Imagens das páginas

(What is not visible to a poet's eye?)

And know that where we stand, stood oft and long,

The spectre knight, the hell-hounds and their Oft till the day was gone, Raphael himself,


He and his haughty rival-patiently,
Humbly, to learn of those who came before,
To steal a spark from their authentic fire,
Theirs, who first broke the gloom, sons of the

The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth
Suddenly blasted. 'Twas a theme he loved;
But others claim'd their turn; and many a tower,
Shatter'd, uprooted from its native rock,
Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
Appear'd and vanish'd, (many a sturdy steer*
Yoked and unyoked,) while as in happier days
He pour'd his spirit forth. The past forgot,
All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
Present or future.

He is now at rest;
And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
Now dull in death. Yes, Byron, thou art gone,
Gone like a star that through the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,
Was generous, noble-noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do
Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
None more than I, thy gratitude would build
On slight foundations: and, if in thy life
Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert,-
Thy wish accomplish'd; dying in the land
Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire,
Dying in Greece, and in a cause so glorious!

They in thy train-ah, little did they think,
As round we went, that they so soon should sit
Mourning beside thee, while a nation mourn'd,
Changing her festal for her funeral song;
That they so soon should hear the minute-gun,
As morning gleam'd on what remain❜d of thee,
Roll o'er the sea, the mountains, numbering
Thy years of joy and sorrow.

Thou art gone;
And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
0, let him pause! For who among us all,
Tried as thou wert-e'en from thine earliest years,
When wandering, yet unspoilt, a highland boy-
Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame;
Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
Her charmed cup-ah, who among us all
Could say he had not err'd as much, and more?


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!
And what a glorious lustre did it shed
When it emerged from darkness! Search within,
Without, all is enchantment! "Tis the past
Contending with the present; and in turn
Each has the mastery.


There, on the seat that runs along the wall,
South of the church, east of the belfry tower,
(Thou canst not miss it,) in the sultry time
Would Dante sit conversing, and with those
Who little thought that in his hand he held
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
Hadst plagued him sore, and carefully requiting
Such as ere long condemn'd his mortal part
To fire. Sit down a while-then by the gates
Wondrously wrought, so beautiful, so glorious,
That they might serve to be the gates of heaven,
Enter the baptistery. That place he loved,
Calling it his! And in his visits there

Well might he take delight! For, when a child,
Playing, with venturous feet, near and yet nearer
One of the fonts, fell in, he flew and saved him,
Flew with an energy, a violence,
That broke the marble-a mishap ascribed
To evil motives; his, alas! to lead

A life of trouble, and ere long to leave
All things most dear to him, ere long to know
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,
Where the gigantic forms of night and day,
Turn'd into stone, rest everlastingly,

Yet still are breathing; and shed round at noon
A two-fold influence-only to be felt-

A light, a darkness, mingling each with each;
Both and yet neither. There, from age to age,
Two ghosts are sitting on their sepulchres.
That is the duke Lorenzo. Mark him well.
He meditates, his head upon his hand.
What scowls beneath his broad and helm-like

Is it a face, or but an eyeless skull ?
"Tis hid in shade; yet, like the basilisk,
It fascinates, and is intolerable.
His mien is noble, most majestical!

Then most so, when the distant choir is heard,
At morn or eve-nor fail thou to attend
On that thrice-hallow'd day, when all are there;
When all, propitiating with solemn songs,
With light, and frankincense, and holy water,
Visit the dead. Then wilt thou feel his power

But let not sculpture, painting, poesy,
Or they, the masters of these mighty spells,
Detain us. Our first homage is to virtue.
Where, in what dungeon of the citadel

In this chapel wrought
Massaccio; and he slumbers underneath.

(It must be known-the writing on the wall Cannot be gone-'twas cut in with his dagger,

Wouldst thou behold his monument? Look round! Ere, on his knees to God, he slew himself,)

Where, in what dungeon, did Filippo Strozzi, *They wait for the traveller's carriage at the foot of The last, the greatest of the men of Florence, every hill. Breathe out his soul-lest in his agony,

When on the rack and call'd upon to answer,
He might accuse the guiltless.

That debt paid,

But with a sigh, a tear for human frailty,
We may return, and once more give a loose
To the delighted spirit--worshipping,
In her small temple of rich workmanship,*
Venus herself, who, when she left the skies,
Came hither.


AMONG the awful forms that stand assembled
In the great square of Florence, may be seen
That Cosmo, not the father of his country,
Not he so styled, but he who play'd the tyrant.
Clad in rich armour like a paladin,
But with his helmet off-in kingly state,
Aloft he sits upon his horse of brass;
And they, who read the legend underneath,
Go and pronounce him happy. Yet there is
A chamber at Grosseto, that, if walls
Could speak, and tell of what is done within,
Would turn your admiration into pity.

