« PreviousContinue »
And thou hast found at last. Were I as thou, None else were by ; and, as I gazed unseen,
Her youth, her innocence and gaiety
Went to my heart; and, starting up, I cried, Soon, limb by limb, be mangled on a wheel, · Fly—for your life!' Alas, she shriek’d, she fell; Then gibbeted to blacken for the vultures.
And, as I caught her falling, all rush'd forth.
Lovely as Hebe! Lay her in the shade.'
· Now bear her hence to the well-head below.
A few cold drops will animate this marble.
As I stagger'd down,
Frantic with love, with hate, Great God! I cried And all were gone, save him who now kept guard, (I had almost forgotten how to pray) And on his arms lay musing. Young he seem'd, • Why may I not, while yet—while yet I can, And sad, as though he could indulge at will Release her from a thraldom worse than death?" Some secret sorrow. “Thou shrink'st back," he said. "T was done as soon as said. I kiss'd her brow “ Well may'st thou, lying, as thou dost, so near And smote her with my dagger. A short cry A ruffian-one for ever link'd and bound
She utter'd, but she stirred not; and to heaven To guilt and infamy. There was a time
Her gentle spirit filed. "T was where the path When he had not perhaps been deem'd unworthy, In its descent turn'd suddenly. No eye When he had watch'd that planet to its setting, Observed me, though their steps were following fast And dwelt with pleasure on the meanest thing But soon a yell broke forth, and all at once That Nature has given birth to. Now 't is past. Levellid their deadly aim. Then I had ceased
To trouble or be troubled, and had now “Wouldst thou know more? My story is an old one. (Would I were there!) been slumbering in my grave I loved, was scorn'd; I trusted, was betray'd;
Had not Rusconi with a terrible shout And in my anguish, my necessity,
Thrown himself in between us, and exclaim'd, Met with the fiend, the tempter-in Rusconi. Grasping my arm, • *T is bravely, nobly done! • Why thus ? he cried. Thou wouldst be free, and Is it for deeds like these thou wear'st a sword ? darest not.
Was this the business that thou camest upon? Come and assert thy birth-right while thou canst.
-But 't is his first offence, and let it pass. A robber's cave is better than a dungeon;
Like the young tiger he has tasted blood, And death itself, what is it at the worst,
And may do much hereafter. He can strike What, but a harlequin's leap? Him I had known,
Home to the hilt.' Then in an under-tone, Had served with, suffer'd with ; and on the walls
• Thus wouldst thou justify the pledge I gave, Of Capua, while the moon went down, I swore
When in the eyes of all I read distrust ? Allegiance on his dagger.
For once,' and on his cheek, methought, I saw Dost thou ask
The blush of virtue, • I will save thee, Albert; How I have kept my oath? Thou shalt be told,
Again, I cannot.'" Cost what it may.But grant me, I implore,
Ere his tale was told, Grant me a passport to some distant land,
As on the heath we lay, my ransom came; That I may never, never more be named.
And in six days, with no ungrateful mind,
Albert was sailing on a quiet sea.
—But the night wears, and thou art much in need When on a vineyard-hill we lay conceal’d
of rest. The young Antonio, with his torch, And scattered up and down as we were wont,
Is waiting to conduct thee to thy chamber.
This region, surely, is not of the earth."
Was it not dropt from heaven? Not a grove, Pleased for an instant; then as carelessly
Citron, or pine, or cedar, not a grot The strain resuming, and, where'er she stopt,
Sea-worn and mantled with the gadding vine, Rising on tiptoe underneath the boughs
But breathes enchantment. Not a cliff but flings To pluck a grape in very wantonness.
On the clear wave some image of delight, Her look, her mien and maiden-ornaments
Some cabin-roof glowing with crimson flowers, Show'd gentle birth ; and, step by step, she came Nearer and nearer to the dreadful snare.
1 Un pezzo di ciclo caduto in terra.-Sannazaro.
Some ruin'd temple or fallen monument,
And eager to enjoy.
Let us go round,
Receive its influence. The Cumæan towers,
There did they rise, sun-gilt; and here thy groves When he, the Patriarch, who escaped the Flood, Delicious Baiæ. Here (what would they not ?) Was with his household sacrificing there
The masters of the earth, unsatisfied,
Nothing now heard ashore, so great the change,
Everywhere Save when the sea-mew clamors, or the owl Fable and Truth have shed, in rivalry,
Hoots in the temple. Each her peculiar influence. Fable came,
What the mountainous Isle, And laugh'd and sung, arraying Truth in flowers, Seen in the South? 'T is where a Monster dwelt, Like a young child her grandam. Fable came; Who hurl'd his victims from the topmost cliff; Earth, sea and sky reflecting, as she few,
Then and then only merciful, so slow,
Fearing and fear'd he lived, cursing and cursed ; To Tartarus, and those thrice happy fields,
And still the dungeons in the rock breathe out Those fields with ether pure and purple light Darkness, distemper.-Strange, that one so vile Ever invested, scenes by him described,'
Should from his den strike terror through the world Who here was wont to wander, record
Should, where withdrawn in his decrepitude, What they reveal'd, and on the western shore Say to the noblest, be they where they might, Sleeps in a silent grove, o'erlooking thee,
“Go from the earth!" and from the earth they went. Beloved Parthenope.
Yet such things were—and will be, when mankind,
Losing all virtue, lose all energy ;
Let us turn the prow, And soberest meditation.
And in the track of him who went to die,' (164) Here the vines
Traverse this valley of waters, landing where Wed, each her elm, and o'er the golden grain A waking dream awaits us.
At a step Hang their luxuriant clusters, chequering
Two thousand years roll backward, and we stand, The sunshine; where, when cooler shadows fall, Like those so long within that awful place,* And the mild moon her fairy net-work weaves, Immovable, nor asking, Can it be? The lute, or mandoline, accompanied
Once did I linger there alone, till day By many a voice yet sweeter than their own,
Closed, and at length the calm of twilight came, Kindles, nor slowly; and the dance ? displays
So grateful, yet so solemn! At the fount, The gentle arts and witcheries of love,
Just where the three ways meel, I stood and look'd, Its hopes and fears and feignings, till the youth
('T was near a noble house, the house of Pansa), Drops on his knee as vanquish'd, and the maid,
And all was still as in the long, long night Her tambourine uplifting with a grace,
That follow'd, when the shower of ashes fell, Nature's and Nature's only, bids him rise.
When they that sought Pompeii, sought in vain ; But here the mighty Monarch underneath,
It was not to be found. But now a ray, He in his palace of fire, diffuses round
Bright and yet brighter, on the pavement glanced, A dazzling splendor Here, unseen, unheard,
And on the wheel-track worn for centuries, Opening another Eden in the wild,
And on the stepping-stones from side to side, He works his wonders; save, when issuing forth
O'er which the maidens, with their water-urns, In thunder, he blots out the sun, the sky,
Were wont to trip so lightly. Full and clear, And, mingling all things earthly as in scorn,
The moon was rising, and at once reveal'd Exalts the valley, lays the mountain low,
The name of every dweller, and his craft; Pours many a torrent from his burning lake, Shining throughout with an unusual lustre, And in an hour of universal mirth,
And lighting up this City of the Dead. What time the trump proclaims the festival,
Here lived a miller; silent and at rest Buries some capital city, there to sleep
His mill-stones now. In old companionship The sleep of ages—till a plow, a spade
Still do they stand as on the day he went, Disclose the secret, and the eye of day
Each ready for its office—but he comes not Glares coldly on the streets, the skeletons,
And here, hard by, (where one in idleness Each in his place, each in his gay attire,
2 Tiberius. 1 Virgil.
2 The Tarantella.
Has stopt to scrawl a ship, an armed man; unwilling to hear it, for it bears some resemblance to And in a tablet on the wall we read
that of the Merchant of Venice. Of shows ere-long to be) a sculptor wronght,
We were now arrived at a pavilion that command. Nor meanly; blocks, half-chisell'd into life, ed one of the noblest prospects imaginable; the Waiting his call. Here long, as yet attests mountains, the sea, and the islands illuminated by The trodden floor, an olive-merchant drew
the last beams of day; and, sitting down there, ho From many an ample jar, no more replenish'd ; proceeded with his usual vivacity; for the sadness, And here from his a vintner served his guests that had come across him, was gone. Largely, the stain of his o'erflowing cups
There lived in the fourteenth century, near BoFresh on the marble. On the bench, beneath, logna, a widow-lady of the Lambertini family, called They sate and quafrd, and look'd on them that pass'd, Madonna Lucrezia, who in a revolution of the state Gravely discussing the last news from Rome. had known the bitterness of poverty, and had even But lo, engraven on a threshold-stone,
begged her bread; kneeling day after day like a That word of courtesy, so sacred once,
statue at the gate of the cathedral; her rosary in her Hail! At a master's greeting we may enter.
left hand and her right held out for charity; her long And lo, a fairy palace! everywhere,
black veil concealing a face that had once adorned a As through the courts and chambers we advance,
court, and had received the homage of as many sonFloors of mosaic, walls of arabesque,
nets as Petrarch has written on Laura. And columns clustering in Patrician splendor.
