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Lauretta and my sister; theirs the task,
But none to them, a pleasure, a delight,
To ply their utmost skill, and send me forth
As best became this service. Their last words,
'Fare thee well, Carlo. We shall count the hours!'
Will not go
"Health and strength be thine
In thy long travel! May no sunbeam strike;
No vapour cling and wither! Mayst thou be,
Sleeping or waking, sacred and secure!
And, when again thou comest, thy labour done,
Joy be among ye! In that happy hour
All will pour forth to bid thee welcome, Carlo;
And there is one, or I am much deceived,
One thou hast named, who will not be the last."
"O, she is true as truth itself can be!
A rainbow's splendour, (somewhere in the east
Rain-drops were falling fast,) a rivulet
Sported as loath to go; and on the bank
Stood (in the eyes of one, if not of both,
Worth all the rest and more) a sumpter-mule
Well laden, while two menials as in haste
Drew from his ample panniers, ranging round
Viands and fruits on many a shining salver,
And plunging in the cool translucent wave
Flasks of delicious wine.
Anon a horn
Blew, through the champaign bidding to the feast,
Its jocund note to other ears address'd,
Not ours; and, slowly coming by a path
That, ere it issued from an ilex grove,
Was seen far inward, though along the glade
But ah, thou know'st her not. Would that thou Distinguish'd only by a fresher verdure,
My steps I quicken when I think of her;
For, though they take me further from her door,
I shall return the sooner."
Peasants approach'd, one leading in a leash
Beagles yet panting, one with various game,
In rich confusion slung, before, behind,
Leveret, and quail, and pheasant. All announced
The chase as over; and ere long appear'd
Their horses, full of fire, champing the curb,
For the white foam was dry upon the flank,
PLEASURE, that comes unlook'd-for, is thrice Two in close converse, each in each delighting,
And, if it stir the heart, if aught be there
That may hereafter, in a thoughtful hour,
Wake but a sigh, 'tis treasured up among
The things most precious; and the day it came
Is noted as a white day in our lives.
The sun was wheeling westward, and the cliffs
And nodding woods, that everlastingly
(Such the dominion of thy mighty voice,
Thy voice, Velino, utter'd in the mist)
Hear thee and answer thee, were left at length
For others still as noon; and on we stray'd
From wild to wilder, nothing hospitable
Seen up or down, no bush or green or dry,
That ancient symbol at the cottage door,
Offering refreshment-when Luigi cried,
"Well, of a thousand tracts we chose the best!"
And, turning round an oak, oracular once,
Now lightning-struck, a cave, a thoroughfare
For all that came, each entrance a broad arch,
Whence many a deer, rustling his velvet coat,
Had issued, many a gipsy and her brood
Peer'd forth, then housed again-the floor yet gray
With ashes, and the sides, where roughest, hung
Loosely with locks of hair-I look'd and saw
What, seen in such an hour by Sancho Panza,
Had given his honest countenance a breadth,
His cheeks a flush of pleasure and surprise,
Unknown before, had chain'd him to the spot,
And thou, Sir Knight, hadst traversed hill and dale
Below and winding far away,
A narrow glade unfolded, such as spring
Broiders with flowers, and, when the moon is high,
The hare delights to race in, scattering round
The silvery dews. Cedar and cypress threw
Singly their length of shadow, checkering
The greensward, and, what grew in frequent tufts,
An underwood of myrtle, that by fits
Sent up a gale of fragrance. Through the midst,
Reflecting, as it rán, purple and gold,
Their plumage waving as instinct with life;
A lady young and graceful, and a youth,
Yet younger, bearing on a falconer's glove,
As in the golden, the romantic time,
His falcon hooded. Like some spirit of air,
Or fairy vision, such as feign'd of old,
The lady, while her courser paw'd the ground,
Alighted; and her beauty, as she trod
Th' enamell'd bank, bruising nor herb nor flower
That place illumined.
