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la prima." Italy has great names still-Canova, Monti, Ugo Foscolo, Pindemonti, Visconti, Morelli, Cicognara, Albrizzi, Mezzofanti, Mai, Mustoxidi, Aglietti, and Vacca, will secure to the present generation an honourable place in most of the departments of art, science, and belles-lettres; and in some the very highest ;-Europe—the world—has but one Canova.
It has been somewhere said by Alfieri, that "La pianta uomo nasce più robusta in Italia che in qualunque altra terra-e que gli stessi atroci delitti che vi si commettono ne sono una prova." Without subscribing to the latter part of his proposition, a dangerous doctrine, the truth of which may be disputed on better grounds, namely, that the Italians are in no respect more ferocious than their neighbours, that man must be wilfully blind, or ignorantly heedless, who is not struck with the extraordinary capacity of this people, or, if such a word be admissible, their capabilities, the facility of their acquisitions, the rapidity of their conceptions, the fire of their genius, their sense of beauty, and, amidst all the disadvantages of repeated revolutions, the desolation of battles, and the despair of ages, their still unquenched "longing after immortality, -the immortality of independence. And when we, ourselves, in riding round the walls of Rome, heard the simple lament of the labourer's chorus, "Roma! Roma! Roma! Roma non è più come era prima," it was difficult not to contrast this melancholy dirge with the bacchanal roar of the songs of exultation still yelled from the London taverns, carnage of Mont St. Jean, and the betrayal of Genoa, of Italy, of France, and of the world, by men whose conduct you yourself have exposed in a work worthy of the better days of our history. For me,
"Non movero mai corda
Ove la turba di sue ciance assorda."
What Italy has gained by the late transfer of nations, it were useless for Englishmen to inquire; till it becomes ascertained that England has acquired something more than a permanent army and a suspended Habeas Corpus, it is enough for them to look at home. For what they have done abroad, and especially in the South, "verily they will have their reward," and at no very distant period.
Wishing you, my dear Hobhouse, a safe and agreeable return to that country whose real welfare can be dearer to none than to yourself, I dedicate to you this poem in its completed state; and repeat once more how truly I am ever
And affectionate friend,
Venice, January 2, 1818.
Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna,
Ariosto, Satira iv.
I STOOD in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;'
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,2
A ruler of the waters and their powers :
And such she was ;—her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers: In purple was she robed, and of her feast Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased.
In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!
But unto us she hath a spell beyond
Her name in story, and her long array
Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond
sway; Ours is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor,
For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
The beings of the mind are not of clay;
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence: that which fate
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied, First exiles, then replaces what we hate; Watering the heart whose early flowers have died, And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.
Such is the refuge of our youth and age,
I saw or dream'd of such, but let them go-They came like truth, and disappear'd like dreams; And whatsoe'er they were-are now but so: I could replace them if I would, still teems My mind with many a form which aptly seems Such as I sought for and at moments found ;Let these too go for waking reason deems Such overweening fantasies unsound, And other voices speak, and other sights surround.
I've taught me other tongues-and in strange eyes
Perhaps I loved it well: and should I lay
My name from out the temple where the dead
And light the laurels on a loftier head!
And be the Spartan's epitaph on me→→
Sparta hath many a worthier son than he," Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need;
The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree
I planted-they have torn me,-and I bleed :
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.
The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord,
And annual marriage now no more renew'd;
The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigns-6
From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt
Th' octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.
Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass, Their gilded collars glittering in the sun; But is not Doria's menace come to pass?8 Are they not bridled?-Venice, lost and won, Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done, Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose! Better be whelm'd beneath the waves, and shun, Even in destruction's depth, her foreign foes, From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.
In youth she was all glory,—a new Tyre,-
ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.
Statues of glass-all shiver'd—the long file
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile