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Brushing the floor with what was once a hat And through the ranks, from wing to wing, are seen
Moving as once they were—instead of rage
COLL'ALTO. “ 'Tis my necessity !” he stops and speaks, Screwing a smile into his dinnerless face.
In this neglected mirror (23) (the broad frame
Of massive silver serves to testify “I am a Poet, Signor :--give me leave
That many a noble matron of the house
The bat came hither for a sleeping-place;
Shunn'd like Coil'alto," "T was in that old Castle, Saying so, he laid
Which flanks the cliff with its grey battlements His sonnet, an impromptu, on my table,
Flung here and there, and, like an eagle's nest, And bow'd and left me ; in his hollow hand Hangs in the Trevisan, that thus the Steward, Receiving my small tribute, a zecchino,
Shaking his locks, the few that Time had left him, Unconsciously, as doctors do their fees.
Address'd me, as we enter'd what was calid
• My Lady's Chamber.” On the walls, the chairs, My omelet, and a flagon of hill-wine,
Much yet remain'd of the rich tapestry ; “ The very best in Bergamo!" had long
Much of the adventures of Sir Lancelot
The toilet-table was of massive silver, Bartering my bread and salt for empty praise. Florentine Art, when Florence was renown'd;
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, Am I in Italy? Is this the Mincius ?
That, when his Mistress bade him, would unfold Are those the distant turrets of Verona ?
(So said at least the babbling Dame, Tradition) And shall I sup where Juliet at the Masque (20) His emerald-wings, and sing and sing again Saw her loved Montague, and now sleeps by him? The song that pleased her. While I stood and look'd, Such questions hourly do I ask myself; (21) A gleam of day yet lingering in the West, And not a finger-post by the road-side
The Steward went on. “ To Mantua”-“ To Ferrara”—but excites
She had ('t is now long since) Surprise, and doubt, and self-congratulation. A gentle serving-maid, the fair Cristina,
Fair as a lily, and as spotless 100; O Italy, how beautiful thou art!
None so admired, beloved. They had grown up Yet I could weep-for thou art lying, alas! As play-fellows; and some there were, who said, Low in the dust; and they who come, admire thee Some who knew much, discoursing of Cristina, As we admire the beautiful in death.
She is not what she seems.' When unrequired, Thine was a dangerous gift, the gift of Beauty. She would steal forth ; her custom, her delight, Would thou hadst less, or wert as once thou wast, To wander through and through an ancient grove Inspiring awe in those who now enslave thee! Self-planted half-way down, losing herself
-But why despair? Twice hast thou lived already, Like one in love with sadness; and her veil
Ever as surely as the hours carne round,
In that chair
The Countess, as it might be now, was sitting, Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame
Her genile serving-maid, the fair Cristina, Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously, Combing her golden hair; and, through this door And, dying, left a splendor like the day,
The Count, her lord, was hastening, call'd away That like the day diffused itself, and still
By letters of great urgency to Venice; Blesses the earth—the light of genius, virtue, When in the glass she saw, as she believed, Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death, ("T was an illusion of the Evil Spirila Godlike example. Echoes that have slept Some say he came and cross'd it at the instant) Since Athens, Lacedaemon, were themselves, A smile, a glance at parting, given and answer'd, Since men invoked " By Those in Marathon!" That turn'd her blood to gall. That very night Awake along the Ægean; and the dead,
The deed was done. That night, ere yet the Moon They of that sacred shore, have heard the call, Was up on Monte Calvo, and the wolf
Baying as still he does (oft do I hear him,
A vagrant crew, and careless of to-morrow, (28) An hour and more by the old turret-clock), Careless and full of mirth. Who, in that quaver, They led her forth, the unhappy lost Cristina, Sings “Caro, Caro ?"-"T is the Prima Donna, Helping her down in her distress—to die. And to her monkey, smiling in his face,
Who, as transported, cries, “ Brava! Ancora ?” "No blood was spilt; no instrument of death *T is a grave personage, an old macaw, Lurk'dor stood forth, declaring its bad purpose ; Perch'd on her shoulder. But mark him who leaps Nor was a hair of her unblemish'd head
Ashore, and with a shout urges along Hurt in that hour. Fresh as a flower ungather'd, The lagging mules ; (29) then runs and climbs a tree And warin with life, her youthful pulses playing, That with its branches overhangs the stream, She was wall'd up within the Castle-wall. (24) And, like an acorn, drops on deck again. The wall itself was hollow'd to receive her; "T is he who speaks not, stirs not, but we laugh ; Then closed again, and done to line and rule. That child of fun and frolic, Arlecchino. (30) Would you descend and see it !-"T is far down; And mark their Poet-with what emphasis And many a stair is gone. "T is in a vault
