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tolérance remplaçant la sarouche inquisition; j'y vois, un jour de fête, Péruviens, Mexicains, Américains libres, François s'embrassant comme des frères, etbénissant le régne de la liberté, qui joit amener partout une harmonie universelle.—Mais les mines, les esclaves, que deviendront-ils? Les mines se sermeront, les esclaves seront les frères de leurs maitres. BRissot. There is a prophetic stanza, written a century ago by Bp. Berkeley, which I must quote, though I shall suffer by the comparison. Westward the course of empire takes its way. The four first acts already past, A fifth shall close the drama with the day. Time's noblest offspring is the last.
Note 87, page 34, col. 1. the slayer slain. Cortes, Pizarro.—” Almost all,” says Las Casas, “have perished. The innocent blood, which they had shed, cried aloud for vengeance; the sighs, the tears of so many victims went up before God.” Note 88, page 34, col. 1. "Mid gems and gold, unenvied and unblest. L'Espagne a fait comme ce roi insensé qui demanda que tout ce qu'il toucheroit se convertit enor, et qui fut obligé de revenir aux dieux pour les prier definir sa misère.—MoNTEsquieu.
Note 89, page 34, col. 2. Where on his altar-tomb, etc. An interpolation. Note 90, page 34, col. 2. Though in the western world His grave. An anachronism. The body of Columbus was not yet removed from Seville. It is almost unnecessary to point out another, in the Ninth Canto. The telescope was not then in use; though described long before with great accuracy by Roger Bacon.
A few copies of this Poem were printed off in the autumn of the year before last, while the Author was abroad. It is now corrected, and republished with some additions.
Whatever may be its success, it has led him in many an after-dream through a beautiful country; and may not perhaps be uninteresting to those who have learnt to live in past times as well as present, and whose minds are familiar with the events and the people that have rendered Italy so illustrious.
The stories, taken from the old Chroniclers, are given without exaggeration; and are, he believes, as true to the original text as any of the Plays that may be said to form our popular history.
DAY glimmer'd in the east, and the white Moon Hung like a vapor in the cloudless sky, Yet visible, when on my way I went, Glad to be gone—a pilgrim from the north, Now more and more attracted as I drew Nearer and nearer. Ere the artisan, Drowsy, half-clad, had from his window leant,
With folded arms and listless look to snuff
The morning air, or the caged sky-lark sung,
From his green sod up-springing—but in vain,
His tuneful bill o'erflowing with a song
Old in the days of Homer, and his wings
With transport quivering, on my way I went,
Thy gates, Geneva, swinging heavily,
Thy gates so slow to open, swift to shut;
As on that Sabbath-eve when he arrived,' (1)
Whose name is now thy glory, now by thee
Inscribed to consecrate (such virtue dwells
In those small syllables) the narrow street,
His birth-place—when, but one short step too late,
He sate him down and wept—wept till the morning; (2)
Then rose to go—a wanderer through the world.
"T is not a tale that every hour brings with it.
Yet at a City-gate, from time to time,
Much might be learnt; and most of all at thine
London—thy hive the busiest, greatest, still
Gathering, enlarging still. Let us stand by,
And note who passes. Here comes one, a Youth,
Glowing with pride, the pride of conscious power,
A Chatterton—in thought admired, caress'd,
And crown'd like Petrarch in the Capitol;
Ere long to die—to fall by his own hand,
And fester with the vilest. Here come two,
Less severish, less exalted—soon to part,
A Garrick and a Johnson; Wealth and Fame
Awaiting one—even at the gate, Neglect
And Want the other. But what multitudes,
Urged by the love of change, and, like myself,
Adventurous, careless of to-morrow's fare, Press on—though but a rill entering the Sea, Entering and lost! Our task would never end.
