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It haunts me still, though many a year has filed, When a spring-lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fasten'd her down for ever!
'T was night; the noise and bustle of the day With scriplure-stories from the Life of Christ; Were o'er. The mountebank no longer wrought A chest that came from Venice, and had held Miraculous cures-he and his stage were gone ; The ducal robes of some old Ancestor
And he who, when the crisis of his tale That by the way—it may be true or false- Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear But don't forget the picture ; and you will not, Sent round his cap; and he who thrumm'd his wira When you have heard the tale they told me there. And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain
Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries,' She was an only child-her name Ginevra, So well portray'd and by a son of thine, The joy, the pride of an indulgent Father; Whose voice had swellid the hubbub in his youth, And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Were hush'd, Bologna ; silence in the streets, Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
The squares, when hark, the clattering of fleet hoofs! Her playmate from her birth, and her first love. And soon a courier, posting as from far,
Housing and holster, boot and belted coat Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
And doublet, stain'd with many a various soil, She was all gentleness, all gaiety,
Stopt and alighted. "T was where hangs aloft Her pranks the favorite theme of every tongue.
That ancient sign, the pilgrim, welcoming But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
All who arrive there, all perhaps save those
Clad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell,
Those on a pilgrimage: and now approach'd
Wheels, through the lofty porticoes resounding, Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade
And, ere the man had half his story done,
Mine host received the Master-one long used When all sate down, the Bride herself was wanting. To sojourn among strangers, everywhere Nor was she to be found! Her Father cried,
(Go where he would, along the wildest track) « "T is but to make a trial of our love!”
Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost, And fill'd his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And leaving footsteps to be traced by those And soon from guest to guest the panic spread. Who love the haunts of Genius; one who saw, Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Observed, nor shunn'd the busy scenes of life, Laughing and looking back, and flying still,
But mingled not, and, 'mid the din, the stir, Her ivory-tooth imprinted on his finger.
Lived as a separate Spirit. But now, alas, she was not to be found ;
Much had pass'd Nor from that hour could anything be guess’d, Since last we parted; and those five short yearsBut that she was not !
Much had they told! His clustering locks were turnus Weary of his life,
Grey; nor did aught recall the Youth that swam Francesco flew to Venice, and, embarking,
From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice, Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought Orsini lived-and long might you have seen
Flash'd lightning-like, nor linger'd on the way, An old man wandering as in quest of something,
Waiting for words. Far, far into the night Something he could not find-he knew not what.
We sate, conversing-no unwelcome hour, When he was gone, the house remained awhile
The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose, Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.
Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine. Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten, Well I remember how the golden sun When on an idle day, a day of search
Fill'd with its beams the unfathomable gulfs, "Mid the old lumber in the Gallery,
As on we travellid, and along the ridge, That mouldering chest was noticed; and 't was said 'Mid groves of cork and cistus and wild fig, By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, His motley household camem -Not last nor least, " Why not remove it from its lurking-place?" Battista, who upon the moonlight-sea 'T was done as soon as said ; but on the way of Venice, had so ably, zealously It burst, it fell; and lo, a skeleton,
Served, and, at parting, flung his oar away
Had worn so long that honorable badge,
1 See the Cries of Bologna, as drawn by Annibal Carracci Engraven with a name, the name of both,
He was of very humble origin; and, to correct bis brother's * Ginevra."
vanity, once sent him a portrait of their father, the tailor, There then had she found a grave!
threading his needle. Within that chest had she conceal'd herself,
2 The principal gondolier, il fante di poppa, was almost al
ways in the confidence of his master, and employed on occa Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy; sions that required judgment and address.
The gondolier's, in a Patrician House
Of all the fairest cities of the earth
None are so fair as Florence. 'Tis a gem
Of purest ray, a treasure for a casket!
When it emerged from darkness! Search within, Ravenna; where, from Dante's sacred tomb
Without, all is enchantment! "Tis the past
Contending with the present; and in turn
In this chapel wrought (75) Wandering and lost, he had so oft beheld 3
Massaccio; and he slumbers underneath. (What is not visible to a Poet's eye?)
