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Revere each tree whose sheltering branches wave Where heroes slumber on their battle plains,
And, as the wind's deep thrills and mystic sighs Still throng as pilgrims to the holy fane,
Wake the wild harp to loftiest harmonies, While as they trace each spot, whose records tell Thus at your influence, starting from repose, Where fought their fathers, and prevail'd, and fell, Thought Feeling, Fancy, into grandeur rose. Warm in their souls shall loftiest feelings glow, Claiming proud kindred with the dust below! Fair Florence ! queen of Arno's lovely vale ! And many an age shall see the brave repair Justice and Truth indignant heard thy tale, To learn the Hero's bright devotion there. And sternly smiled, in retribution's hour,
To wrest thy treasures from the Spoiler's power. And well, Ausonia ! may that field of fame, Too long the spirits of thy noble dead From thee one song of cchoing triumph claim. Mourn'd o'er the domes they rear'd in ages fled. Land of the lyre ! 'twas there th’avenging sword Those classic scenes their pride so richly graced, Won the bright treusures to thy fanes restored ; Temples of genius, palaces of taste, Those precious trophies o'er thy realms that throw Too long, with sad and desolated mien, A veil of radiance, hiding half thy woe,
Reveal'd where Conquest's lawless track had been; And bid the stranger for awhile forget
Reft of each form with brighter light imbued, How deep thy fall, and deem thee glorious yet. Lonely they frown'd, a desert solitude.
Florence ! th' Oppressor's noon of pride is o'er, Yes, fair creations ! to perfection wrought, Rise in thy pomp again, and weep no more ! Embodied visions of ascending thought ! Forms of sublimity ! by Genius traced
As one who, starting at the dawn of day In tints that vindicate adoring taste !
From dark illusions, phantoms of dismay, Whose bright originals, to earth unknown, With transport heighten'd by those ills of night, Live in the spheres encircling glory's throne.; Hails the rich glories of expanding light; Models of art, to deathless fame consign'd, E'en thus, awakening from thy dream of woe, Stamp'd with the high-born majesty of mind; While heaven's own hues in radiance round thee Yes, matchless works! your presence shall restore glow, One beam of splendour to your native shore, With warmer ecstasy 'tis thine to trace And her sad scenes of lost renown illume,
Each tint of beauty, and each line of grace ;
By fond affection bending o'er the dead.
Those matchless gems of Art's exhaustless mino. Where midst the ruin'd shrines of many a vale, For thee bright Genius darts his living beam, Een Desolation tells a haughty tale,
Warm o'er thy shrines the tints of Glory stream,
So chastely perfect, so serenely grand,
Ye at whose voice fair Art, with eagle glance, Each ruin tells of Earth's departed lords ; Burst in full splendour from her deathlike trance--And the deep tones of inspiration swell
Whose rallying call bade slumbering nations wake, From cach wild olive-wood, and Alpine dell; And daring Intellect his bondage break
Beneath whose eye the lords of song arose,
Though quench'd the spirit of thine ancient race,
Proud Racers of the Sun ! to fancy's thought Burning with spirit, from his essence caught, No mortal birth ye seem—but form'd to bear Heaven's car of triumph through the realms of
There thou, fair offspring of immortal Mind ! Love's radiant goddess, idol of mankind ! Once the bright object of Devotion's vow, Shalt claim from taste a kindred worship now. Oh ! who can tell what beams of heavenly light Flash'd o'er the sculptor's intellectual sight, How many a glimpse, reveal’d to him alone, Made brighter beings, nobler worlds, his own; Ere, like some vision sent the earth to bless, Burst into life thy pomp of loveliness !
Young Genius there, while dwells his kindling
eye On forms instinct with bright divinity, While new-born powers, dilating in his heart, Embrace the full magnificence of Art; From scenes by Raphael's gifted hand array'd, From dreams of heaven by Angelo portray'd ; From each fair work of Grecian skill sublime, Seald with perfection, " sanctified by time;" Shall catch a kindred glow, and proudly feel His spirit burn with emulative zeal : Buoyant with loftier hopes, his soul shall rise, Imbued at once with nobler energies; O'er life's dim scenes on rapid pinions soar, And worlds of visionary grace explore, Till his bold hand give glory's daydream birth, And with new wonders charm admiring earth.
To range uncurb'd the pathless fields of space,
Venice exult! and o'er thy moonlight seas Swell with gay strains each Adriatic breeze! What though long fled those years of martial fame That shed romantic lustre o'er thy name; Though to the winds thy streamers idly play, And the wild waves another Queen obey;
Venice the proud, the Regent of the sea, Welcomes in chains the trophies of the Free !
And thou, whose Eagle towering plume unfurl'd Once cast its shadow o'er a vassal world, Eternal city! round whose Curule throne The lords of nations knelt in ages flown; Thou, whose Augustan years have left to time Immortal records of their glorious prime; When deathless bards, thine olive-shades among, Swell’d the high raptures of heroic song; Fair, fallen Empress ! raise thy languid head From the cold altars of th' illustrious dead, And once again with fond delight survey The proud memorials of thy noblest day.