Day glimmer'd and I went, a gentle breeze Ruffling the Leman Lake. Wave after wave, If such they might be call'd, dash'd as in sport, Not anger, with the pebbles on the beach Making wild music, and far westward caught The sun-beam—where, alone and as entranced, Counting the hours, the fisher in his skiff Lay with his circular and dotted line, Fishing in silence. When the heart is light With hope, all pleases, nothing comes amiss; And soon a passage-boat swept gaily by, Laden with peasant-girls and fruits and flowers, And many a chanticleer and partlet caged For Vevay's market-place—a motley group Seen through the silvery haze. But soon 't was gone. The shifting sail flapp'd idly for an instant, Then bore them off. o I am not one of those So dead to all things in this visible world, So wondrously profound—as to move on In the sweet light of heaven, like him of old (3) (His name is justly in the Calendar) Who through the day pursued this pleasant path That winds beside the mirror of all beauty, (4) And, when at eve his fellow-pilgrims sate, Discoursing of the lake, ask'd where it was. They marvell'd, as they might; and so must all, Seeing what now I saw ; for now ’t was day And the bright Sun was in the firmament, A thousand shadows of a thousand hues Chequering the clear expanse. Awhile his orb Hung o'er thy trackless fields of snow, Mont Blanc, Thy seas of ice and ice-built promontories, That change their shapes for ever as in sport; Then travell'd onward, and went down behind The pine-clad heights of Jura, lighting up The woodman's casement, and perchance his axe Borne homeward through the forest in his hand; And, in some deep and melancholy glen, That dungeon-fortress never to be named, Where, like a lion taken in the toils, Toussaint breathed out his brave and generous spirit. Ah, little did He think, who sent him there, That he himself, then greatest among men, Should in like manner be so soon convey'd Across the ocean—to a rock so small Amid the countless multitude of waves, That ships have gone and sought it, and return'd, Saying it was not!
Still along the shore,
Among the trees I went for many a mile,
Where damsels sit and weave their fishing-nets,
Singing some national song by the way-side.
But now ’t was dusk, and journeying by the Rhone,
That there came down, a torrent from the Alps,
I enter'd where a key unlocks a kingdom,'
The mountains closing, and the road, the river
Filling the narrow pass. There, till a ray
Glanced through my lattice, and the household-stir
Warn'd me to rise, to rise and to depart,
A stir unusual and accompanied
With many a tuning of rude instruments,
And many a laugh that argued coming pleasure,
Mine host's fair daughter for the nuptial rite,
And nuptial feast attiring—there I slept,
And in my dreams wander'd once more, well-pleased.
But now a charm was on the rocks, and woods,
And waters; for, methought, I was with those
I had at morn, at even, wish'd for there.
II. THE GREAT ST. BERNARD.
Nidn't was again descending, when my mule, That all day long had climb'd among the clouds, Higher and higher still, as by a stair Let down from Heaven itself, transporting me, Stopp'd, to the joy of both, at that low door So near the summit of the Great St. Bernard; That door which ever on its hinges moved To them that knock'd, and nightly sends abroad Ministering Spirits. Lying on the watch, Two dogs of grave demeanor welcomed me, (5) All meekness, gentleness, though large of limb; And a lay-brother of the Hospital, Who, as we toil'd below, had heard by fits The distant echoes gaining on his ear, Came and held fast my stirrup in his hand, While I alighted.
Long could I have stood,
With a religious awe contemplating
That House, the highest in the Ancient World,
And placed there for the noblest purposes.
"T was a rude pile of simplest masonry,
With narrow windows and vast buttresses,
Built to endure the shocks of Time and Chance;
Yet showing many a rent, as well it might,
Warr'd on for ever by the elements,
And in an evil day, nor long ago,
By violent men—when on the mountain-top
The French and Austrian banners met in conflict
On the same rock beside it stood the church, Reft of its cross, not of its sanctity; The vesper-bell, for 't was the vesper-hour, Duly proclaiming through the wilderness, “All ye who hear, whatever be your work, Stop for an instant—move your lips in prayer!" And, just beneath it, in that dreary dale, If dale it might be call'd, so near to Heaven, A little lake, where never fish leap'd up, Lay like a spot of ink amid the snow; A star, the only one in that small sky, On its dead surface glimmering. "Twas a scene Resembling nothing I had left behind, As though all worldly ties were now dissolved;— And to incline the mind still more to thought, To thought and sadness, on the eastern shore Under a beetling cliff stood half in shadow A lonely chapel destined for the dead, For such as, having wander'd from their way, Had perish'd miserably Side by side, Within they lie, a mournful company All in their shrouds, no earth to cover them; Their features full of life, yet motionless In the broad day, nor soon to suffer *:
Though the barr'd windows, barr'd against the wolf,
Are always open!
