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Sung to her lute, her signal as she sate
At her half-open window. Then, methought,
A serenade broke silence, breathing hope
Thro' walls of stone, and torturing the proud heart
Of some PRIULI. Once, we could not err,
(It was before an old Palladian house,
As between night and day we floated by)
A Gondolier lay singing; and he sung,
As in the time when VENICE was Herself,
Of TANCRED and ERMINIA.* On our oars
We rested; and the verse was verse divine !
We could not err—Perhaps he was the last
For none took up the strain, none answered him;
And, when he ceased, he left upon my ear
A something like the dying voice of Venice!

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,
Shut; and, all terror, all perplexity,
Now by her lover urged, now by her love,
Fled o'er the waters to return no more.

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.

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THE BRIDES OF VENICE. *

It was St. Mary's Eve, and all poured forth
For some great festival. The fisher came
From his green islet, bringing o'er the waves
His wife and little one; the husbandman
From the Firm Land, with many a friar and nun,
And village-maiden, her first flight from home,
Crowding the common ferry. All arrived;
And in his straw the prisoner turned to hear,
So great the stir in Venice. Old and young
Thronged her three hundred bridges; the grave Turk
Turbaned, long-vested, and the cozening Jew
In yellow hat and thread-bare gaberdine,
Hurrying along. For, as the custom was,
The noblest sons and daughters of the State,
Whose names are written in the Book of Gold,

* 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
Rising and rolling on, proclaimed them near;
And never from their earliest hour was seen
Such splendour or such beauty.* Two and two,
(The richest tapestry unrolled before them)
First came the Brides ; each in her virgin-veil,
Nor unattended by her bridal maids,
The two that, step by step, behind her bore
The small but precious caskets that contained
The dowry and the presents. On she moved
In the sweet seriousness of virgin-youth;
Her eyes cast down, and holding in her hand
A fan, that gently waved, of ostrich-plumes.
Her veil, transparent as the gossamer,t
Fell from beneath a starry diadem;
And on her dazzling neck a jewel shone,

*'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.

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