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That page is now before me, and on mine
The skeleton of her Titanic form,
Yet, Italy ! through every other land
Shall yet redeem thee, and, all backward driven,
But Arno? wins us to the fair white walls,
corn, and wine, and oil, and Plenty leaps
1 Bows her to the storm.] Byron has this advantage over Sulpicius, he says, that he sees the instability of human things confirmed by the ruin of the Eternal City.
2 Arno.] The river of Florence, the • Etrurian Athens,' the home of commerce and learning.
3 Commerce.] Alludes to the Medici, the great merchant princes, whose arms are the
three pills or balls of the pawnbrokers. 4 Buried Learning.] Dante and Boccaccio, Guicciardini the historian, and Machiavelli, were Florentines. The purest Italian, Lingua Toscana,' was spoken in Florence.
1 There, too, the Goddess loves in stone, and fills
And to the fond idolaters of old
We gaze and turn away, and know not where, Dazzled and drunk with beauty, till the heart Reels with its fulness ; there-for ever thereChained to the chariot of triumphal Art, We stand as captives, and would not depart. Away !-there need no words, nor terms precise, The paltry jargon of the marble mart, Where Pedantry gulls Folly-we have eyes : Blood, pulse, and breast confirm the Dardan Shepherd's
Appear'dst thou not to Paris in this guise ?
With lava kisses melting while they burn,
Glowing, and circumfused in speechless love,
1 A description of the statue Venus de Medici in Florence : a statue of ideal beauty discovered in the villa of Adrian at Tivoli, and is supposed by some scarcely to merit the praise here bestowed upon it. Venus was the spouse of Anchises, and received the prize of beauty from the Dardan Shepherd, Paris.
2 The Lord of War.) Mars, the god of 'stupid,' brute force.
That feeling to express, or to improve,
From what has been, or might be, things which grow Into thy statue's form, and look like gods below.
I leave to learned fingers, and wise hands,
The unruffled mirror of the loveliest dream
In Santa Croce's a holy precincts lie
The starry Galileo,” with his woes ;
Ape.] This language is scarcely too severe on some art connoisseurs. The worst despots far less human ape.'
2 Santa Croce.] The Church of the Holy Cross in Florence, founded 1294, 'that magnificent Temple of Fame which still exists, enshrining the greatest names of Italy.'—See The Makers of Florence' (Oliphant).
5 Angelo.] The sculptor, the painter, the architect, 1474–1564, Michael Angelo Buonarroti. His name is connected with St. Peter's and the statue of Moses. See ‘Prophecy of Dante.'
4 Alfieri.] Almost a compeer of Byron's, died in 1803. He is known for his tragedies.
5 Galileo.] The friend of Milton ; the astronomer and the victim of Papal persecution, 1564-1642. •Tuscan Artist,' • Par. Lost,' bk. i.
6 Machiavelli.) One of the earliest sons of the Renaissance, died in 1530. His great work was • Il Principe,' which suggested the · Leviathan' of our own Hobbes.
These are four minds, which, like the elements,
Which gilds it with revivifying ray :
But where repose the all Etruscan three— 3
Ungrateful Florence! Dante 6 sleeps afar,
Upon a far and foreign soil had grown,
1 The elements.] Fire, air, earth, and water.
2 Canova.] Antonio Canova, the celebrated Venetian sculptor, who died in 1822. •Canova can create below'- Beppo.'
3 The all Etruscan three.] i.e. the French idiom, tous les trois. 4 The Bard of Prose.] Boccaccio. See below (lviii.). 5 The Hundred Tales.] The Decamerone.
6 Dante.] As one of the Bianchi was expelled from Florence by the Neri, and was buried at Ravenna.- Prophecy of Dante.'
? Scipio.] The great Africanus. He is buried, not in the tomb of the Scipios, but at Liternum, in Campania.
8 Petrarch received the laurel crown from the Roman Senate, in the Capitol of Rome, 1341, for his poem called • Africa.'
Boccaccio? to his parent earth bequeathed
No more amidst the meaner dead find room,
And Santa Croce wants their mighty dust;
Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps,
LX What is her pyramid of precious stones ? Of porphyry, jasper, agate, and all hues Of gem and marble, to encrust the bones Of merchant-dukes? 5 the momentary dews Which, sparkling to the twilight stars, infuse Freshness in the green turf that wraps the dead, Whose names are mausoleums of the Muse, Are gently prest with far more reverent tread Than ever paced the slab which paves the princely head.
i Boccaccio.] The father of Italian prose: the author of the Decamerone' (the 100 Tales), from whom Chaucer derived many of his stories. Born in 1313, died 1375. He was buried at Ravenna.
2 Tuscan's siren tongue.] • Lingua Toscana.'
3 Cæsar's pageant.] The funeral of Junia, the sister of Cæsar's murderer, the wife also of Cassius. Sec Tacitus' • Annals,' iii. 76: Sed p'æfulgebant Cassius atque Brutus eo ipso quod effigies eorum non visebantur.' And this omission like that of the bust of Brutus at the pageant of Tiberius.-See 'D. J.' xv. 49.
* Ravenna.] On the Adriatic; the residence of the Emperors of the West, when the empire was falling.
5 Merchant-dukes.] The tombs of the Mediçi adorned by Angelo, :