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So was Albonius 1, brave, without pretence; A Lombard born, he gave that name to thee,
But hapless chose, though ta'en for his defence, That worst of ills, as still allow'd to be,
For many an age-fierce feudal 2 policy!
Thus rules unseen, by most mysterious ways,
As states around are tottering to their base,
Dreams he's the cause of all !-how short his
The Lombard Kings-themselves sufficient good,
Their people barbarous.-Then first began
1 Soon after the expulsion of the Goths, great part of Italy was taken possession by Albonius, King of Lombardy, one of the greatest princes of his day. He was murdered through the treachery of his wife Rosamond, A. D. 571, before he had completed his arrangements for the government of his kingdom.
2 When the sovereign, or general, parcelled out the conquered territory amongst his officers, and they to their soldiers, under the agreement of their accompanying the monarch in war when required, a compact evidently most unfavourable to the internal happiness and security of a state.
That frightful age, when ignorance1 would brood
More real mischief than e'en warfare could.
A long night. A gloom it was, so dismal, so severe,
On all that had been lovely. That bold tongue
1 It is true, says Hallam, that laws had been enacted by Constantine, Theodosius, and other emperors, in A. D. 395, for the encouragement of learned men, and the promotion of liberal education; but they proved unavailing to counteract the lethargy of ignorance, in which the native citizens of the empire were contented to repose.-Middle Ages, vol. iii. page 308.
2 When the Latin language ceased to be a living tongue, it evidently followed that the whole treasure of knowledge was locked up from the eyes of the people, and the study of Rome's most celebrated authors almost forbidden. Middle Ages, vol. iii. p. 578. The dark ages are commonly allowed to have commenced from the time of the dismemberment of the Roman empire, towards the close of the fifth century, and to have continued till about the end of the fifteenth. See Morrel's Elements of the History of Philosophy, page 241.
3 Hallam tells us that the Lingua Romana Rustica, which the vulgar Patois had been termed, had acquired a new character in the eighth century;
The raptur'd Bard; or lost, or close conceal'd,
The lore which charm'd, the science which had rung
A peal of glory!-now a volume seal'd
'Midst savage Goths,-nor soon to be reveal'd.
But who could say that in this long, long1 night,
A Saracen, in sooth, who dar'd display
A love of Attic learning, spite the cries
Of" Koran, and the sword," which rent the skies!
but others say it was spoken of by that name even in the seventeenth, when the corruption was very striking.
I So awful were the effects of the repeated irruptions of the barbarous invaders, that, according to Koch, in his Tableau des Revolutions de l'Europe, tome i. page 24, in less than one hundred years after the first invasion, there scarcely remained a single trace of the literature or the fine arts of the Romans.
2 When the ages of violence and rapine had passed away, which charac
An enlight Almamon', too, that paragon of lore,
Nay, such the greatness of his noble heart,
gave to Christian talent to translate
Those brilliant gems we humbly emulate.
terised those of the early successors of Mahomet, and were followed by those of security and peace; and Bagdad, under its caliphs, rose a proud city. The muses were courted from their ancient seat on the shores of Greece, "to expiate," as Mills finely says, "the guilt of conquest, and illustrate the reign of the Abassides;" then it was, A. D. 766, that Almanzor enriched his mind with the study of jurisprudence, for the benefit of his people. History of Mahometanism.
I Almamon, who held the caliphate of Bagdad from 786 to 809, was a prince at once generous and enlightened. Arabian writers tells us, that he was not only a proficient in astronomy himself, but laboured to expand the minds of his countrymen by the grand and elevating views which that science unfolds. He made a vast collection of Greek and Roman books, many of which he got a distinguished Christian physician, Messua, to translate; and appointed him President of the College of Bagdad, in which university there were no less than six thousand professors and pu pils who cultivated liberal studies.-Mill's History of Mahometanism, pages 385, 386.
But lo! all meteor-like, when he had shot,
(Durst Raymond peep into futurity)
That e'en what's good, when sown, will useless
What is most durable?
1 Abdalrahman, an Omaid prince of Damascus, who had fled to Spain from that city, when his family had been massacred by the Abassaids. His own race (the Omaids) who, about the year 718, had established a Moorish government in Spain, received him with open arms, and he, in a short time, became a prince of great fame and magnificence, and settled a