Ah, who should she be,
(And with her brother, as when last we met,
When the first lark had sung ere half was said,
And as she stood, bidding adieu, her voice,
So sweet it was, recall'd me like a spell,)
Who but Angelica?
That day we gave
To pleasure, and, unconscious of their flight,
Another and another; hers a home
Dropt from the sky amid the wild and rude,
Loretto-like. The rising moon we hail'd,
Duly, devoutly, from a vestibule
Of many an arch, o'erwrought, and lavishly,
With many a wildering dream of sylphs and flowers,
When Raphael and his school from Florence came,
Filling the land with splendour-nor less oft
Watch'd her declining from a silent dell,
Not silent once, what time in rivalry
Tasso, Guarini, waved their wizard wands,
Peopling the groves from Arcady, and lo,
Fair forms appear'd, murmuring melodious verse,
-Then, in their day, a sylvan theatre,
Mossy the seats, the stage a verdurous floor,
The scenery rock and shrub-wood, nature's own;
Nature the architect.
I AM in Rome! Oft as the morning ray
Visits these eyes, waking at once I cry,
Whence this excess of joy? what has befallen me?
And from within a thrilling voice replies,
Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts
Rush on my mind, a thousand images ;
And I spring up as girt to run a race!
Thou art in Rome! the city that so long
Reign'd absolute, the mistress of the world;
The mighty vision that the prophets saw,
And trembled; that from nothing, from the least,
The lowliest village (what but here and there
A reed-roof'd cabin by a river side?)
Grew into every thing; and, year by year,
Patiently, fearlessly working her way
O'er brook and field, o'er continent and sea,
Not like the merchant with his merchandise,
Or traveller with staff and scrip exploring,
But hand to hand, and foot to foot, through hosts,
Through nations numberless in battle array,
Each behind each, each, when the other fell.
Up and in arms, at length subdued them all.
Thou art in Rome! the city where the Gauls, Entering at sunrise through her open gates, And, through her streets silent and desolate, Marching to slay, thought they saw gods, not men; The city that, by temperance, fortitude, And love of glory, tower'd above the clouds, Then fell-but, falling, kept the highest seat, And in her loneliness, her pomp of wo, Where now she dwells, withdrawn into the wild, Still o'er the mind maintains, from age to age, Her empire undiminish'd.
There, as though Grandeur attracted grandeur, are beheld All things that strike, ennoble-from the depths Of Egypt, from the classic fields of Greece, Her groves, her temples-all things that inspire Wonder, delight! Who would not say the forms Most perfect, most divine, had by consent Flock'd thither to abide eternally, Within those silent chambers where they dwell, In happy intercourse?
Ah, little thought I, when in school I sate,
A schoolboy on his bench, at early dawn
Glowing with Roman story, I should live
To tread the Appian, once an avenue
Of monuments most glorious, palaces,
Their doors seal'd up and silent as the night,
The dwellings of the illustrious dead-to turn
Toward Tiber, and, beyond the city gate,
Pour out my unpremeditated verse,
Where on his mule I might have met so oft
Horace himself-or climb the Palatine,
Dreaming of old Evander and his guest,
Dreaming and lost on that proud eminence,
Longwhile the seat of Rome, hereafter found
Less than enough (so monstrous was the brood
Engender'd there, so Titan-like) to lodge
One in his madness; and, the summit gain'd,
Inscribe my name on some broad aloe-leaf,
That shoots and spreads within those very walls
Where Virgil read aloud his tale divine,
Where his voice falter'd, and a mother wept
Tears of delight!
But what a narrow space
Just underneath! In many a heap the ground
Heaves, as though ruin in a frantic mood
Had done his utmost. Here and there appears
As left to show his handy-work, not ours,
An idle column, a half buried arch,
A wall of some great temple.
And long, the centre of their universe,
The Forum-whence a mandate, eagle-wing'd,
Went to the ends of th' earth. Let us descend
Slowly. At every step much may be lost;
The very dust we tread stirs as with life;
And not the lightest breath that sends not up
Something of human grandeur.
