Page images
PDF
EPUB

Let us contemplate; and, where dreams from Jove And reaping-hook, among their household-things Descended on the sleeper, where perhaps

Duly transmitted ? In the hands of men Some inspirations may be lingering still,

Made captive; while the master and his guests, Some glimmerings of the future or the past, Reclining, quaff in gold, and roses swim, Await their influence; silently revolving

Summer and winter, through the circling year,
The changes from that hour, when He from Troy On their Falernian—in the hands of men
Went up the Tiber; when refulgent shields, Dragg'd into slavery, with how many more
No strangers to the icon-hail of war,

Spared but to die, a public spectacle,
Stream'd far and wide, and dashing oars were heard In combat with each other, and required
Among those woods where Silvia's stag was lying, To fall with grace, with dignity to sink,
His antlers gay with flowers; among those woods While life is gushing, and the plaudits ring
Where, by the Moon, that saw and yet withdrew not, Faint and yet fainter on their failing ear,
Two were so soon to wander and be slain, (143) As models for the sculptor.
Two lovely in their lives, nor in their death

But their days,
Divided

Their hours are number'd. Hark, a yell, a shriek, Then, and hence to be discern'd, A barbarous dissonance, loud and yet louder, How many realms, pastoral and warlike, lay (144) That echoes from the mountains to the sea ! Along this plain, each with its schemes of power, And mark, beneath us, like a bursting cloud, Its little rivalships! What various turns

The battle moving onward! Had they slain Of fortune there ; what moving accidents

All, that the Earth should from her womb bring forth From ambuscade and open violence!

New nations to destroy them? From the depth Mingling, the sounds came up; and hence how oft Of forests, from what none had dared explore, We might have caught among the trees below, Regions of thrilling ice, as though in ice Glittering with helm and shield, the men of Tibur;' Engender'd, multiplied, they pour along, Or in Greek vesture, Greek their origin,

Shaggy and huge! Host after host, they come; Some embassy, ascending to Præneste;?

The Goth, the Vandal; and again the Goth! How oft descried, without thy gates, Aricia,"

Once more we look, and all is still as night, Entering the solemn grove for sacrifice,

All desolate! Groves, temples, palaces, Senate and People !Each a busy hive,

Swept from the sight, and nothing visible,
Glowing with life!

Amid the sulphurous vapors that exhale
But all ere-long are lost As from a land accurst, save here and there
In one. We look, and where the river rolls

An empty tomb, a fragment like the limb
Southward its shining labyrinth, in her strength

Of some dismember'd giant. In the midst A City, girt with battlements and towers,

A City stands, her domes and turrets crown'd On seven small hills is rising. Round about,

With many a cross; but they, that issue forth, At rural work, the Citizens are seen,

Wander like strangers who had built among None unemploy'd; the noblest of them all

The mighty ruins, sitent, spiritless; Binding their sheaves or on their threshing-floors,

And on the road, where once we might have met As though they had not conquer'd. Everywhere

Cæsar and Cato, and men more than kings, Some trace of valor or heroic virtue!

We meet, none else, the pilgrim and the beggar. Here is the sacred field of the Horatii, (145) There are the Quintian meadows. (146) Here the hill

VII.
How holy, where a generous people, twice,

THE ROMAN PONTIFFS.
Twice going forth, in terrible anger sate
Arm’d; and, their wrongs redress'd, at once gave way,

Trose ancient men, what were they, who achieved
Helmet and shield, and sword and spear thrown down, A sway beyond the greatest conquerors ;
And every hand uplifted, every heart

Setting their feet upon the necks of kings, Pour'd out in thanks to Heaven.

