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youthful enthusiast return to gaze in speechless ecstacy on this more than realization of his wildest dreams, and yearned for a spark of the divine spirit which had created it. It was before this masterpiece of art that the ambition to excel, the noble fire of aspiring genius, which had long lain dormant, blazed forth in his bosom, and whilst his eyes flashed with enthusiasm, and his proud form dilated with kindling energy, he resolved to devote himself to poetry, and strive to win unfading laurels.
He went from the sublime creations of the painter and sculptor, to the silent tombs of the great dead, tombs to be approached with deep awe and reverence, as even the senseless dust is doubtless visited by guardian spirits. And as he read their inscriptions, a mournful feeling of the nothingness of life crept over his mind, and sobered down his intensely excited feelings into a state more befitting this stern, in-ideal world.
When he had satiated himself with sights of beauty and sounds of harmony, he began to experience the void of the heart which arises
from the consciousness of standing alone and uncared for amid thousands, and in the centre of a vast city-to whom could he pour forth the bursting torrent of his admiration for the new world opening before him ?-to whom could he communicate the flow of original and beautiful thoughts with which they inspired him? Alas! none sought him or coveted his sympathy; no eye looked sad if his frame drooped ; no gentle voice soothed his spirit in its hours of gloom; and Antonio was overflowing with tenderness and love.
After some weeks of restless delight and sad monotony, he turned in good earnest to the prosecution of his schemes, which all had fame for their object; and, shut up for hours in his small, dark apartment, he plunged once again into the world of fiction and romance, and found forgetfulness of his desolate situation in the engrossing delights of his ideal creation. Again, seraph-forms and lands like Paradise visited his fancy, and gave beauty to his page; and what to him were the din and turmoil without the
dreary solitude within-his habitation? Allpowerful mind made him regardless of the one and forgetful of the other; and no one who could have seen him in a moment of inspiration, with his head resting on his hand, his eyes upturned with the look of blended genius and enthusiasm illumining their dark orbs, whilst a proud and gratified smile played around the chiselled mouth; no one would have pitied the lone, friendless orphan, but rather envied him, and sighed to resemble him.
At length Antonio Cellini completed a poem, on which he had lavished all the richness of his young, fresh imagination; he felt and gloried in its merit, and fondly anticipated the most brilliant success from its appearance in the world; but too soon he made the sickening discovery that simple merit goes for nothing in the present corrupted state of things, and that his precious manuscript was coldly, though civilly, declined by all those to whom he offered it. Weary and desponding, as such ardent minds can alone despond, poor Antonio left his poem
with an obscure but humane publisher, who, touched by his dejection, promised to look at it, and returned utterly discouraged to his narrow apartment; for the first time since he had occupied it he found it cheerless and confined, and some bitter tears did he give to the memory of his beautiful birth-place.
There was resident in Florence, a distinguished patron of the arts, the Prince MHis benevolence was equal to the refinement of his taste and the splendour of his fortune. The M Palace was the resort of all the talent and beauty of Italy, and the Prince possessed the art of discovering real merit or genius, in an eminent degree.
About this period he came into Florence for the winter, with his numerous suite of artists, musicians, etc. ; and his young, gentle wife and child. The Princess M-, though not beautiful, was formed to win and soften all hearts; her sweet smile gladdened her husband's soul, and her soft voice whispered consolation to the sternest griefs ; she was like some minis
tering angel in the form of woman, and the sick and aged poor hailed her return amongst them with heartfelt blessings.
One morning as Antonio Cellini was sitting listlessly in his room, allowing his thonghts to wander into bygone scenes, he was aroused from his reverie by a gentle tap at the door, and on opening it, he was accosted by a young man, apparently not much older than himself; his appearance was highly interesting, and his manners gentle and courteous; he told Antonio that he was the bearer of a note to him from the Prince M--, to whom he was secretary; and then went on to inform him that his poem had, by chance, fallen into the Prince's hands, who was charmed and astonished by its beauty and originality, and longed to form the acquaintance of its gifted author. The dejected Antonio could scarce believe the evidence of his senses, at these joyful tidings; from the depth of despondency he experienced a sudden transition to overwhelming delight, and as he grasped the secretary's hand in silence, and