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Sung to her lute, her signal as she sate
Goldoni, describing his excursion with the Passalacqua, has left us a lively picture of this class of men.
“We were no sooner in the middle of that great lagoon which encircles the City, than our discreet Gondolier drew the curtain behind
us, and let us float at the will of the waves.—At length night came on, and we could not tell where we were. • What is the hour?' said I to the Gondolier—'I cannot guess, Sir; but, if I am not mistaken, it is the lover's hour.'—“Let us go home,' I replied; and he turned the prow homeward, singing, as he rowed, the twenty-sixth strophe of the sixteenth canto of the Jerusalem Delivered.”
The moon went down; and nothing now was seen Save where the lamp of a Madonna shone Faintly—or heard, but when he spoke, who stood Over the lantern at the prow and cried, Turning the corner of some reverend pile, Some school or hospital of old renown, Tho' haply none were coming, none were near, * Hasten or slacken.'* But at length Night fled ; And with her fled, scattering, the sons of Pleasure. Star after star shot by, or, meteor-like, Crossed me and vanished_lost at once among Those hundred Isles that tower majestically, That rise abruptly from the water-mark, Not with rough crag, but marble, and the work Of noblest architects. I lingered still ; Nor sought my threshold, t till the hour was come And past, when, flitting home in the grey light, The
young BIANCA found her father's door, I That door so often with a trembling hand,
* Premi o stali.
† At Venice, if you have la riva in casa, you step from your boat into the hall.
# Bianca Capello. It had been shut, if we may believe the Novelist Malespini, by a baker's boy, as he passed by at day
So often—then so lately left ajar,
break; and in her despair she fled with her lover to Florence, where he fell by assassination. Her beauty, and her loveadventure as here related, her marriage afterwards with the Grand Duke, and that fatal banquet at which they were both poisoned by the Cardinal, his brother, have rendered her history a romance.
THE BRIDES OF VENICE. *
It was St. Mary's Eve, and all poured forth
* This circumstance took place at Venice on the first of February, the eve of the feast of the Purification of the Virgin, A. D. 994, Pietro Candiano, Doge.
Were on that day to solemnize their nuptials.
At noon a distant murmur through the crowd
*'E’l costume era, che tutte le novizze con tutta la dote loro venissero alla detta chiesa, dov'era il vescovo con tutta la chieresia.'-A, NAVAGIERO.
† Among the Habiti Antichi, in that admirable book of woodcuts ascribed to Titian (A. D. 1590), there is one entitled, * Sposa Venetiana à Castello.' It was taken from an old painting in the Scuola di S. Giovanni Evangelista, and by the Writer is believed to represent one of the Brides here described.