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LXXXV. "If you want armor or aught else, go in,
'Twas an immeasurable giant's, who Look o'er the wardrobe, and take what you choose By the great Milo of Agrante fell, And cover with it o'er this giant's skin.”
Before the abbey many years ago.
In the last moment of the abbey's foe,
Precisely as the war occurr'd they drew him, The abbot said to him, “Come in and see." And there was Milo as he overthrew him. LXXXIV.
LXXXVI. And in a certain closet, where the wall
Seeing this history, Count Orlando said Was covered with old armor like a crust,
In his own heart, “Oh God, who in the sky The abbot said to them, “I give you all."
Know'st all things ! how was Milo hither led ? Morgante rummaged piecemeal from the d'ist Who caused the giant in this place to die?” The whole, which, save one cuirass, was too small, And certain letters, weeping, then he read,
And that too had the mail inlaid with rust. So that he could not keep his visage dry,They wonder'd how it fitted him exactly,
As I will tell in the ensuing story.
PROPHECY OF DANTE.
« "Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical love,
“On this hint I spake,” and the result has been
the following four cantos, in terza rima, now offered LADY! if for the cold and cloudy clime
to the reader. If they are understood and approved, Where was I born, but where I would not die, it is my purpose to continue the poem in various Of the great Poet-Sire of Italy
other cantos to its natural conclusion in the present I dare to build the imitative rhyme,
age. The reader is requested to suppose that Dante Harsh Runic copy of the South's sublime, addresses him in the interval between the conclusion Thou art the cause; and howsoever I
of his Divina Commedia and his death, and shortly Fall short of his immortal harmony,
before the latter event, foretelling the fortunes of Thy gentle heart will pardon me the crime. Italy in general in the ensuing centuries. In adopting Thou, in the pride of Beauty and of Youth, this plan I have had in my mind the Cassandra of Spak'st; and for thee to speak and be obey'd Lycophron, and the Prophecy of Nereus by Horace, Are one; but only in the sunny South
as well as the Prophecies of Holy Writ. The meaSuch sounds are utter'd, and such charms display'd, sure adopted is the terza rima of Dante, which I am So sweet a language from so fair a mouth
not aware to have seen hitherto tried in our language, Ah! to what effort would it not persuade? except it may be by Mr. Hayley, of whose translaRavenna, June 21, 1819.
tion I never saw but one extract, quoted in the notes to Caliph Vathek; so that-if I do not err-this poem may be considered as a metrical experiment. The cantos are short, and about the same length of
those of the poet whose name I have borrowed, and PREFACE.
most probably taken in vain.
Among the inconveniences of authors in the In the course of a visit to the city of Ravenna in present day, it is difficult for any who have a naine, the summer of 1819, it was suggested to the author good or bad, to escape translation. I have had the that having composed something on the subject of fortune to see the fourth canto of Childe Harold Tasso's confinement, he should do the same on translated into Italian versi sciolti that is, a poem
Jante's exile-the tomb of the poet forming one of written in Spensercan stanza into blank verse, withho principal objects of interest in that city, both to out regard to the natural divisions of the stanza, or the native sad to the strange'.
of the sense. If the present poem, being on ·
national topic should chance to undergo the same By tyrannous faction, and the brawling crowd; fate, I would request the Italian reader to remember And though the long, long conflict hath been spent that when I have failed in the imitation of his great In vain, and never more, save when the cloud “Padre Alighier,” I have failed in imitating that Which overhangs the Apennine, my mind's eye which all study and few understand, since to this Pierces to fancy Florence, once so proud very day it is not yet settled what was the meaning of me, can I return, though but to die, of the allegory in the first canto of the Inferno, Unto my native soil, they have not yet unless Count Marchetti's ingenious and probable Quench'd the old exile's spirit, stern and high conjecture may be considered as having decided But the sun, though not overcast, must set, the question.
And the night cometh; I am old in days, He may also pardon my failure the more, as I am And deeds, and contemplation, and have mot not quite sure that he would be pleased with my Destruction face to face in all his ways. success, since the Italians, with a pardonable The world hath left me, what it found me, pure, nationality, are particularly jealous of all that is And if I have not gather'd yet its praise, left them as a nation-their literature; and in the I sought it not by any baser lure; present bitterness of the classic and romantic war, Man wrongs, and Time avenges, and my name are but ill disposed to permit a foreigner even to May form a monument not all obscure, approve or imitate them without finding fault with Though such was not my ambition's end or aim, his ultramontane presumption. I can easily enter To add to the vain-glorious list of those into all this, knowing what would be thought in Who dabble in the pettiness of fame, England of an Italian imitator of Milton, or if a And make men's fickle breath the wind that blows translation of Monti, or Pindemonte, or Arici, Their sail, and deem it glory to be class'd should be held up to the rising generation as a With conquerors, and virtue's other foes, model for their future poetical essays. But I per- In bloody chronicles of ages past. ceive that I am deviating into an address to the I would have had my Florence great and free;: Italian reader, when my business is with the English Oh Florence! Florence! unto me thou wast one, and be they few or many, I must take my leave Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He of both.
