass or on stone; and they who mar All beauty upon earth, compell'd to praise, Shall feel the power of that which they destroy; And Art's mistaken gratitude shall raise To tyrants who but take her for a toy Emblems and monuments, and prostitute Her charms to pontiffs proud, (3) who but employ

The man of genius as the meanest brute

[blocks in formation]

(1) The Last Judgment, in the Sistine Chapel.-["It is obvious, Broughout Michael Angelo's works, that the poetical mind of Dante influenced his feelings. The demons in the Last Judgment, with all their mixed and various passions, may find a prototype in La Divina Commedia. The figures rising from the grave mark his study of L'Inferno e il Purgatorio; and the subject of the Brazen Serpent, in the Sistine Chapel, must remind every reader of canto xxv. dell' Inferno, where the flying serpents, the writhings and contortions of the human body from envenomed Wounds, are described with pathos and horror; and the execution of llaman, in the opposite angle of the same ceiling, is doubtless designed from these lines,

'Poi piovve dentro all' alta fantasia

Un crocifisso dispettoso e fiero
Nella sua vista, e cotal si moria.

Intorno ed esso era 'l grande Assuero

Ester sua sposa, e 'l giusto Mardocheo,

Che fu al dire ed al far così 'ntero.'" Duppa.-E.

(2) I have read somewhere (if I do not err, for I cannot recollect where,) that Dante was so great a favourite of Michael Angelo's, that he had designed the whole of the Divina Commedia; but that the volume containing these studies was lost by sea-Michael Angelo's copy of Dante," says Duppa, "was a large folio, with Landino's commentary; and upon the broad margin of the leaves he designed, with a pen and ink, all the interesting subjects. This book was possessed by Antonio Mon

To bear a burthen, and to serve a need, To sell his labours, and his soul to boot. Who toils for nations may be poor indeed,

But free; who sweats for monarchs is no more Than the gilt chamberlain, who, clothed and fee'd, Stands sleek and slavish, bowing at his door. O Power, that rulest and inspirest! how Is it that they on earth, whose earthly power Is likest thine in heaven in outward show, Least like to thee in attributes divine, Tread on the universal necks that bow, And then assure us that their rights are thine? And how is it that they, the sons of fame, Whose inspiration seems to them to shine From high, they whom the nations oftest name,

Must past their days in penury or pain,

Or step to grandeur through the paths of shame, And wear a deeper brand and gaudier chain ?

Or if their destiny be born aloof

From lowliness, or tempted thence in vain, In their own souls sustain a harder proof,

The inner war of passions deep and fierce ? Florence! when thy harsh sentence razed my roof, I loved thee; but the vengeance of my verse, The hate of injuries which every year Makes greater, and ccumulates my curse, Shall live, outliving all thou holdest dear,

tauti, a sculptor and architect of Florence, who, being appointed architect to St. Peter's, removed to Rome, and shipped his effects at Leghorn for Civita Vecchia, among which was this edition of Dante in the voyage the vessel foundered at sea, and it was unfortunately lost in the wreck.”—E.]

(3) See the treatment of Michael Angelo by Julius II., and his neglect by Leo X.-[Julius II. was no sooner seated on the papal throne than he was surrounded by men of genius, and Michael Angelo was among the first invited to his court. The Pope had a personal attachment to him, and conversed with him upon every subject, as well as sculpture, with familiarity and friendship; and, that he might visit him frequently, and with perfect convenience, caused a covered bridge to be made from the Vatican palace to his study, to enable him to pass at all times without being rudely interrupted by the person in waiting, who said, "I have observed. On paying his visit one morning, Michael Angelo was an order not to let you enter." Michael felt with indignation him to tell the Pope, "from that time forward, if his Holiness this unmerited disgrace, and, in the warmth of resentment, desired should want him, he should have to se k him in another place." On his return home, he ordered his servants to sell the furniture in his house to the Jews, and to follow him to Florence. Himself, the same evening, took post, and arrived at Poggibonzi castle, in Tuscany, before he rested. The Pope despatched five couriers, with orders to conduct him back: but he was not overtaken, until he was in a foreign state. A reconciliation was, however, a few months after, effected at Bologna, through the mediation of the gonfaloniere. As Michael Angelo entered the presence chamber, the Pope gave him an askance look of displeasure, and after a short pause saluted him, "In the stead of your coming to us, you seem to have expected that we should wait upon you." Michael Angelo replied, with submission, that his error arose from too hastily feeling a disgrace that he was unconscious of meriting, and hoped his Holiness would pardon what was past. The Pope thereupon gave him his benediction, and restored him to bis friendship. The whole reign of Leo X. was a blank in the life of Michael Angelo. Duppa.-E.]