Lo! where thy sons, 0 Rome ! a godlike train, In imaged majesty return again! Bards, chieftains, monarchs, tower with mien
august O'er scenes that shrine their venerable dust. Those forms, those features, luminous with soul, Still o'er thy children seem to claim control; With awful grace arrest the pilgrim's glance, Bind his rapt soul in elevating trance, And bid the past, to fancy's ardent eyes, From time's dim sepulchre in glory rise.
Bright with stern beauty, breathing wrathful fire. In all the grandeur of celestial ire, Once more thine own, th' immortal Archer's form Sheds radiance round, with more than Being
warm ! Oh! who could view, nor deem that perfect frame A living temple of ethereal flame ?
Souls of the lofty! whose undying names Rouse the young bosom still to noblest aims; Oh! with your images could fate restore Your own high spirit to your sons once more; Patriots and Heroes ! could those flames return That bade your hearts with freedom's ardours burn; Then from the sacred ashes of the first, Might a new Rome in phenix grandeur burst ! With one bright glance dispel th' horizon's gloom, With one loud call wake empire from the tomb; Bind round her brows her own triumphal crown, Lift her dread ægis with majestic frown, Unchain her eagle's wing, and guide his flight To bathe his plumage in the fount of light !
Lord of the daystar ! how may words portray
Vain dream! Degraded Rome! thy noon is o'er; Once lost, thy spirit shall revive no more. It sleeps with those, the sons of other days, Who fix'd on thee the world's adoring gaze; Those, blest to live, while yet thy star was high, More blest, ere darkness quench'd its beam, to die !
And thou, triumphant wreck, e'en yet sublime, Disputed trophy, claimed by Art and time: Hail to that scene again, where Genius caught From thee its fervours of diviner thought ! Where He, th' inspired One, whose gigantic mind Lived in some sphere to him alone assign'd; Who from the past, the future, and th' unseen Could call up forms of more than earthly mien : Unrivall’d Angelo on thee would gaze, Till his full soul imbibed perfection's blaze ! And who but he, that Prince of Art, might dare Thy sovereign greatness view without despair ?
Yet, though thy faithless tutelary powers Have fled thy shrines, left desolate thy towers, Still, still to thee shall nations bend their way, Revered in ruin, sovereign in decay !
1 The Belvidere Torso, the favourite study of Michael Angelo, and of many other distinguished artists.
Emblem of Rome ! from power's meridian hurld, Yet claiming still the homage of the world.
What hadst thou been, ere barbarous hands
defaced The work of wonder, idolised by taste ? Oh ! worthy still of some divine abode, Mould of a Conqueror ! ruin of a God ! 1 Still, like some broken gem, whose quenchless beam From each bright fragment pours its vital stream, 'Tis thine, by fate unconquer'd, to dispense From every part some ray of excellence ! E’en yet, inform’d with essence from on high, Thine is no trace of frail mortality ! Within that frame a purer being glows, Through viewless veins a brighter current flows; Filld with immortal life each muscle swells, In every line supernal grandeur dwells,
Oh, mighty conflict ! though his pains intense
Consummate work! the noblest and the last Of Grecian Freedom, ere her reign was past :* Nurse of the mighty, she, while lingering still, Her mantle flow'd o'er many a classic hill, Ere yet her voice its parting accents breathed, A hero's image to the world bequeathed; Enshrined in thee th' imperishable ray Of high-soul'd Genius, foster'd by her sway, And bade thee teach, to ages yet unborn, What lofty dreams were hers—who never shall
Turn from such conflicts, and enraptured gaze On scenes where painting all her skill displays : Landscapes, by colouring dress'd in richer dyes, More mellow'd sunshine, more unclouded skies, Or dreams of bliss to dying martyrs given, Descending seraphs robed in beams of heaven.
And mark yon group, transfix'd with manyathroe, Scald with the image of eternal woe: With fearful truth, terrific power, exprest, Thy pangs, Laocoon, agonise the breast, And the stern combat picture to mankind Of suffering nature and enduring mind.
Oh ! sovereign Masters of the Pencil's might, Its depths of shadow and its blaze of light; Ye, whose bold thought, disdaining every bound, Explored the worlds above, below, around, Children of Italy ! who stand alone And unapproach'd, midst regions all your own; What scenes, what beings bless'd your favour'd
sight, Severely grand, unutterably bright !
1 “Quoique cette statue d'Hercule ait été maltraitée et mutilée d'une manière étrange, se trouvant sans tête, sans bras, et sans jambes, elle est cependant encore un chefd'auvre aux yeux des connoisseurs ; et ceux qui savent percer dans les mystères de l'art, se la représentent dans toute sa beauté. L'Artiste, en voulant représenter Hercule, a forme un corps idéal audessus de la nature * * * Cet Hercule paroit donc ici tel qu'il put étre lorsque, purifié par le feu des foiblesses de l'humanité, il obtint l'immortalité et prit place auprès des Dieux. Il est représenté sans aucun besoin de nourriture et de réparation de forces. Les veines y sont tout invisibles." -- WINCKELMANN, Histoire de l'Art chez les Anciens, tom. ii. p. 248.