And, through the world, subduing, chaining down Once again

The free immortal spirit? Were they not
We look; and, lo, the sea is white with sails Mighty magicians ? Theirs a wondrous spell,
Innumerable, wafting to the shore

Where true and false were with infernal art
Treasures untold ; the vale, the promontories, Close-interwoven; where together met
A dream of glory; temples, palaces,

Plessings and curses, threats and promises ;
Call’d up as by enchantment; aqueducts

And with the terrors of Futurity
Among the groves and glades rolling along Mingled whate'er enchants and fascinates,
Rivers, on many an arch high over-head;

Music and painting, sculpture, rhetoric (147)
And in the centre, like a burning-sun,

And architectural pomp, such as none else ; The Imperial City! They have now subdued And dazzling light, and darkness visible! (1481 All nations. But where they who led them forth; What in his day the Syracusan sought, Who, when at length released by victory,

Another world to plant his engines on, (Buckler and spear hung up but not to rust) They had ; and, having it, like gods, not men, Held poverty no evil, no reproach,

Moved this world at their pleasure. Ere they Living on little with a cheerful mind,

came, (149) The Decii, the Fabricii? Where the spade Their shadows, stretching far and wide, were known

And Two, that look'd beyond the visible sphere, 1 Tivoli. 2 Palestrina. 3 La Riccia. 4 Mons Sacer. Gave notice of their coming—he who saw

The Apocalypse ; and he of elder time,

Yet was it sad as sweet, and, ere it closed, Who in an awful vision of the night

Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn, Saw the Four Kingdoms. Distant as they were, And the long tresses in her hands were laid, Well might those holy men be fillid with fear! That she might fling them from her, saying, “Thus,

Thus I renounce the world and worldly things !"
VIII.

When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments
CAIUS CESTIUS.

Were, one by one, removed, even to the last,

That she might say, flinging them from her, “Thus, When I am inclined to be serious, I love to wan. Thus I renounce the world!" when all was changed der up and down before the tomb of Caius Cestius. And, as nun, in homeliest guise she knelt, The Protestant burial-ground is there ; and most of Veil'd in her veil, crown'd with her silver crown, the little monuments are erected to the young; young Her crown of lilies as the spouse of Christ, men of promise, cut off when on their travels, full Well might her strength forsake her, and her knees of enthusiasm, full of enjoyment; brides, in the bloom Fail in that hour! Well might the holy man, of their beauty, on their first journey; or children, He, at whose feet she knelt, give as by stealth borne from home in search of health. This stone was ('T was in her utmost need; nor, while she lives, (151) placed by his fellow-travellers, young as himself, who Will it go from her, fleeting as it was) will return to the house of his parents without him ; That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love that, by a husband or a father, now in his native And pity! country. His heart is buried in that

grave.

Like a dream the whole is fled ; It is a quiet and sheltered nook, covered in the And they, that came in idleness to gaze winter with violets; and the Pyramid, that over. Upon the victim dress'd for sacrifice, shadows it, gives it a classical and singularly solemn Are mingling in the world; thou in thy cell air. You feel an interest there, a sympathy you Forgot, Teresa. Yet, among them all, were not prepared for. You are yourself in a foreign None were so form'd to love and to be loved, land; and they are for the most part your country. None to delight, adorn; and on thee now men. They call upon you in your mother-longuem A curtain, blacker than the night, is dropp'd in English-in words unknown to a native, known For ever! In thy gentle bosom sleep only to yourselves : and the tomb of Cestius, that old Feelings, affections, destined now to die, majestic pile, has this also in common with them. It To wither like the blossom in the bud, is itself a stranger, among strangers. It has stood Those of a wife, a mother; leaving there there till the language spoken round about it has A cheerless void, a chill as of the grave, changed; and the shepherd, born at the foot, can read A languor and a lethargy of soul, its inscription no longer.

Death-like, and gathering more and more, till Death

Comes to release thee. Ah, what now to thee, IX.

What now to thee the treasure of thy Youth ? THE NUN.

As nothing! "T is over; and her lovely cheek is now

But thou canst not yet reflect On her hard pillow—there, alas, to be

Calmly; so many things, strange and perverse,

That meet, recoil, and go but to return, Nightly, through many and many a dreary hour,

The monstrous birth of one eventful day,
Wan, often wet with tears, and (ere at length

Troubling thy spirit—from the first, at dawn,
Her place is empty, and another comes)
In anguish, in the ghastliness of death ;

The rich arraying for the nuptial feast,

To the black pall, the requiem. (152) Hers never more to leave those mournful walls,

All in turn Even on her bier.

Revisit thee, and round thy lowly be 'Tis over; and the rite,

Hover, uncall’d. The young and innocent heart, With all its pomp and harmony, is now

How is it beating? Has it no regrets ? Floating before her. She arose at home,

Discoverest thou no weakness lurking there?
To be the show, the idol of the day;

But thine exhausted frame has sunk to rest.
Her vesture gorgeous, and her starry head
No rocket, bursting in the midnight-sky,

Peace to thy slumbers !
So dazzling. When to-morrow she awakes,
She will awake as though she still was there,
Still in her father's house; and lo, a cell

THE FIRE-FLY.
Narrow and dark, nought through the gloom discern'd,
Nought save the crucifix, the rosary,

There is an Insect, that, when Evening comes, And the grey habit lying by to shroud

Small though he be and scarce distinguishable, Her beauty and grace.

Like Evening clad in soberest livery, When on her knees she fell, Unsheathes his wings, (153) and through the woods Entering the solemn place of consecration,

and glades And from the latticed gallery came a chaunt Scatters a marvellous splendor On he wheels, Of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical, (150) Blazing by fits as from excess of joy, (154) Verse after verse sung out, how holily!

Each gush of light a gush of ecstacy; The strain returning, and still, still returning, Nor unaccompanied ; thousands that fling Methought it acted like a spell upon her,

A radiance all their own, not of the day, And she was casting off her earthly dross ; Thousands as bright as he, from dusk till dawn,

Soaring, descending.

earth. “It may serve me," said I, “ as a remedy in In the mother's lap

some future fit of the spleen." Well may the child put forth his little hands, Singing the nursery-song he learnt so soon ;(155)

Ours is a nation of travellers ;' and no wonder, And the young nymph, preparing for the dance (156) when the elements, air, water, fire, attend at our bid By brook or fountain-side, in many a braid

ding, to transport us from shore to shore; when the Wreathing her golden hair, well may she cry,

ship rushes into the deep, her track the foam as of "Come hither; and the shepherds, gathering round, some mighty torrent; and, in three hours or less, we Shall say, Floretta emulates the Night,

stand gazing and gazed at among a foreign people. Spangling her head with stars."

None want an excuse. If rich, they go to enjoy, if Oft have I met

poor, to retrench; if sick, to recover; if studious, to This shining race, when in the Tusculan groves

learn ; if learned, to relax from their studies. But My path no longer glimmer'd; oft among

whatever they may say, whatever they may believe, Those trees, religious once and always green, (157) they go for the most part on the same errand ; nor That yet dream out their stories of old Rome

will those who reflect, think that errand an idle one. Over the Alban lake; oft met and haild,

Almost all men are over-anxious. No sooner do they Where the precipitate Anio thunders down, enter the world, than they lose that taste for natural And through the surging mist a Poet's house and simple pleasures, so remarkable in early life. (So some aver, and who would not believe ?) (158) Every hour do they ask themselves what progress Reveals itself.

they have made in the pursuit of wealth or honor; Yet cannot I forget

and on they go as their fathers went before them, till, Him, who rejoiced me in those walks at eve,

weary and sick at heart, they look back with a sigh My earliest, pleasantest; who dwells unseen,

of regret to the golden time of their childhood. And in our northern clime, when all is still,

Now travel, and foreign travel more particularly, Nightly keeps watch, nightly in bush or brake

restores to us in a great degree what we have lost. His lonely lamp rekindling.' Unlike theirs, When the anchor is heaved, we double down the leaf; His, if less dazzling, through the darkness knows

and for a while at least all effort is over. The old No intermission; sending forth its ray

cares are left clustering round the old objects; and at Through the green leaves, a ray serene and clear

every step, as we proceed, the slightest circumstance As Virtue's own.

amuses and interests. All is new and strange. We XI.

surrender ourselves, and feel once again as children.

