Page images
PDF
EPUB

XIX.

Save the shrill-voiced cicala flitting round
On the rough pediment to sit and sing;
Or the green lizard rustling through the grass,
And up the fluted shaft with short quick motion,
To vanish in the chinks that Time has made.

PÆSTUM.
They stand between the mountains and the sea;
Powful memorials, but of whom we know not!"
The seaman, passing, gazes from the deck.
The buffalo-driver, in his shaggy cloak,
Points to the work of magic and moves on.
Time was they stood along the crowded street,
Temples of Gods! and on their ample steps
What various habits, various tongues beset
The brazen gates for

prayer and sacrifice!
Time was perhaps the third was sought for Justice;
And here the accuser stood, and there the accused;
And here the judges sate, and heard, and judged.
All silent now!-as in the ages past,
Trodden under foot and mingled, dust with dust.

In such an hour as this, the sun's broad disk Seen at his setting, and a flood of light Filling the courts of these old sanctuaries, ( Gigantic shadows, broken and confused, Across the innumerable columns flung) In such an hour he came, who saw and told, Led by the mighty Genius of the Place.'

Walls of some capital city first appear'd,
Half razed, half sunk, or scatter'd as in scorn;

- And what within them? what but in the midst
These Three in more than their original grandeur,
And, round about, no stone upon another?
As if the spoiler had fallen back in fear,
And, turning, left them to the elements.

llow many centuries did the sun go round From Mount Alburnus to the Tyrrhene sea, While, by some spell renderd invisible, Or, if approach'd, approach'd by him alone Who saw as though he saw not, they remain'd As in the darkness of a sepulchre, Waiting the appointed time! All, all within Proclaims that Nature had resumed her right, And taken to herself what man renounced; No cornice, triglyph, or worn abacus, But with thick ivy hung or branching fern; Their iron-brown o'erspread with brightest verdure!

From my youth upward have I longed to tread This classic ground-And am I here at last? Wandering at will through the long porticoes, And catching, as through some majestic grove, Now the blue ocean, and now, chaos-like, Mountains and mountain-gulfs, and, half-way up, Towns like the living rock from which they grew? A cloudy region, black and desolate, Where once a slave withstood a world in arms, a

'T is said a stranger in the days of old
(Some say a Dorian, some a Sybarite;
But distant things are ever lost in clouds),
'T is said a stranger eame, and, with his plough,
Traced out the site; and Posidonia rose, (173)
Severely great, Neptune the tutelar God;
A Homer's language murmuring in her streets,
And in her haven many a mast from Tyre.
Then came another, an unbidden guest.
He knock'd and enter'd with a train in arms;
And all was changed, her very name and language !
The Tyrian merchant, shipping at his door
Ivory and gold, and silk, and frankincense,
Sail'd as before, but, sailing, cried • For Pæstum!»
And now a Virgil, now an Ovid sung
Pæstum's twice-blowing roses; while, within,
Parents and children mourn'd-and, every year,
('T was on the day of some old festival)
Met to give way to tears,

and once again,
Talk in the ancient tongue of things gone by. ?
At length an Arab climb'd the battlements,
Slaying the sleepers in the dead of night;
And from all eyes the glorious vision fled!
Leaving a place lonely and dangerous,
Where whom the robber spares, a deadlier foe 3.
Strikes at unseen-and at a time when joy
Opens the heart, when summer-skies are blue,
And the clear air is soft and delicate;'
For then the demon works-then with that air
The thoughtless wretch drinks in a subtle poison
Lulling to sleep; and, when he sleeps, he dies.

2

The air is sweet with violets, running wild (171) 'Mid broken friezes and fallen capitals; Sweet as when Tully, writing down his thoughts, Those thoughts so precious and so lately lost (172) ( Turning to thee, divine Philosophy, Ever at hand to calm his troubled soul) Sail'd slowly by, two thousand years ago, For Athens; when a ship, if north-east winds Blew from the Pæstan gardens, slack'd her course.

