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Great as thou art, yet parallelled by those,
Thy countrymen, before thee born to sbine,
The Bards of Hell and Chivalry ; first rose
The Tuscan father's comedy divine;
Theo, not unequal 10 the Florentine,
The southeru Scott, the minstrel who call’d forth
A new creation with his magic line,
And, like the Ariosto of the North,
Sang ladye-love and war, romance and knightly worth.
XLI. The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust (16) The iron crown of laurėl's mimic'd leaves ; Nor was the ominous element unjust, For the true laurel-wreath which Glory weaves (17) Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves, And the false semblance but disgraced his brow; Yet still, if fondly Superstition grieves, Kuow, that the lightning sanctifies below (18) Whate'er it strikes ;-yon head is doubly sacred now.
XLII. Italia! oh'Italia ! thou who hast (19) The fatal gift of beauty, which became A funeral dower of present woes and past, On thy sweet brow is. sorrow plough'd by shame, And annals graved in characters of Alame. Oh God! that thou wert in thy nakedness Less lovely or more powerful, and could'st claim
Thy right, and awe the robbers back, who press To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress ;
LXIII. Then might'st thou more appal; or, less desired, Be homely and be peaceful, undeplored For thy destructive charms; then, still untired, Would not be seen the armed torrent pour'd Down the deep Alps; nor would the hostile horde Of many-nation'd spoilers from the Po Quaff blood and water ; nor the stranger's sword
Be thy sad weapon of defence, and so, Victor or vanquish'd thou the slave of friend or foe.
Wandering in youth, I traced the path of him, (20)
The Roman friend of Rome's least-mortal mind,
The friend of Tully: as my bark did skim
The bright blue waters with a fanning wind,
Came Megara before ne, and behind
Ægina lay, Piræus on the right,
And Corinth on the left; I lay reclined
Along the prow, and saw all these unite
In ruin, even as he had seen the desolate sight.
For Time hath not rebuilt them, but uprear'd
Barbaric dwellings on their shattered site,
Which only make more mourn'd and more endeared
The few last rays of their far-scattered light,
And the crush'à relics of their vanish'd might.
The Roman saw these tombs in his own age,
These sepulchres of cities, which excite
Sad wonder, and his yet surviving page
The moral lesson bears, drawn from such pilgrimage.
That page is now before me, and on mine
His country's ruin added to the mass
Of perish'd states he mourn'd in their decline,
And I in desolation; all that was
Of them destruction is; and now, alas!
Rome-Rome imperial, bows her to the storm,
In the same dust and blackpess, and we pass
The skeleton of her Titanic forin, (21)
Wrecks of another world whose ashes still are warm.
XLVII. Yet, Italy ! though every other land Thy wrongs should ring, and shall, from side to side ; Mother of Arts ! as opce of arms; thy hand Was then our guardian, and is still our guide ; Parent of our Religion! whom the wide Nations have knelt to for the keys of heaven! Europe, repentant of her parricide,
Shall yet redeem thee, and, all backward driven Roll the barbarian tide, and sue to be forgiven.
But Arno wins us to the fair white walls,
Where the Etrurian Athens claims and keeps
A softer feeling for her fairy halls,
Girt by her theatre of hills, she reaps
Her corn, and wine, and oil, and Plenty leaps
To laughing life, with her redundant horn.
Along the banks where smiling Arno sweeps
Was modern Luxury of Commerce born,
And buried Learning rose, redeem'd to a new morn.
There, too, the Goddess loves in stone, and fills (22)
The air around with beauty; we inhale
The ambrosial aspect, which, beheld, instils
Part of its immortality; the veil
Of heaven is half undrawn ; within the pale
We stand, and in that form and face behold
What Mind can make, when Nature's self would fail;
And to the fond idolaters of old
Euvy the innate flash which such a soul could mould:
We gaze and turn away, and know not where,
Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart
Reels with its fulness; there--for ever there
Chain'd to the chariot of triumphal Art,
We stand as captives, and would not depart.
Away--there need no words, nor terms precise,
The paltry jargon of the marble mart,
Where Pedantry gulls Follywe have eyes :
Blood-pulse-und breast, confirm the Dardan Shepherd's
(prize. Appear’dst thou not to Paris in this guise ? Or to more deeply blest Anchises? or, In all thy perfect goddess-ship, when lics Before thee thy own vanquish'd Lord of War? And gazing in thy face as towards a star, Laid on thy lap, bis eyes to thee upturn, Feeding on thy sweet cheek! (23) while thy lips are
With lava kisses melting while they burn, Showered on his eyelids, brow, and mouth, as from an uru!
Glowing, and circumfused in speechless love,
Their full divinity inadequate
That feeling to express, or to improve,
The gods become as mortals, and man's fate
Has moments like their brightest; but the weight
Of earth recoils upon us; let it go!
We can recal such visions, and create,
From what has been, or might be, things which grow
Into thy statue's form, and look like gods below..
I leave to learned fingers, and wise hands,
The artist and his ape, to teach and tell
How well his connoisseurship understands
The graceful bend, and the Voluptuous swell;
Let these describe the undescribable;
I would not their vile breath should crisp the stream
Wherein that image shall for ever dwell;
The unruffled mirror of the lovelist dream
That ever left the sky on the deep soul to beam,
In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie (24)
Ashes which make it holier, dust which is
Eyen in itself an immortality,
Though there were nothing save the past, and this,
The particle of those sublimities
Which have relaps'd to chaos :- here repose
Angelo's Alfieri's bones, and his, (25)
The starry Galileo, with his woes;
Here Machiavelli's earth, return'd to whence it robe.(26)
These are four minds, which, like the elements,
Might furnish forth creation :Italy !
Time, which hath wrong'd thee with ten thousand repts
of thine imperial garment, shall deny,
And hath denied, to every other sky,
Spirits which soar from ruin :-thy decay
Is still inpregnate with divinity,
Which gilds it with revivifying ray;
Such as the great of yore, Canova je to-day.
But where repose the all Etruscan three-
Dante, and Petrarch, and, scarce less than they,
The Bard of Prose, creative spirit! he
Of the Hundred Tales of love where did they lay
Their bones, distinguish'd from our common clay
In death as life? Are they resolv'd to dust,
And have their country's marbles nought to say?
Could not her quarries furnish forth one bust?
Did they not to her breast their filial earth entrust?
Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar, (27)
Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore;(28)
Thy factions, in their worse than civil war,
Proscribed the bard whose name for evermore
Their children's children would in vain adore
With the remorse of ages and the crown (26)
Which Petrarch's laureate brow supremely wore,
Upon a fair and foreign soil had grown,
His life, his fame, grave, though rifled-not thine own
Boccaccio to his parent earth bequeathed (30)
His dust,--and lies it pot her Great among,
With many a sweet and solemn requiein breath'd
O'er him who form'd the Tuscan's siren tongue
'That music in itself, whose, sounds are song,
The poetry of speech ? No;-even bis tomb
Upiorn, must bear the hyæna bigot's wrong,
No more amidst the meaner dead find room,
Nor claim a passing sigh, because it told for whom?
And Santa Croce wants their mighty dust;
Yet for this want more noted, as of yore
The Cæsar's pageant, shorn of Brutus' bust,
Did but of Rome's best Son remind her more;
Happier Ravenna! on thy hoary shorc,
Fortress of falling empire! honoured sleeps
The imortal exile ;--Arqua, too, her store
Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps;
Wbile Florence vainly begs her banish'd dead and weeps.