Wouldst thou behold his monument? Look round! The spectre-knight, the hell-hounds, and their prey, And know that where we stand, stood oft and long, The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth
Oli till the day was gone, Raphael himself,
To steal a spark from their authentic fire,
Theirs, who first broke the gloom, Sons of the Morning. Appear'd and vanish'd (many a sturdy steer 4 Yoked and unyoked), while as in happier days
There, on the seat that runs along the wall, He pour'd his spirit forth. The past forgot,
South of the Church, east of the belfry-tower All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
(Thou canst not miss it), in the sultry time Present or future. He is now at rest;
Would Danie sit conversing (76), and with those
Who little thought that in his hand he held And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
The balance, and assign’d at his good pleasure
To each his place in the invisible world,
To some an upper, some a lower region;
Reserving in his secret mind a niche
For thee, Saltrello, who with quirks of law Was generous, noble-noble in its scorn
Hadst plagued him sore, and carefully requiting (77) Of all things low or little; nothing there Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Such as ere-long condemn'd his mortal part
To fire.(78) Sit down awhile—then by the gates Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
Wondrously wrought, so beautiful, so glorious,
That they might serve to be the gates of Heaven, None more than I, thy gratitude would build
Enter the Baptistery. That place he loved,
Calling it his! And in his visits there
Well might he take delight! For, when a child, Thy wish accomplish'd ; dying in the land Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire,
Playing, with venturous feet, near and yet nearer
One of the fonts, fell in, he flew and saved him, (79) Dying in Greece, and in a cause so glorious !
Flew with an energy, a violence,
That broke the marble—a mishap ascribed They in thy train-ah, little did they think,
To evil motives ; his, alas! to lead As round we went, that they so soon should sit
A life of trouble, and ere-long to leave Mourning beside thee, while a Nation mourn'd,
All things most dear to him, erc-long to know Changing her festal for her funeral song;
How salt another's bread is, and how toilsome
The going up and down another's stairs.
Nor then forget that Chamber of the Dead, (80) Thy years of joy and sorrow.
Where the gigantic forms of Night and Day, And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
Turn'd into stone, rest everlastingly, Oh, let him pause! For who among us all,
Yet still are breathing; and shed round at noon Tried as thou wert—even from thine earliest years, A light, a darkness, mingling each with each;
A two-fold influence-only to be felt-
Both and yet neither. There, from age to age, Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Two Ghosts are sitting on their sepulchres.
That is the Duke Lorenzo. Mark him well. (81) Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine Her charmed cup-ah, who among us all
He meditates, his head upon his hand.
What scowls beneath his broad and helm-like bonnet! Could say he had not err'd as much, and more?
Is it a face, or but an eyeless skull?
"T is hid in shade; yet, like the basilisk, 1 Adrianum mare.- Cic. 2 See the Prophecy of Dante.
It fascinates, and is intolerable. 3 See the tale as told by Boccaccio and Dryden.
His mien is noble, most majestical! 4 They wait for the traveller's carriage at the foot of every hill. Then most so, when the distant choir is heard,
Thou art gone ;
At morn or evenor fail thou to attend
The bloody sheet. “ Look there! Look there'" ho On that thrice-hallow'd day,(82) when all are there ; cried, When all, propitiating with solemn songs,
“ Blood calls for blood-and from a father's hand! With light, and frankincense, and holy water, -Unless thyself wilt save him that ead office. Visit the Dead. Then wilt thou feel his power! What!” he exclaim'd, when, shuddering at the sight,
The boy breathed out, “ I stood but on my guard." But let not Sculpture, Painting, Poesy,
“ Darest thou then blacken one who never wrong'd Or they, the masters of these mighty spells,
thee, Detain us. Our first homage is to Virtue.