He prompts the young Soubrette, conning her part! Under the Chapel: and there nightly now, Her tongue plays truant, and he raps his box, As in the narrow niche, when smooth and fair, And prompts again; for ever looking round And as though nothing had been done or thought of, As if in search of subjects for his wit, The stone-work rose before her, till the light His satire; and as often whispering Glimmer'd and went—there, nightly, at that hour Things, though unheard, not unimaginable. (You smile, and would it were an idle tale! Would we could say so !) at that hour she stands Had I thy pencil, Crabbe (when thou hast done, Shaddering—her eyes uplifted, and her hands Late
it be-it will, like Prospero's staff, Join'd as in prayer; then, like a Blessed Soul Be buried fifty fathoms in the earth), Bursting the tomb, springs forward, and away I would portray the Italian-Now I cannot. Flics o'er the woods, the mountains. Issuing forth, (25) Subtle, discerning, eloquent, the slave The hunter meets her in his hunting track; Of Love, of Hate, for ever in extremes ; The shepherd on the heath, starting, exclaims Gentle when unprovoked, easily won, (For still she bears the name she bore of old) But quick in quarrel—through a thousand shades Tis the White Lady'!"
His spirit flits, chameleon-like; and mocks
The eye of the observer.
At length we leave the river for the sea.
At length a voice aloft proclaims “ Venezia !” There is a glorious City in the Sea.
And, as call'd forih, it comes. The Sea is in the broad, the narrow streets,
A few in fear, Ebbing and flowing ; and the salt sea-weed
Flying away from him whose boast it was, Clings to the marble of her palaces.
That the grass grew not where his horse had trod, No track of men, no footsteps to and fro,
Gave birth to Venice. Like the water-fowl, Lead to her gates. The path lies o'er the Sea,
They built their nests among the ocean-waves ; Invisible; and from the land we went,
And, where the sands were shifting, as the wind As to a floating City-steering in,
Blew from the north, the south ; where they that And gliding up her streets as in a dream,
came, So smoothly, silently-by many a dome
Had to make sure the ground they stood upon, Moque-like, and many a stalely portico,
Rose, like an exhalation, from the deep, The statues ranged along an azure sky;
A vast Metropolis, (31) with glittering spires, By many a pile in more than Eastem splendor,
With theatres, basilicas adorn'd;
A scene of light and glory, a dominion,
And whence the talisman, by which she rose,
Towering? "T was found there in the barren sea. Thither I came, and in a wondrous Ark,
Want led to Enterprise ; and, far or near, (That, long before we slipt our cable, rang
Who met not the Venetian ?-now in Cairo; As with the voices of all living things)
Ere yet the Califa came, (32) listening to hear From Padua, where the stars are, night by night,
Its bells approaching from the Red-Sea coast; Watch'd from the top of an old dungeon-tower,
Now on the Euxine, on the Sea of Azoph, Whence blood ran once, the tower of Ezzelin—(27) In converse with the Persian, with the Russ, Not as be watch'd them, when he rend his fate
The Tartar; on his lowly deck receiving And shudderd. But of him I thought not then,
Pearls from the gulf of Ormus, gems from Bagdad ; Hot or his horoscope ; far, far from me The forins of Guilt and Fear ; though some were From Georgia, from Circassia. Wandering round,
Eyes brighter yet, that shed the light of love, there,
When in the rich bazaar he saw, display'd, Sitting among us round the cabin-board,
Treasures from unknown climes, away he went, Some who, like him, had cried, “ Spill blood enough!" Atul could shake long at shadows. They had play'a And, travelling slowly upward, drew ere-long Their parte al Padua, and were now returning;
From the well-head, supplying all below;
He who is on his travels and loves ease,
Won thy looks. Thou wert an honest lad; All gaiety, and look'd for ere it comes ;
Wert generous, grateful, not without ambition. Winning its way with all that can attract, Had it depended on thy will and pleasure, Cages, whence every wild cry of the desert, Thou wouldst have number'd in thy family Jugglers, stage-dancers. Well might Charlemain, At least six Doges and twelve Procurators. (34) And his brave peers, each with his visor up, But that was not to be. In thee I saw On their long lances lean and gaze awhile, The last of a long line of Carbonari, When the Venetian to their eyes disclosed
Who in their forest, for three hundred years, The Wonders of the East! Well might they then Had lived and labor'd, cutting, charring wood ; Sigh for new Conquests!
