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Rise like a curtain; now the sun looks out,
Filling, o'erflowing with his glorious light
This noble amphitheatre of mountains;
And now appear as on a phosphor-sea
Numberless barks, from Milan, from Pavia;
Some sailing up, some down, and some at anchor,
Lading, unlading at that small port-town
Under the promontory—its tall tower
And long flat roofs, just such as Poussin drew,
Caught by a sun-beam slanting through a cloud;
A quay-like scene, glittering and full of life,
And doubled by reflection.

What delight,
After so long a sojourn in the wild,
To hear once more the sounds of cheerful labor!
—But in a clime like this where are they not?
Along the shores, among the hills 'tis now
The heyday of the Vintage; all abroad,
But most the young and of the gentler sex,
Busy in gathering; all among the vines,
Some on the ladder, and some underneath,
Filling their baskets of green wicker-work,
While many a canzonet and frolic laugh
Come through the leaves; the vines in light festoons
From tree to tree, the trees in avenues,
And every avenue a cover'd walk,
Hung with black clusters. "Tis enough to make
The sad man merry, the benevolent one
Melt into tears—so general is the joy!
While up and down the cliffs, over the lake,
Wains oxen-drawn, and pannier'd mules are seen,
Laden with grapes, and dropping rosy wine.

Here I received from thee, Filippo Mori, One of those courtesies so sweet, so rare: When, as I rambled through thy vineyard-ground On the hill-side, thou sent'st thy little son, Charged with a bunch almost as big as he, To press it on the stranger. May thy vats O'erflow, and he, thy willing gift-bearer, Live to become ere-long himself a giver; And in due time, when thou art full of honor, The staff of thine old age ' In a strange land Such things, however trifling, reach the heart, And through the heart the head, clearing away The narrow notions that grow up at home, And in their place grafting Good-Will to All. At least I found it so; nor less at eve, When, bidden as an English traveller (T was by a little boat that gave one chase With oar and sail, as homeward-bound I cross'd The bay of Tramezzine), right readily I turn'd my prow and follow'd, landing soon Where steps of purest marble met the wave; Where, through the trellises and corridors, Soft music came as from Arinida's palace, Breathing enchantment o'er the woods, the waters; And through a bright pavilion, bright as day, Forms such as hers were flitting, lost among Such as of old in sober pomp swept by, Such as adorn the triumphs and the feasts Painted by Cagliari; (16) where the world danced Under the starry sky, while I look'd on, Admiring, listening, quaffing gramolata, (17) 2 E

And reading, in the eyes that sparkled round, The thousand love-adventures written there.

Can I forget—no, never, such a scene So full of witchery Night linger'd still, When, with a dying breeze, I left Bellaggio; , But the strain follow'd me ; and still I saw Thy smile, Angelica; and still I heard Thy voice—once and again bidding adieu.

VIII. BERGAMO.

THE song was one that I had heard before, But where I knew not. It inclined to sadness; And, turning round from the delicious fare My landlord's little daughter, Barbara, Had from her apron just roll'd out before me, Figs and rock-melons—at the door I saw Two boys of lively aspect. Peasant-like They were, and poorly clad, but not unskill'd; With their small voices and an old guitar Winning their mazy progress to my heart In that, the only universal language. But soon they changed the measure, entering on A pleasant dialogue of sweet and sour, A war of words, and waged with looks and gestures, Between Trappanti and his ancient dame, Mona Lucilia. To and fro it went ; While many a titter on the stairs was heard, And Barbara's among them. When 't was done, Their dark eyes flash'd no longer, yet, methought, In many a glance as from the soul, express'd More than enough to serve them. Far or near, Few let them pass unnoticed; and there was not A mother round about for many a league, But could repeat their story. Twins they were, And orphans, as I learnt, cast on the world; Their parents lost in the old ferry-boat That, three years since, last Martinmas, went down Crossing the rough Penacus." May they live Blameless and happy—rich they cannot be, Like him who, in the days of Minstrelsy, (18) Came in a beggar's weeds to Petrarch's door, Crying without, “Give me a lay to sing!” And soon in silk (such then the power of song) Return'd to thank him; or like him, wayworn And lost, who, by the foaming Adigè Descending from the Tyrol, as night fell, Knock'd at a city-gate near the hill-foot, . The gate that bore so long, sculptured in stone, An eagle on a ladder, and at once Found welcome—nightly in the banner'd hall Tuning his harp to tales of Chivalry Before the great Mastino, (19) and his guests, The three-and-twenty, by some adverse fortune, By war or treason or domestic malice, Reft of their kingly crowns, rest of their all, And living on his bounty. But who now Enters the chamber, flourishing a scroll In his right hand, his left at every step

