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Rise like a curtain; now the sun looks out,
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.
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
“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,
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.
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!
Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey,
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
“She had ('tis now long since)
In that chair
The Countess, as it might be now, was sitting,
Was up on Monte Calvo, and the wolf
Baying as still he does (oft do I hear him,
“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
Sitting among us round the cabin-board,
A vagrant crew, and careless of to-morrow, (28)
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;
To the black forests of the Rhine, the Danube,
Thus did Venice rise,
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
And who in long array (look where they come;
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)
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''
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
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.