Like them, we enjoy eagerly; like them, when we fret, FOREIGN TRAVEL.

we fret only for the moment; and here indeed the reIt was in a splenetic humor that I sate me down to semblance is very remarkable, for if a journey has its my scanty fare at Terracina ; and how long I should pains as well as its pleasures (and there is nothing unhave contemplated the lean thrushes in array before mixed in this world, the pains are no sooner over than me, I cannot say, if a cloud of smoke, that drew the they are forgotten, while the pleasures live long in tears into my eyes, had not burst from the green and the memory. Jeafy boughs on the hearth-stone. "Why," I exclaim- Nor is it surely without another advantage. If life ed, starting up from the table, “ why did I leave my be short, not so to many of us are its days and its own chimney-corner ?—But am I not on the road to hours. When the blood slumbers in the veins, how Brundusium? And are not these the very calamities often do we wish that the earth would turn faster on that befell Horace and Virgil, and Mæcenas, and Plo- its axis, that the sun would rise and set before it does, tius, and Varius ? Horace laughed at them—then and, to escape from the weight of time, how many why should not I ? Horace resolved to turn them to follies, how many crimes are committed! Men rush account; and Virgil-cannot we hear him observing, on danger, and even on death. Intrigue, play, foreign that to remember them will, by and by, be a pleasure?" and domestic broil, such are their resources; and, My soliloquy reconciled me at once to my fate ; and when these things fail, they destroy themselves. when, for the twentieth time, I had looked through Now in travelling we multiply events, and innothe window on a sea sparkling with innumerable cently. We set out, as it were, on our adventures; brilliants, a sea on which the heroes of the Odyssey and many are those that occur to us, morning, noor, and the Eneid had sailed, I sat down as to a splendid and night. The day we come to a place which we banquet. My thrushes had the flavor of ortolans; and have long heard and read of, and in Italy we do so I ate with an appetite I had not known before. continually, it is an era in our lives; and from that

" Who," I cried, as I poured out my last glass of moment the very name calls up a picture. How de. Falernian,” (for Falernian it was said to be, and in my lightfully too does the knowledge flow in upon us, eyes it ran bright and clear as a topaz-stone)"who and how fast!? Would he who sat in a corner of would remain at home, could he do otherwise? Who would submit to tread that dull, but daily round; his 1 As indeed it always was, contributing those of every degree, hours forgotten as soon as spent ?" and, opening my from a milors with his suite to him whose only attendant is bin journal-book and dipping my pen into my ink-horn, returning, hung up his shoes in his village church as an ex-voto I determined, as far as I could, to justify myself and Goldsmith, a century and a half afterwards, followed in nearly my countrymen in wandering over the face of the the same path ; playing a tune on his flute to procure admit his library, poring over books and maps, learn more Greek sculpture—in some earlier day perhaps or so much in the time, as he who, with his eyes and A tomb, and honor'd with a hero's ashes. his heart open, is receiving impressions, all day long, The water from the rock fill'd, overflow'd it; from the things themselves ?' How accurately do they Then dash'd away, playing the prodigal, arrange themselves in our memory, towns, rivers, And soon was losi-stealing unseen, unheard, mountains; and in what living colors do we recall Through the long grass, and round the twisted roots the dresses, manners, and customs of the people! Our Of aged trees; discovering where it ran sight is the noblest of all our senses. " It fills the By the fresh verdure. Overcome with heat, mind with most ideas, converses with its objects at I threw me down; admiring, as I lay, the greatest distance, and continues longest in action That shady nook, a singing-place for birds, without being tired.” Our sight is on the alert when That grove so intricate, so full of flowers, we travel; and its exercise is then so delightful, that More than enough to please a child a-Maying. we forget the profit in the pleasure.

tance, whenever he approached a cottage at night-fall.

2 To judge at once of a nation, we have only to throw our 1 The glow-worm.

eyes on the markets and the fields. If the markets are well 2 We were now within a few hours of the Campania Felix. supplied, the fields well-cultivated, all is right. If otherwiso, On the color and flavor of Falernian, consult Galen and Dios- we may say, and say truly, these people are barbarous or op corides

pressed.

Like a river, that gathers, that refines as it runs, The sun was down, a distant convent-bell like a spring that takes its course through some rich Ringing the Angelus; and now approach'd vein of mineral, we improve and imperceptibly—nor The hour for stir and village-gossip there, in the head only, but in the heart. Our prejudices The hour Rebekah came, when from the well leave us, one by one. Seas and mountains are no She drew with such alacrity to serve longer our boundaries. Wo learn to love, and esteem, The stranger and his camels. Soon I heard and admire beyond them. Our benevolence extends Footsteps; and lo, descending by a path itself with our knowledge. And must we not return Trodden for ages, many a nymph appear'd, better citizens than we went? For the more we Appear'd and vanish'd, bearing on her head become acquainted with the institutions of other Her earthen pitcher. It call'd up the day countries, the more highly must we value our own. Ulysses landed there; and long I gazed,

Like one awaking in a distant time. (159) I threw down my pen in triumph. “ The question," said I, “is set to rest for ever. And yet—".