But fortune had at last relented ; a legacy from a But hark, a footstep! May we not intrude?
distant relation had come to her relief; and she was And now, methinks, I hear a gentle laugh,
now the mistress of a small inn at the foot of the ApAnd gentle voices mingling as in converse !
ennines; where she entertained as well as she could, - And now a harp-string as struck carelessly,
and where those only stopped who were contented And now-along the corridor it comes
with a little. The house was still standing, when in I cannot err, a filling as of baths !
my youth I passed that way; though the sign of the -Ah, no, 't is but a mockery of the sense,
White Cross, the Cross of the Hospitallers, was no Idle and vain! We are but where we were ;
longer to be seen over the door; a sign which she Still wandering in a City of the Dead !
had taken, if we may believe the tradition there, in
honor of a maternal uncle, a grand-master of that XVI.
Order, whose achievements in Palestine she would THE BAG OF GOLD.
sometimes relate. A mountain-stream ran through I DINE very often with the good old Cardinal *** the garden; and at no great distance, where the road and, I should add, with his cats; for they always sit turned on its way to Bologna, stood a little chapel, in at his table, and are much the gravest of the com- which a lamp was always burning before a picture pany. His beaming countenance makes us forget his of the Virgin, a picture of great antiquity, the work age; nor did I ever see it clouded till yesterday, of some Greek artist. when, as we were contemplating the sun-set from his Here she was dwelling, respected by all who knew terrace, he happened, in the course of our conversa. her; when an event took place, which threw her tion, to allude to an affecting circumstance in his into the deepest affliction. It was at noon-day in
September that three foot-travellers arrived, and, He had just left the University of Palermo and seating themselves on a bench under her vine-trellis, was entering the army, when he became acquainted were supplied with a flagon of Aleatico by a lovely with a young lady of great beauty and merit, a girl, her only child, the image of her former self. Sicilian of a family as illustrious as his own. Living The eldest spoke like a Venetian, and his beard was near each other, they were often together; and, at short and pointed after the fashion of Venice. In his an age like theirs, friendship soon turns to love. But demeanor he affected great courtesy, but his look in. his father, for what reason I forget, refused his con- spired little confidence; for when he smiled, which sent to their union; till, alarmed at the declining he did continually, it was with his lips only, not with health of his son, he promised to oppose it no longer, his eyes; and they were always turned from yours. if, after a separation of three years, they continued His companions were bluff and frank in their man. as much in love as ever.
ner, and on their tongues had many a soldier's oath. Relying on that promise, he said, I set out on a In their hats they wore a medal, such as in that age long journey, but in my absence the usual arts were was often distributed in wer; and they were eviresorted to. Our letters were intercepted; and false dently subalterns in one of those Free Bands which rumors were spread—first of my indifference, then were always ready to serve in any quarrel, if a serof my inconstancy, then of my marriage with a rich vice it could be called, where a battle was little more heiress of Sienna; and, when at length I returned than a mockery; and the slain, as on an opera-stage, to make her my own, I found her in a convent of wero up and fighting to-morrow. Overcome with the Ursuline Nuns. She had taken the veil; and I, said heat, they threw aside their cloaks; and, with their he with a sigh-what else remained for me? I went gloves tucked under their belts, continued for some into the church.
time in earnest conversation. Yet many, he continued, as if to turn the conver- At length they rose to go; and the Venetians thus sation, very many have been happy though we were addressed their Hostess. “Excellent Lady, may we not; and, if I am not abusing an old man's privilege, leave under your roof, for a day or two, this bag of let me tell you a story with a better catastrophe. It gold ?" "You may,” she replied gaily. “ But rememwas told to me when a boy; and you may not beber, we fasten only with a latch. Bars and bolts,
we have none in our village ; and, if we had, where curtain, lest her beauty should divert their thoughts; would be your security ?"
a precaution in this instance at least unnecessary, " In your word, Lady.”