Half of what pass'd died with him; but the rest
All he discover'd when the fit was on,
All that, by those who listen'd, could be glean'd
From broken sentences and starts in sleep,
Is told, and by an honest chronicler.

Two of his sons, Giovanni and Garzìa,
(The eldest had not seen his sixteenth summer,)
Went to the chase; but one of them, Giovanni,
His best beloved, the glory of his house,
Return'd not; and at close of day was found
Bathed in his innocent blood. Too well, alas!
The trembling Cosmo guess'd the deed, the doer ;
And having caused the body to be borne
In secret to that chamber-at an hour
When all slept sound, save the disconsolate mother,†
Who little thought of what was yet to come,
And lived but to be told-he bade Garzia
Arise and follow him. Holding in one hand
A winking lamp, and in the other a key
Massive and dungeon-like, thither he led;
And having enter'd in and lock'd the door,
The father fix'd his eyes upon the son,

And closely questioned him. No change betray'd
Or guilt or fear. Then Cosmo lifted up

How can I spare myself, sparing none else.
Grant me the strength, the will-and O forgive
The sinful soul of a most wretched son.
"Tis a most wretched father who implores it."
Long on Garzia's neck he hung, and wept
Tenderly, long press'd him to his bosom ;
And then, but while he held him by the arm,
Thrusting him backward, turn'd away his face,
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
The ancient palace-through those ample spaces
Silent, deserted-stop a while to dwell
Upon two portraits there, drawn on the wall
Together, as of two in bonds of love,
One in a cardinal's habit, one in black,
Those of the unhappy brothers, and infer
From the deep silence that his questions drew,
The terrible truth.

Well might he heave a sigh
For poor humanity, when he beheld
That very Cosmo shaking o'er his fire,
Drowsy and deaf and inarticulate,
Wrapt in his night-gown, o'er a sick man's mess,
In the last stage-death-struck and deadly pale;
His wife, another, not his Eleonora,

At once his nurse and his interpreter.



"Tis morning. Let us wander through the fields,
Where Cimabuè found a shepherd boy*
Tracing his idle fancies on the ground;
And let us from the top of Fiesole,
Whence Galileo's glass by night observed
The phases of the moon, look round below
On Arno's vale, where the dove-colour'd oxen
Are ploughing up and down among the vines,
While many a careless note is sung aloud,
Filling the air with sweetness-and on thee,
Beautiful Florence, all within thy walls,
Thy groves and gardens, pinnacles and towers,
Drawn to our feet.

From that small spire, just caught
By the bright ray, that church among the rest
By one of old distinguish'd as the bride,
Let us pursue in thought (what can we better?)

The bloody sheet, "Look there! Look there!" he Those who assembled there at matin prayers ;†


"Blood calls for blood-and from a father's hand!
-Unless thyself wilt save him that sad office.
What!" he exclaim'd, when, shuddering at the sight,
The boy breathed out, "I stood but on my guard."
"Darest thou then blacken one who never wrong'd

Who would not set his foot upon a worm ?—
Yes, thou must die, lest others fall by thee,
And thou shouldst be the slayer of us all."
Then from Garzia's side he took the dagger,
That fatal one which spilt his brother's blood;
And, kneeling on the ground," Great God !" he cried,
"Grant me the strength to do an act of justice.
Thou knowest what it costs me; but, alas!

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Who, when vice revell'd, and along the street
Tables were set, what time the bearer's bell
Rang to demand the dead at every door,
Came out into the meadows; and, a while
Wandering in idleness, but not in folly,
Sate down in the high grass and in the shade
Of many a tree sun proof-day after day,
When all was still and nothing to be heard
But the Cicala's voice among the olives,
Relating in a ring, to banish care,
Their hundred novels.

Round the hill they went,
Round underneath-first to a splendid house,
Gherardi, as an old tradition runs,
That on the left, just rising from the vale ;

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A place for luxury-the painted rooms,
The open galleries and middle court

Not unprepared, fragrant and gay with flowers.
Then westward to another, nobler yet;
That on the right, now known as the Palmieri,
Where art with nature vied-a paradise,
With verdurous walls, and many a trellis'd walk
All rose and jasmine, many a forest vista
Cross'd by the deer. Then to the Ladies' Valley;
And the clear lake, that seem'd as by enchantment
To lift up to the surface every stone
Of lustre there, and the diminutive fish
Innumerable, dropt with crimson and gold,
Now motionless, now glancing to the sun.

