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No. 1535. - November 8, 1873.
S From Beginning,
Contemporary Review, .
Pall Mall Gazette,
Saturday Review, XI. PossibilITIES IN SPAIN,
POETRY. BY THE FIRE,
322 IN THE ORCHARD, LEAF LIFE,
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BY THE FIRE.
Ends thus their little span ?
Good and ill, is this all ? DEAD eyes are gazing on her from the pictures on the wall,
Naught else in Nature's plan, Dead voices in the wailing winds that sweep
Save thus to fall the upland's call,
As leaves fall ? Dead feet seem pattering round her as the raindrops lash the pane,
Naught else to seek or shun: Till she stretches hands of greeting, dumb
Hopes none – no fears appal ; hands that yearn in vain.
Bud – flourish — wither - done!
So there they fall Like one in fairy legend, like one in dream
The leaves fall. land lost, At every turn by dead men's steps her onward What follows Heaven knows : way is crossed,
So too the great, the small, The very flowers whisper of who plucked Live - labor till life's close, them long ago,
And then they fall The very birds have echoes in their trillings
As leaves fall. soft and low. .
Know well, 'tis not in vain, The chords she touches breathe for her the
Be it in hut or hall; music of the past,
Good wrought shall yet remain On every page the shadow of old memories is
Though all else fall cast,
As leaves fall! brooding sense of something ”gone falls October 20, 1873.
N. A. P. solemn all around,
N. Y. Evening Post. Making the common paths of life her hushed
heart's holy ground. On the table-ground of middle life, the dull and dreary band,
IN THE ORCHARD. Where shadowless as sunless lies the stretch of beateip sand,
Cool, restful shadows 'neath the old, gnarled She stands alone and listens, all behind her trees, veiled in mist,
A fresh-mown meadow, stretching to the In front dim hiļls beyond the vale, their sum right, mits promise kissed.
Beyond, dark' druid firs' on bended knees
Before their shrine of hills aflame with light, Sob on, oh wind, sigh on, oh rain, sweet faces When, dipping low, October's magic cup form and die,
From gloomy fens transmuted gold draws up! There, where amid the caverned coals the fairy fancies lie,
A dreamy quiet reigns — no brooding bird For in sleeping as in waking, till she crosses Startles the shade where dainty nests are the dark stream,
hid; The sunshine of her lonely hcart from the Ended the summer's work, and naught is heard peopled past must gleam.
Save drowsy drones repeating what “she it!!!, All The Year Round. She didn't, she did," — when days were long
and bright, And full of busy noise from morn till night.
FRESH in the month of May,
Budding, downy, green, all
But now they fall
Firm through the summer's heat,
Shower, drought and hail-squall,
And then they fall
The leaves fall.
Ere they strew the brown mall
That thus they fall
O rare, such autumn life! O buds of June !
tread, Breathing once more the delicate perfume Of fresh-ploughed earth and fash of rosy
bloom ! O promises fulfilled ! O hopes of youth ! With humbled heart I place them side by
Of ripened, golden harvest doth abide ;
B, E. E.
From Macmillan's Magazine.
every century. It is a curious autobioHIS LIFE, TIMES, AND WORKS.
graphical sketch, related with ingenuous
candour, dwelling more upon the motives PART I. Vo ch' ascoltate in rime sparse
which influenced his actions than upon
il suono Di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva il core
the actions themselves, and describing In sul mio primo giovenile errore
with unaffected simplicity his abilities, Quand' era in parte altri uom da quel ch' i' sono; Del vario stile in ch' io piango e ragiono
his feelings, and even his personal apFra le vane speranze e 'l van dolore,
pearance. Ose sia chi per prova intenda amore,
The fame of Petrarch was at its height Spero trova pietà, non che perdono. Ma hen veggi' or sì come al popol tutto
at the time of his death. It declined in Favola fui gran tempo : onde sovente
the fifteenth century. The accomplished Di me medesmo meco mi vergogno:
Latin and Greek scholars which this age E del mio vaneggiar vergogna è 'l frutto El pentirsi e'l conoscer chiaramente
produced set themselves the task of comChe quanto piace al mondo è breve sogno.