Who would not set his foot upon a worm ? Where, in what dungeon of the Citadel
Yes, thou must die, lest others fall by thee, (It must be known-the writing on the wall (83)
And thou shouldst be the slayer of us all." Cannot be gone't was cut in with his dagger,
Then from Garzia's side he took the dagger, Ere, on his knees to God, he slew himself),
That fatal one which spilt his brother's blood ; Where, in whal dungeon, did Filippo Strozzi,
And, kneeling on the ground, “Great God!” he cried, The last, the greatest of the Men of Florence,
“Grant me the strength to do an act of Justice. Breathe out his soul_lest in his agony,
Thou knowest what it costs me; but, alas, When on the rack and call'd upon to answer,
How can I spare myself, sparing none else He might accuse the guiltless.
Grant me the strength, the will—and ol forgive That debt paid,
The sinful soul of a most wretched son. But with a sigh, a tear for human frailty,
"T is a most wretched father who implores it." We may return, and once more give a loose
Long on Garzia's neck he hung, and wept To the delighted spirit-worshipping,
Tenderly, long press'd him to his bosom ; In her small temple of rich workmanship,'
And then, but while he held him by the arm, Venus herself, who, when she left the skies,
Thrusting him backward, turn'd away his face, Came hither.
And stabb'd him to the heart.
Well might De Thou,
When in his youth he came to Cosmo's court,
Think on the past; and, as he wander'd through AYONG the awful forms that stand assembled The Ancient Palace (87) through those ample spacer In the great square of Florence, may be seen Silent, deserted-stop awhile to dwell That Cosmo, (84) not the Father of his Country, Upon two portraits there, drawn on the wall (88) Not he so styled, but he who play'd the tyrant. Together, as of two in bonds of love, Clad in rich armor like a paladin,
One in a Cardinal's habit, one in black, But with his helmet off—in kingly state,
Those of the unhappy brothers, and infer Aloft he sits upon his horse of brass ;
From the deep silence that his questions drew, (89) And they, who read the legend underneath, The terrible truth. Go and pronounce him happy. Yet there is
Well might he heave a sigh A Chamber at Grosseto, that, if walls
For poor humanity, when he beheld Could speak, and tell of what is done within, That very Cosmo shaking o'er his fire, Would turn your admiration into pity.
Drowsy and deaf and inarticulate, Half of what pass'd died with him; but the rest, Wrapt in his night-gown, o'er a sick man's mess, All he discover'd when the fit was on,
In the last stage-death-struck and deadly pale ; All that, by those who listen'd, could be glean'd His wife, another, not his Eleonora, From broken sentences and starts in sleep,
At once his nurse and his interpreter. Is told, and by an honest Chronicler. (85)
XXII. Two of his sons, Giovanni and Garzia (The eldest had not seen his sixteenth summer),
THE CAMPAGNA OF FLORENCE.
Where Cimabue (90) found a shepherd-boy'
The phases of the moon, look round below
On Arno's vale, where the dove-color'd oxen When all slept sound, save the disconsolate Mo- Are plowing up and down among the vines, ther,” (86)
While many a careless note is sung aloud, Who little thought of what was yet to come, Filling the air with sweetness—and on thee, And lived but to be told—he bade Garzia
Beautiful Florence, (91) all within thy walls, Arise and follow him. Holding in one hand Thy groves and gardens, pinnacles and towers, A winking lamp, and in the other a key
Drawn to our feet. Massive and dungeon-like, thither he led ;
From that small spire, just caught And, having enter'd in and lock'd the door, By the bright ray, that church among the rest (92) The father fix'd his eyes upon the son,
By One of Old distinguish'd as The Bride, And closely questioned him. No change betray'd Let us pursue in thought (what can we better?) Or guilt or fear. Then Cosmo lifted up
Those who assembled there at matin-prayers; ? (93)
1 The Tribune.
2 Eleonora di Toledo.
2 See the Decameron. First Day
Who, when Vice revell'd, and along the street To catch a thrush on every lime-twig there ·
Or in the tavern by the highway-side
Dofling his rustic suit, and, duly clad, Sate down in the high grass and in the shade Entering his closet, and, among his books, Of many a tree sun-proof-day after day,
Among the Great of every age and clime, When all was still and nothing to be heard A numerous court, turning to whom he pleased, But the Cicala's voice among the olives,
Questioning each why he did this or that, Relating in a ring, to banish care,
And learning how to overcome the fear Their hundred novels.
