Page images
PDF

blowe,

und hark! the lash and the increasing bowl, | Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart und the half-inarticulate blasphemy! As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud, "here be some here with worse than frenzy Encompass'd vith its dark and rolling foul,

shroud, Home who do still goad on the o'er-labourd Till struck,--forth flies the all-etherial mind,

dart! und dim the little light that's left behind And thus at the collision of thy namo Vith needless torture, as their tyrant-will The vivid thought still flashes through my a wound up to the Inst of doing ill:

frame. Vith these and with their victims am I And for a moment all things as they were

class'd,

Flit by me ;--they are gone-I am the same. Mid sounds and sights like these long years And yet my love without ambition grew,

have pass'd; I knew thy state, my station, and I know Blid sights and sounds like these my life A princess was no love-mate for a bard,

may close: I told it not, I breathed it not, it was o let it be--for then I shall reposo. Sufficient to itself, its own reward;

And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas!

Were punish'd by the silentness of thine, I have been patient, let me be so yet; And yet I did not venture to repine. had forgotten half I would forget, Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine, Fat it revives --oh! would it were my lot Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around o be forgetful as I am forgot!

Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly Feel I not wroth with those who bade me

ground; dwell

Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love n this vast lazar-house of many woes? | Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd Vhere laughter is not mirth, nor thought Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd

the mind, Oh! not dismay'd-but awed, like One Cor words a language, nor even men

above; mankind;

And in that sweet severity there was There cries reply to curses, shrieks to A something which all softness did surpass —

I know not how-thy genius master'd minend each is tortured in his separate hell - My star stood still before thee:-if it were or we are crowded in our solitudes Presumptnous thus to love without design, Tany, but each divided by the wall, That sad fatality hath cost me dear; Vhich echoes Madness in her babbling But thou art dearest still, and I should be

moods;

Fit for this cell, which wrongs me, but Vhile all can hear, none heeds his neigh

for thee. bour's call-9 The very love which lock'd me to my chain Cone! save that One, the veriest wretch of all, Hath lightend half its weight; and for Tho was not made to be the mate of these,

the rest, or bound between Distraction and Disease. Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain, Feel I not wroth with those who placed And look to thee with undivided breast,

me here?

And foil the ingenuity of Pain. Vho have debased me in the minds of men, ebarring me the usage of my own, lighting my life in best of its career, It is no marvel- from my very birth Franding my thoughts as things to shun My soul was drunk with love, which did and fear.

pervade Vould I not pay them back these pangs And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth ;

again,

Of objects all inanimate I made nd teach them inward sorrow's stifled Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,

groan?

And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise, he struggle to be calm, and cold distress, Where I did lay me down within the shade Vhich undermines our Stoical success? Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted o!-still too proud to be vindictive-I

hours, lave pardon'd princes'insults,and would die. Though I was chid for wandering; and es, Sister of my Sovereign! for thy sake

the wise Weed all bitterness from out my breast, Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and hath no business where thou art a guest;

said hy brother hates - but I can not detest, of such materials wretched men were made, hou pitiest not -- but I can not forsake. And such a truant boy would end in woe,

And that the only lesson was a blow;

And then they smote me, and I did not weep, Look on a love which knows not to despair, But cursed them in my heart, and to my ut all unquench'd is still my better part,

haunt

Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again I once was quick in feeling - that is o'er;The visions which arise without a sleep. My scars are callous, or I should have And with my years my soul began to pant

dash'd With feelings of strange tumult and soft My brain against these bars as the sun pain;

flash'd And the whole heart exhaled into One Want, In mockery through them ;-if I bear and But undefined and wandering, till the day

bore I found the thing I sought-and that was The much I have recounted, and the more

thee;

Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die And then I lost my being all to be

And sanction with self-slaughter the doll lig Absorb'd in thine-the world was past away-Which snared me here, and with the brand Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!

of shame Stamp madness deep into my memory,

And woo compassion to a blighted name, I loved all solitude-but little thought Sealing the sentence which my foes proclain. To spend I know not what of life, remote No - it shall be immortal!-and I make From all communion with existence, save A future temple of my present cell, The maniac and his tyrant; had I been Which nations yet shall visit for my sale Their fellow, many years ere this had seen While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave; The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down, But who hath seen me writhe, or heard And crumbling piecemeal view thy hearthme rave?

less halls, Perchance in such a cell we suffer more A poet's wreath shall be thine only erovi, Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; A poet's dungeon thy most far renown, The world is all before him-miné is here, while strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled Scarce twice the space they must accord

walls! my bier.