Discovering where they were, to those astray,
e-echoing stroke, the crash, the fall, Thus flourish, till the unwelcome tidings came, Or the blue wreath that travell'd slowly up That in the Tagus had arrived a fleet
Into the sky. Thy nobler destinies From India, from the region of the Sun,
Led thee away to justle in the crowd; Fragrant with spices—that a way was found, And there I found thee—by thy own prescription A channel open'd, and the golden stream
Crossing the sea to try once more a change Turn'd to enrich another. Then she felt
Of air and diet, landing and as gaily, Her strength departing, and at last she fell, Near the Dogana-on the Great Canal, Fell in an instant, blotted out and razed ;
As though thou knewest where to dine and sleep. She who had stood yet longer than the longest Of the Four Kingdoms—who, as in an Ark,
First didst thou practise patience in Bologna, Had floated down, amid a thousand wrecks, Serving behind a Cardinal's gouty chair, Uninjured, from the Old World 10 the New, Laughing at jests that were no laughing matter; From the last trace of civilized life-to where Then teach the Art to others in Ferrara Light shone again, and with unclouded splendor. - At the Three Moors—as Guide, as Cicerone
Dealing out largely in exchange for pence Though many an age in the mid-sea She dwelt,
Thy scraps of knowledge—through the grassy street From her retreat calmly contemplating
Leading, explaining—pointing to the bars
Graven in the stone, that yet denotes the door
Many a year is gone
O'er rough and smooth, o'er apennine, maremma; And who in long array (look where they come; Thy locks jet-black, and clustering round a face Their gestures menacing so far and wide)
Open as day and full of manly daring. Wear the green turban and the heron's plume ? Thou hadst a hand, a heart for all that came, Who-but the Caliphs ? follow'd fast by shapes Herdsman or pedlar, monk or muleteer; As new and strange Emperor, and King, and Czar, And few there were, that met thee not with smiles. And Soldan, each, with a gigantic stride,
Mishap passid o'er thee like a summer-cloud. Trampling on all the flourishing works of peace Cares thou hadst none; and they, who stood to hear To make his greatness greater, and inscribe
thee, His name in blood—some, men of steel, steel-clad; Caught the infection and forgot their own. Others, nor long, alas, the interval,
Nature conceived thee in her merriest mood,
Her happiest—not a speck was in the sky;
A larum to the echo. In a clime,
Singing or talking ; singing to thyself Unlock Heaven's gate.
When none gave ear, but to the listener talking.
The monk, the nun, the holy legate mask'd !
To-morrow came the scaffold and the heads-man;
And he died there by torch-light, bound and gagg’d, ST. MARK'S PLACE.
