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 Alfieii 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.

"Under the reign of Nicholas III. Ferrara was polluted "with a domestic tragedy. By the testimony of an "attendant, and his own observation, the Marquis of "Este discovered the incestuous loves of his wife Pa"risina, and Hugo his bastard son, a beautiful and "valiant youth. They were beheaded in the castle by "the sentence of a father and husband, who published "his shame, and survived their execution. He was "unfortunate, if they were guilty; if they were inno"cent, 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. 3d. p. 470, new edition.



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. II.

But it is not to list to the waterfall 15

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— 20

She listens—but not for the nightingale—

Though her ear expects as soft a tale.

There glides a step through the foliage thick,

And her cheek grows pale—and her heart beats quick.

There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves,

And her blush returns, and her bosom heaves: 26

A moment more—and they shall meet

'Tis past—her lover's at her feet.


And what unto them is the world beside

With all its change of time and tide? 30

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 passed 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 w hich 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 feared in such an hour?

Or thought how brief such moments last:

But yet—they are already past!

Alas! we must awake before

We know such vision comes no more.


With many a lingering look they leave

The spot of guilty gladness past;

And though they hope, and vow, they grieve,

As if that parting were the last.

The frequent sigh—the long embrace—

The lip that there would cling for ever,

While gleams on Parisina's face

The Heaven she fears will not forgive her3

As if each calmly conscious star
Beheld her frailty from afar—
The frequent sigh, the long embrace,
Yet binds them to their trysting- place.
But it must come, and they must part
In fearful heaviness of heart,
With all the deep and shuddering chill
Which follows fast the deeds of ill.


And Hugo is gone to his lonely bed,
To covet there another's bride;
But she must lay her conscious head
A husband's trusting heart beside.
But fevered in her sleep she seems,
And red her cheek with troubled dreams,
And mutters she in her unrest
A name she dare not breathe by day,
And clasps her Lord unto the breast
Which pants for one away:
And he to that embrace awakes,
And, happy in the thought, mistakes
That dreaming sigh, and warm caress,
For such as he was wont to bless;

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