Thy pride, thy wealth, thy freedom, and even that, His country's, and might die where he had birthThe most infernal of all evils here,

The sway of petty tyrants in a state;

Florence! when this lone spirit shall return
To kindred spirits, thou wilt feel my worth,
And seek to honour with an empty urn

For such sway is not limited to kings,
And demagogues yield to them but in date,
As swept off sooner; in all deadly things

The ashes thou shalt ne'er obtain (2)—Alas!
"What have I done to thee, my people ?" (3) Stern

Which make men hate themselves, and one an- Are all thy dealings, but in this they pass
The limits of man's common malice, for
All that a citizen could be I was;
Raised by thy will, all thine in peace or war,
And for this thou hast warr'd with me.-'T is


In discord, cowardice, cruelty, all that springs
From Death the Sin-born's incest with his mother,
In rank oppression in its rudest shape,

The faction chief is but the sultan's brother,
And the worst despot's far less human ape:
Florence! when this lone spirit, which so long
Yearn'd, as the captive toiling at escape,
To fly back to thee in despite of wrong,
An exile, saddest of all prisoners, (1)

Who has the whole world for a dungeon strong,
Seas, mountains, and the horizon's verge for bars,
Which shut him from the sole small spot of earth
Where-whatsoe'er his fate-he still were hers,

(1) In bis Convito, Dante speaks of his banishment, and the poverty and distress which attended it, in very affecting terms: "Alas!" said he, "had it pleased the Dispenser of the Universe that the occasion of this excuse had never existed; that neither others had committed wrong against me, nor I suffered unjustly suffered, I say, the punishment of exile and of poverty; since it was the pleasure of the citizens of that fairest and most renowned daughter of Rome, Florence, to cast me forth out of her sweet bosom, in which I had my birth and nourishment, even to the ripeness of my age, and in which, with her good-will, I desire, with all my heart, to rest this wearied spirit of mine, and to terminate the time allotted to me on earth. Wandering over almost every part, to which this our language extends, I have gone about like a mendicant, showing against my will the wound with which fortune has smitten me, and which is often imputed to his ill-deserving on whom it is inflicted. I have, indeed, been a vessel without sail and without steerage, carried about to divers ports, and roads, and shores, by the dry wind that springs out of sad poverty, and have appeared before the eyes of many who, perhaps, from some report that had reached them, had imagined me of a different form; in whose sight not only my person was disparaged, but every action of mine became of iess value, as well those already performed, as those which yet remained for me to attempt."-E.

done :

I may not overleap the eternal bar
Built up between us, and will die alone,
Beholding with the dark eye of a seer
The evil days to gifted souls foreshown,
Foretelling them to those who will not hear,
As in the old time, till the hour be come
When Truth shall strike their eyes through many

a tear,

And make them own the Prophet in his tomb. (4)

which all the world knows, and the labour and fatigue of unremitting study? Far from the man who is familiar with philosophy be the senseless baseness of a heart of earth, that could do like a little sciolist, and imitate the infamy of some others, by offering himself up as it were in chains; far from the man who cries aloud for justice this compromise, by his money, with his persecutors! No! my father, this is not the way that shall lead me back to my country. But I shall return with hasty steps, if you or any other can open to me a way that shall not derogate from the fame and honour of Dante; but if by no such way Florence can be entered, then Florence I shall never enter. What! shall I not every where enjoy the sight of the sun and stars? and may I not seek and contemplate, in every corner of the earth under the canopy of heaven, consoling and delightful truth, without first rendering myself inglorious, nay infamous, to the people and republic of Florence? Bread, I hope, will not fail me." Yet he continued ' to experience

"How salt the savour is of others' bread.