Are now where once the mightiest spirits met
In terrible conflict; this, while Rome was free,
The noblest theatre on this side heaven!
Here the first Brutus stood, when o'er the corse
Of her so chaste all mourn'd, and from his cloud
Burst like a god. Here, holding up the knife
That ran with blood, the blood of his own child,
Virginius call'd down vengeance.-But whence
They who harangued the people; turning now
To the twelve tables, now with lifted hands
To the Capitoline Jove, whose fulgent shape
In the unclouded azure shone far off,
And to the shepherd on the Alban mount
Seem'd like a star new risen? Where were ranged
In rough array as on their element,
The beaks of those old galleys, destined still*
To brave the brunt of war-at last to know
A calm far worse, a silence as in death?
All spiritless; from that disastrous hour
When he, the bravest, gentlest of them all,t
Scorning the chains he could not hope to break,
Fell on his sword!
Along the Sacred Way
Hither the triumph came, and, winding round
With acclamation, and the martial clang
Of instruments, and cars laden with spoil,
Stopt at the sacred stair that then appear'd,
Then through the darkness broke, ample, star-bright,
As though it led to heaven. 'Twas night; but now
A thousand torches, turning night to day,
Blazed, and the victor, springing from his seat,
Went up, and, kneeling as in fervent prayer,
Enter'd the capitol. But what are they,
Who at the foot withdraw, a mournful train
In fetters? And who, yet incredulous,
Now gazing wildly round, now on his sons,
On those so young, well pleased with all they see,
Staggers along, the last ?-They are the fallen,
Those who were spared to grace the chariot wheels;
And there they parted, where the road divides,
The victor and the vanquish'd-there withdrew ;
He to the festal-board, and they to die.
Well might the great, the mighty of the world, They who were wont to fare deliciously, And war but for a kingdom more or less, Shrink back, nor from their thrones endure to look, To think that way! Well might they in their
Humble themselves, and kneel and supplicate
To be delivered from a dream like this!
Here Cincinnatus pass'd, his plough the while
Left in the furrow, and how many more
Whose laurels fade not, who still walk the earth,
Consuls, dictators, still in curule pomp
Sit and decide; and, as of old in Rome,
Name but their names, set every heart on fire!
Here, in his bonds, he whom the phalanx saved
The last on Philip's throne; and the Numidian,†
So soon to say, stript of his cumbrous robe,
Stript to the skin, and in his nakedness
Alas, I knew her from her earliest youth,
That excellent lady. Ever would she say,
Good even, as she pass'd, and with a voice
Gentle as theirs in heaven !"-But now by fits
A dull and dismal noise assail'd the ear,
A wail, a chant, louder and louder yet;
And now a strange fantastic troop appear'd!
Thronging, they came-as from the shades below;
All of ghostly white! "O say," I cried,
"Do not the living here bury the dead?
Do spirits come and fetch them? What are these
That seem not of this world, and mock the day;
Each with a burning taper in his hand ?"—
Thrust under ground, "How cold this bath of "It is an ancient brotherhood thou seest.
Such their apparel. Through the long, long line,
And thy proud queen, Palmyra, through the sands‡ Look where thou wilt, no likeness of a man;
Pursued, o'ertaken on her dromedary;
Whose temples, palaces, a wondrous dream
That passes not away, for many a league
Illumine yet the desert. Some invoked
Death, and escaped; the Egyptian, when her asp
Came from his covert under the green leaf;§
And Hannibal himself; and she who said,
Taking the fatal cup between her hands,||
"Tell him I would it had come yesterday;
For then it had not been his nuptial gift."
Now all is changed; and here, as in the wild,
The day is silent, dreary as the night;
None stirring, save the herdsman and his herd,
Savage alike; or they that would explore.
Discuss and learnedly; or they that come,
(And there are many who have cross'd the earth,)
That they may give the hours to meditation,
And wander, often saying to themselves,
"This was the Roman Forum !"
