« AnteriorContinuar »
Their children's children's doom already | For the world's granary; thou whose sky brought
heaven gilds Forth from the abyss of time which is to be, With brighter stars, and robes with deeper The chaos of events, where lie half
Thou, in whose pleasant places Summer Shapes that must undergo mortality;
builds What the great Scers of Israel wore Her palace, in whose cradle Empire grew,
And form'd the Eternal City's ornaments That spirit was on them, and is on me, From spoils of kings whom freemen And if, Cassandra-like, amidst the din
overthrew; Of conflict none will hear or hearing heed Birthplace of heroes, sanctuary of saints, This voice from out the Wilderness, Where earthly first, then heavenly glory the sin
made Be theirs, and my own feelings be my meed, Her home; thou, all which fondest fancy The only guerdon I have ever known.
paints, Hast thou not bled? and hast thou still And finds her prior vision but portray'd
In feeble colours, when the eye-from Italia ? Ah! to me such things, foreshown
the Alp With dim sepulchral light, bid me forget Of horrid snow,and rock and shaggy shade
In thine irreparable wrongs my own; Of desert-loving pine, whose emerald scalp We
e can have but one country, and even yet Nods to the storm-dilates and dotes o'er Thou’rt mine-my bones shall be within
thee, thy breast,
And wistfully implores, as 'twere, for help My soul within thy language, which To see thy sunny fields, my Italy,
Nearer and nearer yet, and dearer still With our old Roman sway in the wide West; The more approachd, and dearest were But I will make another tongue arise
they free;As lofty and more sweet, in wbich exprest Thou—Thou must wither to each tyrant's The hero's ardour, or the lover's sighs,
will: Shall find alike such sounds for every The Goth hath been, - the German, theme
Frank, and Hun That every word, as brilliant as thy skies, Are yet to come,- and on the imperial hill Shall realise a poet's proudest dream, Ruin, already proud of the deeds done And make thee Europe's nightingale of By the old barbarians, there awaits the song ;
new, So that all present speech to thine shall Throned on the Palatine, while lost and The note of meaner birds, and every tongue Rome at her feet lies bleeding; and the hac Confess its barbarism when compared Of human sacrifice and Roman slaughter
Troubles the clotted air, of late so blue, This shalt thou owe to him thou didst And deepens into red the saffron water
Of Tiber, thick with dead; the helpless Thy Tuscan Bard, the banish'd Ghibelline.
priest, Woe! woe! the veil of coming centuries And still more helpless nor less holy Is rent, - a thousand years which yet
Vow'd to their God, have shrieking fled, Lie like the ocean-waves ere winds arise,
and ceased Heaving in dark and sullen undulation, Their ministry: the nations take their Float from eternity into these eyes ;
prey, The storms yet sleep, the clouds still keep Iberian, Almain, Lombard, and the beast
their station, And bird, wolf, vulture, more humane Theunborn earthquake yet is in the womb,
than they The bloody chaos yet expects creation, Are; these but gorge the flesh and lap But all things are disposing for thy doom;
The elements await but for the word, Of the departed, and then go their way; “Let there be darkness!" and thou growst But those, the human savages, explore
All paths of torture, and insatiate yet, Yes ! thou, so beautiful, shalt feel the sword, With Ugolino-hunger prowl for more.
Thou, Italy! so fair that Paradise, Nine moons shall rise o'er scenes like this Revived in thee, blooms forth to man
and set; restored :
The chiefless army of the dead, which Ah! must the song of Adam lose it twice?
late Thou Italy! wlose ever golden ficlds, Beneath the traitor Prince's banner met. Plouglıd by the sunbeams solely, would Hath lest its leader's ashes at the gate ; sullice
Had but the royal Rebel lived, perchance
Thou hadst been spared, but his involved | What is there wanting then to set thee free, thy fate.
And show thy beauty in its fullest light? Oh! Rome, the spoiler or the spoil of France, To make the Alps impassable; and we,
From Brennus to the Bourbon,never, never Her sons, may do this with one deed—Unite! Shall foreign standard to thy walls
advance Bat Tiber shall become a mournful river. Oh! when the strangers pass the Alps and Po,
CAN TO III. Crush them ye rocks!floods, whelm them,
and for ever! From out the mass of never dying ill, Why sleep the idle avalanches so,
The Plague, the Prince, the Stranger, To topple on the lonely pilgrim's head ?