At length there came the loveliest of them all, “And yet—" I must still say. The wisest of men Her little brother dancing down before her; seldom went out of the walls of Athens; and for that And ever as he spoke, which he did ever, worst of evils, that sickness of the soul, to which we Turning and looking up in warmth of heart are most liable when most at our ease, is there not And brotherly affection. Stopping there, after all a surer and yet pleasanter remedy, a remedy She join'd her rosy hands, and, filling them for which we have only to cross the threshold? Á With the pure element, gave him to drink; Piedmontese nobleman, into whose company I fell al And, while he quench'd his thirst, standing on tiptoe, Turin, had not long before experienced its efficacy : Look'd down upon him with a sister's smile, and his story, which he told me without reserve, Nor stirr'd till he had done, fix'd as a statue. was as follows. “I was weary of life, and, after a day, such as few

Then hadst thou seen them as they stood, Canova. have known and none would wish to remember, was Thou hadst endow'd them with immortal youth; hurrying along the street to the river, when I felt a And they had evermore lived undivided, sudden check. I turned and beheld a little boy, who Winning all hearts—of all thy works the fairest. had caught the skirt of my cloak in his anxiety to solicit my notice. His look and manner were irre

XIII. sistible. Not less so was the lesson he had learnt.

BANDITTI. “There are six of us; and we are dying for want of food.'— Why should I not,' said I to myself, 're

"Tis a wild life, fearful and full of change, lieve this wretched family? I have the means; and The mountain-robber's. On the watch he lies, it will not delay me many minutes. But what, if it Levelling his carbine at the passenger; does ? The scene of misery he conducted me to, I And, when his work is done, he dares not sleep. cannot describe. I threw them my purse; and their burst of gratitude overcame me. It filled my eyes

Time was, the trade was nobler, if not honest; it went as a cordia. to my heart. "I will call again When they that robh'd, were men of better faith (160) to-morrow,' I cried. "Fool that I was, to think of Than kings or pontiffs, when, such reverence leaving a world, where such pleasure was to be had The Poet drew among the woods and wilds, and so cheaply!'"

A voice was heard, that never bade to spare,

Crying aloud, “ Hence to the distant hills !
XII.

Tasso approaches; he, whose song beguiles

The day of half its hours; whose sorcery
THE FOUNTAIN.

Dazzles the sense, turning our forest-glades
It was a well

To lists that blaze with gorgeous armory,
Of whitest marble, white as from the quarry ;

Our mountain-caves to regal palaces. And richly wrought with many a high relief,

Hence, nor descend till he and his are gone.

Let him fear nothing." 1 Assuredly not, if the last has laid a proper foundation. And by the path that, wandering on its way,

When along the shore, (161) Knowledge makes knowlerige as money makes money, nor ever perbups so fast as on a journey.

Leads through the fatal grove where Tully fell

Grey and o’ergrown, an ancient tomb is there), Cross the brown heath, ere-long to wag their beards
He came and they withdrew: they were a race Before my lady-abbess, and discuss
Careless of life in others and themselves,

Things only known to the devout and pure
For they had learnt their lesson in a camp; O’er her spiced bowl-then shrive the sisterhood,
But not ungenerous. "T is no longer so.