And thou, Leonora! thou – who wert What though he perish, he may lift his eye

ashamed And with a dying glance upbraid the sky- That such as I could love-who blush'd to I will not raise my own in such reproof,

hear Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon-roof. To less than monarchs that thou couldst

be dear,

Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed Yet do I feel at times my mind decline, By grief, years, weariness- and it may be But with a sense of its decay: I see | A taint of that he would impute to meUnwonted lights along my prison shine, From long infection of a den like this, And a strange demon, who is vexing me Where the mind rots congenial with the With pilfering pranks and petty pains,

abyss, below

| Adores thee still;—and add that when The feeling of the healthful and the frec;

the towers But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so And battlements which guard his joyous Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,

hours And all that may be borne, or can debase. Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgol, I thought mine enemies had been but men, Or left untended in a dull repose, But spirits may be leagued with them-all This—this shall be a consecrated spot!

Earth

But Thou-when all that Birth and Beauty Abandons - Heaven forgets me;- in the

throws dearth

Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have Of such defence the Powers of Evil can, One half the laurel which o'ershades my It may be, tempt me further, and prevail Against the outworn creature they assail. No power in death can tear our names apart. Why in this furnace is my spirit proved | As none in life could rend thee from my Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved?

heart. Because I loved what not to love, and see, / Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate Was more or less than mortal, and than me. (To be entwined for ever-but too late!

[ocr errors]

THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

'Tie the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.

CAMPBELL.

DEDICATION

in our language, except it may be by Mr. JDY! If for the cold and cloudy clime

Haylcy, of whose translation I never saw here I was born, but where I would

but one extract, quoted in the notes to Caliph not die,

Vathek; so that-if I do not err- this poem f the great Poet-Sire of Italy

may be considered as a metrical experiinent. dare to build the imitative rhyme,

The cantos are short, and about the same arsh Runic copy of the South's sublime,

length of those of the poet whose name I kou art the cause; and, howsoever I

have borrowed, and most probably taken ull short of his immortal harinony,

in vain. hy gentle heart will pardon me the crime..

Amongst the inconveniences of authors in hou, in the pride of beauty and of youth, I the present day, it is difficult for any who vak'st; and for thee to speak and be

have a name, good or bad, to escape transobey'd

lation. I have had the fortune to see the re one ; but only in the sunny South

fourth canto of Childe Harold translated ich sounds are utter'd, and such charms

into Italian versi sciolti— that is, a poem display'd,

written in the Spenserean stanza into blank sweet a language from so fair a mouth

verse, without regard to the natural dib! to what effort would it not persuade? | visions of the stanza, or of the sense. If Ravenna, June 21, 1819. ;

the present poem, being on a national topic, should chance to undergo the same fato, I would request the Italian reader to remem

ber, that when I have failed in the imitaPREFACE.

tion of his great “Padre Alighier,” I have

failed in imitating that which all study and In the course of a visit to the city of few understand, since to this very day it is avenna, in the summer of 1819, it was not yet settled what was the meaning of ggested to the author that, having com- the allegory in the first canto of the Inferno, Jsed something on the subject of Tasso's unless Count Marchetti's ingenious and proinfinement, he should do the same on bable conjecture may be considered as havante's exile-- the tomb of the poet forming ing decided the question. le of the principal objects of interest in He may also pardon iny failure the more, lat city, both to the native and to the as I am not quite sure that he would be ranger.