How hard the passage to descend and climb
By others' stairs!"

Ilis countrymen persecuted even his memory: he was excommunicated after death by the Pope.-E.

(3) "E scrisse più volte non solamente a particolari cittadini del reggimento, ma ancora al popolo, e intra l'altre una epistola assai lunga che comincia:-'Popule mi, quid feci tibi? ”—Vita di Dante, scritta da Lionardo Aretino,

(2) About the year 1316, the friends of Dante succeeded in obtaining his restoration to his, country and his possessions, on condition that he should pay a certain sum of money, and, entering a church, there avow himself guilty, and ask pardon of the republic. The following was his answer, on this occasion, to one of his kinsmen :-"From your letter, which I received with due respect and affection, I observe how much you have at heart my restoration to my country. Iain bound to you the more gratefully, that an exile rarely finds a friend. But, after mature consideration, I must, by my answer, disappoint the wishes of some little minds; and I confide in the judgment to which your impartiality and prudence will lead you. Your nephew and mine has written to me, what indeed had been mentioned by many other friends, that, by a decree concerning the exiles, I am allowed to return to Florence, provided I pay a certain sum of money, and submit to the humiliation of asking and receiving absolution: wherein, my father, I see two propositions that are ridiculous and imper-Angelo. tinent. I speak of the impertinence of those who mention such conditions to me: for in your letter, dictated by judgment and discretion, there is no such thing. Is such an invitation to return to his country glorious for Dante, after suffering in exile aitost fifteen years? Is it thus, then, they would recompense innocence

(4) Dante died at Ravenna, in 1321, in the palace of his patron, Guido Novello da Polenta, who testified his sorrow and respect by the sumptuousness of his obsequies, and by giving orders to erect a monument, which he did not live to complete. His countrymen showed, too late, that they knew the value of what they had lost. At the beginning of the next century, they entreated that the mortal remains of their illustrious citizen might be restored to them, and deposited among the tombs of their fathers. But the people of Ravenna were unwilling to part with the sad and honourable memorial of their own hospitality. No better success attended the subsequent negotiations of the Florentines for the same purpose, though renewed under the auspices of Leo X., and conducted through the powerful mediation of Michael

Never did any poem rise so suddenly into notice, after the death of its author, as the Divina Commedia. About the year 1350, Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop of Milan, selected six of the most learned men in Italy,-two divines, two philosophers, and two Fiorentines-and gave them in charge to contribute their joint

The Blues;


"Nimium ne crede colori."-Virgil.

O trust not, ye beautiful creatures, to hue,

Though your hair were as ed as your stockings are blue.


London-Before the Door of a Lecture Room.
Enter TRACY, meeting INKEL.

Ink. You're too late.


Is it over ?

| Ink.
Nor will be this hour.
But the benches are cramm'd, like a garden in flower,
With the pride of our belles, who have made it the

So, instead of "beaux arts," we may say "la belle

For learning, which lately has taken the lead in
The world, and set all the fine gentlemen reading.
Tra. I know it too well, and have worn out my

With studying to study your new publications.
There's Vamp, Scamp, and Mouthy, and Words-
words and Co. (2)
With their damnable-

endeavours towards the compilation of an ample comment, a copy
of which is preserved in the Laurentian library. At Florence, a
public lecture was founded for the purpose of explaining a poem,
which was at the same time the boast and the disgrace of the
ety. The decree for this institution was passed in 1373; and in
that year Boccaccio was appointed, with a salary of a hundred
florins, to deliver lectures in one of the churches on the first of
their poets. The example of Florence was speedily followed by
Bologn, Pisa, Piacenza, and Venice. It is only within a few
years, that the merits of this great and original poet were attended
to and made known in this country. And this seems to be owing
te a translation of the very pathetic story of Count Ugolino; to
the judicious and spirited summary given of this poem in the
31st section of the History of English Poetry; and to Mr. Hayley's
translations of the three cantos of the Inferno. "Dante believed,"
says Ugo Foscolo, "that, by his sufferings on earth, he atoned
for the errors of humanity-

Ma la bontà divina ha si gran braccia,
Che prende ció che si rivolge a lei.'

So wide arms
Ha b goodness infinite, that it receives
All who turn to it.'-

And he seerns to address Heaven in the attitude of a worshipper,
father than a suppliant. Being convinced that man is then
truly happy when he freely exercises all his energies,' he walked
through the world with an assured step, 'keeping his vigils'-

So that nor night nor slumber with close stealth
Conveyed from him a single step in all
The goings on of time.'

He collected the opinions, the follies, the vicissitudes, the mi-
series, and the passions that agitate mankind; and left behind
him a monument which, while it humbles us by the representation
of own our wretchedness, should make us glory that we partake


Hold, my good friend, do you know
Whom you speak to ?
Tra. Right well, boy, and so does "the Row:"(3)
You're an author- a poet-

And think you that I
Can stand tamely in silence, to hear you decry
The Muses?


Excuse me: I meant no offence

To the Nine; though the number who make some pretence

To their favours is such――But, the subject to drop,
I am just piping hot from a publisher's shop
(Next door to the pastry-cook's; so that when I
Cannot find the new volume I wanted to buy
On the bibliopole's shelves, it is only two paces,
As one finds every author in one of those places ;)
Where I just had been skimming a charming critique,
So studded with wit, and so sprinkled with Greek!
Where your friend-you know who-has just got
such a threshing,

of the same nature with such a man, and encourage us to make the best use of our fleeting existence."-E.

(1) This trifle, which Lord Byron has himself designated as "a mere buffoonery, never meant for publication," was written in 1820, and first appeared in The Liberal. The personal allusions in which it abounds are, for the most part, sufficiently intelligible; and, with a few exceptions, so good-humoured, that the parties concerned may be expected to join in the laugh.

"About the year 1781, it was much the fashion for several ladies to have evening assemblies, where the fair sex might participate in conversation with literary and ingenious men, animated by a desire to please. These societies were denominated Bluestocking Clubs; the origin of which title being little known, it may be worth while to relate it. One of the most eminent members of those societies, when they first commenced, was Mr. Stillingfleet, whose dress was remarkably grave, and in particular it was observed that he wore blue stockings. Such was the excellence of his conversation, and his absence was felt as so great a loss, that` it used to be said, 'We can do nothing without the Blue-stockings;' and thus by degrees the title was established." Croker's Boswell, vol. iv. p. 480. Sir William Forbes, in his Life of Dr. Beattie, says, that "a foreigner of distinction hearing the expression, to be distinguished. Miss Hannah More, who was herself a memtranslated it literally Bas Bleu,' by which these meetings came this mistake of the foreigner, in which she has characterised most ber, has written a poem with the title of Bas Bleu, in allusion to of the eminent personages of which it was composed."--E.

(2) See the stanzas on Wordsworth and Southey in Don Juan. -E.

[ocr errors]

(3) Paternoster-row-long and still celebrated as a very bazaar of booksellers. Sir Walter Scott "bitches into rhyme" one of the most important firms-that

"Of Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Our fathers of the Row."-E.



[ocr errors]

That it is, as the phrase goes, extremely "refresh- Tra.

I own it-'t is true What a beautiful word! (1)

ling. A fair fly-Ink.