1 Lago di Garda. 53

Brushing the floor with what was once a hat
Of ceremony. Gliding on, he comes,
Slipshod, ungarter'd ; his long suit of black
Dingy and threadbare, though renew'd in patches
Till it has almost ceased to be the old one.
At length arrived, and with a shrug that pleads
“”T is my necessity!" he stops and speaks,
Screwing a smile into his dinnerless face.

“I am a Poet, Signor:—give me leave To bid you welcome. Though you shrink from notice, The splendor of your name has gone before you; And Italy from sea to sea rejoices, As well indeed she may! But I transgress: I too have known the weight of praise, and ought To spare another.”

Saying so, he laid

His sonnet, an impromptu, on my table,
And bow'd and left me; in his hollow hand
Receiving my small tribute, a zecchino,
Unconsciously, as doctors do their fees.

My omelet, and a flagon of hill-wine, “The very best in Bergamo!" had long Fled from all eyes; or, like the young Gil Blas De Santillane, I had perhaps been seen Bartering my bread and salt for empty praise.

IX. ITALY.

AM I in Italy Is this the Mincius Are those the distant turrets of Verona And shall I sup where Juliet at the Masque (20) Saw her loved Montague, and now sleeps by him? Such questions hourly do I ask myself; (21) And not a finger-post by the road-side “To Mantua"—“To Ferrara”—but excites Surprise, and doubt, and self-congratulation.

O Italy, how beautiful thou art!
Yet I could weep—for thou art lying, alas!
Low in the dust; and they who come, admire thee
As we admire the beautiful in death.
Thine was a dangerous gift, the gift of Beauty.
Would thou hadst less, or wert as once thou wast,
1nspiring awe in those who now enslave thee!
—But why despair? Twice hast thou lived already,
Twice shone among the nations of the world, (22)
As the sun shines among the lesser lights
Of heaven; and shalt again. The hour shall come,
When they who think to bind the ethereal spirit,

Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey,
Watch with quick eye, and strike and strike again
If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess
Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame
Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously,
And, dying, left a splendor like the day,
That like the day diffused itself, and still
Blesses the earth—the light of genius, virtue,
Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death,
Godlike example. Echoes that have slept
Since Athens, Lacedaemon, were themselves,
Since men invoked “By Those in Marathon!"
Awake along the AEgean; and the dead,
They of that sacred shore, have heard the call,

And through the ranks, from wing to wing, are seen Moving as once they were-instead of rage Breathing deliberate valor.

X. COLL'ALTO. IN this neglected mirror (23) (the broad frame

Of massive silver serves to testify
That many a noble matron of the house
Has sate before it) once, alas, was seen
What led to many sorrows. From that time
The bat came hither for a sleeping-place;
And he, who cursed another in his heart,
Said, “Be thy dwelling through the day, the night,
Shunn'd like Coll'alto.” "Twas in that old Castle,
Which flanks the cliff with its grey battlements
Flung here and there, and, like an eagle's nest,
Hangs in the Trevisan, that thus the Steward,
Shaking his locks, the few that Time had left him,
Address'd me, as we enter'd what was call’d
“My Lady's Chamber.” On the walls, the chairs,
Much yet remain'd of the rich tapestry;
Much of the adventures of Sir Lancelot
In the green glades of some enchanted forest.
The toilet-table was of massive silver,
Florentine Art, when Florence was renown'd;
A gay confusion of the elements,
Dolphins and boys, and shells and fruits and flowers.
And from the ceiling, in his gilded cage,
Hung a small bird of curious workmanship,
That, when his Mistress bade him, would unfold
(So said at least the babbling Dame, Tradition)
His emerald-wings, and sing and sing again
The song that pleased her. While I stood and look'd,
A gleam of day yet lingering in the West,
The Steward went on.

