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CIV. "Twas not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot,
Italia! too, Italia! looking on thee, Peopling it with affections; but he found
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages, It was the scene which passion must allot
Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, To the miud's purified beings; 'twas the ground To the last halo of the chiefs and sages, Where early Love his Psyche's zone unbound, I Who glorify thy consecrated pages: And hallow'd it with loveliness : 'tis lone,
Thou wert the throne and grave of empires ; still And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound, The fount at which the panting mind assuages
And sense, and sight of sweetness : here the Rhone! Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill, Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have rear'd Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial a throne.
hill. су. Lausanne! and Ferney! ve have been the abodes23 Thus far have I proceeded in a theme Of names which unto you bequeath'd a name;
Renew'd with no kind auspices; to feel Mortals, who sought and found, by dangerous
We are not what we have been, and to deem A path to perpetuity of fame;
We are not what we should be,-and to steel They were gigantic minds, and their steep aim !
The heart against itself; and to conceal Was, Titan-like, on daring doubts to pile [flame
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught, Thoughts which should call down thunder, and the
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,Of heaven, again assail'd, if heaven the while Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought, On man and man's research could deign do more Is a stern task of soul :-No matter, --it is taught. than smile.
CXII. The one was fire and fickleness, a child,
And for these words, thus woven into song, Most mutable in wishes, but in mind,
It may be that they are a harmless wile, A wit as various,-gay, grave, sage, or wild,
The coloring of the scenes which fleet along, Historian, bard, philosopher, combined;
Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
My breast, or that of others, for a while.
Fame is the thirst of youth, but I am not
So young as to regard men's frown or smile, Blew where it listeth, laying all things prone,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot; Now to o’erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne.
I stood and stand alone,-remember'd or forgot.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me; The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought,
I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd And hiving wisdom with each studious year, To its idolatries a patient knee, In meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, Nor coined my cheek to smiles,-nor cried aloud And shaped his weapon with an edge severe, In worship of an echo; in the crowd Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer; They could not deem me one of such: I stood The lord of irony,--that master-spell, [fear, Among them, but not of them: in a shroud [could Which stung his foes to wrath, which grew from Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still And doom'd him to the zealot's ready Hell,
Had I not filed24 my mind, which thus itself subWhich answers to all doubts so eloquently well.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,-
Though I have found them not, that there may be It is not ours to judge,-far less condemn ; [made Words which are things, hopes which will not The hour must come when such things shall be
deceive, Known unto all,-or hope and dread allay'd And virtues which are merciful, nor weave By slumber, on one pillow,--in the dust,
Snares for the failing: I would also deem Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay'd; O’er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve : 25 And when it shall revive, as is our trust,
That two, or one, are almost what they seem, Twill be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just. That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream. CIX.
cxv. But let me quit man's works, again to read My daughter! with thy name this song begunHis Maker's, spread around me, and suspend My daughter! with thy name thus much shall This page, which from my reveries I feed,
I see thee not, I hear thee not,--but none send Uutil it seems prolonging without end.
Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend The clouds abeve me to the white Alps tend, To whom the shadows of far years extend: And I must pierce them, and survey whate'er Albeit my brow thou never should'st behold, May be permitted, as my steps I bend
My voice shall with thy future visions blend, To their most great and growing region, where I And reach into thy heart,--when mine is cold, The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air. A token and a tone even from thy father's mould.
| In so doing, I recur from fiction to truth, and in To aid thy mind's development to watch
dedicating to you in its complete, or at least conThy dawn of little joys —to sit and see
cluded state, a poetical work which is the longest, Almost thy very growth,--to view thee catch
the most thoughtful and comprehensive of my comKnowledge of objects,-wonders yet to thee!
positions, I wish to do honor to myself by the record To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
of many years' intimacy with a man of learning, of And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss,
talent, of steadiness, and of honor. It is not for This, it should seem, was not reserved for me;
minds like ours to give or to receive flattery; yet Yet this was in my nature:-as it is,
the praises of sincerity have ever been permitted to I know not what is there, yet something like to this.
the voice of friendship; and it is not for you, nor
even for others, but to relieve a heart which has not CXVII.
