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XLVI

That page is now before me, and on mine
His country's ruin added to the mass
Of perished states he mourned in their decline,
And I in desolation : all that was
Of then destruction is ; and now, alas !
Rome-Rome imperial, bows her to the storm,
In the same dust and blackness, and we pass

The skeleton of her Titanic form,
Wrecks of another world, whose ashes still are warm.

1

XLVII

Yet, Italy ! through every other land
Thy wrongs should ring, and shall, from side to side ;
Mother of Arts ! as once of arms ; thy hand
Was then our guardian, and is still our guide ;
Parent of our Religion ! whom the wide
Nations have knelt to for the keys of hearen !
Europe, repentant of her parricide,

Shall yet redeem thee, and, all backward driven,
Roll the barbarian tide, and sue to be forgiven.

XLVIII

But Arno? wins us to the fair white walls,
Where the Etrurian Athens claims and keeps
A softer feeling for her fairy halls.
Girt by her theatre of hills, she reaps
Her

corn, and wine, and oil, and Plenty leaps
To laughing life, with her redundant horn.
Along the banks where smiling Arno sweeps
Was modern Luxury of Commerce3 born,
And buried Learning rose, redeemed to a new morn.

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.

XLIX

1 There, too, the Goddess loves in stone, and fills
The air around with beauty ; we inhale
The ambrosial aspect, which, beheld, instils
Part of its immortality ; the veil
Of heaven is half undrawn; within the pale
We stand, and in that form and face behold
What Mind can make, when Nature's self would fail ;

And to the fond idolaters of old
Envy the innate flash which such a soul could mould :

L

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

prize.

LI

Appear'dst thou not to Paris in this guise ?
Or to more deeply blest Anchises ? or,
In all thy perfect goddess-ship, when lies
Before thee thy own vanquished Lord of War,"
And gazing in thy face as toward a star,
Laid on thy lap, his eyes to thee upturn,
Feeding on thy sweet cheek! while thy lips are

With lava kisses melting while they burn,
Showered on his eyelids, brow, and mouth, as from an

urn !

LII

Glowing, and circumfused in speechless love,
Their full divinity inadequate

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,
The gods become as mortals, and man's fate
Has moments like their brightest ; but the weight
Of earth recoils upon us; let it go!
We can recall such visions, and create,

From what has been, or might be, things which grow Into thy statue's form, and look like gods below.

LIII

I leave to learned fingers, and wise hands,
The artist and his ape, to teach and tell
How well his connoisseurship understands
The graceful bend, and the voluptuous swell :
Let these describe the undescribable :
I would not their vile breath should crisp the stream
Wherein that image shall for ever dwell :

The unruffled mirror of the loveliest dream
That ever left the sky on the deep soul to beam.

LIV

In Santa Croce's a holy precincts lie
Ashes which make it holier, dust which is
Even in itself an immortality,
Though there were nothing save the past, and this,
The particle of those sublimities
Which have relapsed to chaos : here repose
Angelo's,3 Alfieri’s 4 bones, and his,

The starry Galileo,” with his woes ;
Here Machiavelli's 6 earth returned to whence it rose.

1

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.

LV

1

These are four minds, which, like the elements,
Might furnish forth creation :-Italy !
Time, which hath wronged thee with ten thousand rents
Of thine imperial garment, shall deny,
And hath denied, to every other sky,
Spirits which soar from ruin : thy decay
Is still impregnate with divinity,

Which gilds it with revivifying ray :
Such as the great of yore, Canova 2 is to-day.

LVI

But where repose the all Etruscan three— 3
Dante and Petrarch, and scarce less than they,
The Bard of Prose, creative spirit ! he
Of the Hundred Tales of love where did they lay
Their bones, distinguished from our common clay
In death as life? Are they resolved to dust,
And have their country's marbles nought to say ?
Could not her quarries furnish forth one bust?
Did they not to her breast their filial earth entrust ?

LVII

Ungrateful Florence! Dante 6 sleeps afar,
Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore :
Thy factions, in their worse than civil war,
Proscribed the bard whose name for evermore
Their children's children would in vain adore
With the remorse of ages : and the crown
Which Petrarch's 8 laureate brow supremely wore,

Upon a far and foreign soil had grown,
His life, his fame, his grave, though rifled-not thine own.

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.'

LVIII

Boccaccio? to his parent earth bequeathed
His dust,—and lies it not her great among,
With many a sweet and solemn requiem breathed
O’er him who formed the Tuscan's siren tongue ? ?
That music in itself, whose sounds are song,
The poetry of speech? No ;-even his tomb,
Uptorn, must bear the hyæna bigot's wrong,

No more amidst the meaner dead find room,
Nor claim a passing sigh, because it told for whom !

LIX

And Santa Croce wants their mighty dust;
Yet for this want more noted, as of yore
The Cæsar's pageant,” shorn of Brutus' bust,
Did but of Rome's best Son remind her more :
Happier Ravenna ! 4 on thy hoary shore,
Fortress of falling empire ! honoured sleeps
The immortal exile :- Arqua, too, her store

Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps,
While Florence vainly begs her banished dead and weeps.

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, :

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