mentating upon the works of Petrarch. (Le Rime di Francesco Petrarca, Sonn. i. Part I.) They despised his Latin style, and thus
PERHAPS the attempt to compress so the depreciation of his works in that laninteresting a subject as the life and guage may have helped to involve the writings of Petrarch into a brief notice famous Canzoniere in a similar fate. of a few pages may at first sight seem “ The fourteenth century," observes Crespresumptuous; more especially when we cimbeni, “we have rightly called an evil consider that for the last five centuries century, on account of the cruel maiming there has been no lack of biographies of of the Italian language by the critics of so remarkable a man. It would add an- that time.” The third order of biograother page to this essay merely to men-phers was headed by Lorenzo de' Medici, tion their names, and it would take many and to it Vellutello, Gesualdo, and Becca to enter into any details respecting them. delli also belonged. The coldness and Still, as the writer is more or less indebt- indifference of the preceding century ed for information to their labours, it is were now exchanged for the greatest en. only right to mention, as briefly as possi-thusiasm. Editions of Petrarch were ble, some of the most celebrated biogra- multiplied, Academies formed for the purphers of Petrarch. The Abbé de Sade pose of explaining his works, and the divides them into five classes :— those critics of this age would acknowledge no who were his contemporaries and began defect in him nor any excellence to exist to write before or immediately after his in a style different from his. But at the death. The first of these, and the earli- beginning of the seventeenth century the est known, is Domenico Aretino. He fame of the poet was again destined to was invited to Padua, by Francesco da receive a rude shock. It was at the Carrara, at the time when Petrarch, hav- hands of a certain Giovanni Battista Maing attained his seventieth year, was rina, who, while his own writings were living there. Domenico, notwithstanding filled with fantastical allegories and exthe direct encouragement which he re- travagant metaphors, cast ridicule upon ceived from the poet himself, has only left the simple natural beauties of the poetry us a short sketch of his life. Coluccio of Petrarch. Unfortunately he had only Salutati and Pietro Paolo Vergerio also too many followers. Petrarch was dewrote their biographies at this time, but spised and neglected, his works ceased to their enthusiasm for the great genius who be printed, and were scarcely read, while had just ceased to exist led them to fill his biographers dwindled down to a very up their pages with vague and indiscrim- small number, although Filippo Tomasini inate praise, reglecting to investigate published his “ Petrarcha Redivivus," and closely his life and history. They con- Tassoni critical remarks and observatented themselves with tnerely copying tions upon his poems. The historians of Petrarch's own “ Epistle to Posterity," the eighteenth century -- the age when which source of information has been the history, and especially the history of litnatural refuge of all his biographers in, erature, was well written - may be placed
in the fifth and last class. Among these stances of his country at the time of his
by which Italy was agitated. Bertrand
At the beginning, then, of a century Before we consider the peculiar aspect which augured most unfavourably for the presented by the romantic side of Pe future of his country, Petrarch was born trarch's existence, it is well to cast a "at Arezzo, July 20, 1304, on Monday, at brief glance over the times and circum- the dawn of day, of honest parents, Flor
entines by birth, although exiles from * Preface to vol. v. of “Storia della Litteratura Italiana."
Ann. d'Italia, ann. 1305.
their native city, of moderate fortunes, one of Virgil, which he allowed bim to inclineci, to speak the truth, to poverty.” | keep. So Petrarch himself describes the fact in In 1326, the sudden death of his father his “ Epistle to Posterity.” His father, summoned Petrarch from Bologna to called Petraccolo on account of the small- Avignon, and at the age of twenty-two ness of his stature, and his mother, “ Elet- he found himself at liberty to abandon ta Canigiani,” had been banished from those legal studies which had always been Florence in 1302. It was the year also so distasteful to him. He is notwithof Dante's exile, and together with him standing anxious to explain that the anthey had retired to Arezzo, whence on tiquity of the laws, their authority and July 20, 1304, Petraccolo and Dante, with force, had not been without attraction for the other exiled Bianchi, made a night at him ; " yet,” he adds, " their application tack upon Florence, hoping to re-enter had been so much marred and depraved their native city by force. Thus the cir- | by the worldliness of mankind, that it discumstances of Petrarch's birth are in ac- tressed him to learn them because he cordance with the condition of his coun- would have scorned to make a dishonest try and times, while they offer a curious use of them, and an honest use it would contrast to the functions of a peacemaker have been very difficult to make, as his universally assigned to him during the integrity would have been attributed to later years of his life. His early years ignorance.” * The death of Petrarch's were passed first at Incisa, in the Val father was succeeded in a few months by d'Arno. Thence his parents moved to that of his mother. She died at the early Pisa, where his father anxiously awaited age of thirty-eight, and the fact is curithe arrival of Henry VII., Emperor of ously preserved from oblivion by the Germany (the “ Arrigo," for whom Dante number of verses which Petrarch wrote prepares such an exalted throne in his in honour of her memory, corresponding " Paradiso" *), to restore the Ghibelline exactly with the number of her years. party at Florence. But the hope of his And now Petrarch was to begin his life party being crushed by the death of this in Avignon. prince, he fled to the Papal Court at Avi “ Beside the banks of that river pergnon, which soon became the refuge for petually swept by the winds of heaven I exiled Italians.
spent my childhood, under the yoke of During his father's lifetime Petrarch parental authority, and all my youth subwas compelled, sorely against the grain, ject to another yoke, that of my own pasto study the law, which in those times sions,” † he tells us himself, and the dewas considered the only road to honours scription of the river is borne out by the and preferment. These studies were old proverb : “ Avenio ventosa, sine venpursued at Carpentras, at Montpellier to venenosa, cum vento fastidiosa.” The University, and finally at Bologna, then lofty walls of this curious city, which, the great school of canon law. His prog- built by Clement VI., the fourth Avignonress, however, in this branch of learning ese Pope, frown over the left bank of the was materially hindered by his early en-Rhone ; the early Romanesque architecthusiasm for the classics. His father was ture of its small but very peculiar church ; at first proud of his son's proficiency in and the tombs of its various Popes, still this line, and encouraged his classical attract the traveller who loves to have the taste ; but when he discovered how much past recalled to him, and to linger over it interfered with his more important le- the outward expression of its history. It gal studies, he threw into the tire all the is a strange fact that Petrarch was never copies of the classics which Petrarch pos- able to tear himself for any length of time sessed, till at length, moved by the tears from a place which is nevertheless the oband entreaties of his son, he withdrew ject of his detestation. from the flames one copy of Cicero and
Epist. ad Post. † Ibid.
Par, xxx. 135.