and the Sword, Why doth Eridanus but overflow
Vials of wrath but emptied to refill The peasant's harvest from his turbid bed? And flow again, I cannot all record Were not each barbarous horde a nobler That crowds on my prophetic eye: the
earth Over Cambyses' host the desert spread And ocean written o'er would not afford Her sandy ocean, and the sea waves' sway Space for the annal, yet it shall go forth; Rollid over Pharaoh and his thousands, Yes, all, though not by human pen, is - why
graven, Mountains and waters do ye not as they! There where the farthest suns and stars And you, ye men ! Romans, who dare not die,
have birth. Sons of the conquerors who overthrew Spread like a banner at the gate of heaven, Those who overthrew proud Xerxes, The bloody scroll of our millennial where yet lie
wrongs The dead whose tomb Oblivion never knew, Waves,and the echo of our groans is driven
Are the Alps weaker than Thermopyla? Athwart the sound of archangelic songs,
Their passes more alluring to the view And Italy, the martyr'd nation's gore, of an invader? is it they, or ye,
Will not in vain arise to where belongs That to each host the mountain-gate Omnipotence and mercy evermore:
Like to a harpstring stricken by the wind, And leave the march in peace, the pas The sound of her lament shall, rising o'er
The seraph-voices, touch the Almighty Mind. Why, Nature's self detains the victor's car Meantime I, humblest of thy sons, and of
And makes your land impregnable,if earth Earth's dust by immortality refined
Could be so; but alone she will not war, To sense and suffering, though the vain may Yet aids the warrior worthy of his birth
scoff, In a soil where the mothers bring forth And tyrants threat, and meeker victims
bow Not so with those whose souls are little Before the storm because its breath is worth;
rough, For them no fortress can avail, -the den To thee, my country! whom before as now, of the poor reptile which preserves its I loved and love,devote the mournfullyre
And melancholy gift high powers allow Is more secure than walls of adamant, To read the future; and if now my fire
Is not as once it shone o'er thee, forgive! The hearts of those within are quivering: I but foretell thy fortunes—then expire;
Are ye not brave? Yes, yet the Ausonian soil Think not that I would look on them and Hath hearts, and hands, and arms, and
live. hosts to bring A spirit forces me to see and speak, Against Oppression ; but how vain the toil, And for my guerdon grants not to survivc; While still Division sows the seeds of woe My heart shall be pour'd over thee and And weakness, till the stranger reaps
break: the spoil.
Yet for a moment, ere I must resude Oh! my own beauteous land! so long laid low, Thy sable web of sorrow, let me take So long the grave of thy own children's Over the gleams that flash athwart thy hopes,
gloom When there is but required a single blow A softer glimpse; some stars shine through To break the chain, yet-yet the Avenger
thy night, stops,
And many meteors, and above thy tomb And Doubt and Discord step 'twixt thine Leans sculptured Beauty, which Death and thee,
cannot blight; And join their strength to that which And from thine ashes boundless spirits rise with thee copes ;
To give thee honour and the earth delight;
Thy soil shall still be pregnant with the Thus trammell'd, thus condemnd to wise,
Flattery'e trebles, The gay, the learn'd, the generous, and He toils through all, still trembling to the brave,
be wrong: Native to thee as summer to thy skies, For fear some noble thoughts, like heavenly Conquerors on foreign shores and the far
Should rise up in high treason to his brala, Discoverers of new worlds, which take He sings, as the Athenian spoke, with their name;
pebbles For thee alone they have no arm to save, In's mouth, lest truth should stammer And all thy recompense is in their fame,
through his strain. A noble one to them, but not to thee But out of the long file of sonneteers Shall they be glorious, and thou still There shall be some who will not sing the saine ?
in vain, Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be And he, their prince, shall rank aipong my The being—and even yet he may be born
peers, The mortal saviour who shall set thee free, And love shall be his torment; but his And see thy diadem, so changed and worn
grief By fresh barbarians, on thy brow replaced ; Shall make an immortality of tears, And the sweet sun replenishing thy morn, And Italy shall hail him as the Chief Thy moral morn, too long with clouds of Poet-lovers, and his higher song
Of Freedom wreathe him with as green And noxious vapours from Avernus risen,
a leaf. Such as all they must breathe who are But in a farther age shall rise along
The banks of Po two greater still than he; By servitude, and have the mind in prison. The world which smiled on him shall do Yet through this centuried eclipse of woe
them wrong Some voices shall be heard , and earth Till they are ashes and repose with me.
shall listen ; The first will make an epoch with his lyre, Poets shall follow in the path I show, And fill the earth with feats of chivalry:
And make it broader;the same brilliant sky His fancy like a rainbow, and his fire, Which cheers the birds to song shall bid Like that of heaven, immortal, and his them glow,
thought And raise their notes as natural and high; Borne onward with a wing that cannot tire; Tuneful shall be their numbers: they Pleasure shall, like a butterfly new caught, shall sing
Flutter her lovely pinions o'er his theme, Many of love, and some of liberty, And Art itself seem into Nature wrought But few shall soar upon that eagle's wing, By the transparency of his bright dream.