On as he moved along the level shore,
These temples, in their splendour eminent
Mid arcs and obelisks, and domes and towers,
Reflecting back the radiance of the west,
Well might he dream of Glory!-Now, coild up,
The serpent sleeps within them; the she-wolf
Suckles her young: and, as alone I stand
In this, the nobler pile, the elements
Of earth and air its only floor and covering,
How solemn is the stillness! Nothing stirs

The temples of Pestra are three in number; and have survived, nearly nine centuries, ibe total destruction of the city. Tradition is silent concerning them; but they must have existed now between, two and three tbousand years.

· Spartacus. Seo Plutarch in the Life of Crassus,

But what are These still standing in the midst ? The Earth has rock'd beneath; the Thunder-stone Passed through and through, and left its traces there; Yet still they stand as by some Unknown Charter! Oh, they are Nature's own! and, as allied To the vast Mountains and the eternal Sea, They want no written history; theirs a voice For ever speaking to the heart of Man!

• They are said to have been discovered by accident about tho middle of the last century. ? Athenaus, xiv.

* The Mal'aria.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

MONTE CASSINO.

THIE HARPER. «What ñangs behind that curtain?, (174)--Wouldst It was a llarper, wandering with his harp, thou learn?

His only treasure; a majestic man, If thou art wise, thou wouldse not.

'T is by some

By time and grief ennobled, not subdued; Believed to be bis master-work, who look'd

Though from his height descending, day by day, Beyond the grave, and on the chapel-wall,

And, as his upward look at once betray'd, As though the day were come, were come and past,

Blind as old Ilomer. At a fount he sate, Drew the Last Judgment.'- But the Ilisest err.

Well-known to many a wcary traveller; He who in secret wrought, and gave it life,

llis little guide, a boy not seven years old, For life is surely there and visible change, (175)

But
grave,

considerate beyond his years, Life, such as none could of liimself impart,

Sitting beside him. Each had ate his crust (They who behold it, go not as they came,

In silence, drinking of the virgin-spring;
But meditate for many and many a day)

And now in silence, as their custom was,
Sleeps in the vault beneath. We know not much; The sun's decline awaited.
But what we know, we will communicate.

But the child 'T is in an ancient record of the flouse;

Was worn with travel. licavy sleep weiglı'd down And may it make thee tremble, lest thou fall!

His eye-lids; and the grandsire when we came,

Embolden'd by bis love and by his fear, Once-on a Christmas-eve-cre yet the roof

His fear lest night o'ertake them on the road, Rung with the hymn of the Nativity,

liunbly besought me to convey them both

A little onward, Such small services
There came a stranger to the convent-gate,
And ask'd admittance; ever and anon,

Who can refuse-Not I; and him who can,
As if le sought what most he fear'd to find,

Blest though he be with every eartlıly gift, Looking behind him. When within the walls,

I cannot envy. He, if wealth be his, These walls so sacred and inviolable,

knows not its uses. So from noon till night, Still did he look behind him; oft and long,

Within a crazed and tatter'd vehicle, (176) With baggard eye and curling, quivering lip,

That yet display'd, in old emblazonry, Catching at vacancy. Between the fits,

A shield as splendid as the Bardi wear;(177) For here, 't is said, he linger'd while he lived,

We lumber'd on together ; the old man He would discourse and with a mastery,

Beguiling many a league of half its length, A charm hy none resisted, none explain'd,

When question'd the adventures of his life, Unfelt before; but when his cheek grew pale,

And all the dangers he had undergone; All was forgotten. Then, howe'er employed,

His shipwrecks on inhospitable coasts, He would break off, and start as if he caught

And his long warfare. A glimpse of something that would not be gone;

They were bound, he said, And turn and gaze, and shrink into himself,

To a great fair at Reggio; and the boy, As though the Fiend was there, and, face to face,

Believing all the world were to be there,
Scowld o'er his shoulder.

And I among the rest, let loose his tongue,
Most devout he was;

And promised me much pleasure. His short trance, Most unremitting in the Services;

Short as it was, had, like a charm'd cup, Then, only then, untroubled, unassail'd;

Restored his spirit, and, as on we crawld, And, to beguile a melancholy hour,

Slow as the snail (my muleteer dismounting, Would sometimes exercise that noble art

And now his mules addressing, now his pipe, He learnt in Florence; with a master's hand,

And now Luigi) he pour'd out his heart, As to this day the Sacristy attests,

Largely repaying me. At length the sun
Painting the wonders of the Apocalypse.