9 “Le Torso d'Hercule paroît un des derniers ouvrages parfaits que l'art ait produit en Grèce, avant la perte de sa libérté. C'ar après que la Grèce fut réduite en province Romaine, l'histoire ne fait mention d'aucun artiste célèbre de cette nation, jusqu'aux temps du Triumvirat Romain.”WINCKELMANN, ibid. tom. ii. p. 250.
8 " It is not, in the same manner, in the agonised limbs, or in the convulsed muscles of the Laocoon, that the secret grace of its composition resides ; it is in the majestic air of the head, which has not yielded to suffering, and in the deep serenity of the forehead, which seems to be still superior to all its afflictions, and significant of a mind that cannot be subdued."—ALISON'S Essays, vol. ii. p. 400.
“ Laocoon nous offre le spectacle de la nature humaine dans la plus grande douleur dont elle soit susceptible, sous l'image d'un homme qui tâche de rassembler contre elle toute la force de l'esprit. Tandis que l'excès de la souffrance entle les muscles, et tire violemment les nerfs, le courage se montre sur le front gonflé: la poitrine s'élève avec peine par la nécessité de la respiration, qui est également contrainte par le silence que la force de l'âme impose à la douleur qu'elle voudroit étouffer * * * * Son air est plaintif, et non criard."-WINCKELMANS, Histoire de l'Art chez les Anciens, tom. ii. p. 214.
Triumphant spirits ! your exulting eye
Bright on your view such forms their splendour
shed As burst on prophet-bards in ages fled : Forms that to trace no hand but yours might dare, Darkly sublime, or exquisitely fair; These o'er the walls your magic skill array'd, Glow in rich sunshine, gleam through melting shade, Float in light grace, in awful greatness tower, And breathe and move, the records of your power. Inspired of heaven ! what heighten'd pomp ye cast O'er all the deathless trophies of the past ! Round many a marble fane and classic dome, Asserting still the majesty of RomeRound many a work that bids the world believe What Grecian Art could image and achieve, Again, creative minds, your visions throw Life's chasten'd warmth and Beauty's mellowest
glow. And when the Morn's bright beams and mantling
dyes Pour the rich lustre of Ausonian skies, Or evening suns illume with purple smile The Parian altar and the pillar'd aisle, Then, as the full or soften'd radiance falls On angel-groups that hover o'er the walls, Well may those temples, where your hand has shed Light o'er the tomb, existence round the dead, Seem like some world, so perfect and so fair, That nought of earth should find admittance there, Some sphere, where beings, to mankind unknown, Dwell in the brightness of their pomp alone !
Scenes, whose cleft rocks and blasted deserts tell
Oh! mark where Raphael's pure and perfect line Portrays that form ineffably divine ! Where with transcendant skill his hand has shed Diffusive sunbeams round the Saviour's head ;2 Each heaven-illumined lineament imbued With all the fulness of beatitude, And traced the sainted group, whose mortal sight Sinks overpower'd by that excess of light !
Gaze on that scene, and own the might of Art, By truth inspired, to elevate the heart ! To bid the soul exultingly possess, Of all her powers, a heighten'd consciousness; And, strong in hope, anticipate the day, The last of life, the first of freedom's ray; To realise, in some unclouded sphere, Those pictured glories feebly imaged here ! Dim, cold reflections from her native sky, Faint effluence of “the Dayspring from on high !
Hence, ye vain fictions ! fancy's erring theme ! Gods of illusion ! phantoms of a dream ! Frail, powerless idols of departed time, Fables of song, delusive, though sublime ! To loftier tasks has Roman Art assign'd Her matchless pencil, and her mighty mind! From brighter streams her vast ideas fow'd, With purer fire her ardent spirit glow'd. To her 'twas given in fancy to explore The land of miracles, the holiest shore; That realm where first the Light of Life was sent, The loved, the punishd, of th’ Omnipotent ! O'er Judah's hills her thoughts inspired would stray, Through Jordan's valleys trace their lonely way; By Siloa's brook, or Almotana's deep, Chain'd in dead silence, and unbroken sleep; 1 Almotana. The name given by the Arabs to the Dead Sea.
[This poem is thus alluded to by Lord Byron, in one of his published letters to Mr Murray, dated from Diodati, Sept. 30th, 1818:-“ Italy or Dalmatia and another summer may, or may not, set me off again.
I shall take Felicia Hemans's Restoration, &c., with me--it is a good poem-very."]
2 The Transfiguration, thought to be so perfect a specimen of art, that, in honour of Raphael, it was carried before his body to the grave.