And look in the sun's face with eagle's gaze The second, of a tenderer, sadder wood,
All free and fearless as the feather'd king, Shall pour his soul ont o'er Jerusalem; But fly more near the earth; how many a He, too, shall sing of arms, and christian phrase
blood Sublime shall lavish'd be on some small Shed where Christ bled for man; and prince
his high harp In all the prodigality of praise !
Shall, by the willow over Jordan's flood, And language, eloquently false, evince Revive a song of Sion, and the sharp
The harlotry of genius,which, like beauty, Conflict, and final triumph of the brave
Too oft forgets its own self-reverence, And pious, and the strife of hell to warp And looks on prostitution as a duty.
Their hearts from their great purpose, He who once enters in a tyrant's hall
until ware As guest is slave, his thoughts become The red-cross banners where the first a booty,
red Cross And the first day which sees the chain enthral Was crimson'd from his veins who died A captive, sees his half of manhood gone
to save, The soul's emasculation saddens all Shall be his sacred argument; the loss His spirit; thus the Bard too near the throne Of years, of favour, freedom, eren of fame Quails from his inspiration, bound to Contested for a time, while the smooth please,
gloss How servile is the task to please alone! Of courts would slide o'er his forgotten name, To smooth the verse to suit his sovereign's And call captivity a kindness, meant
To shield him from insanity or shame, And royal leisure, nor too much prolong Such shall be his meet guerdon! who was Aught save his eulogy, and find, and
To be Christ's Laurcate - they reward Or force, or forge fit argument of song!
Florence dooms mo but death or banish Wero prouder than more dazzling fame ment,
unblest; Ferrara him a pittance and a cell,
The Alp's snow-summit nearer heaven is Harder to bear and less deserved, for 1 Had stung the factions which I strove Than the volcano's fierce eruptive crest,
Whose splendoar from the black abyss But this meek man, who with a lover's eye
is flung, Will look on earth and heaven, and who While the scorch'd mountain, from whose will deign
burning breast To embalm with his celestial flattery A temporary torturing flame is wrung, As poor a thing as c'er was spawn'd to reign, Shines for a night of terror, then repels
What will he do to merit such a doom? Its fire back to the hell from whence it Perhaps he'll love, - and is not love in vain
spring, Torture enough without a living tomb? The hell which in its entrails ever dwells.
Yet it will be so-- he and his compeer,
The Bard of Chivalry, will both consume
And, dying in despondency, bequeath
CANTO IV. yield a tear, A heritage enriching all who breathe Many are poets who have never penn'd
With the wealth of a genuine poet's soul, Their inspiration, and perchance the best:
And to their country a redoubled wreath, They felt, and loved, and died, but would Unmatch'd by time; not Hellas can unrol
not lend Through her Olympiads two such names, Their thoughts to meaner beings; they though one
compressid Of hers be mighty ;-and is this the whole The god within them, and rejoin'd the of such men's destiny beneath the sun ?