Who has not dwelt on their voluptuous day?
The morning banquet by the fountain side,
The dance that follow'd, and the noontide slumber;
Then the tales told in turn, as round they lay
On carpets, the fresh waters murmuring;
And the short interval fill'd up with games
Of chess, and talk, and reading old romances,
Till supper time, when many a siren voice
Sung down the stars, and in the grass the torches
Burnt brighter for their absence.

He* whose dream
It was (it was no more) sleeps in Val d'Elsa,
Sleeps in the church, where (in his ear I ween)
The friar pour'd out his catalogue of treasures;
A ray, imprimis, of the star that shone
To the wise men; a phial full of sounds,
The musical chimes of the great bells that hung
In Solomon's temple; and, though last not least
A feather from the angel Gabriel's wing
Dropt in the virgin's chamber.

That dark ridge
Stretching away in the south-east, conceals it;
Not so his lowly roof and scanty farm,
His copse and rill, if yet a trace be left,
Who lived in Val di Pesa, suffering long
Exile and want, and the keen shafts of malice,
With an unclouded mind.† The glimmering tower
On the gray rock beneath, his landmark once,
Now serves for ours, and points out where he ate
His bread with cheerfulness.

Who sees him not
("Tis his own sketch-he drew it from himself)
Playing the bird-catcher, and sallying forth
In an autumnal morn, laden with cages,
To catch a thrush on every lime-twig there;
Or in the wood among his woodcutters ;
Or in the tavern by the highway side
At tric-trac with the miller; or at night.
Doffing his rustic suit, and, duly clad,
Entering his closet, and, among his books,
Among the great of every age and clime,
A numerous court, turning to whom he pleased,
Questioning each why he did this or that,
And learning how to overcome the fear
Of poverty and death?

Nearer we hail

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Let in but in his grave clothes. Sacred be
His cottage, (justly was it call'd the Jewel!),
Sacred the vineyard, where, while yet his sight
Glimmer'd, at blush of dawn he dress'd his vines,
Chanting aloud in gayety of heart

Some verse of Ariosto. There, unseen,
In manly beauty Milton stood before him,
Gazing with reverent awe-Milton, his guest,
Just then come forth, all life and enterprise;
He in his old age and extremity,
Blind, at noonday exploring with his staff;
His eyes upturn'd as to the golden sun,
His eyeballs idly rolling. Little then
Did Galileo think whom he bade welcome;
That in his hand he held the hand of one
Who could requite him-who would spread his name
O'er lands and seas-great as himself, nay greater;
Milton as little that in him he saw,

As in a glass, what he himself should be,
Destined so soon to fall on evil days
And evil tongues-so soon, alas! to live
In darkness, and with dangers compass'd round,
And solitude.

Well pleased, could we pursue
The Arno, from his birthplace in the clouds,
So near the yellow Tiber's-springing up
From his four fountains on the Apennine,
That mountain ridge a sea-mark to the ships
Sailing on either sea. Downward he runs,
Scattering fresh verdure through the desolate wild,
Down by the City of Hermits, and, ere long,
The venerable woods of Vallombrosa;
Then through these gardens to the Tuscan sea,
Reflecting castles, convents, villages,
And those great rivals in an elder day,
Florence and Pisa-who have given him fame,
Fame everlasting, but who stain'd so oft
His troubled waters. Oft, alas! were seen,
When flight, pursuit, and hideous rout were there
Hands, clad in gloves of steel, held up imploring;
The man, the hero, on his foaming steed,
Borne underneath--already in the realms
Of darkness.

Nor did night or burning noon
Bring respite. Oft, as that great artist saw,*
Whose pencil had a voice, the cry "To arms!"
And the shrill trumpet, hurried up the bank
Those who had stolen an hour to breast the tide,
And wash from their unharness'd limbs the blood
And sweat of battle. Sudden was the rush,
Violent the tumult; for, already in sight,
Nearer and nearer yet the danger drew;
Each every sinew straining, every feature,
Each snatching up, and girding, buckling on,
Morion, and greave, and shirt of twisted mail,
As for his life-no more, perchance, to taste,
Arno, the grateful freshness of thy glades,
Thy waters-where, exulting, he had felt
A swimmer's transport, there, alas! to float
And welter. Nor between the gusts of war,
When flocks were feeding, and the shepherd's pipe
Gladden'd the valley, when, but not unarm'd,
The sower came forth, and, following him who

* Michael Angelo.

Threw in the seed-did thy indignant waves
Escape pollution. Sullen was the splash,
Heavy and swift the plunge, when they received
The key that just had grated on the ear
Of Ugolino-closing up for ever

That dismal dungeon henceforth to be named
The Tower of Famine.

When many a winter flood, thy tributary,
Was through its rocky glen rushing, resounding,
And thou wert in thy might, to save, restore
A charge most precious. To the nearest ford,
Hastening, a horseman from Arezzo came,
Careless, impatient of delay, a babe
Slung in a basket to the knotty staff

Sits over all, at once chastising, healing,
Himself th' avenger, went; and every street
Ran red with mutual slaughter-though sometimes
The young forgot the lessons they had learnt,
And loved when they should hate-like thee, Imelda,
Thee and thy Paolo. When last ye met

In that still hour-(the heat, the glare was gone,

Once indeed 'twas thine, Not so the splendour-through the cedar grove
A radiance stream'd like a consuming fire,
As though the glorious orb, in its descent,
Had come and rested there)-when last ye met,
And those relentless brothers dragg'd him forth,
It had been well hadst thou slept on, Imelda,
Nor from thy trance of fear awaked, as night
Fell on that fatal spot, to wish thee dead,
To track him by his blood, to search, to find,
Then fling thee down to catch a word, a look,
A sigh, if yet thou couldst, (alas! thou couldst not,)
And die, unseen, unthought of—from the wound
Sucking the poison.

That lay athwart his saddle-bow. He spurs,
He enters; and his horse, alarm'd, perplex'd,
Halts in the midst. Great is the stir, the strife;
And lo, an atom on that dangerous sea,
The babe is floating! Fast and far he flies;
Now tempest rock'd, now whirling round and round,
But not to perish. By thy willing waves
Borne to the shore, among the bulrushes
The ark has rested; and unhurt, secure
As on his mother's breast he sleeps within,
All peace! or never had the nations heard
That voice so sweet, which still enchants, inspires;
That voice, which sung of love, of liberty.
Petrarch lay there!——And such the images
That cluster'd round our Milton, when at eve
Reclined beside thee, Arno; when at eve,
Led on by thee, he wander'd with delight,
Framing Ovidian verse, and through thy groves
Gathering wild myrtle. Such the poet's dreams;
Yet not such only. For look round and say,
Where is the ground that did not drink warm blood,
The echo that had learnt not to articulate
The cry of murder?-Fatal was the day

To Florence, when-('twas in a street behind
The church and convent of the Holy Cross--
There is the house-that house of the Donati,
Towerless, and left long since, but to the last
Braving assault-all rugged, all emboss'd
Below, and still distinguished by the rings
Of brass, that held in war and festival time
Their family standards)-fatal was the day
To Florence, when, at morn, at the ninth hour,
A noble dame in weeds of widowhood,
Weeds to be worn hereafter by so many,
Stood at her door; and, like a sorceress, flung
Her dazzling spell. Subtle she was, and rich,
Rich in a hidden pearl of heavenly light,
Her daughter's beauty; and too well she knew
Its virtue! Patiently she stood and watch'd;
Nor stood alone-but spoke not. In her breast
Her purpose lay; and, as a youth pass'd by,
Clad for the nuptial rite, she smiled and said,
Lifting a corner of the maiden's veil,
"This had I treasured up in secret for thee.
This hast thou lost!" He gazed, and was undone!
Forgetting-not forgot-he broke the bond,
And paid the penalty, losing his life

At the bridge foot; and hence a world of wo!
Vengeance for vengeance crying, blood for blood;
No intermission! Law, that slumbers not,
And, like the angel with the flaming sword,

Yet, when slavery came,
Worse follow'd. Genius, valour left the land,
Indignant all that had from age to age
Adorn'd, ennobled; and headlong they fell,
Tyrant and slave. For deeds of violence,
Done in broad day and more than half redeem'd
By many a great and generous sacrifice
Of self to others, came the unpledged bowl,
The stab of the stiletto. Gliding by
Unnoticed, in slouch'd hat and muffling cloak,
That just discover'd, Caravaggio-like,

A swarthy cheek, black brow, and eye of flame.
The bravo took his stand, and o'er the shoulder
Plunged to the hilt, or from beneath the rib
Slanting (a surer path, as some averr'd)
Struck upward-then slunk off, or, if pursued,
Made for the sanctuary, and there along
The glimmering aisle, among the worshippers,
Wander'd with restless step and jealous look,
Dropping thick gore.

Misnamed to lull suspicion,
In every palace was the laboratory,
Where he within brew'd poisons swift and slow,
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

If aught malignant, aught of thine was there,
Cruel Tophana; and pawn'd provinces
For the miraculous gem that to the wearer
Gave signs infallible of coming ill,
That clouded though the vehicle of death
Were an invisible perfume.