But the Bise blew cold; (6)
And, bidden to a spare but cheerful meal,
I sate among the holy brotherhood
At their long board. The fare indeed was such
As is prescribed on days of abstinence,
But might have pleased a nicer taste than mine;
And through the floor came up, an ancient matron
Serving unseen below; while from the roof
(The roof, the floor, the walls of native fir),
A lamp hung slickering, such as loves to fling
Its partial light on Apostolic heads,
And sheds a grace on all. Theirs Time as yet
Had changed not. Some were almost in the prime;
Nor was a brow o'ercast. Seen as I saw them,
Ranged round their ample hearth-stone in an hour
Of rest, they were as gay, as free from guile,
As children; answering, and at once, to all
The gentler impulses, to pleasure, mirth;
Mingling, at intervals, with rational talk
Music; and gathering news from them that came,
As of some other world. But when the storm
Rose, and the snow roll'd on in ocean-billows,
When on his face the experienced traveller fell,
Sheltering his lips and mostrils with his hands,
Then all was changed; and, sallying with their pack
Into that blank of nature, they became
Unearthly beings. “Anselm, higher up,
Just where it drists, a dog howls loud and long,
And now, as guided by a voice from Heaven,
Digs with his feet. That noble vehemence
Whose can it be, but his who never err'd :
Let us to work! there is no time to lose !—
But who descends Mont Velan "Tis La Croix.
Away, away! if not, alas, too late.
Homeward he drags an old man and a boy,
Faltering and falling, and but half awaken'd,
Asking to sleep again.” Such their discourse.
Oft has a venerable roof received me;
St. Bruno's once' (7)—where, when the winds were
Nor from the cataract the voice came up,
You might have heard the mole work underground,
So great the stillness of that place; none seen,
Save when from rock to rock a hermit cross'd
By some rude bridge—or one at midnight toll'd
To matins, and white habits, issuing forth,
Glided along those aisles interminable,
All, all observant of the sacred law
Of Silence. Nor is that sequester'd spot,
Once called “Sweet Waters,” now “The Shady
To me unknown; that house so rich of old,
So courteous, (8) and by two, that pass'd that way,”
Amply requited with immortal verse,
The Poet's payment.
But, among them all,
None can with this compare, the dangerous seat
Of generous, active Virtue. What though Frost
Reign everlastingly, and ice and snow
Thaw not, but gather—there is that within,
1 The Grande Chartreuse.
2 Vallombrosa, formerly called Acqua Bella.
3 Ariosto and Milton.
Which, where it comes, makes Summer; and in
Oft am I sitting on the bench beneath
Their garden-plot, where all that vegetates
Is but some scanty lettuce, to observe
Those from the South ascending, every step
As though it were their last—and instantly
Restored, renew'd, advancing as with songs,
Soon as they see, turning a lofty crag,
That plain, that modest structure, promising
Bread to the hungry, (9) to the weary rest.
My mule resresh'd—and, let the truth be told,
He was not of that vile, that scurvy race,
From sire to son lovers of controversy,
But patient, diligent, and sure of foot,
Shunning the loose stone on the precipice,
Snorting suspicion while with sight, smell, touch,
Examining the wet and spongy moss,
And on his haunches sitting to slide down
The steep, the smooth-my mule resresh'd, his bells
Gingled once more, the signal to depart,
And we set out in the grey light of dawn,
Descending rapidly—by waterfalls
Fast-frozen, and among huge blocks of ice
That in their long career had stopt mid-way,
At length, uncheck'd, unbidden, he stood still:
And all his bells were muffled. Then my Guide,
Lowering his voice, address'd me: “Through this
On and say nothing—for a word, a breath,
Stirring the air, may loosen and bring down
A winter's snow—enough to overwhelm
The horse and soot that, night and day, defiled
Along this path to conquer at Marengo.
Well I remember how I met them here,
As the light dicq away, and how Napoleon,
Wrapt in his cloak—I could not be deceived—
Rein'd in his horse, and ask'd me, as I pass'd,
How far 't was to St. Remi. Where the rock
Juts forward, and the road, crumbling away,
Narrows almost to nothing at its base,
"Twas there; and down along the brink he led
To Victory!—Dessaix, who turn'd the scale, (10)
Leaving his life-blood in that famous field
(When the clouds break, we may discern the spot
In the blue haze), sleeps, as you saw at dawn,
Just as you enter'd, in the Hospital-church.”
So saying, for awhile he held his peace,
Awe-struck beneath that dreadful Canopy;
But soon, the danger pass'd, launch'd forth again
JoRAsse was in his three-and-twentieth year;
Graceful and active as a stag just roused;
Gentle withal, and pleasant in his speech,
Yet seldom seen to smile. He had grown up
Among the Hunters of the Higher Alps;
Had caught their starts and fits of thoughtfulness,
Their haggard looks, and strange soliloquies,
Said to arise by those who dwell below,
From frequent dealings with the Mountain-Spirits.