Departed, setting in a sea of gold;
And, as we gazed, he bade me rest assured

That like the setting would the rising be.
At length he sunk to rest, and in his cell
Left, when he went, a work in secret done,

Their harp-it had a voice oracular,
The portrait, for a portrait it must be,

And in the desert, in the crowded street, That langs behind the curtain. Whence he drew, Spoke when consulted. If the treble chord None here can doubt: for they that come to catch Twanged shrill and clear, o'er hill and dale they went, The faintest glimpse-to catch it and be gone,

The grandsire, step by step, led by the child; Gaze as he gazed, then shrink into themselves,

And not a rain-drop from a passing cloud Acting the self-same part. But why 't was drawn, Fell on their garments. Thus it spoke to-day; Whether, in penance, to atone for Guilt,

Inspiring joy, and, in the young one's mind, Or to record the anguish Guili inflicts,

Brighitening a patlı already full of sunshine.
Or haply to familiarize his mind

SXII.
With what he could not fly from, none can say,
For none could learn the burden of his soul.

THE FELUCA.

DAY glimmerd; and beyond the precipice
Michael Angelo

(Which my mule follow'd as in love with fear,

Should have the power, the will to make this world
A dismal prison-house, and life itself,
Life in its prime, a burden and a curse
To him who never wrong'd them! Who that breathes
Would not, when first he heard it, turn away
As from a tale monstrous, incredible?
Surely a sense of our mortality,
A consciousness how soon we shall gone,
Or, if we linger-but a few short years,
How sure to look upon our brother's grave,
Should of itself incline to pity and love,
And prompt us rather to assist, relieve,
Than aggravate the evils each is heir to.

Or as in scorn, yet more and more inclining
To tempt the danger where it menaced most),
A sea of vapour rolld. Methought we went
Along the utmost edge of this, our world ;
But soon the surges fled, and we descried
Nor dimly, though the lark was silent yet,
Thy gulf, La Spezzia. Ere the morning-gun,
Ere the first day-streak we alighted there;
And not a breath, a murmur! Every sail
Slept in the offing. Yet along the shore
Great was the stir; as at the noontide hour,
None unemployed. Where from its native rock
A streamlet, clear and full, ran to the sea,
The maidens knelt and sung as they were wont,
Washing their garments. Where it met the tide,
Sparkling and lost, an ancient pinnace lay
Keel-upward, and the faggot blazed, the tar
Fumed from the cauldron; while, beyond the fort,
Whither I wander'd, step by step led on,
The fishers dragg'd their net, the fish within
At every heave fluttering and full of life,
At every heave striking their silver fins
'Gainst the dark meshes.

Soon a boatman's shout
Re-echoed; and red bonnets on the beach,
Waving, recall'd me. We embark'd and left
That noble haven, where, when Genoa reign'd,
A hundred galleys shelter'd-in the day,
When lofty spirits met, and, deck to deck,
Doria, Pisani (158) fought; that narrow field
Ample enough for glory. On we went,
Ruftling with many an oar the crystalline sea, (179)
On from the rising to the setting sun,
In silence-underneath a mountain-ridge,
Untamed, untameable, reflecting round
The saddest purple; nothing to be seer
Of life or culture, såve where, at the foot,
Some village and its church, a scanty line,
Athwart the wave gleam'd faintly. Fear of ill
Narrow'd our course, fear of the hurricane,
And that yet greater scourge, the crafty Moor,
Who, like a tiger prowling for his prey,
Springs and is gone, and on the adversc coast
(Where Tripoli and Tunis and Algiers
Forge fetters, and white turbans on the mole
Gather, whene'er the Crescent comes display'd
Over the Cross) his human merchandize
To many a curious, many a 'cruel eye
Exposes. Ah, how oft where now the sun
Slept on the shore, have ruthless scimitars
Flash'd through the lattice, and a swarthy crew
Drage'd forth, erelong to number them for sale,
Erelong to part them in their agony,
Parent and child! How oft where now we rode (180)
Over the billow, has a wretched son,
Or yet more wretched sire, grown grey in chains,
Labour'd, his hands upon the oar, his eyes
Upon the land—the land, that gave him birth;
And, as he gazed, his homestall through his tears
Fondly imagined ; when a Christian ship
Of war appearing in her bravery,
A voice in anger cried, «Use all your strength !»