The living mask'd, the dead alone uncover'd.
But mark"-And, lying on her funeral couch,
Like one asleep, her eyelids closed, her hands
Folded together on her modest breast,
As 'twere her nightly posture, through the crowd
She came at last-and richly, gayly clad,
As for a birth-day feast! But breathes she not?
A glow is on her cheek-and her lips move!
And now a smile is there-how heavenly sweet!
"O no!" replied the dame, wiping her tears,
But with an accent less of grief than anger,
"No, she will never, never wake again!"
Death, when we meet the spectre in our walks,
As we did yesterday, and shall to-morrow,
Soon grows familiar-like most other things,
Seen, not observed; but in a foreign clime,
Changing his shape to something new and strange
(And through the world he changes as in sport,
Affect he greatness or humility)
Knocks at the heart. His form and fashion here
To me, I do confess, reflect a gloom,
A sadness round; yet one I would not lose;
"WHENCE this delay ?" "Along the crowded Being in unison with all things else
A funeral comes, and with unusual pomp."
So I withdrew a little, and stood still,
While it went by." She died as she deserved,"
Said an abatè, gathering up his cloak,
And with a shrug retreating as the tide
Flow'd more and more." But she was beautiful!"
Replied a soldier of the pontiff's guard.
"And innocent as beautiful!" exclaim'd
A matron sitting in her stall, hung round
With garlands, holy pictures, and what not?
Her Alban grapes and Tusculan figs display'd
In rich profusion. From her heart she spoke;
And I accosted her to hear her story.
"The stab," she cried, "was given in jealousy;
But never fled a purer spirit to heaven,
As thou wilt say, or much. my mind misleads,
When thou hast seen her face. Last night at dusk
When on her way from vespers-None were near,
None save her serving boy, who knelt and wept,
But what could tears avail him, when she fell-
Last night at dusk, the clock then striking nine,
Just by the fountain-that before the church,
The church she always used, St. Isidore's-
In this, this land of shadows, where we live
More in past time than present, where the ground,
League beyond league, like one great cemetery,
Is cover'd o'er with mouldering monuments;
And, let the living wander where they will,
They cannot leave the footsteps of the dead.
Oft, where the burial rite follows so fast,
The agony, oft coming, nor from far,
Must a fond father meet his darling child,
(Him who at parting climb'd his knees and clung,)
Clay cold and wan, and to the bearers cry,
Seen thus destitute,
They must speak beyond
A thousand homilies. When Raphael went,
His heavenly face the mirror of his mind,
His mind a temple for all lovely things
To flock to and inhabit-when he went,
Wrapt in his sable cloak he wore,
To sleep beneath the venerable dome,*
By those attended, who in life had loved,
Had worshipp'd, following in his steps to fame,
("Twas on an April day, when nature smiles,)
All Rome was there. But, ere the march began,
Ere to receive their charge the bearers came,
NATIONAL PREJUDICES. "ANOTHER assassination! This venerable city," I exclaimed, "what is it, but as it began, a nest of robbers and murderers ? We must away at sunrise, Luigi." But before sunrise I had reflected a little, and in the soberest prose. My indignation was gone; and, when Luigi undrew my curtain, crying, Up, signor, up! The horses are at the door."-"Luigi," I replied," if thou lovest me, draw the curtain."*
It would lessen very much the severity with which men judge of each other, if they would but trace effects to their causes, and observe the progress of things in the moral as accurately as in the physical world. When we condemn millions in the mass as vindictive and sanguinary, we should remember that wherever justice is ill administered, the injured will redress themselves. Robbery provokes to robbery; murder to assassination. Resentments become hereditary; and what began in disorder, ends as if all hell had broke loose.
Laws create a habit of self-restraint, not only by the influence of fear, but by regulating in its exercise the passion of revenge. If they overawe the bad by the prospect of a punishment certain and well defined, they console the injured by the infliction of that punishment; and, as the infliction is a public act, it excites and entails no enmity. The laws are offended; and the community, for its own sake, pursues and overtakes the offender; often without the concurrence of the sufferer, sometimes against his wishes.
