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Outlaka be was fire and Sickleness, a child,
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages,
Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee,
Thou wert the throne and grave of empires ; stili
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'a Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial a throne.
l'hus far have I proceeded in a theme
Renew'd with no kind auspices; to feel
We are not what we have been, and to deein
We are not what we should be, and to steel
The heart against itself; and to conceal
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,-
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,-
And for these words, thus woven into song,
It may be that they are a harmless wile,
The coloring of the scenes which ficet along,
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 lots
I stood and stand alone,-remember'd' or forgot. Now to o'erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
Among them, but not of them: in a shroud (could
Of thoughts which were not tlreir thoughts, and still And doom'd him to the zealot's ready Hell,
Had I not filedon my mind, which thus itself subWhich answers to all doubts so eloquently well.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,-
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there may be
Snares for the failing: I would also deem
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.
I see thee not, -I hear thee not,-but none [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 And reach into thy heart, when mine is cold, The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air. 'A token and a tope eren 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 com
positions, I wish to do honor to myself by the record Knowledge of objects,-wonders yet to thee! 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 stcadiness, 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 loye me; though to drain
which cannot poison my future, while I retain the My blood from oat thy being, were an aim,
resource of your friendship, and of my own faculAnd an attainment, -all would be in rain,
ties, will henceforth have a more agreeable recollecStill thou would'st love me, still that more than life tion for both, inasmuch as it will remind us of this retain." CXVIII.
my attempt to thank you for an indefatigable re
gard, such as few men have experienced, and no one
Fain would I paft 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 im. mediate impressions, yet, as a mark of respect for
what is venerable, and of feeling for what is glori. Visto ho Toscana, Lornbardia, 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 i.
which I hardly suspected that events could hare 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 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.
The fact is, that I had become weary of draw. MY DEAR HOBHOUSE,
ing a line which every one secmed determined not AFTER an interval of eight years between the to perceive: like the Chinese in Goldsmith's "Cit. composition 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 betwcon 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 faror 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 cíforts, deserves the fate of in peril,--to a friend often tried and never found authors. Fanting ;-to yourself.
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 sus 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 welfare 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
I. or customs of the people amongst whom we have I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;? recently abode,ếto 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
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 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 ? 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 Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity in
In purple was she robed, and of her feast the World-has but one Canova. It has been somewhere said by Alfieri, that “La
creased. pianta uomo nasce più robusta in Italia che in qua
III. lunque altra terra-e che gli stessi atroci delitti che In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more, vi si commettono ne sono una prova.” Without And silent rows the songless gondolier ; subscribing 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 gone-but beauty still is here are in no respect more ferocious than their neigh States fall, arts fade--but Nature doth not die : dors, 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 the simple lament of the laborers' chorus, “Roma!
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor, Roma! Roma! Roma non è più come era prima,"
And Pierra, cannot be swept or worn awayit was difficult not to contrast this melancholy dirge For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
The keystones of the arch ! though all were o'er, with the bacchanal roar of the songs of exultation 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 multiets us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence: that which fate * Non movcro mai corta Ore la tuta di sue ciance assorda."
Promidits to qui tie, 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.
XII. Such is the refug- of our youth and age,
The Saubian sued, and now the Austrian reigns. The 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 dreams; 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 teems 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.
XIV. I've taught me other tongues—and in strange eyes In youth she was all glory,-a new Tyre,Have made me not a stranger; to the mind Her very by-word sprung from victory, Which is itself, no changes bring surprise ; The “Planter of the Lion,”g 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 ont a home by a remoter sea, For ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.
Of her dead Doges are declined to dust;
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 far 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
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: 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 5 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 unequall’d dower.lof Venice think of thine, despite thy watery wall
XXIV. I loved her from my boyhood-she to me
And how and why we know not, nor can trace Was as a fairy city of the heart,
Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind, Rising like water-columns from the sea,
But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart; The blight and blackening which it leaves behind, And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's art, 12 Which out of things familiar, undesign'd, Had stamp'd her image in me, and even so, When least we deem of such, calls up to view Although I found her thus, we did not part, The spectres whom no exorcism can bind, [anew, Perchance even dearer in her day of wo,
The cold—the changed-perchance the dead Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show. The mourn'd, the loved, the lusttoo many !-yet
how few ! XIX.
XXV. I can repeople with the past and of
But my soul wanders; I demand it back The present there is still for eye and thought,
To meditate amongst decay, and stand And meditation chastened down, enough;
A ruin amidst ruins; there to track And more, it may be, than I hoped or sought;
Fall'n states and buried greatness, o'er a land And of the happiest moments which were wrought
Which was the mightiest in its old command, Within the web of my existence, some
And is the loveliest, and must ever be From thee, fair Venice! have their colors caught:
The master-mould of Nature's heavenly hand, There are some feelings Time can not benumb,
Wherein were cast the heroic and the free,
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome ! Rooted in barrenness, where nought below
And even since, and now, fair Italy ! Of soil supports them 'gainst the Alpine shocks Thou art the garden of the world, the home Of eddying storins; yet springs the trunk, and
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree: mocks
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee? The howling tempest, till its height and frame Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks
More rich than other climes' fertility; Of bleak, gray granite into life it came,
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced And grew a giant tree ;--the mind may grow the With an immaculate charm which can not be defaced. XXI.
DE 24. XXYIE A YA Existence may be borne, and the deep root The Moon is up, and yet it is not nightOf life and sufferance make its firm abode
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea In bare and desolate bosoms: mute
Of glory streams along the Alpine height The camel labors with the heaviest load,
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free And the wolf dies in silence,-not bestow'd From clouds, but of all colors seems to be In vain should such example be; if they,
Melted to one vast Iris of the West, Things of ignoble or of savage mood,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity ; Endure and shrink not, we of nobler clay
While, on the other hand, mcek Dian's crest May temper it to bear,-it is but for a day. Floats through the azure air-an island of the blest! XXII.
XXVIII. All suffering doth destroy, or is destroy'd,
A single star is at her side, and reigns Even by the sufferer; and in each event,
With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still 14 Ends:-Some with hope replenish'd and rebuoy'd,
Yon sunny sea heares brightly, and remains Return to whence they came with like intent,
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill, And weare their web again; some, bow'd and bent,
As Day and Night contending were, until Wax gray and ghastly, withering ere their time,
Nature reclaim'd her order :-gently flows And perislı with the reed on which they leant;
The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil Some scek devotion, toil, war, good or crime,
The odorous purple of a new-born rose, According as their souls were form’d to sink or climb: Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within XXIII.
Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
And now they change; a paler shadow strews A tone of music-summer's eve-or spring
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;