But when, ah when, do they that can, forbear To crush the unresisting? Strange, that men, Creatures so frail, so soon, alas! to die,

At length the day departed, and the moon Rose like another sun, illumining Waters and woods and cloud-capt promontories, Glades for a hermit's cell, a lady's bower, Scenes of Elysium, such as Night alone Reveals below, nor often-scenes that fled As at the waving of a wizard's wand, And left behind them, as their parting gift, A thousand nameless odours. All was still; And now the nightingale her song pour'd forth In such a torrent of heart-felt delight, So fast it flow'd, her tongue so voluble, As if she thought her hearers would be gone Ere half was told. 'T was where in the north-west, Still unassa il'd and unassailable, Thy pharos, Genoa, first display'd itself, Burning in stillness on its cragey seat; That guiding star so oft the only one, When those now glowing in the azure vault, Are dark and silent. 'T was where o'er the sea, For we were now within a cable's length, Delicious gardens hung; green galleries, And marble terraces in many a flight, And fairy-arches flung from cliff to cliff, Wildering, enchanting; and, above them all, A Palace, such as somewhere in the East, In Zenastan or Araby the blest, Among its golden groves and fruits of gold, And fountains scattering rainbows in the sun, Rose, when Aladdin rubb'd the wondrous lamp; Such, if not fairer; and, when we shot by, A scene of revelry, in long array The windows blazing. But we now approach'd A City far-renown'd;" and wonder ceased.

XXIII.

GENOA.
This house was Andrea Doria's. Here he lived; (181)
And here at eve relaxing, when ashore,
Held many a pleasant, many a grave discourse (182)
With them that sought him, walking to and fro
As on his deck. 'T is less in length and breadth
Than many a cabin in a ship of war;
But 't is of marble, and at once inspires
The reverence due to ancient dignity.

He left it for a better; and 't is now
A house of trade, (183) the meanest merchandise
Cumbering its floors. Yet, fallen as it is,

I Genoa.

"T is still the noblest dwelling-even in Genoa!
And hadst thou, Andrea, lived there to the last,
Thou hadst done well; for there is that without,
That in the wall, which monarchs could not give,
Nor thou take with thee, that which says aloud,
It was thy Country's gift to her Deliverer.

'T is in the heart of Genoa (he who comes,
Must come on foot) and in a place of stir;
Men on their daily business, early and late,
Thronging thy very threshold. But when there,
Thou wert among thy fellow-citizens,
Thy children, for they hail'd thee as their sire;
And on a spot thou must have loved, for there,
Calling them round, thou gavest them more than life,
Giving what, lost, makes life not worth the keeping.
There thou didst do indeed an act divine;
Nor couldst thou leave thy door or enter in,
Without a blessing on thee.

Thou art now
Again among them. Thy brave mariners,
They who had fought so often by thy side,
Staining the mountain-billows, bore thee back;
And thou art sleeping in thy funeral-chamber.

Where, when the south-wind blows, and clouds on

clouds
Gather and fall, the peasant freights his bark,
Mindful to migrate when the king of floods
Visits his humble dwelling, and the keel,
Slowly uplifted over field and fence,
Floats on a world of waters from that low,
That level region, where no Echo dwells,
Or, if she comes, comes in her saddest plight,
Hoarse, inarticulate-on to where the path
Is lost in rank luxuriance, and to breathe
Is to inhale distemper, if not death ;
Where the wild-boar retreats, when hunters chafe,
And, when the day-star flames, the buffalo-herd,
Afflicted, plunge into the stagnant pool,
Nothing discern d amid the water-leaves,
Save here and there the likeness of a head,
Savage, uncouth; where none in human shape
Come, save the herdsman, levelling his length
Of lance with many a cry, or, Tartar-like,
Urging his steed along the distant hill
As from a danger. There, but not to rest,
I travell’d many a dreary league, nor turn'd
(Ah then least willing, as who had not been?)
When in the South, against the azure sky,
Three temples rose in soberest majesty,
The wondrous work of some heroic race.