Sitling by turns with an inclining ear Now crafty, cruel, torturing ere they slay

In the confessional. The unhappy captive, and with bitter jests

He moves his lips Mocking misfortune; vain, fantastical,

As with a curse—then paces up and down, Wearing whatever glitters in the spoil;

Now fast, now slow, brooding and muttering on, And most devout, though when they kneel and pray, Gloomy alike to him the past, the future. With every bead they could recount a murder. As by a spell they start up in array, (162)

But hark, the nimble tread of numerous feet! As by a spell they vanish-theirs a band,

-"T is but a dappled herd, come down to slake Not as elsewhere of outlaws, but of such

Their thirst in the cool wave. He turns and aims-, As sow and reap, and at the cottage-door

Then checks himself, unwilling to disturb
Sit to receive, return the traveller's greeting; The sleeping echoes.
Now in the garb of peace, now silently

Once again he earths;
Arming and issuing forth, led on by men

Slipping away to house with them beneath, Whose names on innocent lips are words of fear,

His old companions in that hiding-place, Whose lives have long been forfeit.

The bat, the toad, the blind-worm, and the newt;

Some there are And hark, a footstep, firm and confident,
That, ere they rise to this bad eminence,

As of a man in haste. Nearer it draws;
Lurk, night and day, the plague-spot visible, And now is at the entrance of the den.
The guilt that says, Beware; and mark we now Ha ! 't is a comrade, sent to gather in
Him, where he lies, who couches for his prey The band for some great enterprise.
At the bridge-foot, in some dark cavity

Who wants Scoop'd by the waters, or some gaping tomb,

A sequel, may read on. The unvarnish'd tale, Nameless and tenantless, whence the red fox

That follows, will supply the place of one. Slunk as he enter'd. There he broods, in spleen

"T was told me by the Marquis of Ravina, Gnawing his beard ; his rough and sinewy frame

When in a blustering night he shelter'd me O'erwritten with the story of his life:

In that brave castle of his ancestors On his wan cheek a sabre-cut, well-earn'd

O'er Garigliano, and is such indeed In foreign warfare ; on his breast the brand

As every day brings with it in a land Indelible, burnt in when to the port

Where laws are trampled on, and lawless men He clank'd his chain, among a hundred more Walk in the sun; but it should not be lost, Dragg'd ignominiously; on every limb

For it may serve to bind us to our country.
Memorials of his glory and his shame,
Stripes of the lash and honorable scars,

XIV.
And channels here and there worn to the bone
By galling fetters.

AN ADVENTURE.
He comes slowly forth,

Three days they lay in ambush at my gate, (163) Unkennelling, and up that savage dell

Then sprung and led me captive. Many a wild Anxiously looks; his cruise, an ample gourd We traversed ; but Rusconi, 't was no less, (Duly replenish'd from the vintner's cask),

March'd by my side, and, when I thirsted, climb'd Slung from his shoulder; in his breadth of belt The cliffs for water; though, whene'er he spoke, Two pistols and a dagger yet uncleansed,

"T was briefly, sullenly; and on he led, A parchment scrawld with uncouth characters,

Distinguish'd only by an amulet, And a small vial, his last remedy,

That in a golden chain hung from his neck, His cure, when all things fail. No noise is heard,

A crystal of rare virtue. Night fell fast, Save when the rugged bear and the gaunt wolf When on a heath, black and immeasurable, Howl in the upper region, or a fish

He turn'd and bade them halt. 'Twas where the earth Leaps in the gulf beneath—But now he kneels

Heaves o'er the dead-where erst some Alaric And (like a scout when listening to the tramp Fought his last fight, and every warrior threw Of horse or foot) lays his experienced ear

A stone to tell for ages where he lay.
Close to the ground, then rises and explores,
Then kneels again, and, his short rifle-gun

Then all advanced, and, ranging in a square, Against his cheek, waits patiently.

Stretch'd forth their arms as on the holy cross

Two Monks, From each to each their sable cloaks extending, Portly, grey-headed, on their gallant steeds, That, like the solemn hangings of a tent, Descend where yet a mouldering cross o'erhangs Cover'd us round; and in the midst I stood, The grave of one that from the precipice

Weary and faint, and face to face with one, Fell in an evil hour. Their bridle-bells

Whose voice, whose look dispenses life and death, Ring merrily; and many a loud, long laugh Whose heart knows no relentings. Instantly Re-echoes; but at once the sounds are lost. A light was kindled, and the Bandit spoke. Unconscious of the good in store below,

** I know thee. Thou hast sought us, for the sport The holy fathers have turn'd off, and now Slipping thy blood-hounds with a hunter's cry,

77

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »