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From thee in all their vigor came
But yet she lived and all too soon My arm of strength, my soul of flame
Recover'd from that death-like swoon Thou didst not give me life alone,
But scarce to reason-every sense But all that made me more thine own.
Had been o'erstrung by pangs intense; See what thy guilty love hath done!
And each frail fibre of her brain Repaid thee with too like a son!
(As bowstrings, when relax'd by rain, I am no bastard in my soul,
The erring arrows launch aside) For that, like thine, abhorr'd control;
Sent forth her thoughts all wild and wide And for my breath, that hasty boon
The past a blank, the future black, Thou gav'st and wilt resume so soon,
With glimpses of a dreary track, I valued it no more than thou,
Like lightning on the desert path, When rose thy casque above thy brow,
When midnight storms are mustering wrath. And we, all side by side, have striven,
She fear'd—she felt that something ill And o'er the dead our coursers driven :
Lay on her soul, so deep and chillThe past is nothing and at last
That there was sin and shame she knew; The future can but be the past;
That some one was to die—but who? Yet would I that I then had died :
She had forgotten ;-did she breathe ? For though thou work’dst my mother's ill, Could this be still the earth beneath, And made thy own my destined bride,
The sky above, and men around; I feel thou art my father still;
Or were they fiends who now so frown'd And, harsh as sounds thy hard decree,
On one, before whose eyes each eye 'Tis not unjust, although from thee.
Till then had smiled in sympathy ? Begot in sin, to die in shame,
All was confused and undefined My life begun and ends the same:
To her all-jarr’d and wandering mind; As err'd the sire, so err'd the son,
A chaos of wild hopes and fears : And thou must punish both in one.
And now in laughter, now in tears, My crime seems worst to human view,
But madly still in each extreme,
She strove with that convulsive dream;
Oh! vainly must she strive to wake!
The Convent bells are ringing, And not an ear but felt as wounded,
But mournfully and slow; Of all the chiefs that there were rank’d,
In the gray square turret swinging, When those dull chains in meeting clank'd, With a deep sound, to and fro. Till Parisina's fatal charms
Heavily to the heart they go ! Again attracted every eye
Hark! the hymn is singing, Would she thus hear him doom'd to die!
The song for the dead below, She stood, I said, all pale and still,
Or the living who shortly shall be so! The living cause of Hugo's ill:
For a departing being's soul Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide,
The death-hymn peals and the hollow bells knoll: Not once had turn'd to either side
He is near his mortal goal; Nor once did those sweet eyelids close,
Kneeling at the Friar's knee; Or shade the glance o'er which they rose,
Sad to hear—and piteous to seeBut round their orbs of deepest blue
Kneeling on the bare cold ground, The circling white dilated grew~
With the block before and the guards aroundAnd there with glassy gaze she stood
And the headsman with his bare arm ready, As ice were in her curdled blood;
That the blow may be both swift and steady, But every now and then a tear
Feels if the axe be sharp and true, So large and slowly gather'd slid
Since he set its edge anew : From the long dark fringe of that fair lid, While the crowd in a speechless circle gather It was a thing to see, not hear!
To see the Son fall by the doom of the Father! And those who saw, it did surprise, Such drops could fall from human eyes.
XVI. To speak she thought--the imperfect note
It is a lovely hour as yet Was choked within her swelling throat,
Before the summer sun shall set, Yet seem'd in that low hollow groan
Which rose upon that heavy day, Her whole heart gushing in the tone.
And mock'd it with his steadiest ray; It ceased-again she thought to speak,
And his evening beams are shed Then burst her voice in one long shriek,
Full on Hugo's fated head, And to the earth she fell like stone
As his last confession pouring Or statue from its base o'erthrown,
To the monk, his doom deploring More like a thing that ne'er had life
In penitential holiness, A monument of Azo's wife,
He bends to hear his accents bless Than her, that living guilty thing,
With absolution such as may Whose every passion was a sting,
Wipe our mortal stains away. Which urged to guilt, but could not bear
That high sun on his head did glisten, That guilt's detection and despair.
As he there did bow and listen
And the rings of chestnut hair
But no more thrilling noise rose there
Beyond the blow that to the block
Pierced through with forced and sullen shock, Save one:-what cleaves the silent air So madly shrill, so passing wild ? That, as a mother's o'er her child, Done to death by sudden blow, To the sky these accents go, Like a soul's in endless wo. Through Azo's palace-lattice driven; That horrid voice ascends to heaven, And every eye is turn'd thereon; But sound and sight alike are gone! It was a woman's shriek-and ne'er In madlier accents rose despair; And those who heard it, as it past, In mercy wish'd it were the last.
XIX. Hugo is fallen ; and, from that hour, No more in palace, hall, or bower, Was Parisina heard or seen : Her name-as if she ne'er had been Was banish'd from each lip and ear, Like words of wantonness or fear; And from Prince Azo's voice by none Was mention heard of wife or son; No tombno memory had they; Theirs was unconsecrated clay ; At least the knight's who died that day, But Parisina's fate lies hid Like dust beneath the coffin lid : Whether in convent she abode, And won to heaven her dreary road, By blighted and remorseful years Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears; Or if she fell by bowl or steel, For that dark love she dared to feel; Or if, upon the moment smote, She died by tortures less remote; Like him she saw upon the block, With heart that shared the headsman's shock, In quicken'd brokenness that came, In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame, None knew-and none can ever know: But whatsoe'er its end below, Her life began and closed in wo! 3
Without display, without parade;
As not disdaining priestly aid,
XX. And Azo found another bride, And goodly sons grew by his side ; But none so lovely and so brave As him who wither'd in the grave; Or if they were—on his cold eye Their growth but glanced unheeded by, Or noticed with a smother'd sigh. But never tear his cheek descended, And never smile his brow unbended, And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought The intersected lines of thought; Those furrows which the burning share Of Sorrow ploughs untimely there ; Scars of the lacerating mind Which the Soul's war doth leave behind. He was pass'd all mirth or wo: Nothing more remain'd below But sleepless nights and heavy days, A mind all dead to scorn or praise,
XVIII. Still as the lips that closed in death, Each gazer's bosom held his breath; But yet, afar, from man to man, A cold electric shiver ran, As down the deadly blow descended On him whose life and love thus ended, And with a hushing sound comprest, A sigh shrunk back on every breast;
A heart which shunn'd itself-and yet
And cherish'd most where least reveal'd.
With inward starts of feeling left,
To throb o'er those of life bereft;
Without the power to fill again
The desert gap which made his pain;
Without the hope to meet them where
United souls shall gladness share,
With all the consciousness that he
Had only pass'd a just decree;
Yet Azo's age was wretched still.
The tainted branches of the tree,
If lopp'd with care a strength may give,
By which the rest shall bloom and live
All greenly fresh and wildly free :
But if the lightning, in its wrathi,
The waving boughs with fury scathe,
The massy trunk the ruin feels,
And never more a leaf reveals.
NOTES TO PARISINA.
Ja beautiful and ingenious youth. Parisina Malates As twilight melts beneath the moon away.
ta, second wife of Niccolo, like the generality of Page 176. line 14. step-mothers, treated him with little kindness, to
the infinite regret of the Marquis, who regarded The lines contained in Section I. were printed him with fond partiality. One day she asked leave as set to music some time since; but belonged to of her husband to undertake a certain journey, to the poem where they now appear, the greater part which he consented, but upon condition that Ugo of which was composed prior to “ Lara," and other should bear her company; for he hoped by these compositions since published.
means to induce her, in the end, to lay aside the
obstinate aversion which she had conceived against 1. 2.
him. And indeed his intent was accomplished but
too well. since, during the journey, she not only diThat should have won as haught a crest. vested herself of all her hatred, but fell into the
Page 178, line 108. opposite extreme. After their return, the Marquis Haught-haughty~"Away, haught man, thou
had no longer any occasion to renew his former reart insulting me”-Shakspeare, Richard II.
proofs. It happened one day that a servant of the Marquis, named Zoese, or, as some call him, Giorgio, passing before the apartments of Parisina, saw
going out from them one of her chambermaids, all Her life began and closed in wo.
terrified and in tears. Asking the reason, she told
him that her mistress, for some slight offence, had Page 180, line 109.
been beating her; and, giving vent to her rage, she « This turned out a calamitous year for the people added, that she could easily be revenged, if she of Ferrara, for there occurred a very tragical event chose to make known the criminal familiarity which in the court of their sovereign. Our annals, both subsisted between Parisina and her step-son. The printed and in manuscript, with the exception of servant took note of the words, and related them to the unpolished and negligent work of Sardi, and his master. He was astounded thereat, but scarceone other, have given the following relation of it, ly believing his ears, he assured himself of the from which, however, are rejected many details, and fact, alas ! too clearly, on the 18th of May, by especially the narrative of Bandelli, who wrote a looking through a hole made in the ceiling of his century afterwards, and who does not accord with wife's chamber. Instantly he broke into a furious the contemporary historians.
rage, and arrested both of them, together with Al“ By the above-mentioned Stella dell' Assassino, dobrandino Rangoni, of Modena, ħer gentleman, the Marquis, in the year 1405, had a son called Ugo, and also, as some say, two of the women of her
chamber, as abettors of this sinful act. He ordered, "The Marquis kept watch the whole of that them to be brought to a hasty trial, desiring the dreadful night, and, as he was walking backwards judges to pronoun
1 the accustomed and forwards, inquired of the captain of the castle forms, upon the culprits. This sentence was death. if Ugo was dead yet? who answered him, Yes. He Some there were that bestirred themselves in favor then gave himself up to the most desperate lamei:of the delinquents, and, among others, Ugoccion tations, exclaiming, Oh! that I too were dead, Contrario, who was all powerful with Niccolo, and since I have been hurried on to resolve thus against also his aged and much deserving minister, Alberto my own Ugo!' And then, gnawing with his teeth dal Sale. Both of these, their tears flowing down a cane which he had in his hand, he passed the rest their cheeks, and upon their knees, implored him of the night in sighs and in tears, calling frequently for mercy : adducing whatever reasons they could upon his own dear Ugo. On the following day, suggest for sparing the offenders, besides those mo- calling to mind that it would be necessary to make tives of honor and decency which might persuade public his justification, seeing that the transaction him to conceal from the public so scandalous a deed. could not be kept secret, he ordered the narrative But his rage made him inflexible, and, on the in- to be drawn out upon paper, and sent it to all the stant, he commanded that the sentence should be courts of Italy. put in execution.
“On receiving this advice, the Doge of Venice, "It was, then, in the prisons of the castle, and Francesco Foscari, gave orders, but without pubexactly in those frightful dungeons which are seen lishing his reasons, that stop should be put to the at this day beneath the chamber called the Aurora, preparations for a tournament, which, under the at the foot of the Lion's tower, at the top of the auspices of the Marquis, and at the expense of the street Giovecca, that on the night of the 21st of city of Padua, was about to take place, in the May were beheaded, first Ugo, and afterwards Pari- square of St. Mark, in order to celebrate his adsină. Zoese, he that accused her, conducted the vancement to the ducal chair. latter under his arm to the place of punishment. “The Marquis, in addition to what he had already She, all along. fancied that she was to be thrown done, from some unaccountable burst of vengeance. into a pit, and asked at every step, whether commanded that as many of the married women as she was yet come to the spot? She was told were well known to him to be faithless, like his that her punishment was the axe. She inquired Parisina, should, like her, be beheaded. Amongst what was become of Ugo, and received for answer, others, Barberina, or, as some call her, Laodamia that he was already dead; at the which, sighing Romei, wife of the court judge, underwent this sengrievously, she exclaimed, "Now, then, I wish not tence, at the usual place of execution, that is to myself to live;' and, being come to the block, she say, in the quarter of St. Giacomo, opposite the stripped herself with her own hands of all her orna- present fortress, beyond St. Paul's. It cannot be ments, and wrapping a cloth around her head, sub- told how strange appeared this proceeding in a mitted to the fatal stroke, which terminated the prince, who, considering his own disposition, should, cruel scene. The same was done with Rangoni, as it seemed, have been in such cases most indulwho, together with the others, according to two gent. Some, however, there were, who did not fail calendars in the library of St. Francesco, was buried to commend him.” * in the cemetery of that convent. Nothing else is known respecting the women.
* Frizzi History of Ferrara.
THE PRISONER OF CHILLON;
SONNET ON CHILLON.
ETERNAL spirit of the chainless mind!
Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
For there thy habitation is the heart-
To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
Their country conquers with their martyrdom, And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind. Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar--for 'twas trod, Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod, By Bonnivard ! !--May none those marks efface !
For they appeal from tyranny to God.
II. There are seven pillars of gothic mould, In Chillon's dungeons deep and old, There are seven columns, massy and gray, Dim with a dull imprison'd ray, A sunbeam which hath lost its way, And through the crevice and the cleft Of the thick wall is fallen and left; Creeping o'er the floor so damp, Like a marsh's meteor lamp; And in each pillar there is a ring,
And in each ring there is a chain;
For in these limbs its teeth remain,
My hair is gray, but not with years,
Nor grew it white
In a single night,
But rusted with a vile repose,
And mine has been the fate of those
Six in youth and one in age,
Proud of Persecution's rage;
III. They chain'd us each to a column stone, And we were three-yet, each alone; We could not move a single pace, We could not see each other's face, But with that pale and livid light That made us strangers in our sight, And thus together-yet apart, Fetter'd in hand, but pined in heart; 'Twas still some solace, in the dearth Of the pure elements of earth, To hearken to each other's speech, And each turn comforter to each
Or song heroically bold;
A grating sound-not full and free
It might be fancy--but to me