Thine was a glorious course; but couldst thou there, Clad in thy cere-cloth-in that silent vault, Where thou art gather'd to thy ancestorsOpen thy secret heart and tell us all, Then should we hear thee with a sigh confess, A sigh how heavy, that thy happiest hours Were pass'd before these sacred walls were left, Before the ocean-wave thy wealth reflected, (184) Ånd pomp

and power drew envy, stirring up The ambitious man,' that in a perilous hour Fell from the plank.(185)

But now a long farewell! Oft, while I live, If once again in England, once again In my own chimney-nook, as Night steals on, With half-shul eyes reclining, oft, methinks, While the wind blusters and the pelting rain Clatters without, shall I recall to mind The scenes, occurrences, I met with here, And wander in Elysium; many a note Of wildest melody, magician-like, Awakening, such as the Calabrian horn, Along the mountain-side, when all is still, Pours forth at folding-time; and many a chant, Solemn, sublime, such as at midnight flows From the full choir, when richest harmonies Break the deep silence of thy glens, La Cava; To him who lingers there with listening ear, Now lost and now descending as from Heaven!

XXIV.

A FAREWELL. 2

[blocks in formation]

And now farewell to Italy-perhaps
For ever! Yet, methinks, I could not go,
I could not leave it, were it mine to say,
<< Farewell for ever!

Many a courtesy,
That sought no recompense, and met with none
But in the swell of heart with which it came,
Have I experienced; not a cabin-door,
Go where I would, but open'd with a smile;
From the first hour, when, in my long descent,
Strange perfumes rose, rose as to welcome me,
From flowers that minister'd like unseen spirits;
From the first hour, when vintage-songs broke forth,
A grateful earnest, and the Southern lakes,
Dazzlingly bright, unfolded at my feet;
They that receive the cataracts, and erelong
Dismiss them, but how changed-onward to roll
From age to age in silent majesty,
Blessing the nations, and reflecting round
The gladness they inspire.

Gentle or rude,
No scene of life but has contributed
Much to remember-from the Polesine,

Note 1, page 40, col. 2.

As on that Sabbath-eve when he arrived, « J'arrive essoufflé, tout en nage; le cœur me bat, je vois de loin les soldats à leur poste ; j'accours, je crie d'une voix étouffee. Il étoit trop tard.»—See Les Confessions, L. 1. The street, in which he was born, is called Rue Rousseau.

Note 2, page 40, col. 2.
He sate bim down and wepl-wept till the morning.

Lines of eleven syllables occur almost in every page of Milton; but though they are not unpleasing, they ought not to be admitted into heroic poetry; since the

1 Fiosco.

Written at Susa, May 1, 1822.

So courteous.

narrow limits of our language allow us no other dis

Note 7, page 42, col. 1. tinction of epic and tragic measures.»- Joenson.

St Bruno's onceIt is remarkable that he used them most at last. In

The Grande Chartreuse. It was indebted for its the Paradise Regained they occur oftener than in the foundation to a miracle; as every guest may learn Paradise Lost in the proportion of ten to one; and let it there from a little book that lies on the table in his be remembered that they supply us with another close, cell, the cell allotted to him by the fathers. another cadence; that they add, as it were, a string to the instrument; and, by enabling the Poet to relax at

• In this year the canon died, and, as all believed, in pleasure, to rise and fall with his subject, contribute

the odour of sanctity: for who in his life had been what is most wanted, compass, variety.

so holy, in his death so happy? But false are the Shakspeare seems to have delighted in them, and in

judgments of men; as the event showeth. For when some of his soliloquies has used them four and five times bad entered the church, the bearers set down the bier,

the hour of his funeral had arrived, when the mourners in succession; an example I have not followed in mine.

and As in the following instance, where the subject is so

every voice was lifted up in the Miserere, sudlemn beyond all others.

denly and as none knew how, the lights were extin

guished, the anthem stopt! A darkness succeeded, a To be, or not to be, that is the question :

silence as of the grave; and these words came in sorWhether 't is nobler in the mind to suffer

rowful accents from the lips of the dead. I am The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

summoned before a Just God! A Just God judgeth And, by opposing, end them.

me! -- I am condemned by a Just God !»