Whose name and crime they knew not. Underneath
Where the Archangel, turning with the wind, OTER how many tracts, vast, measureless, Blesses the City from the toprnost-tower, Nothing from day to day, from year to year, His arms extended—there continually Passen, save now and then a cloud, a meteor, Two phantom-shapes were sitting, side by side, A fainish'd eagle ranging for his prey;
Or up, and, as in sport, chasing each other; While on this spot of earth, the work of man, Horror and Mirth. Both vanish'd in one hour! How much has been transacted! Emperors, Popes, But Ocean only, when again he claims Warriors, from far and wide, laden with spoil, His ancient rule, shall wash away their footsteps. Landing, have here perform'd their several parts, Then left the stage to others. Not a stone
Enter the Palace by the marble stairs In the broad pavement, but to him who has
Down which the grizzly head of old Faliero An eye, an ear for the Inanimate World,
Roll'd from the block. (40) Pass onward through the Tell of Past Ages.
Where, among all drawn in their ducal robes, (The brass is gone, the porphyry remains), (35) But one is wanting—where, thrown off in heat, Did Barbarossa fling his mantle off,
A short inscription on the Doge's chair And, kneeling, on his neck receive the foot Led to another on the wall yet shorter ;(41) or the proud Pontiff (36)—thus at last consoled And thou wilt track them-wilt from halls of state, For flight, disguise, and many an aguish shake Where kings have feasted, and the festal song On his stone pillow. In that temple-porch, Rung through the fretted roof, cedar and gold, Old as he was, so near his hundredth year, Step into darkness; and be told, “ 'T was here, And blind-his eyes put out—did Dandolo Trusting, deceived, assembled but to die, Sinnd forth, displaying on his ducal crown To take a long embrace and part again, The Cross just then assumed at the high altar. Carrara and his valiant sons were strangled; There did he stand, erect, invincible,
He first—then they, whose only crime had been Though wan his cheeks, and wet with many tears, Struggling to save their Father.—Through that door, For in his prayers he had been weeping much ; So soon to cry, smiting his brow, “ I'm lost!” And now the pilgrims and the people wept Was shown, and with all courtesy, all honor, With admiration, saying in their hearts,
The great and noble captain, Carmagnola.—(42) "Surely those aged limbs have need of rest!” That deep descent (thou canst not yet discern -There did he stand, with his old armor on, Aught as it is) leads to the dripping vaults Ere, gonfalon in hand, that stream'd aloft,
Under the flood, where light and warmth came never! As conscious of its glorious destiny,
Leads to a cover'd Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs; So soon to float o'er mosque and minaret,
And to that fatal closet at the foot, He sail'd away, five hundred gallant ships, Lurking for prey, which, when a victim enter'd, Their lofty sides hung with emblazon'd shields, Grew less and less, contracting to a span; Following his track to Glory. He returned not; An iron door, urged onward by a screw, But of his trophies four arrived ere-long,
Forcing out life.—But let us to the roof, Snatch'd from destruction—the four steeds divine, And, when thou hast survey'd the sea, the land, That strike the ground, resounding with their feet,(37) Visit the narrow cells that cluster there, And from their nostrils snort ethereal flame As in a place of tombs. They had their tenants, Over that very portal—in the place
And each supplied with sufferings of his own. Where in an after-time Petrarch was seen
There burning suns beat unrelentingly,
The brain, till Reason Aed, and the wild yell
“Most nights," so said the good old Nicolo Here, among other pageants, and how oft
(For three-and-thirty years his uncle kept It came, as if returning to console
The water-gate below, but seldom spoke, The leust, instruct the greatest, did the Doge,
Though much was on his mind), “ most nights arrived Himself
, go round, borne through the gazing crowd, The prison-boat, that boat with many oars, Once in a chair of state, once on his bier.
And bore away as to the Lower World,
Disburdening in the Canal Orfano, (43)
Summer or Wintor, death the penalty ;
And where a secret, once deposited, Changed not so fast for many and many an age, Lay till the waters should give up their dead.” As this small spot. Today 't was full of maskers ; And lo, the madness of the Carnival, (39) 8
1 Scala de' Giganti.
Yet what so gay as Venice ? Every gale But broken by a cloud. The wind was hushid, Breathed heavenly music! and who flock'd not thither And the sea mirror-like. A single zephyr To celebrate her Nuptials with the Sea ?