of poverty and death? Round the hill they went, (95)
Nearer we hail Round underneath—first to a splendid house, Thy sunny slope, Arcetri, sung of Old Gherardi, as an old tradition runs,
For its green wine (100)-dearer to me, to most, That on the left, just rising from the vale ;
As dwelt on by that great Astronomer,' A place for Luxury—the painted rooms,
Seven years a prisoner at the city-gate, (101) The open galleries and middle court
Let in but in his grave-clothes. Sacred be Not unprepared, fragrant and gay with flowers. His cottage (justly was it callid The Jewel!) (102) Then westward to another, nobler yet;
Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight That on the right, now known as the Palmieri, Glimmer'd, at blush of dawn he dress'd his vines, Where Art with Nature vied—a Paradise, Chanting aloud in gaiety of heart With verdurous walls, and many a trellis'd walk Some verse of Ariosto. There, unseen, (103) All rose and jasmine, many a forest-vista
In manly beauty Milton stood before him, Cross'd by the deer. Then to the Ladies' Valley; Gazing with reverent awe-Milton, his guest, And the clear lake, that seem'd as by enchantment Just then come forth, all life and enterprise ; To lift up to the surface every stone
He in his old age and extremity, Of lustre there, and the diminutive fish
Blind, at noon-day exploring with his staff; Innumerable, dropt with crimson and gold, His eyes upturn’d as to the golden sun, Now motionless, now glancing to the sun. His eye-balls idly rolling. Litile then
Did Galileo think whom he bade welcome; Who has not dwelt on their voluptuous day? That in his hand he held the hand of one The morning-banquet by the fountain-side, (96) Who could requite him—who would spread his namo The dance that follow'd, and the noon-tide slumber; O'er lands and seas—great as himself, nay greater; Then the tales told in turn, as round they lay Milton as little that in him he saw, On carpets, the fresh waters murmuring;
As in a glass, what he himself should be, And the short interval fill'd up with games Destined so soon to fall on evil days Of Chess, and talk, and reading old Romances, And evil tongues--so soon, alas, to live Till supper-time, when many a syren-voice In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round, Sung down the stars, and in the grass the torches And solitude. Burnt brighter for their absence.
Well pleased, could we pursue He,' whose dream The Arno, from his birth-place in the clouds, It was (it was no more) sleeps in Val d'Elsa, So near the yellow Tiber's (104)-springing up Sleeps in the church, where (in his car I ween) From his four fountains on the Apennine, The Friar pour'd out his catalogue of treasures; (97) That mountain-ridge a sea-mark to the ships A ray, imprimis, of the star that shone
Sailing on either Sea.
Downward he runs, To the Wise Men; a phial-full of sounds, Scattering fresh verdure through the desolate wild, The musical chimes of the great bells that hung Down by the City of Hermits, (105) and, ere-long, In Solomon's Temple; and, though last not least, The venerable woods of Vallombrosa ; A feather from the Angel Gabriel's wing,
Then through these gardens to the Tuscan sea, Dropt in the Virgin's chamber.
Reflecting castles, convents, villages,
That dark ridge And those great Rivals in an elder day, Stretching away in the South-east, conceals it; Florence and Pisa—who have given him fame, Not so his lowly roof and scanty farm, (98)
Fame everlasting, but who stain'd so oft His copse and rill, if yet a trace be left,
His troubled waters. Oft, alas, were seen, Who lived in Val di Pesa, suffering long
When flight, pursuit, and hideous rout were there, Exile and want, and the keen shafts of Malice, Hands, clad in gloves of steel, held up imploring ;(106) With an unclouded mind.” The glimmering tower The man, the hero, on his foaming steed, On the grey rock beneath, his land-mark once, Borne underneath-already in the realms Now serves for ours, and points out where he ate Of Darkness. His bread with cheerfulness.