elsewhere, or lately, been so much accustomed to
the encounter of good-will as to withstand the Yet, though dull hate as duty should be taught, shock firmly, that I thus attempt to commemorate I know that thou wilt love me; though my name your good qualities, or rather the advantages which Should be shut from thee, as a spell still fraught I have derived from their exertion. Even the recurWith desolation,--and a broken claim; same-rence of the date of this letter, the anniversary of Though the grave closed between us, 'twere the the most unfortunate day of my past existence, but I know that thou wilt love me; though to drain which cannot
which cannot poison my future, while I retain the My blood from out thy being, were an aim,
resource of your friendship, and of my own faculAnd an attainment, all would be in vain,
ties, will henceforth have a more agreeable recollecStill thou would'st love me, still that more than lifeltion
ite tion for both, inasmuch as it will remind us of this retain.
my attempt to thank you for an indefatigable reCXVIII.
gard, such as few men have experienced, and no one The child of love,--though born in bitterness, could experience, without thinking better of his And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire
species and of himself. These were the eleinents--and thine no less. It has been our fortune to traverse together, at As yet such are around thee,-but thy fire various periods, the countries of chivalry, history, Shall bo more temper'd, and thy hope far higher. and fable-Spain, Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy: Sweet be thy cradled slumbers! O'er the sea, and what Athens and Constantinople were to us a And from the mountains where I now respire, few years ago, Venice and Rome have been more
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee, recently. The poem also, or the pilgrim, or both, As, with a sigh, I deem thou might'st have been to have accompanied me from first to last; and per me!
haps it may be a pardonable vanity which induces me to reflect with complacency on a composition which in some degree connects me with the spot where it was produced, and the object, it would fain describe; and however unworthy it may be deemed
of those magical and memorable abodes, however CANTO IV.
short it may fall of our distant conceptions and immediate impressions, yet, as a mark of respect for
what is venerable, and of feeling for what is glori. Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna,
ous, it has been to me a source of pleasure in the Quel Monte che divide, e quel che serra Italia, e un mare e l'altro, che la bagna.
production, and I part with it with a kind of regret, Ariosto, Satira üi.
which I hardly suspected that events could have left
me for imaginary objects. Venice, January 2, 1818. With regard to the conduct of the last canto,
there will be found less of the pilgrim than in any TO JOHN HOBHOUSE, ESQ., A.M. F.R.S.
of the preceding, and that little slightly, if at all,
separated from the author speaking in his own per. &c., &c., &c.
son. The fact is, that I had become weary of drawMY DEAR HOBHOUSE,
ing a line which every one seemed determined not AFTER an interval of eight years between thelto perceive: like the Chinese in Goldsmith's “Citcomposition of the first and last cantos of Childe izen of the World,” whom nobody would believe to Harold, the conclusion of the poem is about to be be a Chinese, it was in vain that I asserted, and imsubmitted to the public. In parting with so old a agined that I had drawn, a distinction between the friend, it is not extraordinary that I should recur to author and the pilgrim; and the very anxiety to one still older and better,-to one who has beheld preserve this difference, and disappointment at findthe birth and death of the other, and to whom I am iug it unavailing, so far crushed my efforts in the far more indebted for the social advantages of an composition, that I determined to abandon it altoenlightened friendship, than-though not ungrate-gether and have done so. The opinions which ful-I can or could be, to Childe Harold for any have been, or may be, formed on that subject, are public favor reflected through the poem on the poet, now a matter of indifference; the work is to depend --to one, whom I have known long, and accompa- on itself, and not on the writer; and the author, nied far; whom I have found wakeful over my sick-who has no resources in his own mind beyond the ness, and kind in my sorrow; glad in my prosperity, reputation, transient or permanent, which is to and firm in my adversity; true in counsel, and trusty arise from his literary efforts, deserves the fate of in peril,--to a friend often tried and never found authors. wantiag;- to yourself.