Now those who were not born, like ourselves, to such advantages, we should surely rather pity than hate; and, when at length they venture to turn against their rulers, we should lament, not wonder at their excesses; remembering that nations are naturally patient, and long-suffering, and seldom rise in rebellion till they are so degraded by a bad government as to be almost incapable of a good one.
"Hate them, perhaps," you may say, "we should not; but despise them we must, if enslaved, like the people of Rome, in mind as well as body; if their religion be a gross and barbarous superstition."
* A dialogue, which is said to have passed many years ago at Lyons, (Mem. de Grammont, I. 3,) and which may still be heard in almost every hôtellerie at daybreak.
+ As the descendants of an illustrious people have lately done. Can it be believed there are many among us, who, from a desire to be thought superior to commonplace sentiments and vulgar feelings, affect an indif ference to their cause! "If the Greeks," they say, "had the probity of other nations-but they are false to a proverb!" And is not falsehood the characteristic of slaves? Man is the creature of circumstances. Free, he has the qualities of a freeman; enslaved, those of a slave.
-I respect knowledge; but I do not despise igno rance. They think only as their fathers thought, worship as they worshipped. They do no more; and, if ours had not burst their bondage, braving imprisonment and death, might not we at this very moment have been exhibiting, in our streets and our churches, the same processions, ceremonials, and mortifications?
Nor should we require from those who are in an earlier stage of society, what belongs to a later? They are only where we once were; and why hold them in derision? It is their business to cultivate the inferior arts before they think of the more refined; and in many of the last what are we as a nation, when compared to others that have passed away? Unfortunately, it is too much the practice of governments to nurse and keep alive in the It withdraws governed their national prejudices. their attention from what is passing at home, and makes them better tools in the hands of ambition. Hence next-door neighbours are held up to us from our childhood as natural enemies; and we are urged on like curs to worry each other.*
In like manner we should learn to be just to individuals. Who can say, "In such circumstances I should have done otherwise?" Who, did he but reflect by what slow gradations, often by how many strange concurrences, we are led astray; with how much reluctance, how much agony, how many efforts to escape, how many self-accusations, how many sighs, how many tears-Who, did he but reflect for a moment, would have the heart to cast a stone? Fortunately, these things are known to Him, from whom no secrets are hidden; and let us rest in the assurance that his judgments are not as
THE CAMPAGNA OF ROME.
None since they went-as though it still were HAVE none appear'd as tillers of the ground,
And they might come and claim their own again? Was the last plough a Roman's ?
Sacred for ages, whence, as Virgil sings,
The Queen of Heaven, alighting from the sky
Look'd down and saw the armies in array,†
Let us contemplate; and, where dreams from Jove
Descended on the sleeper, where perhaps
Some inspirations may be lingering still,
Some glimmerings of the future or the past,
Await their influence; silently revolving
The changes from that hour, when he from Troy
Went up the Tiber; when refulgent shields,
No strangers to the iron hail of war,
Stream'd far and wide, and dashing oars were heard
* Candour, generosity, how rare are they in the world; and how much is to be deplored the want of them! When a minister in our parliament consents at last to a mea sure, which, for many reasons perhaps existing no longer, he had before refused to adopt, there should be no exultation as over the fallen, no taunt, no jeer. How often may the resistance be continued lest an enemy should triumph, and the result of conviction be received as a symptom of fear!
Among those woods where Silvia's stag was lying,
His antlers gay with flowers; among those woods
Where, by the moon, that saw and yet withdrew
Two were so soon to wander and be slain,
Two lovely in their lives, nor in their death
Then, and hence to be discern'd,
How many realms, pastoral and warlike, lay
Along this plain, each with its schemes of power,
Its little rivalships! What various turns
of fortune there; what moving accidents
From ambuscade and open violence!