But other ways had taught him better things;
And now he number'd, marching by my side,
The Savans, Princes, who with him had cross'd
The frozen tract, with him familiarly
Through the rough day and rougher night conversed
In many a chalèt round the Peak of Terror,'
Round Tacul, Tour, Well-horn and Rosenlau,
And Her, whose throne is inaccessible,”
Who sits, withdrawn, in virgin-majesty,
Nor ost unveils. Anon an Avalanche
Roll'd its long thunder; and a sudden crash,
Sharp and metallic, to the startled ear
Told that far-down a continent of Ice
Had burst in twain. But he had now begun;
And with what transport he recall'd the hour
When to deserve, to win his blooming bride,
Madelaine of Annecy, to his feet he bound
The iron crampons, and, ascending, trod
The Upper realms of Frost; then, by a cord
Let half-way down, enter'd a Grot star-bright,
And gather'd from above, below, around, (11)
The pointed crystals!
Once, nor long before (12)
(Thus did his tongue run on, fast as his feet,
And with an eloquence that Nature gives
To all her children—breaking off by starts
into the harsh and rude, oft as the Mule
Drew his displeasure) once, nor long before,
Alone at day-break on the Mettenberg,
He slipp'd, he fell; and, through a fearful cleft
Gliding from ledge to ledge, from deep to deeper,
Went to the Under-world! Long-while he lay
Upon his rugged bed—then waked like one
Wishing to sleep again and sleep for ever!
For, looking round, he saw or thought he saw
Innumerable branches of a Cavern,
Winding beneath a solid crust of ice;
With here and there a rent that show'd the stars!
What then, alas, was left him but to die?
What else in those immeasurable chambers,
Strewn with the bones of miserable men,
Lost like himself? Yet must he wander on,
Till cold and hunger set his spirit freel
And, rising, he began his dreary round;
When hark, the noise as of some mighty River
Working its way to light! Back he withdrew,
But soon return'd, and, fearless from despair,
Dash'd down the dismal Channel; and all day,
If day could be where utter darkness was,
Travell'd incessantly, the craggy roof
Just over-head, and the impetuous waves,
Nor broad nor deep, yet with a giant's strength
Lashing him on. At last the water slept
In a dead lake—at the third step he took,
Unsathomable—and the roof, that long
Had threaten'd, suddenly descending, lay
Flat on the surface. Statue-like he stood,
His journey ended; when a ray divine
Shot through his soul. Breathing a prayer to Her
Whose ears are never shut, the Blessed Virgin,
He plunged, he swam—and in an instant rose,
The barrier past, in light, in sunshine! Through
A smiling valley, full of cottages,
Glittering the river ran; and on the bank
The young were dancing ('t was a festival-day)
All in their best attire. There first he saw
His Madelaine. In the crowd she stood to hear,
When all drew round, inquiring; and her face,
Seen behind all, and, varying, as he spoke,
With hope, and fear, and generous sympathy,
Subdued him. From that very hour he loved.
The tale was long, but coming to a close, When his dark eyes flash'd fire, and, stopping short, He listen’d and look'd up. I look'd up too; And twice there came a hiss that through me thrill'd" 'Twas heard no more. A Chamois on the cliff Had roused his fellows with that cry of fear, And all were gone.
- But now the thread was broken,
Love and its joys had vanish'd from his mind;
And he recounted his hair-breadth escapes
When with his friend, Hubert of Bionnay,
(His ancient carbine from his shoulder slung,
His axe to hew a stair-case in the ice)
He track'd their footsteps. By a cloud surprised,
Upon a crag among the precipices,
Where the next step had hurl’d them fifty fathoms,
Oil had they stood, lock'd in each other's arms,
All the long night under a freezing sky,
Each guarding each the while from sleeping, falling.
Oh,'t was a sport he loved dearer than life,
And only would with life itself relinquish :
“My sire, my grandsire died among these wilds.
As for myself,” he cried, and he held forth
His wallet in his hand, “this do I call
My winding-sheet—for I shall have no other!”
And he spoke truth. Within a little month He lay among these awful solitudes, ("T was on a glacier—halfway up to Heaven) Taking his final rest. Long did his wife, Suckling her babe, her only one, look out The way he went at parting, but he came not! Long fear to close her eyes, lest in her sleep (Such their belief) he should appear before her, Frozen and ghastly pale, or crush'd and bleeding, To tell her where he lay, and supplicate For the last rite' At length the dismal news Came to her ears, and to her eyes his corse
Now the grey granite, starting through the snow, Discover'd many a variegated moss' That to the pilgrim resting on his staff Shadows out capes and islands; and ere long Numberless flowers, such as disdain to live In lower regions, and delighted drink The clouds before they fall, flowers of all hues, With their diminutive leaves cover'd the ground. "T was then, that, turning by an ancient larch, Shiver'd in two, yet most majestical With its long level branches, we observed A human figure sitting on a stone Far down by the way-side—just where the rock ls riven asunder, and the Evil One Has bridged the gulf, a wondrous monument (13)
Built in one night, from which the flood beneath,
Raging along, all foam, is seen not heard,
And seen as motionless!
Nearer we drew,
And 't was a woman young and delicate,
Wrapt in a russet cloak from head to foot,
Her eyes cast down, her cheek upon her hand
In deepest thought. Young as she was, she wore
The matron-cap; and from her shape we judged,
As well we might, that it would not be long
Ere she became a mother. Pale she look'd,
Yet cheerful; though, methought, once, if not twice,
She wiped away a tear that would be coming:
And in those moments her small hat of straw,
Worn on one side, and garnish'd with a riband
Glittering with gold, but ill conceal’d a face
Not soon to be forgotten. Rising up
On our approach, she journey'd slowly on;
And my companion, long before we met,
Knew, and ran down to greet her.
She was born
(Such was her artless tale, told with fresh tears)
In Val d'Aosta; and an Alpine stream,
Leaping from crag to crag in its short course
To join the Dora, turn'd her father's mill.
There did she blossom till a Valaisan,
A townsman of Martigny, won her heart,
Much to the old man's grief Long he held out,
Unwilling to resign her; and at length,
When the third summer came, they stole a match
And fled. The act was sudden; and when far
Away, her spirit had misgivings. Then
She pictured to herself that aged face
Sickly and wan, in sorrow, not in anger;
And, when at last she heard his hour was near,
Went forth unseen, and, burden'd as she was,
Cross'd the high Alps on foot to ask forgiveness,
And hold him to her heart before he died.
Her task was done. She had fulfill'd her wish,
And now was on her way, rejoicing, weeping.
A frame like hers had suffer'd ; but her love
Was strong within her; and right on she went,
Fearing no ill. May all good Angels guard her!
And should I once again, as once I may,
Visit Martigny, I will not forget
Thy hospitable roof, Marguerite de Tours;
Thy sign the silver swan.' Heaven prosper Thee!
The level plain I travell'd silently,
Nearing them more and more, day after day,
My wandering thoughts my only company,
And they before me still, oft as I look'd,
A strange delight, mingled with fear, came o'er me
A wonder as at things I had not heard of:
Oft as I look'd, I felt as though it were
For the first time!
Great was the tumult there,
Deafening the din, when in barbaric pomp
The Carthaginian on his march to Rome
Entered their fastnesses. Trampling the snows,
The war-horse reared; and the tower'd elephant
Upturn'd his trunk into the murky sky,
Then tumbled headlong, swallow'd up and lost,
He and his rider.
Now the scene is changed;
And o'er Mont Cenis, o'er the Simplon winds
A path of pleasure. Like a silver zone
Flung about carelessly, it shines asar,
Catching the eye in many a broken link,
In many a turn and traverse as it glides;
And oft above and oft below appears,
Seen o'er the wall by him who journeys up,
As though it were another, not the same,
Leading along he knows not whence or whither
Yet through its fairy course, go where it will,
The torrent stops it not, the rugged rock
Opens and lets it in ; and on it runs,
Winning its easy way from clime to clime
Through glens lock'd up before.
Not such my path?
Mine but for those, who, like Jean Jacques, delight (14)
In dizziness, gazing and shuddering on
Till fascination comes and the brain turns !
Mine, though I judge but from my ague-fits
Over the Drance, just where the Abbot fell, (15)
The same as Hannibal's.
But now 'tis past,
That turbulent Chaos; and the promised land
Lies at my feet in all its loveliness!
To him who starts up from a terrible dream,
And lo the sun is shining, and the lark
Singing aloud for joy, to him is not
Such sudden ravishment as now I feel
At the first glimpses of fair Italy.
I Love to sail along the Larian Lake Under the shore—though not to visit Pliny, To catch him musing in his plane-tree walk, Or fishing, as he might be, from his window : And, to deal plainly, (may his Shade forgive me!) Could I recall the ages past, and play The fool with Time, I should perhaps reserve My leisure for Catullus on his Lake, Though to fare worse, or Virgil at his farm A little further on the way to Mantua. But such things cannot be. So I sit still, And let the boatman shift his little sail, His sail so forked and so swallow-like, Well-pleased with all that comes. The morning air Plays on my cheek how gently, slinging round A silvery gleam; and now the purple mists