“She had ('tis now long since)
A gentle serving-maid, the fair Cristina,
Fair as a lily, and as spotless too;
None so admired, beloved. They had grown up
As play-fellows; and some there were, who said,
Some who knew much, discoursing of Cristina,
“She is not what she seems.' When unrequired,
She would steal forth; her custom, her delight,
To wander through and through an ancient grove
Self-planted half-way down, losing herself
Like one in love with sadness; and her veil
And vesture white, seen ever in that place,
Ever as surely as the hours came round,
Among those reverend trees, gave her below
The name of The White Lady. But the day
Is gone, and I delay you.

In that chair

The Countess, as it might be now, was sitting,
Her gentle serving-maid, the fair Cristina,
Combing her golden hair; and, through this door
The Count, her lord, was hastening, call'd away
By letters of great urgency to Venice;
When in the glass she saw, as she believed,
("T was an illusion of the Evil Spirit—
Some say he came and cross'd it at the instant)
A smile, a glance at parting, given and answer'd,
That turn'd her blood to gall. That very night
The deed was done. That night, ere yet the Moon

Was up on Monte Calvo, and the wolf

Baying as still he does (oft do I hear him,
An hour and more by the old turret-clock),
They led her forth, the unhappy lost Cristina,
Helping her down in her distress—to die.

“No blood was spilt; no instrument of death Lurk’d—or stood forth, declaring its bad purpose; Nor was a hair of her unblemish'd head Hurt in that hour. Fresh as a flower ungather'd, And warm with life, her youthful pulses playing, She was wall'd up within the Castle-wall. (24) The wall itself was hollow'd to receive her; Then closed again, and done to line and rule. Would you descend and see it?—"Tis far down; And many a stair is gone. "Tis in a vault Under the Chapel: and there nightly now, As in the narrow niche, when smooth and fair, And as though nothing had been done or thought of The stone-work rose before her, till the light Glimmer'd and went—there, nightly, at that hour (You smile, and would it were an idle tale! Would we could say so!) at that hour she stands Shuddering—her eyes uplifted, and her hands Join’d as in prayer; then, like a Blessed Soul Bursting the tomb, springs forward, and away Flies o'er the woods, the mountains. Issuing forth, (25) The hunter meets her in his hunting track; The shepherd on the heath, starting, exclaims (For still she bears the name she bore of old) 'T is the White Lady'?"

XI. WENICE. THERE is a glorious City in the Sea. The Sea is in the broad, the narrow streets, Ebbing and flowing; and the salt sea-weed Clings to the marble of her palaces. No track of men, no footsteps to and fro, Lead to her gates. The path lies o'er the Sea, Invisible; and from the land we went, As to a floating City—steering in, And gliding up her streets as in a dream, So smoothly, silently—by many a dome Mosque-like, and many a stately portico, The statues ranged along an azure sky; By many a pile in more than Eastern splendor, Of old the residence of merchant-kings; The fronts of some, though Time had shatter'd them, Still glowing with the richest hues of art, (26) As though the wealth within them had run o'er.

Thither I came, and in a wondrous Ark, That, long before we slipt our cable, rang As with the voices of all living things) From Padua, where the stars are, night by night, Watch'd from the top of an old dungeon-tower, Whence blood ran once, the tower of Ezzelin—(27) Not as he watch'd them, when he read his fate And shudder'd. But of him I thought not then, Him or his horoscope; far, far srom me The forms of Guilt and Fear; though some were

there,

Sitting among us round the cabin-board,
Some who, like him, had cried, “Spill blood enough!"
And could shake long at shadows. They had play'd
Their parts at Padua, and were now returning;

A vagrant crew, and careless of to-morrow, (28)
Careless and full of mirth.' Who, in that quaver,
Sings “Caro, Carot"—"T is the Prima Donna,
And to her monkey, smiling in his face,
Who, as transported, cries, “Brava! Ancora!”
"T is a grave personage, an old macaw,
Perch'd on her shoulder. But mark him who leaps
Ashore, and with a shout urges along
The lagging mules; (29) then runs and climbs a tree
That with its branches overhangs the stream,
And, like an acorn, drops on deck again.
T is he who speaks not, stirs not, but we laugh;
That child of fun and frolic, Arlecchino. (30)
And mark their Poet—with what emphasis
He prompts the young Soubrette, conning her part!
Her tongue plays truant, and he raps his box,
And prompts again; for ever looking round
As if in search of subjects for his wit,
His satire; and as often whispering
Things, though unheard, not unimaginable.

Had I thy pencil, Crabbe (when thou hast done— Late may it be—it will, like Prospero's staff, Be buried fifty fathoms in the earth), I would portray the Italian—Now I cannot. Subtle, discerning, eloquent, the slave Of Love, of Hate, for ever in extremes; Gentle when unprovoked, easily won, But quick in quarrel—through a thousand shades His spirit slits, chameleon-like; and mocks The eye of the observer. Gliding on, At length we leave the river for the sea. At length a voice aloft proclaims “Venezia!" And, as call'd forth, it comes. A few in fear, Flying away from him whose boast it was,' That the grass grew not where his horse had trod, Gave birth to Venice. Like the water-fowl, They built their nests among the ocean-waves; And, where the sands were shifting, as the wind Blew from the north, the south; where they that Canie, Had to make sure the ground they stood upon, Rose, like an exhalation, from the deep, A vast Metropolis, (31) with glittering spires, With theatres, basilicas adorn'd ; A scene of light and glory, a dominion, That has endured the longest among men.

And whence the talisman, by which she rose, Towering "Twas found there in the barren sea. Want led to Enterprise; and, far or near, Who met not the Venetian —now in Cairo; Ere yet the Califa came, (32) listening to hear Its bells approaching from the Red-Sea coast; Now on the Euxine, on the Sea of Azoph, In converse with the Persian, with the Russ, The Tartar; on his lowly deck receiving Pearls from the gulf of Ormus, gems from Bagdad; Eyes brighter yet, that shed the light of love, From Georgia, from Circassia. Wandering round, When in the rich bazaar he saw, display'd, Treasures from unknown climes, away he went, And, travelling slowly upward, drew ere-long

1 Attila 55

From the well-head, supplying all below;
Making the Imperial City of the East,
Herself, his tributary.
If we turn

To the black forests of the Rhine, the Danube,
Where o'er each narrow glen a castle hangs,
And, like the wolf that hunger'd at his door,
The baron lived by rapine—there we meet,
In warlike guise, the Caravan from Venice;
When on its march, now lost and now emerging,
A glittering file, the trumpet heard, the scout
Sent and recall’d—but at a city-gate:
All gaiety, and look'd for ere it comes;
Winning its way with all that can attract,
Cages, whence every wild cry of the desert,
Jugglers, stage-dancers. Well might Charlemain,
And his brave peers, each with his visor up,
On their long lances lean and gaze awhile,
When the Venetian to their eyes disclosed
The Wonders of the East! Well might they then
Sigh for new Conquests'

Thus did Venice rise,
Thus flourish, till the unwelcome tidings came,
That in the Tagus had arrived a fleet
From India, from the region of the Sun,
Fragrant with spices—that a way was found,
A channel open'd, and the golden stream
Turn'd to enrich another. Then she felt
Her strength departing, and at last she fell,
Fell in an instant, blotted out and razed;
She who had stood yet longer than the longest
Of the Four Kingdoms—who, as in an Ark,
Had floated down, amid a thousand wrecks,
Uninjured, from the Old World to the New,
From the last trace of civilized life—to where
Light shone again, and with unclouded splendor.

Though many an age in the mid-sea She dwelt, From her retreat calmly contemplating The changes of the Earth, herself unchanged. Before her pass'd, as in an awful dream, The mightiest of the mighty. What are these, Clothed in their purple O'er the globe they fling Their monstrous shadows; and, while yet we speak, Phantom-like, vanish with a dreadful scream! What—but the last that styled themselves the

Caesars 1

And who in long array (look where they come;
Their gestures menacing so far and wide)
Wear the green turban and the heron's plume 7
Who-but the Caliphs? follow'd fast by shapes
As new and strange—Emperor, and King, and Czar,
And Soldan, each, with a gigantic stride,
Trampling on all the flourishing works of peace
To make his greatness greater, and inscribe
His name in blood—some, men of steel, steel-clad;
Others, nor long, alas, the interval,
In light and gay attire, with brow serene
Wielding Jove's thunder, scattering sulphurous fire
Mingled with darkness; and, among the rest,
Lo, one by one, passing continually,
Those who assume a sway beyond them all;
Men grey with age, each in a triple crown,
And in his tremulous hands grasping the keys
That can alone, as he would signify,
Unlock Heaven's gate.

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HE who is on his travels and loves ease, Ease and companionship, should hire a youth, Such as thou wert, Luigi. Thee I sound, Playing at Mora (33) on the cabin-roof With Pulcinella—crying, as in wrath, “Tre! Quattrol Cinque!”—’t is a game to strike Fire from the coldest heart. What then from thine And, ere the twentiethithrow, I had resolved, Won by thy looks. Thou wert an honest lad; Wert generous, grateful, not without ambition. Had it depended on thy will and pleasure, Thou wouldst have number'd in thy family At least six Doges and twelve Procurators. (34) But that was not to be. In thee I saw The last of a long line of Carbonari, Who in their forest, for three hundred years, Had lived and labor'd, cutting, charring wood; Discovering where they were, to those astray, By the re-echoing stroke, the crash, the fall, Or the blue wreath that travell'd slowly up Into the sky. Thy nobler destinies Led thee away to justle in the crowd; And there I found thee—by thy own prescription Crossing the sea to try once more a change Of air and diet, landing and as gaily, Near the Dogana—on the Great Canal, As though thou knewest where to dine and sleep.

First didst thou practise patience in Bologna, Serving behind a Cardinal's gouty chair, Laughing at jests that were no laughing matter; Then teach the Art to others in Ferrara —At the Three Moors—as Guide, as Cicerone— Dealing ont largely in exchange for pence Thy scraps of knowledge—through the grassy street Leading, explaining—pointing to the bars Of Tasso's dungeon, and the Latin verse, Graven in the stone, that yet denotes the door Of Ariosto. Many a year is gone Since on the Rhine we parted; yet, methinks, I can recall thee to the life, Luigi; In our long journey ever by my side, O'er rough and smooth, o'er apennine, maremma; Thy locks jet-black, and clustering round a face Open as day and full of manly daring. Thou hadst a hand, a heart for all that came, Herdsman or pedlar, monk or muleteer; And few there were, that met thee not with smiles. Mishap pass'd o'er thee like a summer-cloud. Cares thou hadst none; and they, who stood to hear thee, Caught the infection and forgot their own. Nature conceived thee in her merries: mood, Her happiest—not a speck was in the sky; And at thy birth the cricket chirp'd, Luigi, Thine a perpetual voice—at every turn A larum to the echo. In a clime, Where all the world was gay, thou wert the gayest, And, like a babe, hush'd only by thy slumbers, Up hill and down, morning and noon and night, Singing or talking; singing to thyself When none gave ear, but to the listener talking.

XIII. ST. MARK'S PLACE.

Over how many tracts, vast, measureless, Nothing from day to day, from year to year, Passes, save now and then a cloud, a meteor, A famish'd eagle ranging for his prey; While on this spot of earth, the work of man, How much has been transacted! Emperors, Popes, Warriors, from far and wide, laden with spoil, Landing, have here perform'd their several parts, Then left the stage to others. Not a stone In the broad pavement, but to him who has An eye, an ear for the Inanimate World, Tells of Past Ages.

In that temple-porch

(The brass is gone, the porphyry remains), (35)
Did Barbarossa fling his mantle off,
And, kneeling, on his neck receive the foot
Of the proud Pontiff (36)—thus at last consoled
For flight, disguise, and many an aguish shake
On his stone pillow. In that temple-porch,
Old as he was, so near his hundredth year,
And blind—his eyes put out—did Dandolo
Stand forth, displaying on his ducal crown
The cross just then assumed at the high altar.
There did he stand, erect, invincible,
Though wan his cheeks, and wet with many tears,
For in his prayers he had been weeping much;
And now the pilgrinus and the people wept
With admiration, saying in their hearts,
*Surely those aged limbs have need of rest!”
—There did he stand, with his old armor on,
Ere, gonfalon in hand. that stream'd aloft,
As conscious of its glorious destiny,
So soon to float o'er mosque and minaret,
He sail'd away, five hundred gallant ships,
Their lofty sides hung with emblazon'd shields,
Following his track to Glory. He returned not;
But of his trophies four arrived ere-long,
Snatch'd from destruction—the four steeds divine,
That strike the ground, resounding with their feet, (37)
And from their nostrils snort ethereal flame
Over that very portal—in the place
Where in an after-time Petrarch was seen
Sitting beside the Doge, on his right hand,
Amid the ladies of the court of Venice,
Their beauty shaded from the setting sun
By many-color'd hangings; while, beneath,
Knights of all nations, some from merry England,(38)
Their lances in the rest, charged for the prize.

Here, among other pageants, and how oft It came, as if returning to console The least, instruct the greatest, did the Doge, Himself, go round, borne through the gazing crowd, Once in a chair of state, once on his bier. They were his first appearance, and his last.

The sea, that emblem of uncertainty, Changed not so fast for many and many an age, As this small spot. To-day 't was full of maskers; And lo, the madness of the Carnival, (39) 8

The monk, the nun, the holy legate mask'd''
To-morrow came the scaffold and the heads-man;
And he died there by torch-light, bound and gagg'd,
Whose name and crime they knew not. Underneath
Where the Archangel, turning with the wind,
Blesses the City from the topinost-tower,
His arms extended—there continually
Two phantom-shapes were sitting, side by side,
Or up, and, as in sport, chasing each other;
Horror and Mirth. Both vanish'd in one hour!
But Ocean only, when again he claims
His ancient rule, shall wash away their footsteps

Enter the Palace by the marble stairs Down which the grizzly head of old Faliero Roll'd from the block. (40) Pass onward through the

Chamber,

Where, among all drawn in their ducal robes, But one is wanting—where, thrown off in heat, A short inscription on the Doge's chair Led to another on the wall yet shorter; (41) And thou wilt track them—wilt from halls of state Where kings have feasted, and the festal song Rung through the fretted roof, cedar and gold, Step into darkness; and be told, “"T was here, Trusting, deceived, assembled but to die, To take a long embrace and part again, Carrara and his valiant sons were strangled; He first—then they, whose only crime had been Struggling to save their Father.—Through that door So soon to cry, smiting his brow, “I’m lost!" Was chovn, and with all courtesy, all honor, The great and noble captain, Carmagnola-(42) That deep descent (thou canst not yet discern Aught as it is) leads to the dripping vaults Under the flood, where light and warmth came never" Leads to a cover'd Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs; And to that fatal closet at the foot, Lurking for prey, which, when a victim enter'd, Grew less and less, contracting to a span; An iron door, urged onward by a screw, Forcing out life.—But let us to the roof, And, when thou hast survey'd the sea, the land, Visit the narrow cells that cluster there, As in a place of tombs. They had their tenants, And each supplied with sufferings of his own. There burning suns beat unrelentingly, Turning all things to dust, and scorching up The brain, till Reason fled, and the wild yell And wilder laugh burst out on every side, Answering each other as in mockery ! —Few Houses of the size were better fill'd ; Though many came and left it in an hour. “Most nights," so said the good old Nicolo (For three-and-thirty years his uncle kept The water-gate below, but seldom spoke, Though much was on his mind), “most nights arrived The prison-boat, that boat with many oars, And bore away as to the Lower World, Disburdening in the Canal Orfano, (43) That drowning-place, where never net was thrown. Summer or Winter, death the penalty; And where a secret, once deposited, Lay till the waters should give up their dead."

1 Scala de' Giganti.

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