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“Draw up the blind and let me see the stars; for I still love the beauty.”
At the cemetery at Porta Pinti are sombre gates with, over them, the words “Ils se reposent de leurs travaux, et leurs cuvres les suivent." Those black gates opened one sunny December morning and showed a sloping avenue of marble tombs, tangles of pink and of white China roses in full flower falling over them, and at the end a tall white cross shining in the sunlight against the blue Italian sky,—fit type of the black gates of death, which had rolled back to let him pass into the Eternal Light beyond.
There we left him in completest trust, our “Knight Errant,” after his life's warfare.
For there is a poem by Adelaide Procter (on whom written I know not) which seems to give, with the full force of poetical presentation, the spirit of the Life I have tried to depict. It even seems to follow the very order of the periods of that life — our hero following the course of hers; and thus fulfilling Mrs Browning's words when she says
Is ever a lament begun
In my extract-book the following lines have lain away for the nearly forty years which have passed since he went from us, and they still remain, to me, the best expression of what he
I find, in pencil, against the verses the place or date which they symbolise.
If those who have read these pages see their aptness, they will learn from them, more than from any words of mine, what measure of man
A KNIGHT ERRANT.
“ Though he lived and died amongst us,
Yet his name may be enrolled
Ancient chronicles have told.
Still a stripling he encountered
Poverty, and suffered long,
Till he knew his arm was strong.
Spent with many a hard-fought battle
Slowly ebbed his life away,
Trampled on him where he lay.
Gathering all his strength he saw her Italy.
Crowned and reigning in her pride, Looked his last upon her beauty, Raised his eyes to God-and died.”
-A. A. PROCTER.