I In the course of the following canto, it was my
intention, either in the text or in the notes, to have something more than a permanent army and a 80% touched upon the present state of Italian literature, pended Habeas Corpus; it is enough for them to and perhaps of manners. But the text, within the look at home. For what they have done abroad, limits I proposed, I soon found hardly sufficient for and especially in the South, “Verily they will have the labyrinth of external objects and the conse- their reward," and at no very distant period. quent reflections; and for the whole of the notes, Wishing you, my dear Hobhouse, a safe and excepting a few of the shortest, I am indebted to agreeable return to that country whose real welfara yourself, and these were necessarily limited to the can be dearer to none than to yourself, I dedicate to elucidation of the text.
you this poem in its completed state; and repeat It is also a delicate, and no very grateful task, to once more how truly I am ever dissert upon the literature and manners of a nation Your obliged and affectionate friend, so dissimilar; and requires an attention and impar
BYRON. tiality which would induce us,--though perhaps no inattentive observers, nor ignorant of the language or customs of the people amongst whom we have I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;1 recently abode,-to distrust, or at least defer our A palace and a prison on each hand : judgment, and more narrowly examine our informa I saw from out the wave her structures rise tion. The state of literary, as well as political As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand: party, appears to run, or to have run, so high, that A thousand years their cloudy wings expand for a stranger to steer impartially between them is Around me, and a dying glory smiles next to impossible. It may be enough then, at O'er the far times, when many a subject land least for my purpose, to quote from their own beau-l Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles, tiful language "Mi pare che in un paese tutto Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred poetico, che vanta la lingua la più nobile ed insieme
isles ! la più dolce, tutte tutte le vie diversi si possono
II. tentare, e che sinche la patria di Alfieri e di Monti non ha perduto.l'antico valore, in tutte essa dovrebbe
She looks a sea-Cybele fresh from ocean essere la prima.” Italy has great names still
Rising with her tiara of proud towers 2 Canova, Monti, Ugo Foscolo, Pindemonte, Visconti,
At airy distance, with majestic motion, Morelli, Cicognara, Albrizzi, Mezzophanti, Mai,
A ruler of the waters and their powers, Mustoxidi, Agiletti, and Vacca, will secure to the
And such she was; her daughters had their dowers present generation an honorable place in most of
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East the departments of Art, Science, and Belles Let
Pour'd in her lap alı gems in sparkling showers. tres; and in some of the very highest;-Europe
In purple was she robed, and of her feast the World-has but one Canova. .
Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity inIt has been somewhere said by Alfieri, that “La
III. pianta uomo nasce più robusta in Italia che in qualunque altra terra-e che gli stessi atroci delitti che In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more,3 vi si commettono ne sono una prova.” Without And silent rows the songless gondolier; s Ibscribing to the latter part of his proposition, a Her palaces are crumbling to the shore, dangerous doctrine, the truth of which may be dis- And music meets not always now the ear: puted on better grounds, namely, that the Italians Those days are gonembut beauty still is here are in no respect more ferocious than their neigh-/ States fall, arts fade-but Nature doth not die : bors, that man must be wilfully blind, or ignorantly Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear, heedless, who is not struck with the extraordinary! The pleasant place of all festivity, capacity of this people, or, if such a word be admis- The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy. sible, their capabilities, the facility of their acquisitions, the rapidity of their conceptions, the fire of
IV. their genius, their sense of beauty, and amidst all
But unto us she hath a spell beyond the disadvantages of repeated revolutions, the desolation of battles, and the despair of ages, their
Her name in story, and her long array still unquenched “longing after immortality,”_
Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond the immortality of independence. And when we
Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway; ourselves, in riding round the walls of Rome, heard
Ours is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor, the simple lament of the laborers' chorus, “Roma!
And Pierra, cannot be swept or worn awayRoma! Roma! Roma non è più come era prima,"
The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er, it was difficult not to contrast this melancholy dirge with the bacchanal roar of the songs of exultation
For us repeopled were the solitary shore. still yelled from the London taverns, over the carnage of Mont St. Jean, and the betrayal of Genoa, of Italy, of France, and of the world, by men The beings of the mind are not of clay; whose conduct you yourself have exposed in a work Essentially immortal, they create worthy of the better days of our history. For me, And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence: that which fate "Non movero mai corda
Prohibits to dull life, in this our state
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied, What Italy has gained by the late transfer of First exiles, then replaces what we hate; nations, it were useless for Englishmen to inquire, till Watering the heart whose early flowers have died, it becomes ascertained that England has acquired And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.