pleased with my success, since the Italians, "On this hint I spake," and the result with a pardonable nationality, are partias been the following four cantos, in terza cularly jealous of all that is left them as ma, now offered to the reader. If they a nation - their literature; and, in the prele understood and approved, it is my par- sent bitterness of the classic and romantic use to continue the poem in various other war, are butill disposed to permit a foreignintos to its natural conclusion in the pre- er even to approve or imitate them, without int age. The reader is requested to sup- finding some fault with his ultramontane ose that Dante addresses him in the inter-presumption. I can easily enter into all al between the conclusion of the Divina this, knowing what would be thought in ommedia and his death, and shortly before England of an Italian imitator of Milton, le latter event, foretelling the fortunes of or if a translation of Monti, or Pindemonte, aly in general in the ensuing centuries. or Arici, should be held up to the rising I adopting this plan I have had in my generation as a model for their future poetlind the Cassandra of Lycophron, and the ical essays. But I perceive that I am rophecy of Nereus by Horace, as well as deviating into an address to the Italian le Prophecies of Holy Writ. The measure reader, when my business is with the Engdopted is the terza rima of Dante, which lish one, and be they few or many, I must am not aware to have seen hitherto tried I take my leave of both.

СА N то І.

Destruction face to face in all his ways

The world hath left me, what it found ONCB more in man's frail world! which Il

me-pure, had left

And if I have not gather'd yet its praise, So long that 'twas forgotten; and I feel I sought it not by any baser lure;

The weight of clay again,- too soon bereft! Man wrongs, and Time avenges, and my Of the immortal vision which could heal

name My earthly sorrows, and to God's own skiesMay form a monument not all obseur.

Lift me from that deep gulf withoutrepeal, Though such was not my ambition's end Where late my ears rung with the damned

or aim, cries

To add to the vain-glorious list of those Of souls in hopeless bale; and from that Who dabble in the pettiness of fame.

place

| And make men's fickle breath the wind that Of lesser torment, whence men may arise

blows Pure from the fire to join the angelic race; Their sail, and deem it glory to be clased Midst whom my own bright Beatrice With conquerors, and Virtue's other fees,

bless'd

In bloody chronicles of ages past. My spirit with her light; and to the base I would have had my Florence great and Of the Eternal Triad ! first, last, best,

free: Mysterious, three, sole, infinite,great God! Oh Florence !Florence ! unto me thou vad

Soul universal! led the mortal guest, Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He Unblasted by the glory, though he trod Wept over: “but thou wouldst not; From star to star to reach the almighty

the bird throne.

Gathers its young, I would have gather'd Oh Beatrice! whose sweet limbs the sod

thee So long hath press'd, and the cold marble- (Beneath a parent-pinion, hadst thou heard

stone,

My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce, Thou sole pure seraph of my earliest love, Against the breast that cherish'd the Love so ineffable, and so alone,

was stirr'd That nought on earth could more my bosom Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce,

move,

And doom this body forfeit to the fire And meeting thee in heaven was but to Alas! how bitter is his country's caree

meet

To him who for that country would expire, That without which my soul, like the But did not merit to expire by her,

arkless dove, And loves her, loves her even in her ire. Had wander'd still in search of, nor her feet The day may come when she will cease Relieved her wing till found; without

to err, thy light

The day may come she would be proud My Paradise had still been incomplete. Since my tenth sun gave summer to my sight! The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfer Thou wert my life, the essence of my Of him, whom she denied a home, the thought,

grave. Loved ere I knew the name of love, and But this shall not be granted ; let my dest bright

Lie where it falls; nor shall the soil Still in these dim old eyes, now overwrought

which gave With the world's war, and years, and Me breath, but in her sudden fury thrust

banishment,

Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reAnd tears for thee, by other woes untaught;

assume For mine is not a nature to be bent

My indignant bones, because her angry By tyrannous faction, and the brawling

gust crowd;

Forsooth is over, and repeal'd her doom. And though the long, long conflict hath No,-she denied me what was mine-ny been spent

roof, In rain, and never more,save when the cloud, And shall not have what is not hers-my Which overbangs the Apennine, my

tomb. . mind's eye Too long her armed wrath hath kept aloof Pierces to fancy Florence, once so proud The breast which would have bled for Of me, can I return, though but to die,

her, the heart Unto my native soil, they have not yet | 'That beat, the mind that was temptationQuench'd the old exile's spirit, stern and

proof, high.