Wept over, “but thou would'st not;” as the bird
Gathers its young, I would have gather'd thee Beneath a parent pinion, hadst thou heard
My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce,
Against the breast that cherished thee was stirr'i
Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce,
And doom this body forfeit to the fire.
Alas! how bitter is his country's curse
But did not merit to expire by her,
The day may come when she will cease to err,
Lift me from that deep gulf without repeal, The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfers
Of souls in hopeless bale; and from that place But this shall not be granted ; let my dust
Lie where it falls ; nor shall the soil which gave Pure from the fire to join the angelic race; Me breath, but in her sudden fury thrust
Midst whom my own bright Beatrice bless'di Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reassume My spirit with her light; and to the base
My indignant bones, because her angry gust Of the eternal Triad ! first, last, best,
Forsooth is over, and repeal'd her doom; Mysterious, three, sole, infinite, great God ! No,-she denied me what was mine-my roof, Soul universal ! led the mortal guest,
And shall not have, what is not hers--my tomb. Unblasted by the glory, though he trod
Too long her armed wrath hath kept aloof From star to star to reach the almighty throne. The breast which would have bled for her, the heart Oh Beatrice ! whose sweet limbs the sod
That beat, the mind that was temptation procf, So long hath prest, and the cold marble stone, The man who fought, toil'd, travelled, and each part Thou sole pure seraph of my earliest love,
Of a true citizen fulfill'd, and saw Love so ineffable, and so alone,
For his reward the Guelt's ascendant art That nought on earth could more my bosom move, Pass his destruction en into a law.
And meeting thee in heaven was but to meet These things are not made for forgetfulness
That without which my soul, like the arkless dove, Florence shall be forgotten first; too raw
Relieved her wing till found; without thy light of such endurance too prolong'd to make
My pardon greater, her injustice less,
Thou wert my life, the essence of my thought, I feel some fonder yearnings, and for thine
Loved ere I knew the name of love, and bright My own Beatrice, I would hardly take
With the world's war, and years, and banishment, And still is hallow'd by thy dust's return,
And tears for thee, by other woes untaught; Which would protect the murderess like a shrine For mine is not a nature to be bent
And save ten thousand foes by thy sole urn,
Though, like old Marius from Minturnæ's marsh | Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,
And Carthage ruins, my lone breast may burn Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought At times with evil feelings hot and harsh,
Destruction for a dowry—this to see
A bitter lesson; but it leaves me free:
They made an exile-not a slave of me.
But on the pillow of Revenge-Revenge,
Who sleeps to dream of blood, and waking glows
Take these thoughts from me-to thy hands I yield When words were things that came to pass, and
thought Will fall on those who smote me,-be my shield ! Flash'd o'er the future, bidding men behold As thou hast been in peril, and in pain,
Their children's children's doom already brought In turbulent cities, and the tented field
Forth from the abyss of time which is to be, In toil, and many troubles borne in vain
The chaos of events, where lie half-wrought For Florence, -I appeal from her to Thee! Shapes that must undergo mortality;
Thee, whom I late saw in thy loftiest reign, What the great Seers of Israel wore within, Even in that glorious vision, which to see
That spirit was on them, and is on me, And live was never granted until now,
And if Cassandra-like, amidst the din And yet thou hast permitted this to me.
Of conflict none will hear, or hearing heed Alas! with what a weight upon my brow
This voice from out the Wilderness, the sin The sense of earth and earthly things come back, Be theirs, and my own feelings be my meed, Corrosive passions, feelings dull and low,
The only guerdon I have ever known.