Mingling, the sounds came up; and hence how oft
We might have caught among the trees below,
Glittering with helm and shield, the men of Tibur ;*
Or in Greek vesture, Greek their origin,
Some embassy, ascending to Præneste;t
How oft descried without thy gates, Aricia,‡
Entering the solemn grove for sacrifice,
Senate and people! Each a busy hive,
Glowing with life!
But all ere long are lost
We look, and where the river rolls
Southward its shining labyrinth, in her strength
A city, girt with battlements and towers,
On seven small hills is rising. Round about,
At rural work the citizens are seen,
None unemploy'd; the noblest of them all
Binding their sheaves or on their threshing-floors,
As though they had not conquer'd. Everywhere
Some trace of valour or heroic virtue!
Here is the sacred field of the Horatii,
There are the Quintian meadows. Here the hill,§|
How holy, where a generous people, twice,
Twice going forth, in terrible anger sate
Arm'd; and, their wrongs redress'd, at once gave
Helmet and shield, and sword and spear thrown
And every hand uplifted, every heart
Pour'd out in thanks to heaven.
We look; and, lo, the sea is white with sails
Innumerable, wafting to the shore
Treasures untold; the vale, the promontories,
A dream of glory; temples, palaces,
Call'd up as by enchantment; aqueducts
Among the groves and glades rolling along
Rivers, on many an arch high over head;
And in the centre, like a burning sun,
The imperial city! They have now subdued
All nations. But where they who led them forth;
Who, when at length released by victory,
(Buckler and spear hung up-but not to rust,)
Held poverty no evil, no reproach,
Living on little with a cheerful mind,
The Decii, the Fabricii? Where the spade
And reaping-hook, among their household things
Duly transmitted? In the hands of men
Made captive; while the master and his guests,
Reclining, quaff in gold, and roses swim,
Summer and winter, through the circling year,
On their Falernian-in the hands of men
A barbarous dissonance, loud and yet louder,
That echoes from the mountains to the sea!
And mark, beneath us, like a bursting cloud,
The battle moving onward! Had they slain
All, that the earth should from her womb bring
New nations to destroy them? From the depth
Of forests, from what none had dared explore,
Regions of thrilling ice, as though in ice
Engender'd, multiplied, they pour along,
Shaggy and huge! Host after host, they come ;
The Goth, the Vanda!; and again the Goth!
Once more we look, and all is still as night,
All desolate! Groves, temples, palaces,
Swept from the sight, and nothing visible,
Amid the sulphurous vapours that exhale
As from a land accurst, save here and there,
An empty tomb, a fr gment like the limb
Of some dismember'd giant. In the midst
A city stands, her domes and turrets crown'd
With many a cross; but they that issue forth
Wander like strangers who had built among
The mighty ruins, silent, spiritless;
And on the road, where once we might have met
Cæsar and Cato, and men more than kings,
We meet, none else, the pilgrim and the beggar.
THE ROMAN PONTIFFS.
THOSE ancient men, what were they, who achieved
A sway beyond the greatest conquerors;
Setting their feet upon the necks of kings,
And, through the world subduing, chaining d wn
The free, immortal spirit? Were they not
Mighty magicians? Theirs a wondrous spell,
Where true and false were with infernal art
Close interwoven; where together met
Blessings and curses, threats and promises;
And with the terrors of futurity,
Mingled whate'er enchants and fascinates,
Music and painting, sculpture, rhetoric
And architectural pomp, such as none else;
And dazzling light, and darkness visible !
What in his day the Syracusan sought,
Another world to plant his engines on,
They had; and, having it, like gods, not men,
Moved this world at their pleasure. Ere they came
Their shadows, stretching far and wide, were
And two, that look'd beyond the visible sphere,
Gave notice of their coming-he who saw
The Apocalypse; and he of elder time,
Who in an awful vision of the night
Saw the Four Kingdoms. Distant as they were,
Well might those holy men be fill'd with fear!