The man who fought, toil'd, travelled, and But the sun, though not overcast, must set,

each part And the night cometh; I am old in days, Of a true citizen fulfill'd, and saw And deeds, and contemplation, and have for his reward the Guelfs ascendant art

Pass his destruction even into a law.

to have

met

These things aro not made for forgetful- 1 To lift my eyes more to the passing sail ness

Which shuns that reef so horrible and Florence shall be forgotten first; too raw

bare ; The wound, too deep the wrong, and the Nor raiso my voice - for who would heed distress

my wail ? Of such endurance too prolong'd, to make I am not of this people, nor this age,

My pardon greater, her injustice less, And yet my harpings will unfold a tale Chongh late repented; yet-yet for her sake Which shall preserve these times when not I feel some fonder yearnings,and for thine,

& page My own Beatrice, I would hardly take of their perturbed annals could attract Vengeance upon the land which once was An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,

mine,

Did not my verse embalm full many an act And still is hallow'd by thy dust's return, Worthless as they who wrought it: 'tis Which would protect the murderess like

the doom a shrine,

Of spirits of my order to be rack'd And save ten thousand foes by thy sole urn. In life,to wear their hearts out, and consume Though, like old Marius from Minturnæ's Their days in endless strife,and die alones marsh

Then future thousands crowd around their And Carthage ruins, my lone breast may

tomb, burn

And pilgrims come from climes where At times with evil feelings hot and harsh,

they have known And sometimes the last pangs of a vile foe The name of him-who now is but a name,

Writhe in a dream before me, and o’erarch And wasting homage o'er the sullen stone My brow with hopes of triumph,- let Spread his- by him unheard, unhecdedthem go!

fame; Such are the last infirmities of those And mine at least hath cost me dear : Who long have suffer'd more than mortal

to die woe,

Is nothing ; but to wither thus-to tame And yet being mortal still, have no repose My mind down from its own infinity

But on the pillow of Revenge-Revenge, To live in narrow ways with little men, Who sleeps to dream of blood, and waking! A common sight to every common eye,

glows

A wanderer,while even wolves can find a den, With the oft-baffled, slakeless thirst of Ripp'd from all kindred, from all home, change,

all things When we shall mount again, and they That make communion sweet, and soften that trod

painBe trampled on, while Death and Ate range To feel me in the solitude of kings O'er humbled heads and sever'd necks Without the power that makes them Great God!

bear a crownTake these thoughts from me - to thy To envy every dove his nest and wings

hands I yield Which waft him where the Apennine looks My many wrongs, and thine almighty rod

down Will fall on those who smote me,-be my On Arno, till he perches, it may be,

shield!

Within my all-inexorable town, As thou hast been in peril, and in pain, Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,

In turbulent cities, and the tented field-1 Their mother, the cold partner who hath In toil, and many troubles borne in vain

brought For Florence.--I appeal from her to Thee! Destruction for a dowry-this to see

Thee,whom I late saw in thy loftiest reign, And feel, and know without repair, hath Even in that glorious vision, which to see

taught And live was never granted until now, A bitter lesson ; but it leaves me free:

And yet thou hast permitted this to me. I have not vilely found, nor basely Alas! with what a weight upon my brow

sought,The sense of earth and earthly things They made an Exile-not a slave of me.

come back, Corrosive passions, feelings dull and low The heart's quick throb upon the mental

rack, Long day,and dreary night; the retrospect

CAN TO II. of half a century bloody and black, And the frail few years I may yet expect The Spirit of the fervent days of Old, Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear, When words were things that came to For I have been too long and deeply

pass, and thougbt wreck'd

Flash d o'er the future, bidding men On the lone rock of desolate Despair

bchold

« PreviousContinue »