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THE POET'S DAUGHTER.

CHAPTER I.

“Oh! that the sum of human happiness
Should be so trifling and so frail withal,
That when possess'd, it is but lessen 'd grief,
And even then there's scarce a sudden gust
That blows across the dismal waste of life,
But bears it from the view. Oh! who would shun
The hour that cuts from earth, and fear to press
The calm and peaceful pillows of the grave,
And yet endure the various ills of life;
And dark vicissitudes ?”

Fair Italy-garden of the world— land of love, and softness, and refinement, how can your children exist when exiled to a colder and more sterile clime? How must their hearts yearn towards you, land of palaces, and blue skies, and sunny vineyards, and all fair and

VOL. 1.

beautiful things! How must they pine after your balmy and delicious breezes, your fertile plains, your glorious and eternal monuments of other and brighter days ! How must their senses languish for your dulcet strains of heaventaught harmony, your breathing statues, your sublime paintings, your noble and mighty ruins !

Oh! Italy, dear Italy—land of my love ; when shall this weary heart again beat beneath your warm sun? when shall I again tread your fair shores? when shall these eyes, dim with weeping, gaze once more on your boundless plains, your glassy seas, and placid lakes? when shall your cloud-capt mountains again greet this straining sight? Alas! alas ! years, long, dreary years, have passed and faded into the abyss of by-gone things; crushing and blighting sorrows have fallen on this once ardent soul; yet still do I love thee, my fair country, with a love surpassing that of woman; and when death, friendly death, shall come to release me from my long, sad pilgrimage, the last words that hover on my expiring lips will be “ Italy—my country !"

There are spots on this earth which seem as though they were meant to give us a foretaste of the eternal bowers of bliss, or a glimpse of what the Eden of our first parents might have been: spots where it seems as if sin dare not intrude his blighting form or sorrow spread her withering influence; where peace dwells seemingly on every roof, and tree, and bower ; where the very birds sing more rapturous thanksgivings from amongst their leafy labyrinths and shady nooks ; where rippling streams send forth a more soothing sound and awaken more soft and dreamy thoughts in the deep heart. We ask ourselves, as we stand and gaze entranced on such scenes of beauty and tranquillity, “Can the shriek of despair ever have rent the profound silence of these dark woods ? can the hot tears of anguish and remorse have mingled with this peaceful stream ? can the young, trusting, and loving maiden heart have swelled, and struggled, and broken, amidst all this loveliness ? can the lament for the early dead have arisen in wailing grief on these perfumed gales ; and the forms of mourning, and the dreary train of funereal pomp have glided along these soft verdures where innumerable beauteous and brilliant flowers bloom so cheeringly ?" Alas! yes ;sin, and remorse, and despair, and cold death, are no strangers in these sweet shades; and many a dim eye has gazed around with loathing on all this beauty, and felt how cruel was the mockery, how unutterable the contrast between sparkling, joyous nature, and the cheerless desart of a seared heart! And the desolate one has wished for some arid and rocky plain where all was dreary and boundless as his grief.

The scene I am about to paint, was one on which heaven had showered its fairest favours. It was in Italy; and high rugged mountains, whose tops were hewn into a thousand fantastical shapes, as they stood out in relief from the blue sky, encircled it, as if to shield and protect it from the rude storms which sometimes swept along the plains around. A small defile led into this valley, and when the weary traveller, tired of the monotony of the vast flats he had traversed, gained this pass and stood on the threshold of the valley, and beheld the profusion of its beauty, his heart would swell and beat, and his breath come thick and short, and his emotion paralyse his limbs, as he contemplated its glowing richness : but then the tear would dim his gaze, as some sight of death or sorrow passed before him, and told him that the curse of mortality was even there, and the false serpent had poisoned even this second Eden. The mountains which on the outside were bare and rocky were clothed within with every variety of foliage: the graceful vine hung it's rich clusters on many a forest tree; the olive grew in thick plantations, and the flower of the myrtle clustered in virgin beauty on its stem. There, outstretched in the beautiful undulations of hill and dale, glowing with luxuriant richness and profuse vegetation, was a vast valley. A pure and bright river ran through its centre,

urs.

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