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Hangs in the TREVISAN, that thus the steward,
Shaking his locks, the few that Time had left,
Addressed me, as we entered what was called
My Lady's Chamber.” On the walls, the chairs,
Much yet remained of the rich tapestry;
Much of the adventures of SIR LAUNCELOT
In the green glades of some enchanted wood.
The toilet-table was of silver wrought,
Florentine art, when Florence was renowned ;
A gay confusion of the elements,
Dolphins and boys, and shells and fruits and flowers :
And from the ceiling, in his gilded cage,
Hung a small bird of curious workmanship,
That, when his mistress bade him, would unfold
(So says the babbling dame, Tradition, there)
His emerald-wings, and sing and sing again
The song that pleased her. While I stood and looked,
A gleam of day yet lingering in the west,
The steward went on. “She had ('t is now long since)
A gentle serving-maid, the fair CRISTINE,
Fair as a lily, and as spotless too;
None so admired, beloved. They had grown up
As play-fellows; and some there were, that said,
Some that knew much, discoursing of CRISTINE,
She is not what she seems. When unrequired,
She would steal forth; her custom, her delight,
To wander through and through an ancient grove
Self-planted half-way down, losing herself
Like one in love with sadness; and her veil
And vesture white, seen ever in that place,
Ever as surely as the hours came round,
Among those reverend trees, gave her below
The name of The White Lady. — But the day
Is gone, and I delay thee.
In that chair
The Countess, as it might be now, was sitting,
Her gentle serving-maid, the fair CRISTINE,
Combing her golden hair; and through this door
The Count, her lord, was hastening, called away
By letters of great urgency to VENICE ;
When in the glass she saw, as she believed
('T was an illusion of the Evil One
Some say he came and crossed it at the time),
A smile, a glance at parting, given and answered,
That turned her blood to gall. That very night
The deed was done. That night, ere yet the moon
Was up on Monte Calvo, and the wolf
Baying as still he does (oft is he heard,
An hour and more, by the old turret-clock),
They led her forth, the unhappy lost CRISTINE,
Helping her down in her distress — to die.
“No blood was spilt; no instrument of death Lurked -- or stood forth, declaring its bad purpose ; Nor was a hair of her unblemished head Hurt in that hour. Fresh as a flower just blown, And warm with life, her youthful pulses playing, She was walled up within the castle-wall.5 The wall itself was hollowed secretly; Then closed again, and done to line and rule Wouldst thou descend ? _”T is in a darksome vault Under the chapel : and there nightly now, As in the narrow niche, when smooth and fair, And as if nothing had been done or thought, The stone-work rose before her, till the light
Glimmered and went — there, nightly at that hour, (Thou smil'st, and would it were an idle tale!) In her white veil and vesture white she stands Shuddering - her eyes uplifted, and her hands Joined as in prayer; then, like a blessed soul Bursting the tomb, springs forward, and away Flies o’er the woods and mountains. Issuing forth, The hunter meets her in his hunting-track ; 61 The shepherd on the heath, starting, exclaims (For still she bears the name she bore of old) "'T is the White Lady!'"
THERE is a glorious city in the sea.
The sea is in the broad, the narrow streets,
Ebbing and flowing; and the salt sea-weed
Clings to the marble of her palaces.
No track of men, no footsteps to and fro,
Lead to her gates. The path lies o'er the sea,
Invisible; and from the land we went,
As to a floating city -- steering in,
And gliding up her streets as in a dream,
So smoothly, silently — by many a dome,
Mosque-like, and many a stately portico,
The statues ranged along an azure sky;
By many a pile in more than Eastern pride,
Of old the residence of merchant-kings;
The fronts of some, though Time had shattered them,
Still glowing with the richest hues of art,
As though the wealth within them had run o'er.
Thither I come, and in a wondrous ark (That, long before we slipt our cable, rang As with the voices of all living things), From PADUA, where the stars are, night by night, Watched from the top of an old dungeon-tower, Whence blood ran once, the tower of Ezzelin Not as he watched them, when he read his fate And shuddered. But of him I thought not then, Him or his horoscope ; ** far, far from me The forms of Guilt and Fear; though some were there, Sitting among us round the cabin-board, Some who, like him, had cried, “Spill blood enough !” And could shake long at shadows. They had played Their parts at PADUA, and were floating home, Careless and full of mirth ; to-morrow a day Not in their calendar. 5 – Who, in a strain To make the hearer fold his arms and sigh, Sings, “Caro, Caro” ?— 'Tis the Prima Donna, And to her monkey, smiling in his face. Who, as transported, cries, "Brava! Ancora"?
-'Tis a grave personage, an old macaw, Perched on her shoulder. But who leaps ashore, And with a shout urges the lagging mules ; Then climbs a tree that overhangs the stream, And, like an acorn, drops on deck again? 'Tis he who speaks not, stirs not, but we laugh; That child of fun and frolic, Arlecchino. And mark their poet — with what emphasis He prompts the young soubrette, conning her part ! Her tongue plays truant, and he raps his box, And prompts again; forever looking round As if in search of subjects for his wit,
His satire ; and as often whispering
Things, though unheard, not unimaginable.
Had I thy pencil, CRABBE (when thou hast done,
Late may it be . . it will, like PROSPERO's staff,
Be buried fifty fathoms in the earth),
I would portray the Italian. Now I cannot.
Subtle, discerning, eloquent, the slave
Of Love, of late, forever in extremes ;
Gentle when unprovoked, easily won,
But quick in quarrel — through a thousand shades
His spirit flits, chameleon-like; and mocks
of the observer.
At length we leave the river for the sea.
At length a voice aloft proclaims “ Venezia !
And, as called forth, she comes.
A few in fear,
Flying away from him whose boast it was **
That the grass grew not where his horse had trod,
Gave birth to VENICE. Like the water-fowl,
They built their nests among the ocean-waves ;
And where the sands were shifting, as the wind
Blew from the north or south — where they that came
Had to make sure the ground they stood upon,
Rose, like an exhalation from the deep,
A vast metropolis, with glistering spires,
With theatres, basilicas adorned;
A scene of light and glory, a dominion,
That has en lured the longest among men.
And whence the talisman, whereby she rose, Towering? ’T was found there in the barren sea. Want led to Enterprise ; 67 and, far or near,