Nor did night or burning noon Who sees him not Bring respite. Oft, as that great Artist saw,” (107) ("T is his own sketch--he drew it from himself) (99) Whose pencil had a voice, the cry “To arms !" Playing the bird-catcher, and sallying forth And the shrill trumpet, hurried up the bank In an autumnal morn, laden with cages,
Those who had stolen an hour to breast the tide,
2 Machia vel.
2 Michael Angelo.
And wash from their unharness'd limbs the blood Stood at her door ; and, like a sorceress, flung And sweat of battle. Sudden was the rush, Her dazzling spell. Subtle she was, and rich, Violent the tumult; for, already in sight,
Rich in a hidden pearl of heavenly light, Nearer and nearer yet the danger drew;
Her daughter's beauty; and too well she knew Each every sinew straining, every feature,
Its virtue! Patiently she stood and watch'd; Each snatching up, and girding, buckling on Nor stood alone-but spoke not-In her breast Morion and greave and shirt of twisted mail, Her purpose lay; and, as a youth pass'd by, As for his life-no more perchance to taste, Clad for the nuptial rite, she smiled and said, Arno, the grateful freshness of thy glades,
Litting a corner of the maiden's veil, Thy waters—where, exulting, he had felt
" This had I treasured up in secret for thee. A swimmer's transport, there, alas, to float This hast thou lost!" He gazed, and was undone ! And welter. Nor between the gusts of War, Forgetting—not forgot-he broke the bond, When flocks were feeding, and the shepherd's pipe And paid the penalty, losing his life Gladden'd the valley, when, but not unarmd, At the bridge-foot ;(111) and hence a world of woe. The sower came forth, and, following him who Vengeance for vengeance crying, blood for blood; plow'd,
No intermission! Law, that slumbers not, Threw in the seed-did thy indignant waves And, like the Angel with the flaming sword, Escape pollution. Sullen was the splash,
Sits over all, at once chastising, healing, Heary and swift the plunge, when they received Himself the Avenger, went; and every street The key that just had grated on the ear
Ran red with mutual slaughter-hough sometimes Of Ugolino—closing up for ever
The young forgot the lessons they had learnt,
Thee and thy Paolo. When last
In that still hour (the heat, the glare was gone, When many a winter-flood, thy tributary,
Not so the splendor--through the cedar-grove Was through its rocky glen rushing, resounding,
A radiance stream'd like a consuming fire, And thou wert in thy might, to save, restore
As though the glorious orb, in its descent, A charge most precious. To the nearest ford,
Had come and rested there) when last ye met, Hastening, a horseman from Arezzo came,
And those relentless brothers dragg'd him forth, Careless, impatient of delay, a babe
It had been well, hadst thou slept on, Imelda, (112) Slung in a basket to the knotty staff
Nor from thy trance of fear awaked, as night That lay athwart his saddle-bow. He spurs,
Fell on that fatal spot, to wish thee dead, He enters; and his horse, alarm’d, perplex'd.
To track him by his blood, to search, to find, Halts in the midst. Great is the stir, the strife ;
Then fling thee down to catch a word, a look, And lo, an atom on that dangerous sea, (108)
A sigh, if yet thou couldst (alas, thou couldst not) The babe is floating! Fast and far he flies ;
And die, unseen, unthought of—from the wound Now tempest-rock'd, now whirling round and round, Sucking the poison. (113) But not to perish. By thy willing waves
Yet, when Slavery camo Bome to the shore, among the bulrushes
Worse follow'd. (114) Genius, Valor left the land, The ark has rested ; and unhurt, secure,
Indignant-all that had from age to age
Tyrant and slave. For deeds of violence,
Struck upward—then slunk off, or, if pursued,
Dropping thick gore.
Misnamed to lull suspicion, Braving assault-all rugged, all emboss'd Below, and still distinguish'd by the rings
In every Palace was The Laboratory, (115)
Where he within brew'd poisong swift and slow, of brass, that held in war and festival-time Their family-standards) fatal was the day
That scatter'd terror till all things seem'd poisonous,
And brave men trembled if a hand held out
A nosegay or a letter; while the Great
Drank from the Venice-glass, that broke, that shiver'de Weeds to be worn hereafter by so many,
If aught malignant, aught of thine was there,