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'Cause her fortune seems too high,
Shall I play the fool and die ?
Those that bear a noble mind,
Where they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would do
That without them dare to woo ;
And unless that mind I see,
What care I how great she be?
Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair ;
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve ;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go ;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?
If ever you should come to Modena,
(Where among other relics you may see
Tassoni's bucket—but ’tis not the true one),
Stop at a palace near the Reggio-gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
Will long detain you ; but, before you go,
Enter the house—forget it not, I pray you-
And look awhile upon a picture there.
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
The last of that illustrious family.
He who observes it, ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up, when far away.
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half-open, and her finger up,
As though she said “Beware !” her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers, and clasped from head to foot,
An emerald-stone in every golden clasp ;
And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls.
But then her face,
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart-
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody!
Alone it hangs
Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion,
An oaken-chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
With Scripture stories from the life of Christ.
She was an only child-her name Ginevra,
The joy, the pride of an indulgent father;
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gaiety,
Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
Now frowning, smiling for the hundredth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum,
And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy ; but at the nuptial feast,
When all sat down, the bride herself was wanting.
Nor was she to be found ! Her father cried,
“ 'Tis but to make a trial of our love !"
And filled his glass to all ; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco
Laughing, and looking back, and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas ! she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
But that she was not !
Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and, embarking,
Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Orsini lived ; and long might you have seen
An old man wandering as if in quest of something :
Something he could not find-he knew not what.
When he was gone, the house remained awhile
Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten, When, on an idle day, a day of search 'Mid the old lumber in the gallery, That mouldering chest was noticed ; and 'twas said By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, “Why not remove it from its lurking place ?” 'Twas done as soon as said ; but on the way It burst, it fell ; and lo, a skeleton, With here and there a pearl, an emerald stone, A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold. All else had perished-save a wedding ring, And a small seal, her mother's legacy, Engraven with a name, the name of both—“Ginevra."
There then had she found a grave !
Within that chest had she concealed herself,
Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy ;
When a spring lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fastened her down for ever.
I ZAD an uncle once-a man
Of threescore years and three,
And when my reason's dawn began
He'd take me on his knee ;
And often talk, whole winter nights,
Things that seemed strange to me.
He was a man of gloomy mood,
And few his converse sought;
But, it was said, in solitude
His conscience with him wrought ;
And there, before his mental eye,
Some hideous vision brought.
There was not one in all the house
Who did not fear his frown,
Save I, a little careless child,
That gambolled up and down,
And often peep'd into his room,
And pluck'd him by the gown.
I was an orphan, and alone-
My father was his brother,
And all their lives I knew that they
Had fondly loved each other ;
And in my uncle's room there hung
The picture of my mother.
There was a curtain over it-
'Twas in a darkened place,
And few or none had ever look'd
Upon my mother's face ;
Or seen her pale expressive smile
Of melancholy grace.
One night I do remember well,
The wind was howling high,
And through the ancient corridors
It sounded drearily.
I sat and read in that old hall;
My uncle sat close by:
I read, but little understood
The words upon the book ;
For, with a sidelong glance I mark'd
My uncle's fearful look,
And saw how all his quivering frame
In strong convulsions shook.
A silent terror o'er me stole,
A strange, unusual dread.
His lips were white as bone-his eyes
Sunk far down in his head.
He gazed on me, but 'twas the gaze
Of the unconscious dead.
Then suddenly he turned him round,
And flung aside the veil
That hung before my mother's face.
Perchance my eyes might fail,
But ne'er before that-face to me
Had seemed so ghastly pale.
"Come hither, boy !” my uncle said
I started at the sound;
'Twas choked and stifled in his throat,
And hardly utterance found-
“Come hither, boy!” Then fearfully
He cast his eyes around.
“That lady was thy mother once,
Thou wert her only child;
Oh God! I've seen her when she held
Thee in her arms and smiled;
She smiled upon thy father, boy-
'Twas that which drove me wild.
“He was my brother, but his form
Was fairer far than mine: