Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

class'd,

may close:

even men

And hark! the lash and the increasing howl, Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart And the half-inarticulate blasphemy! As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud, There be some here with worse than frenzy Encompass'd with its dark and rolling foul,

shroud, Some who do still goad on the o'er-labour'd Till struck,-forth flies the all-etherlal mind,

dart ! And dim the little light that's left behind And thus at the collision of thy name With needless torture, as their tyrant-will The vivid thought still flashes through my Is wound up to the lust of doing ill:

frame. With these and with their victims am I And for a moment all things as they were

Flit by me;—they are gone- I am the samo. Mid sounds and sights like these long years And yet my love without ambition grew,

have pass'd ;

I knew thy state, my station, and I know 'Mid sights and sounds like these my life A princess was no love-mate for a bard ,

I told it not, I breathed it not, it was So let it be-for then I shall reposo.

Sufficient to itself, its own reward ;
And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas!

Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,
I have been patient, let me be so yet ; And yet I did not venture to repine.
I had forgotten half I would forget, Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,
But it revives -oh! would it were my lot Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around
To be forgetful as I am forgot!

Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly Feel I not wroth with those who bade me

ground; dwell

Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love In this vast lazar-house of many woes ? Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd

the mind, Oh! not dismay'd-but awed, like One Nor words a language, nor

above; mankind;

And in that sweet severity there was Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to A something which all softness did surpass –

blows,

I know not how-thy genius master'd mineAnd each is tortured in his separate hell - My star stood still before thee:--if it were For we are crowded in our solitudes Presumptuous thus to love without design, Many, but each divided by the wall, That sad fatality hath cost me dear; Which echoes Madness in her babbling But thou art dearest still, and I should be

moods;

Fit for this cell, which wrongs me, but While all can hear, none heeds his neigh

for thee. bour's call The very love which lock'd me to my chain Noge! save that One, the veriest wretch of all, Hath lightend half its weight; and for Who was not made to be the mate of these,

the rest, Nor bound between Distraction and Disease. Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain, Feel I not wroth with those who placed And look to thee with undivided breast,

me here?

And foil the ingenuity of Pain. Who have debased me in the minds of men, Debarring me the usage of my own, Blighting my life in best of its career, It is no marvel-from my very birth Branding my thoughts as things to shun My soul was drunk with love, which did and fear.

pervade Would I not pay them back these pangs And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth ;

again,

of objects all inanimate I made And teach them inward sorrow's stifled Idols, and out of wild and lonely powers,

groan?

And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise, The struggle to be calm, and cold distress, Where I did lay me down within the shade Which undermines our Stoical success? Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted No!-still too proud to be vindictive-I

hours, Hlave pardon'd princes'insults, and would die. Though I was chid for wandering; and Yes, Sister of my Sovereign! for thy sake

the wise 1 weed all bitterness from out my breast, Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and It hath no business where thou art a guest;

said Thy brother hates - but I can not detest, Of such materials wretched men were made, Thou pitiest not -- but I can not forsake. And such a truant boy would end in woe,

And that the only lesson was a blow;

And then they sınote me, and I did not weep, Look on a love which knows not to despair, But cursed them in my heart, and to my But all unquench'd is still my better part,

haunt

my bier.

Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again I once was quick in feeling - that iso'er;The visions which arise without a sleep. My scars are callous, or I should have And with my years my soul began to pant

dash'd With feelings of strange tumult and soft My brain against these bars as the sun pain;

flash'd And the whole heart exhaled into One Want, In mockery through them;-if I bear and But undefined and wandering, till the day

bore I found the thing I sought-and that was The much I have recounted, and the more

thee;

Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die And then I lost my being all to be. And sanction with self-slaughter the dell lie Absorb'd in thine-the world was past away-Which snared me here, and with the brand Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!

of shame Stamp madness deep into my memory,

And woo compassiod to a blighted name, I loved all solitude - but little thought Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim To spend I know not what of life, remote No - it shall be immortal!-and I make From all communion with existence, save A future temple of my present cell, The maniac and his tyrant; had I been Which nations yet shall visit for ny sale Their fellow, many years ere this had seen While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave; The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down, But who hath seen me writhe, or heard And ling piecemeal view thy hearkme rave?

less halls, Perchance in such a cell we suffer more A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown, Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; A poet's dungeon thy most far renown, The world is all before him—miné is here, while strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled Scarce twice the space they must accord

walls!

And thou, Leonora ! thou – who wert What though he perish, he may lift his eye

ashamed And with a dying glance upbraid the sky- That such as I could love-who blush'd to I will not raise my own in such reproof,

hear Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon-roof. To less than monarchs that thou couldst

be dear,

Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed Yet do I feel at times my mind decline, By grief, years, weariness-—and it may be But with a sense of its decay: I see A taint of that he would impute to meUnwonted lights along my prison shine, From long infection of a den like this, And a strange demon, who is vexing me Where the mind rots congenial with the With pilfering pranks and petty pains,

abyss, below

Adores thee still;-and add that when The feeling of the healthful and the frec;

the towers But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so And battlements which guard his joyous Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,

hours And all that may be borne, or can debase. Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot, I thought mine enemies had been but men, Or left untended in a dull repose, But spirits may be leagued with them-all This—this shall be a consecrated spot!

Earth

But Thou - when all that Birth and Beauty Abandons - Heaven forgets me;- in the

throws dearth

Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have Of such defence the Powers of Evil can, One half the laurel which o'ershades my It may be, tempt me further, and prevail

grave. Against the outworn creature they assail. No power in death can tear our names apart. Why in this furnace is my spirit proved As none in life could rend thee from my Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved?

heart. Because I loved what not to love, and see, Yes, Leonora ! it shall be our fate Was more or less than mortal, and than me. To be entwined for ever-but too late!

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

DEDICATION.

in our language, except it may be by Mr. = Lady! if for the cold and cloudy clime Haylcy, of whose translation I never saw Where I was born, but where I would but one extract, quoted in the notes to Caliph

not die,

Vathek; so that--if I do not err—this poem Of the great Poet-Sire of Italy

may be considered as a metrical experiment. I dare to build the imitative rhyme,

The cantos are short, and about the same Harsh Runic copy of the South's sublime, length of those of the poet whose name I Thou art the cause; and, howsoever I

have borrowed, and most probably taken Fall short of his immortal harmony,

in vain. Thy gentle heart will pardon me the crime. Amongst the inconveniences of authors in Thou, in the pride of beauty and of youth, the present day, it is difficult for any who Spak'st; and for thee to speak and be have a name, good or bad, to escape trans

obey'd

lation. I have had the fortune to see the Are one; but only in the sunny South

fourth canto of Childe Harold translated Such sounds are utterd, and such charms into Italian versi sciolti-that is, a poem

display'd,

written in the Spenserean stanza into blank So sweet a language from so fair a mouth-verse, without regard to the natural diAh! to what effort would it not persuade? visions of the stanza, or of the sense. If Ravenna, June 21, 1819. ;

the present poem, being on a national topie, should chance to undergo the same fato, I would request the Italian reader to remem

ber, that when I have failed in the imitaPREFACE.

tion of his great “Padre Alighier,” I have

failed in imitating that which all study and Is the course of a visit to the city of few understand, since to this very day it is Ravenna, in the summer of 1819, it was not yet settled what was the meaning of suggested to the author that, having com- the allegory in the first canto of the Inferno, posed something on the subject of T'asso's unless Count Marchetti's ingenious and proconfinement, he should do the same on bable conjecture may be considered as havDante's exile - the tomb of the poet forming ing decided the question. one of the principal objects of interest in He may also pardon my failure the more, that city, both to the native and to the as I am not quite sure that he would be stranger.

pleased with my success, since the Italians, "On this hint I spake," and the result with a pardonable nationality, are partihas been the following four cantos, in terza cularly jealous of all that is left them as rima, now offered to the reader. If they a nation -- their literature; and, in the preare understood and approved, it is my par- sent bitterness of the classic and romantic pose to continue the poem in various other war, are but ill disposed to permit a foreigncantos to its natural conclusion in the pre- er even to approve or imitate them, without sent age. The reader is requested to sup- finding some fault with his ultramontane pose that Dante addresses him in the inter- presumption. I can easily enter into all al between the conclusion of the Divina this, knowing what would be thought in Commedia and his death, and shortly before England of an Italian imitator of Milton, the latter event, foretelling the fortunes of or if a translation of Monti, or Pindemonte, Italy in general in the ensuing centuries. or Arici, should be held up to the rising In adopting this plan I have had in my generation as a model for their future poetmind the Cassandra of Lycophron, and the ical essays. But I perceive that I am Prophecy of Nereus by Horace, as well as deviating into an address to the Italian the Prophecies of Holy Writ. The measure reader, when my business is with the Engadopted is the terza rima of Dante, which lish one, and be they few or many, I must I am not aware to have seen hitherto tried I take my lcave of both.

move,

CAN то І.

Destruction face to face in all his wayı

The world hath left me, what it found Once more in man's frail world! which I

me-pure, had left

And if I have not gather'd yet its praise, So long that 'twas forgotten; and I feel I sought it not by any baser lure;

The weight of clay again,—too soon bereft Man wrongs, and T'ime avenges, and my Of the immortal vision which could heal

name My earthly sorrows, and to God's own skies May form a monument not all obseur,

List ine from that deep gulf without repeal, Though such was not my ambition's end Where late my ears rung with the damned

or aim, cries

To add to the vain-glorious list of those Of souls in hopeless bale; and from that Who dabble in the pettiness of fame,

place

And make men's fickle breath the wind that Of lesser torment, whence men may arise

blows Pure from the fire to join the angelic race; Their sail, and deem it glory to be class'd Midst whom my own bright Beatrice With conquerors, and Virtue's other foes,

bless'd

In bloody chronicles of ages past. My spirit with her light; and to the base I would have had my Florence great and Of the Eternal Triad ! first, last, best,

free: Mysterious, three, sole, infinite,great God! Oh Florence !Florence ! unto me thou wast Soul universal! led the mortal guest,

Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He Unblasted by the glory, though he trod Wept over: “but thou wouldst not; a From star to star to reach the almighty

the bird throne,

Gathers its young, I would have gather'd Oh Beatrice! whose sweet limbs the god

thee So long hath press'd, and the cold marble- Beneath a parent-pinion, hadst thou heard

stone,

My voice; but as the adder,deaf and fierce, Thou sole pure seraph of my earliest love, Against the breast that cherish'd thee Love so ineffable, and so alone,

was stirrid That nought on earth could more my bosom Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce,

And doom this body forfeit to the fire. And meeting thee in heaven was but to Alas! how bitter is his country's curse

meet

To him who for that country would expire, That without which my soul, like the But did not merit to expire by her,

arkless dove, And loves her, loves her even in her ire. Had wander'd still in search of, nor her feet The day inay come when she will cease Relieved her wing till found; without

to err, thy light

The day may come she would be proud My Paradise had still been incomplete.

to have Since my tenth sun gave summer to my sight

The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfer Thou wert my life, the essence of my Of him, whom she denied a home, the thought,

grave. Loved ere I knew the name of love, and But this shall not be granted ; let my dust

bright

Lie where it falls; nor shall the spil Still in these dim old eyes, now overwrought

which gave With the world's war, and years, and Me breath, but in her sudden fury thrust banishment,

Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reAnd tears for thee, by other woes untaught;

assume For mine is not a nature to be bent

My indignant bones, because her angry By tyrannous faction, and the brawling

gost crowd;

Forsooth is over, and repeal'd her doom. And though the long, long conflict hath No,-she denied me what was mine, my been spent

roof, In vain, and never more,save when the cloud, And shall not have what is not hers - my Which overhangs the Apennine, my

tomb.