Such is the refug: of our youth and age,
The Saubian sued, and now the Austrian reignsThe first from Hope, the last from Vacancy; An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt; And this worn feeling peoples many a page, Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye; Clank over sceptered cities; nations melt Yet there are things whose strong reality
From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt Outshines our fairy-land; in shape and hues The sunshine for a while, and downward go More beautiful than our fantastic sky,
Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt; And the strange constellations which the Muse | Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo !7 O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse : Th’octogenarian chief, Byzantium’s conquering foo
XIII. I saw or dream'd of such,--but let them go
Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass, They came like truth, and disappear'd like dreains; Their gilded collars glittering in the sun; And whatsoe'er they were are now but so:
But is not Doria's menace come to pass ?8 I could replace them if I would; still teeins Are they not bridled ?-Venice, lost and won, My mind with many a form which aptly seems Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done Such as I sought for, and at moments found; Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose! Let these too go--for waking reason deems Better be whelm'd beneath the waves, and shun, Such overweening phantasies unsound,
Even in destruction's depth, her foreign foes, And other voices speak, and other sights surround. From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.
The “ Planter of the Lion,"9 which through fire Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find
And blood she bore o’er, subject earth and sea; A country with-ay, or without mankind;
Though making many slaves, herself still free, Yet was I born where men are proud to be, And Europe's bulwark 'gainst the Ottomite; Not without cause; and should I leave behind. Witness Troy's rival, Candia ! Vouch it, ye The inviolate island of the sage and free,
Immortal waves that saw Lepanto's fight! And seek me out a home by a remoter sea, For ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.
Perhaps I loved it well; and should I lay
Statues of glass-all shiver'd—the long file My ashes in à soil which is not mine,
Of her dead Doges are declined to dust; My spirit shall resume it-if we may
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine
Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust; My hopes of being remember'd in my line
Their sceptre broken, and their sword in rust, With my land's language: if too fond and fier Have yielded to the stranger; empty halls, These aspirations in their scope incline,
Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, 10 Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely
And fetter'd thousands bore the yoke of war And light the laurels on a loftier head!
Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse, 11 And be the Spartan's epitaph on me
Her voice their only ransom from afar; “ Sparta hath many a worthier son than he." 4. See! as they chant the tragic hymn, the car Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need; Of the o’ermaster'd victor stops, the reins The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree Fall from his hands-his idle scimitar
I planted,—they have torn me, and I bleed: 1 Starts from its belt-he rends his captive's chains, I should have known what fruit would spring from And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his such a seed.
XVII. The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord;
Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine, And, annual marriage now no more renew'd, Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot, The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
Thy choral memory of the Bard divine, Neglected garment of her widowhood!
Thy love of Tasso, should have cut the knot St. Mark yet sees his Lion where he stood 3 Which ties thee to thy tyrants; and thy lot Stand, but in mockery of his wither'd power, Is shameful to the nations,-most of all, Over the proud place where an Emperor sued, Albion! to thee: the Ocean queen should not
And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour Abandon Ocean's children; in the fall When Venice was a queen with an unequallid dower. (Of Venice think of thine, despite thy watery wall.
And how and why we know not, nor can trace
Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind,
But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface
The cold-the changed-perchance the dead
But my soul wanders ; I demand it back
To meditate amongst decay, and stand
A ruin amidst ruins; there to track
Fall'n states and buried greatness, o'er a land
Which was the mightiest in its old command,
And is the loveliest, and must ever be
Lol The master-mould of Nature's heavenly hand,
| Wherein were cast the heroic and the free, Nor Torture shake, or mine would now be cold and the heart
Id now be cold and The beautiful, the brave-the lords of earth and sea,
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome !
And even since, and now, fair Italy !
Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree:
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
The Moon is up, and yet it is not night,
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of bluc Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colors seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
A single star is at her side, and reigns
With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still 14
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains Return to whence they came-with like intent,
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill,
As Day and Night contending were, until
Nature reclaim'd her order :-gently flows
The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil
The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains ; parting day A flower--the wind-the ocean—which shall Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues wound,
With a new color as it gasps away, Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly The last still loveliest, till—'tis gone-and all is bound;