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The following poem is grounded on a circumstance mentioned in Gibbon's “ Antiquities of the House of Brunswick.”_I am aware, that in modern times the delicacy or fastidiousness of the reader may deem such subjects unfit for the purposes of poetry. The Greek dramatists, and some of the best of our old English writers, were of a different opinion : as Alfieri and Schiller have also been, more recently, upon the continent. The following extract will explain the facts on which the story is founded. The name of Azo is substituted for Nicholas, as more metrical.

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“ Under the reign of Nicholas III. Ferrara was "polluted with a domestic tragedy. By the testi

of an attendant, and his own observation, “ the Marquis of Este discovered the incestuous loves “ of his wife Parisina, and Hugo his bastard son, a “ beautiful and valiant youth. They were beheaded “ in the castle by the sentence of a father and hus“ band, who published his shame, and survived their

He was unfortunate, if they were “guilty ; if they were innocent, he was still more “unfortunate; nor is there any possible situation in “ which I can sincerely approve the last act of the “ justice of a parent.”.

Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 470, new edition..

66 execution.

PARISINA.

I.

It is the hour when from the boughs

The nightingale's high note is heard ; It is the hour when lovers' vows

Seem sweet in every whisper'd word ; And gentle winds, and waters near, Make music to the lonely ear. Each flower the dews have lightly wet, And in the sky the stars are met, And on the wave is deeper blue, And on the leaf a browner hue, And in the heaven that clear obscure, So softly dark, and darkly pure, Which follows the decline of day, As twilight melts beneath the moon away. (1)

II.
But it is not to list to the waterfall
That Parisina leaves her hall,

And it is not to gaze on the heavenly light
That the lady walks in the shadow of night;
And if she sits in Este's bower,
'Tis not for the sake of its full-blown flower
She listens but not for the nightingale
Though her ear expects as soft a tale.
There glides a step through the foliage thick,
And

cheek grows pale and her heart beats quick. There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves, And her blush returns, and her bosom heaves : A moment more—and they shall meet'Tis past—her lover's at her feet.

III.

And what unto them is the world beside,
With all its change of time and tide?
Its living things—its earth and sky-
Are nothing to their mind and eye.
And heedless as the dead are they

Of aught around, above, beneath ;
As if all else had pass'd away,

They only for each other breathe; Their very sighs are full of joy

So deep, that did it not decay,
That happy madness would destroy

The hearts which feel its fiery sway:
Of guilt, of peril, do they deem
In that tumultuous tender dream ?
Who that have felt that passion's power,
Or paused, or fear'd in such an hour?
Or thought how brief such moments last?
But yet—they are already past!

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