stars Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling Unlaurell'd upon earth, but far more blest
Than those who are degraded by the jars The electric blood with which their arte Of passion, and their frailties link'd to
fame, Their body's self turn'd soul with the intense Conquerors of high renown, but full of
Feeling of that which is, and fancy of
For what is poesy but to create Conduct? shall their bright plumage on From overfeeling good or ill; and aim
the rough At an external life beyond our fate, Storm be still scatter'd? Yes,and it must be, And be the new Prometheus of new men,
For, form’d of far too penetrable stuff, Bestowing fire from heaven, and then These birds of Paradise but long to flee
too late, Back to their native mansion, soon they Finding the pleasure given repaid with pain,
And vultures to the heart of the bestower, Earth's mist with their pure pinions not Who,having lavish'd his high gift in vain,
Lies chain'd to his lone rock by the seaAnd die, or are degraded, for the mind
shore? Succumbs to long infection, and despair, So be it: we can bear. But thus all they,
And vulture-passions flying close behind, Whose intellect is an o'ermastering power Await the moment to assail and tear; Which still recoils from its encumbering And when at length the winged wander
clay ers stoop,
Or lightens it to spirit, whatsoc'er Then is the prey-birds' triumph, then The form which their creations may essay,
they share Are bards; the kindled marble's bust inay The spoil, o'erpower'd at length by one fell
More poesy upon its speaking brow Yet some have been untouch'd, who Than aught less than the Homeric page learn’d to bear,
may bear; Sonne whom no power could ever force One noble stroke with a whole life may glow,
Or deify the canvas till it shine Who could resist themselves even, hardest With beauty so surpassing all below,
That they who kneel to idols so divine And task most hopeless! but some such Break no commandment, for high heaven have been,
is there And if my namc amongst the number were Transfused, transfigurated : and the line That destiny austere, and yet serene, Of poesy which peoples but the air
With thought and beings of our thought And Art's mistaken gratitnde shall raise
To tyrants, who but take her for a toy, Can do no more: then let the artist share Emblems and monuments, and prostitute The palm, he shares the peril, and dejected Her charms to pontiffs proud, who but Faints o'er the labour unapproved - Alas!
employ Despair and Genius are too oft connected. The man of genius as the meanest brute Within the ages which before me pass, To bear a burthen, and to serve a need,
Art shall resume and equal even the sway To sell his labours, and his soul to boot :
Which with Apelles and old Phidias Who toils for nations may be poor indeed She held in Hellas' unforgotten day. But free; who sweats for monarchs is no Ye shall be tanght by Ruin to revive
more The Grecian forms at least from their Than the gilt chamberlain, who, clothed decay,
and fee'd, And Roman souls at last again shall live Stands sleek and slavish bowing at his door.
In Roman works wrought by Italian hands, Oh, Power that rulest and inspirest! how And temples, loftier than the old temples, Is it that they on earth, whose earthly give
power New wonders to the world; and while still Is likest thine in heaven in outward show,
Least like to thee in attributes divine, The austere Pantheon, into heaven shall Tread on the universal necks that box,
And then assure us that their rights are A dome, its image, while the base expands
thine ? Into a fane surpassing all before,
And how is it that they, the sons of fame, Such as all flesh shall flock to kneel in: Whose inspiration seems to them to shine
From high, they whom the nations oftest Sach sight hath been unfolded by a door
name, As this, to which all nations shall repair Must pass their days in penury or pain. And lay their sins at this huge gate of Or step to grandeur through the paths of heaven.
shame, And the bold architect unto whose care And wear a deeper brand and gaudier chain? The daring charge to raise it shall be given, Or if their destiny be born aloof Whom all arts shall acknowledge as From lowliness,or tempted thence in vain.
their lord, In their own souls sustain a harder prool. Whether into the marble-chaos driven The inner war of passions deep and fierce! His chisel bid the Hebrew, at whose word Florence! when thy harsh sentence razed
Israel left Egypt, stop the waves in stone,
Or hues of hell be by his pencil pour'd I loved thee, but the vengeance of my verse, Over the damn'd before the Judgment-throne, The hate of injnries, which every year
Such as I saw them, such as all shall see, Makes greater and accumulates my curs.
Or fanes be built of grandeur yet unknown, Shall live, outliving all thou holdest dear. The stream of his great thoughts shall spring Thy pride, thy wealth, thy freedom.
and even that. The Ghibelline, who traversed the three The most infernal of all evils here,
The sway of petty tyrants in a state; Which form the empire of eternity. For such sway is not limited to kings, Amidst the clash of swords and clang of And demagogues yield to them but in helms,
date The age which I anticipate, no less As swept off sooner; in all deadly things Shall be the Age of Beauty, and while Which make men hate themselves, and whelms
one another, Calamity the nations with distress,
In discord, cowardice, cruelty, all that The genius of my country shall arise,
springs A Cedar towering o'er the Wilderness, From Death the Sin-born's incest with his Lovely in all its branches to all eyes,
mother, Fragrant as fair, and recognized afar, In rank oppression in its rudest shape, Wafting its native incense through the The faction-Chief is but the Sultan's skies.
brother, Sovereigns shall pause amidst their sport And the worst despot's far less human ape :
Florence! when this lone spirit, which Wean'd for an hour from blood, to turn
Yearn'd as the captive toiling at escape, On canvas or on stone; and they who mar To fly back to thee in despite of wrong, All beauty upon earth, compellid to praise, An exile, saddest of all prisoners, Shall feel the power of that which they Who has the whole world for a dungeon destroy;