Lorenzo having lost his heart to another.' * But what if I died to-right? Where would it be To him she fies in her necessity; but of what then ?" said she, laughing. “The money would go to assistance can he be? He has just taken his place at the Church; for none could claim it."
the bar, but he has never spoken; and how stand up * Perhaps you will favor us with an acknowledg. alone, unpractised and unprepared as he is, against ment."
an array that would alarm the most experienced ? * If you will write it"
“ Were I as mighty as I am weak,” said he, “my An acknowledgment was written accordingly, and fears for you would make me as nothing. But I will she signed it before Master Bartolo, the village phy- be there, Gianetta ; and may the Friend of the sician who had just called by chance to learn the news Friendless give me strength in that hour! Even now of the day; the gold to be delivered when applied my heart fails me; but, come what will, while I have for, but to be delivered (these were the words) not to a loaf to share, you and your mother shall never want one-nor to two_but to the three; words wisely I will beg through the world for you." introduced by those to whom it belonged, knowing The day arrives, and the court assembles. The what they knew of each other. The gold they had claim is stated, and the evidence given. And now the just released from a miser’s chest in Perugia; and defence is called forbut none is made ; not a sylthey were now on a scent that promised more. lable is uttered; and, after a pause and a consulta
They and their shadows were no sooner departed, tion of some minutes, the Judges are proceeding to than the Venetian returned, saying, “Give me leave give judgment, silence having been proclaimed in to set my seal on the bag, as the others have done;" the court, when Lorenzo rises and thus addresses and she placed it on a table before him. But in that them. moment she was called away to receive a Cavalier, " Reverend Signors. Young as I am, may I venture who had just dismounted from his horse ; and, when to speak before you ? I would speak in behalf of one she came back, it was gone. The temptation had who has none else to help her; and I will not keep proved irresistible; and the man and the money had you long. vanished together.
“ Much has been said; much on the sacred nature · Wretched woman that I am!” she cried, as in an of the obligation—and we acknowledge it in its full agony of grief she fell on her daughter's neck, “What force. Let it be fulfilled, and to the last letter. It is will become of us ? Are we again to be cast out into what we solicit, what we require. But to whom is the wide world ?—Unhappy child, would that thou the bag of gold to be delivered ? What says the bond ? hadst never been born!" and all day long she la- Not to one-not to two—but to the three. Let the mented; but her tears availed her little. The others three stand forth and claim it.” were not slow in returning to claim their due; and From that day, (for who can doubt the issue?) nono there were no tidings of the thief: he had fled far were sought, none employed, but the subtle, the eloaway with his plunder. A process against her was quent Lorenzo. Wealth followed Fame; nor need I instantly begun in Bologna ; and what defence could say how soon he sat at his marriage-feast, or who sat she make ?-how release herself from the obligation beside him. of the bond? Wilfully or in negligence she had
XVII. parted with it to one, when she should have kept it for all; and inevitable ruin awaited her!
A CHARACTER. * Go, Gianetta," said she to her daughter, " takes
ONE of two things Montrioli may have, this veil which your mother has worn and wept My envy or compassion. Both he cannot. under so often, and implore the Counsellor Calderino Yet on he goes, numbering as miseries, to plead for us on the day of trial. He is generous, What least of all he would consent to lose, and will listen to the unfortunate. But, if he will What most indeed he prides himself upon, not, go from door to door; Monaldi cannot refuse us. And, for not having, most despises me. Make haste, my child; but remember the chapel as "At morn the minister exacts an hour; you pass by it. Nothing prospers without a prayer." At noon the king. Then comes the council-board ;
Alas, she went, but in vain. These were retained and then the chase, the supper. When, ah! when, against them; those demanded more than they had The leisure and the liberty I sigh for? to give ; and all bade them despair. What was to Not when at home; at home a miscreant-crew, be done? No advocate; and the cause to come on That now no longer serve me, mine the service. to-morrow!
And then that old hereditary bore, Now Gianetta had a lover; and he was a student The steward, his stories longer than his rent-roll, of the law, a young man of great promise, Lorenzo Who enters, quill in ear, and, one by one, Martelli. He had studied long and diligently under As though I lived to write and wrote to live, that learned lawyer, Giovanni Andreas, who, though Unrolls his leases for my signature.” little of stature, was great in renown, and by his con- He clanks his fetters to disturb my peace. temporaries was called the Arch-doctor, the Rabbi Yet who would wear them, and become the slave of Doctors, the Light of the World. Under him he had studied, sitting on the same bench with Petrarch; and also under his daughter, Novella, who would
1 Ce pourroit étre, anys Bayle, la matière d'un joli probleme often lecture to the scholars, when her father was le profit de ses auditeurs, en leur cachant son beau visage. Il
on pourroit examiner si cette fille avançoit, ou si elle retardor otherwise engaged, placing herself behind a small l auroit cent choses à dire pour et contre là-dessus.
