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Suddenly blasted.* 'Twas a theme he loved,
But others claimed their turn; and many a tower,
Shattered, uprooted from its native rock,
Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
Appeared and vanished (many a sturdy steer +
Yoked and unyoked) while as in happier days
He poured his spirit forth. The Past forgot,
All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
Present or future.
He is now at rest;
And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
Now dull in death. Yes, Byron, thou art gone,
Gone like a star that through the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,
generous, noble-noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do
Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
None more than I, thy gratitude would build
* See the tale as told by Boccaccio and Dryden.
+ They wait for the traveller's carriage at the foot of every hill.
On slight foundations: and, if in thy life
Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert,
Thy wish accomplished; dying in the land
Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire,
Dying in GREECE, and in a cause so glorious !
They in thy train-ah, little did they think,
As round we went, that they so soon should sit
Mourning beside thee, while a Nation mourned,
Changing her festal for her funeral song;
That they so soon should hear the minute-gun,
As morning gleamed on what remained of thee,
Roll o'er the sea, the mountains, numbering
Thy years of joy and sorrow.
Thou art gone;
And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
Oh, let him pause! For who among us all,
Tried as thou wert-even from thine earliest years,
When wandering, yet unspoilt, a highland-boy-
Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame;
Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
Her charmed cup-ah, who among us all
he had not erred as much, and more?
Of all the fairest Cities of the Earth
None is so fair as FLORENCE. 'Tis a gem
Of purest ray; and what a light broke forth, *
When it emerged from darkness! Search within,
Without; all is enchantment! 'Tis the Past
Contending with the Present; and in turn
Each has the mastery.
In this chapel wrought +
One of the Few, Nature's Interpreters,
The Few, whom Genius gives as Lights to shine,
MASACCIO; and he slumbers underneath.
Among other instances of her ascendancy at the close of the thirteenth century, it is related that Florence saw twelve of her citizens assembled at the Court of Boniface the Eighth, as Embassadors from different parts of Europe and Asia. Their names are mentioned in Toscana Illustrata.
+ A chapel of the Holy Virgin in the church of the Carmelites. It is adorned with the paintings of Masaccio, and all
Wouldst thou behold his monument? Look round!
And know that where we stand, stood oft and long,
Oft till the day was gone, RAPHAEL himself;
Nor he alone, so great the ardour there,
Such, while it reigned, the generous rivalry;
He and how many as at once called forth,
Anxious to learn of those who came before,
To steal a spark from their authentic fire,
Theirs who first broke the universal gloom,
Sons of the Morning.
On that ancient seat,
The seat of stone that runs along the wall,*
the great artists of Florence studied there ; Lionardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto, Michael Angelo, Raphael, &c.
He had no stone, no inscription, says Vasari, for he was thought little of in his life-time.
“ Se alcun cercasse il marmo, o il nome mio,
La chiesa è il marmo, una cappella è il nome.”
Nor less melancholy was the fate of Andrea del Sarto, though his merit was not undiscovered. 66 There is a little man in Florence," said Michael Angelo to Raphael, “ who, if he were employed on such great works as you are, would bring the sweat to your brow.” See Bocchi in his “ Bellezza di Firenze."
* Il sasso di Dante. It exists, I believe, no longer, the wall having been taken down; but enough of him remains elsewhere.--Boccaccio delivered his lectures on the Divina Com
South of the Church, east of the belfry-tower,
(Thou canst not miss it) in the sultry time
Would DANTE sit conversing, and with those
Who little thought that in his hand he held
The balance, and assigned at his good pleasure
To each his place in the invisible world,
To some an upper region, some a lower ;
Many a transgressor sent to his account,t
Long ere in FLORENCE numbered with the dead ;
The body still as full of life and stir
At home, abroad; still and as oft inclined
To eat, drink, sleep; still clad as others were,
And at noon-day, where men were wont to meet,
Met as continually ; when the soul went,
Relinquished to a demon, and by him
media in the church of S. Stefano; and whoever happens to enter it, when the light is favourable, may still, methinks, catch a glimpse of him and his hearers.
+ Inferno, 33. A more dreadful vehicle for satire cannot well be conceived.--Dante, according to Boccaccio, was passing by a door in Verona, at which some women were sitting, when one of them was overheard to say in a low voice to the rest, Do you see that man? He it is, who visits Hell, whenever he pleases; and who returns to give an account of those he finds there. I can believe it, replied another. Don't you observe his brown skin and his frizzled beard ?