In the church, says the legend, there stood a young They come nearest to the flow of an unstudied eloquence, and should therefore be used in the drama; but time resolved to withdraw into the desert. It was he

man with his hands clasped in prayer, who from that why exclusively? Horace, as we learn from himself, whom we now invoke as St Bruno.» admitted the Musa Pedestris in his happiest hours, in those when he was most at his ease; and we cannot

Note 8, page 42, col. 1. regret her visits. To her we are indebted for more than

that house so rich of old,
half he has left us; nor was she ever at his elbow in
greater dishabille, than when he wrote the celebrated The words of Ariosto.
Journey to Brundusium.

Ricca-e cortesa a chiunque vi venia,
Note 3, page 41, col. 1.

Milton was there at the fall of the leaf.
-like bim of old.

Note

9, page 42, col. 2. The Abbot of Clairvaux. • To admire or despise St

Bread to the budgry. Bernard as he ought,» says Gibbon, • the reader, like

They distribute, in the course of the year, from thirty myself, should have before the windows of his library to thirty-five thousand rations of food; receiving trathat incomparable landskip..

vellers of every description,-Le Père Biselx, Prieur. Note 4, page 41, col. 1.

Note 10, page 42, col. 2.
That winds beside the mirror of all beauty.

Dessaix, who turned the scale. There is no describing in words; but the following Of all the generals I ever had under me, Dessaix poslines were written on the spot, and may serve perhaps to sessed the greatest talents. He loved glory for itself., recall to some of my readers what they have seen in this enchanting country.

Note 11, page 43, col. 1.

And gatber'd from above, below, around.
I love to watch in silence till the Sun
Sets; and Mont Blanc, array'd in crimson and gold,

The Author of Lalla Rookh, a Poet of such singular Flings his broad shadow half across tho Lake;

felicity as to give a lustre to all he touches, has written a Tbat shadow, though it comes through pathless tracts song on this subject, called the Crystal-hunters. Of ether, and o'er Alp and desert drear, Only less brigbt, less glorious iban himself.

Note 12, page 43, col. 1. But, while we gaze, 't is gone! And now he shines

-- nor long before. Like burnish d silver; all, below, the Night's.

M. Ebel mentions an escape almost as miraculous, Such moments are most precious. Yet there are Others, that follow them, to me still more so;

L'an 1790, le nommé Christian Boren, propriétaire de When once again he changes, once again

l'auberge du Grindelwald, eul le malheur de se jeter Clothing himself in grandeur all his own;

dans une fente du glacier, en le traversant avec un trouWhen, like a Ghost, shadow less, colourless,

peau de moutons qu'il ramenoit des pâturages de BaniHe melts away into the Heaven of Heavens ; Himself alone reveal'd, all lesser things

seck. Heureusement qu'il tomba dans le voisinage du As though they were not !

grand torrent qui coule dans l'intérieur, il en suivit le Note 5, page 41, col. 2.

lit par-dessous les voûtes de glace, et arriva au pied du

glacier avec un bras cassé. Cet homme est actuellement Two dogs of grave demeanour welcomed me.

encore en vie.» Berri, so remarkable for his sagacity, was dead. His

Manuel du Voyageur. Art. Grindelwald. skin is stuffed, and is preserved in the Museum of Berne.

Note 13, page 43, col. 2.
Note 6, page 42, col. 1.

a wondrous monument. But the Bise blew cold,

Almost

every

mountain of any rank or condition has The north-east wind. This description was written such a bridge. The most celebrated in this country is in June, 1816.

on the Swiss side of St Gothard.

« PreviousContinue »