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Less palpably before me—and the glow
Farewell ! with him alone may rest the pain,
NOTES TO CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
The communication between the Ducal palace and the prisons of Venice is by a gloomy bridge, or covered gallery, high above the water, and divided by a stone wall into a passage and a cell. The state dungeons, called « pozzi , » or wells, were sunk in the thick walls of the palace; and the prisoner when taken out to die was conducted across the gallery to the other side, and being then led back into the other compartment, or cell, upon the bridge, was there strangled. The low portal through which the criminal was taken into this cell is now walled up; but the passage is still open, and is still known by the name of « The Bridge of Sighs. » The pozzi are under the flooring of the chamber at the foot of the bridge. They were formerly twelve, but on the first arrival of the French. the Venetians hastily blocked or broke up the deeper of these dungeons. You may still, however, descend by a trap-door, and crawl down through holes, half choked by rubbish, to the depth of two stories below the first range. If you are in want of consolation for the extinction of patrician power, perhaps you may find it there; scarcely a ray of light glimmers into the narrow gallery which leads to the cells, and the places of confinement themselves are totally dark. A small hole in the wall admilted the damp air of the passages, and served for the introduction of the prisoner's food. A wooden pallet, raised a foot from the ground, was the only furniture. The conductors tell you that a light was not allowed. The cells are about five paces in length, two and a half in widih, and seven feet in height. They are directly beneath one another, and respiration is somewhat difficult in the lower holes. Only one
the wall. tion of the, was thaoloty
prisoner was found wlien the republicans descended into these hideous revesses, and be is said to have been confined sixleen years. But the inmates of the dungeons beneath had left traces of their repentance, or of their despair, which are still visible, and may perhaps owe something to recent ingenuity. Some of the detained appear to have offended against, and others to have belonged to, the sacred body, not only fron their signatures, but from the churches and belfries which they have scratched upon the walls. The reader may not object to see a specimen of the records prompted by so terrific a solitude. As nearly as they could be copied by more than one pencil, three of them are as follows:
NON TI FIDAR AD ALCUNO PENSA I TACI
1607. ADI 2. GENARO. FUI RETENTO P'
LACOMO CRITTI. SCRISSE.
DE CHI MI FIDO GUARDAMI DIO
A TA I A NA
v. LA S Co K. R. The copyist has followed, not corrected the solecisms; some of which are however not quite so decided, since the letters were evidently scratched in the dark. It only need be observed, that Bestemmia and Mangiar may be read in the first inscription, which was probably written by a prisoner confined for some act. of impiety committed at a funeral : that Cortellarius is the name.
of a parish on terra ferma, near the sea : and that the last initials evidently are put for Viva la santa Chiesa Katolica Romana.
Rising, with her tiara of proud towers. An old writer, describing the appearance of Venice, has made use of the above image, which would not be poetical were it not true.
« Quo fit ut qui superne urbem contempletur, turritam telluris imaginem medio Oceano figuratam se putet inspicere*. »
Stanza III. In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more. The well known song of the gondoliers, of alternate stanzas, from Tasso's Jerusalem, has died with the independence of Venice. Editions of the poem, with the original on one column, and the Venetian variations on the other, as sung by the boatmen, were once common, and are still to be found. The following extract will serve to shew the difference between the Tuscan epic and the « Canta alla Barcariola. »
Che 'l gran Sepolcro liberd di Cristo.
Molto soffri nel glorioso acquisto;
Sarmô d’Asia, e di Libia il popol misto,
E de Goffredo la immortal braura
Del nostro buon Gesù la Sepoltura
Missier Pluton no l'ha bu mai paura s
Tutti 'l gh' i ha messi insieme i di del Dai. * Marci Antonii Sabelli de Venelæ Urbis situ narratio , edit. Taurin. 1527, lib. i. fol. 202.