Of wealth and power, renouncing willingly A heaving bark, an anchor on the strand,
May tell him what it is; but what it was,
Cannot be told so soon. But to the wise how precious !—every day
The time has been, A little life, a blank to be inscribed
When on the quays along the Syrian coast, With gentle deeds, ench as in after-time
"T was ask'd and eagerly, at break of dawn, Console, rejoice, whene'er we turn the leaf " What ships are from Amalfi?" when her coins, To read them? All, wherever in the scale,
Silver and gold, circled from clime to clime; Have, be they high or low, or rich or poor,
From Alexandria southward to Sennaar, Inherit they a sheep-hook or a sceptre,
And eastward, through Damascus and Cabul Much to be grateful for; but most has he,
And Samarcand, to thy great wall, Cathay. Born in that middle sphere, that temperate zone, Where Knowledge lights his lamp, there most secure, Then were the nations by her wisdom sway'd; And Wisdom comes, if ever, she who dwells And every crime on every sea was judged Above the clouds, above the firmament,
According to her judgments. In her port That Seraph sitting in the heaven of heavens. Prows, strange, uncouth, from Nile and Niger met,
People of various feature, various speech; What men most covet, wealth, distinction, power, And in their countries many a house of prayer, Are baubles nothing worth, that only serve And many a shelter, where no shelter was, To rouse us up, as children in the schools
And many a well, like Jacob's in the wild, Are roused up to exertion. The reward
Rose at her bidding. Then in Palestine, Is in the race we run, not in the prize ;
By the way-side, in sober grandeur stood And they, the few, that have it ere they earn it, An Hospital, that, night and day, received Having by favor or inheritance,
The pilgrims of the west;(166) and, when 't wa These dangerous gifts placed in their idle hands,
ask'd, And all that should await on worth well-tried, " Who are the noble founders ?" every tongue All in the glorious days of old reserved
At once replied, “ The merchants of Amalfi.” For manhood most mature or reverend age, That Hospital, when Godfrey scaled the walls, Know not, nor ever can, the generous pride Sent forth its holy men in complete steel; That glows in him who on himself relies,
And hence, the cowl relinquish'd for the helm, Entering the lists of life.
That chosen band, valiant, invincible,
For three hundred years,
There, unapproach'd but from the deep, they dwelt
Assail'd for ever, yet from age to age He who sets sail from Naples, when the wind
Acknowledging no master. From the deep Blows fragrance from Posilipo, may soon,
They gather'd in their harvests; bringing home, Crossing from side to side that beautiful lake,
In the same ship, relics of ancient Greece, (167) Land underneath the cliff, where once among That land of glory where their fathers lay, The children gathering shells along the shore, Grain from the golden vales of Sicily, (168) One laugh'd and play'd, unconscious of his fate;' And Indian spices. When at length they fell, His to drink deep of sorrow, and, through life,
Losing their liberty, they left mankind To be the scorn of them that knew him not,
A legacy, compared with which the wealth Trampling alike the giver and his gift,
Of Eastern kings—what is it in the scale?The gift a pearl precious, inestimable,
The mariner's compass. A lay divine, a lay of love and war,
They are now forgot, To charm, ennoble, and, from age to age,
And with them all they did, all they endured, Sweeten the labor, when the oar was plied
Struggling with fortune. When Sicardi stood, Or on the Adrian or the Tuscan sea.
And, with a shout like thunder, cried, “Come forth,
And serve me in Salerno!" forth they came, There would I linger—then go forth again,
Covering the sea, a mournful spectacle ; And hover round that region unexplored,
The women wailing, and the heavy oar Where to Salvator (when, as some relate,
Falling unheard. Not thus did they return, By chance or choice he led a bandit's life,
The tyrant slain ;(169) though then the grass of years Yet oft withdrew, alone and unobserved,
Grew in their streets. To wander through those awful solitudes)
There now to him who sails Natnre reveal'd herself. Unveil'd she stood,
Under the shore, a few white villages, In all her wiltness, all her majesty,
Scatter'd above, below, some in the clouds, As in that cider time, ere Man was made
Some on the margin of the dark-blue sea,
And glittering through their lemon-groves, announce There would I linger—then go forth again;
The region of Amalfi. Then, half-fallen, And he who steers due east, doubling the cape, A lonely watch-lower on the precipice, Discovers, in a crevice of the rock,
Their ancient land-mark, comes. Long may it last; 'The fishing-town, Amalfi. (165) Haply there And to the seaman in a distant age,
Though now he little thinks how large his debt, 1 Tasso. Serve for thcir monument! (170)