Very true; 't is so sít ink. A spinster? And so cooling—they use it a little loo oft ;


Miss Lilac! And the papers have got it at last but no niatler. ini.

The Blue! So they've cut up our friend then ?

The heiress? Tra.

Not left him a tatter Tra. The angel ! Not a rag of his present or past reputationi,


The devil! why, man! Which they call a disgrace to the age and the nation. Pray get out of this hobble as fast as you can. Ink. I'm sorry to hear this! for friendship, you You wed with Miss Lilae!'t would be your perdition: know

[so. She's a poet, a chemist, a mathematician. Our poor friend !-but I thought it would terminate Tra. I say she 's an angel. Our friendship is such, I 'll read nothing to shuck it. Ink.

Say rather an angle. You don't happen to have the Review in your pocket? If you and she marry, you'll certainly wrangle. (2) Tra. No; I left a round dozen of authors and 1 say she 's a Blue, man, as blue as the ether. others

Tra. And is that any cause for not coming to(Very sorry, no doubt, since the cause is a brother's) gether? All scrambling and jostling, like so many imps, Ink. Humph! I can't say I know any happy alAnd on fire with impatience to get the next glimpse. liance

[science. Ink. Let us join them.

Which has lately sprung up from a wedlock with Tra, What! won't you return to the lecture? She's so learned in all things, and fond of concerning Ink. Why, the place is so cramm’d, there 's not Herself in all matters connected with learning, room for a spectre.

Besides, our friend Scamp is to-day so absurd- Tra. What?

Tra. How can you know that till you hear him? Ink. I perhaps may as well hold my tongue;
I heard But there's five hundred people can tell

you you're
Quite enough; and, to tell you the truth, my retreat wrong.
Was from his vile nonsense, no less than the heat. Tra. You forget Lady Lilac's as rich as a Jew.
Tra. I have had no great loss then ?

Ink. Is it miss or the cash of mamma you pursue? Ink.

Loss!-such a palaver! Tra. Why, Jack, I'll be frank with you-someI'd inoculate sooner my wife with the slaver

thing of both. Of a dog when gone rabid, than listen two hours The girl's a fine girl. To the torrent of trash which around him he pours, Ink.

And you feel nothing loth Pump'd up with such effort, disgorged with such To her good lady-mother's reversion; and yet labour,

Her life is as good as your own, I will bet. That-come-do not make me speak ill of one's Tra. Let her live, and as long as she likes; I deTra. I make you! [neighbour. mand

hand. Ink.

Yes, you! I said nothing until Nothing more than the heart of her daughter and You compelld me, by speaking the truth

Ink. Why, that heart's in the inkstand-that Tra.

To speak ill?

hand on the pen. Is that your deduction ?

Tra. Apropos-Will you write me a song now Ink. When speaking of Scamp ill, Ink. To what purpose ?

Tand then? I certainly follow, not set, an example.

Tra. You know, my dear friend, that in prose The fellow 's a fool, an impostor, a zany.

My talent is decent, as far as it goes; Tra. And the crowd of 10-day shows that one But in rhymefool makes many.


You 're a terrible stick, to be sure. But we two will be wise.

Tra. Iown it: and yet, in these times, there's no Ink.

Pray, then, let us retire. For the heart of the fair like a stanza or lwo; (lure ! Tra. I would, but-

And so, as I can't, will you furnish a few ?

T Iuk. There must be attraction much higher Ink. In your name? Than Scamp, or the Jew's-harp he nicknames his Tra. In my name. I will copy them out, lyre,

To slip into her hand at the very next rout. To call you to this hot-bed.

Ink. Are you so far advanced as to hazard this?

(1) This cant phrase was first used in the Edinburgh Review probably by Mr. Jeffrey.-E. (2) “Her favourite science was the mathematicalIn short, she was a walking calculation,

Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from their covers,

Morality's prim personification --
But-oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all ?"

Don Juan, Canto I.

« 上一頁繼續 »