Too long her armed wrath hath kept aloof Pierces to fancy Florence, once so proud The breast which would have bled for Of me, can I return, though but to die,

her, the heart Unto my native soil, thry have not yet That beat, the mind that was temptationQuench'd the old exile's spirit, stern and

high.

The man who fought, toil'd, travel'd, and But the sun, though not overcast, must set,

each part And the night cometh ; I am old in days, of a true citizen fulfill'd, and saw And deeds, and contemplation, and have For his reward the Guelf's ascendant art

met

Pass his destruction even into a law.

mind's eye

proof,

ness

my wail?

woe,

These things aro not made for forgetful- To lift my eyes more to the passing sail

Which shuns that reef so horrible and Florence shall be forgotten first; too raw

bare ; The wound, too deep the wrong, and the Nor raise my voice — for who would heed

distress Of such endurance too prolong'd, to make I am not of this people, nor this ago, My pardon greater, her injustice less, And yet my harpings will unfold a tale Chongh late repented; yet-yet for her sake Which shall preserve

these times when not I feel some fonder yearnings,and for thine,

a page My own Beatrice, I would hardly take of their perturbed annals could attract Vengeance upon the land which once was An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,

mine,

Did not my verse embalm full many an act And still is hallow'd by thy dust's return, Worthless as they who wrought it: 'tis Which would protect the murderess like

the doom a shrine,

Of spirits of my order to be rack'd Ind save ten thousand foes by thy sole urn. In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume Though, like old Marius froni Minturnæ's Their days in endless strife,and die alones

marsh

Then future thousands crowd around their And Carthage ruins, my lone breast may

tomb, burn

And pilgrims come from climes where At times with evil feelings hot and harsh,

they have known And sometimes the last pangs of a vile foe The name of him who now is but a name,

Writhe in a dream before me, and o'erarch And wasting homage o'er the sullen stone My brow with hopes of triumph, - let Spread his— by him unheard, unheededthem go!

fame; Such are the last infirmities of those And mine at least hath cost me dear: Who long have suffer'd more than mortal

to die

Is nothing; but to wither thus—to tame And yet being mortal still, have no repose My mind down from its own infinity

But on the pillow of Revenge-Revenge, To live in narrow ways with little men, Who sleeps to dream of blood, and waking A common sight to every common eye,

glows

A wanderer, while even wolves can find a den, With the oft-baffled, slakeless thirst of Ripp'd from all kindred, from all home, change,

all things When we shall mount again, and they That make communion sweet, and soften that trod

painBe trampled on, while Death and Ate range To feel me in the solitude of kings O'er humbled heads and sever'd necks- Without the power that makes them Great God!

bear a crownTake these thoughts from me - to thy To envy every dove his nest and wings

hands I yield Which waft him where the Apennine looks My many wrongs, and thine almighty rod

down Will fall on those who smote me,-be my On Arno, till he perches, it may be,

shield !

Within my all-inexorable town, As thou hast been in peril, and in pain, Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,

In turbulent cities, and the tented field- Their mother, the cold partner who hath In toil, and many troubles borne in vain

brought For Florence.--I appeal from her to Thee! Destruction for a dowry-this to see

Thee, whom I late saw in thy loftiest reign, And feel, and know without repair, hath Even in that glorious vision, which to see

taught And live was never granted until now,

A bitter lesson ; but it leaves me free: And yet thou hast permitted this to me. I have not vilely found, nor basely Alas! with what a weight upon my brow

songht, The sense of earth and earthly things They made an Exile--not a slave of me.

come back, Corrosive passions, feelings dull and low, The heart's quick throb upon the mental

rack, Long day,and dreary night; the retrospect

of half a century bloody and black, And the frail few years I may yet expect The Spirit of the fervent days of Old,

Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear, When words were thipgs that came to For I have been too long and deeply

pass, and thougbt wreck'd

Flashid o'er the future, bidding mcn On the lone rock of desolate Despair

bchold

CANTO II.

« AnteriorContinuar »