Play'd with her tresses, and drew more and more To wear the mask, and mingle in the crowd Her veil across her bosom. With Greek, Armenian, Persian-night and day
Long I lay (There, and there only, did the hour stand still) Contemplating that face so beautiful, Pursuing through her thousand labyrinths
That rosy mouth, that cheek dimpled with smiles, The Enchantress Pleasure; realizing dreams That neck but half-concealed, whiter than snow. The earliest, happiest—for a tale to catch
'T was the sweet slumber of her early age. Credulous ears, and hold young hearts in chains, I look'd and look’d, and felt a flush of joy Had only to begin, “ There lived in Venice "- I would express, but cannot.
on I wish'd “Who were the Six we supp'd with yesternight?”(44) Gently—by stealth—to drop asleep myself, Kings, one and all! Thou couldst not but remark And to incline yet lower that sleep might come; The style and manner of the Six that served them.” Oft closed my eyes as in forgetfulness.
"T was all in vain. Love would not let me rest “Who answer'd me just now?(45) Who, when I said, • 'T is nine,' turn'd round and said so solemnly, But how delightful when at length she waked ! Signor, he died at nine!'”_“ 'T was the Armenian; When, her light hair adjusting, and her veil The mask that follows thee, go where thou wilt." So rudely scatter'd, she resumed her place
Beside me; and, as gaily as before, “But who stands there, alone among them all ?"(46) Sitting unconsciously nearer and nearer, “ The Cypriot. Ministers from foreign courts Pour'd out her innocent mind! Beset his doors, long ere his hour of rising ;
So, nor long since, His the Great Secret! Not the golden house Sung a Venetian: and his lay of love, (48) Of Nero, or those fabled in the East,
Dangerous and sweet, charm'd Venice. As for me As wrought by magic, half so rich as his !
(Less fortunate, if Love be Happiness)
Glittering, and frost-like, and as day drew on,
Those porches (49) pass'd through which the water-
Plays, though no longer on the noble forms And universai as the air they breathed;
That moved there, sable-vested—and the Quay, A Power that never slumber'd, never pardon'd, Silent, grass-grown-adventurer-like I launch'd All eye, all ear, nowhere and everywhere, (47) Into the deep, ere-long discovering Entering the closet and the sanctuary,
Isles such as cluster in the Southern seas, No place of refuge for the Doge himself ;
All verdure. Everywhere, from bush and brake, Most present when least thought of—nothing dropt The musky odor of the serpents came; In secret, when the heart was on the lips, Their slimy track across the woodman's path Nothing in feverish sleep, but instantly
Bright in the moonshine: and, as round I went, Observed and judged—a Power, that if hut glanced at Dreaming of Greece, whither the waves were gliding, In casual converse, be it where it might,
I listen'd to the venerable pines The speaker lower'd at once his eyes, his voice, Then in close converse; (50) and, if right I guess'd, And pointed upward, as to God in Heaven- Delivering many a message to the Winds What though that Power was there, he who lived thus, In secret, for their kindred on Mount Ida. Pursuing Pleasure, lived as if it were not, But let him in the midnight-air indulge
Nor when again in Venice, when again A word, a thought against the laws of Venice, In that strange place, so stirring and so still, And in that hour he vanish'd from the earth! Where nothing comes to drown the human voice
But music, or the dashing of the tide,
Ceased I to wander. Now a Jessica
Sung to her lute, her signal as she sate
At her half-open window. Then, methought,
A serenade broke silence, breathing hope
Through walls of stone, and torturing the proud heart Boy, call the Gondola ; the sun is set. Of some Priuli. Once, we could not err, It came, and we embark'd ; but instantly,
(It was before an old Palladian house,
As in the time when Venice was herself, (51)
1 See Note.