Happy then
The guest to whom at sleeping time 'twas said,
But in an under voice, (a lady's page
Speaks in no louder,) "Pass not on. That door
Leads to another which awaits your coming,
One in the floor-now left, alas! unbolted,
No eye detects it-lying under foot,
Just as you enter, at the threshold-stone;
Ready to fall and plunge you into darkness,
Darkness and long oblivion !"

Then, indeed, Where lurk'd not danger? Through the fairy land

No seat of pleasure glittering halfway down,

No hunting place-but with some damning spot That will not be wash'd out! There, at Caïano, Where, when the hawks were hooded and night came,

Pulci would set the table in a roar

With his wild lay-there, where the sun descends,
And hill and dale are lost, veil'd with his beams,
The fair Venetian* died-she and her lord,
Died of a posset drugg'd by him who sate
And saw them suffer, flinging back the charge,
The murderer on the murder'd.

Sobs of grief,

Sounds inarticulate-suddenly stopt,
And follow'd by a struggle and a gasp,
A gasp in death, are heard yet in Cerreto,
Along the marble halls and staircases,
Nightly at twelve; and, at the selfsame hour,
Shrieks, such as penetrate the inmost soul,
Such as awake the innocent babe to long,
Long wailing, echo through the emptiness
Of that old den far up among the hills,
Frowning on him who comes from Pietra-Mala:
In them, in both, within five days and less,
Two unsuspecting victims, passing fair,
Welcomed with kisses, and slain cruelly,
One with the knife, one with the fatal noose.
But lo, the sun is setting; earth and sky
One blaze of glory-What but now we saw
As though it were not, though it had not been!
He lingers yet, and, lessening to a point,
Shines like the eye of heaven-then withdraws;
And from the zenith to the utmost skirts
All is celestial red! The hour is come,
When they that sail along the distant seas
Languish for home; and they that in the morn
Said to sweet friends "Farewell," melt as

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In every bush and brake there was a voice Responsive!

From the Thrasymene, that now Slept in the sun, a lake of molten gold, And from the shore that once, when armies met, Rock'd to and fro unfelt, so terrible The rage, the slaughter, I had turn'd away; The path, that led me, leading through a wood, A fairy wilderness of fruits and flowers, And by a brook that, in the day of strife, Ran blood, but now runs amber-when a glade, Far, far within, sunn'd only at noonday, Suddenly open'd. Many a bench was there, Each round its ancient elm; and many a track Well known to them that from the highway loved A while to deviate. In the midst a cross Of mouldering stone as in a temple stood, Solemn, severe; coeval with the trees That round it in majestic order rose; And on the lowest step a pilgrim knelt, Clasping his hands in prayer. He was the first Yet seen by me, (save in a midnight mask, A revel, where none cares to play his part, And they that speak at once dissolve the charm,) The first in sober truth, no counterfeit ; And, when his orisons were duly paid, He rose, and we exchanged, as all are wont. A traveller's greeting.

Young, and of an age

When youth is most attractive, when a light
Plays round and round, reflected, if I err not,
From some attendant spirit, that ere long
(His charge relinquish'd with a sigh, a tear)
Wings his flight upward-with a look he won
My favour; and, the spell of silence broke,
I could not but continue.

"Whence," I ask'd,

"Whence art thou?"- -"From Mont'alto," he

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My native village in the Apennines."

"And whither journeying?"-" To the holy shrine
Of Saint Antonio, in the city of Padua.
Perhaps, if thou hast ever gone so far,
Thou wilt direct my course."-" Most willingly;
But thou hast much to do, much to endure,
Ere thou hast enter'd where the silver lamps
Burn ever. Tell me-I would not transgress,
Yet ask I must-what could have brought thee forth,
Nothing in act or thought to be atoned for ?"-
"It was a vow I made in my distress.

We were so blest, none were so blest as we,
Till sickness came. First, as death-struck, I fell
Then my beloved sister; and ere long,
Worn with continual watchings, night and day,
Our saint-like mother. Worse and worse she grew;
And in my anguish, my despair, I vow'd,
That if she lived, if Heaven restored her to us,
I would forthwith, and in a pilgrim's weeds,
Visit that holy shrine. My vow was heard;
And therefore am I come."-"Thou hast done well;
And may those weeds, so reverenced of old,
Guard thee in danger!"-

"They are nothing worth.
But they are worn in humble confidence ;
Nor would I for the richest robe resign them,
Wrought, as they were, by those I love so well,

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