Long day, and dreary night; the retrospect Italia ? Ah! to me such things, foreshown
With dim sepulchral light, bid me forget
In thine irreparable wrongs my own; Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear, We can have but one country, and even yet
For I have been too long and deeply wreck'd Thou'rt mine-my bones shall be within thy On the lone rock of desolate Despair
breast, To lift my eyes more to the passing sail
My soul within thy language, which once set Which shuns that reef so horrible and bare, With our old Roman sway in the wide West; Nor raise my voice-for who would heed my wail ? But I will make another tongue arise I am not of this people, nor this age,
As lofty and more sweet, in which exprest And yet my harpings will unfold a tale
The hero's ardor, or the lover's sighs, Which shall preserve these times when not a page Shall find alike such sounds for every theme Of their perturbed annals could attract
That every word, as brilliant as thy skies, An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,
Shall realize a poet's proudest dream, Did not my verse embalm full many an act
And make thee Europe's nightingale of song; Worthless as they who wrought it: 'tis the doom So that all present speech to thine shall seem Of spirits of my order to be rack'd
The note of meaner birds, and every tongue In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume Confess its barbarism, when compared with thine
Their days in endless strife, and die alone; This shalt thou owe to him thou didst so wrong,
Then future thousands crowd around their tomb, Thy Tuscan Bard, the banish'd Ghidelline. And pilgrims come from climes where they have Wo! wo! the veil of coming centuries known
Is rent,-a thousand years which yet supine The name of him-who now is but a name, Lie like the ocean waves ere winds arise,
And wasting homage o'er the sullen stone, Heaving in dark and sullen undulation, Spread his—by him unheard, unheeded-fame; Float from eternity into these eyes;.
And mine at least hath cost me dear: to die The storms yet sleep, the clouds still keep their Is nothing, but to wither thus—to tame
station, My mind down from its own infinity
The unborn earthquake yet is in the womb, To live in narrow ways with little men,
The bloody chaos yet expects creation, A common sight to every common eye,
But all things are disposing for thy doom; A wanderer, while even wolves can find a den, The elements await but for the word,
Ripp'd from all kindred, from all home, all things "Let there be darkness !” and thou grow'st a That make communion sweet, and softer pain
tomb! To feel me in the solitude of kings
Yes! thou so beautiful, shall feel the sword,
Revived in thee, blooms forth to man restored;
Thou, Italy ! whose ever golden fields, Within my all inexorable town,
Plough'd by the sunbeams solely, would suffice
For the world's granary; thou, whose sky heaven of an invader? is it they, or ye, gilds
That to each host the mountain-gate unbar, With brighter stars, and robes with deeper blue; And leave the march in peace, the passage free?
Thou, in whose pleasant places Summer builds Why, Nature's self detains the victor's car,
And makes your land impregnable, if earth And form'd the Eternal City's ornaments
Could be so; but alone she will not war, From spoils of kings whom freemen overthrew; Yet aids the warrior worthy of his birth Birthplace of heroes, sanctuary of saints,
In a soil where the mothers bring forth men : Where earthly first, then heavenly glory made Not so with those rhose souls are little worth
Her home; thou, all which fondest fancy paints, For them no fortress can avuil,—the den And finds her prior vision but portray'd
of the poor reptile which preserves its sting In feeble colors, when the eye from the Alp Is more secure than walls of adamant, when
Of horrid snow, and rock, and shaggy shade The hearts of those within are quivering. Of desert-loving pine, whose emerald scalp
Are ye not brave? Yes, yet the Ausonian soil Nods to the storm-dilates and dotes o'er thee, Hath hearts, and hands, and arms, and hosts to And wistfully implores, as 'twere, for help
bring To see thy sunny fields, my Italy,
Against Oppression ; but how rain the toil, Nearer and nearer yet, and dearer still
While still Division sows the seeds of wo The more approach'd, and dearest were they free, And weakness, till the stranger reaps the spoil Thou-Thou must wither to each tyrant's will; Oh! my own beauteous land! so long laid low, The Goth hath been,-the German, Frank and So long the grave of thy own children's hopes, Hun
When there is but required a single blow Are yet to come,-and on the imperial hill To break the chain, yet-yet the Avenger stops, Ruin, already proud of the deeds done
And Doubt and Discord step 'twixt thine and thee, By the old barbarians, there awaits the new, And join their strength to that which with thee Throned on the Palatine, while lost and won
copes ; Rome at her feet lies bleeding; and the hue What is there wanting then to set thee free, Of human sacrifice and Roman slaughter,
And show thy beauty in its fullest light? Troubles the clotted air, of late so blue,
To make the Alps impassable; and we, And deepens into red the saffron water
Her sons, may do this with one deed— Unite.
Their ministry; the nations take their prey,
Of the departed, and then go their way; From out the mass of never-dying ill,
The Plague, the Prince, the Stranger, and the All paths of torture, and insatiate yet,
Sword, With Ugolino hunger prowl for more.
Vials of wrath but emptied to refill Nine moons shall rise o'er scenes like this and set;* And flow again, I cannot all record
The chiefless army of the dead, which late That crowds on my prophetic eye: the earth Beneath the traitor Prince's banner met,
And ocean written o'er would not afford Hath left its leader's ashes at the gate;
Space for the annal, yet it shall go forth; Had but the royal Rebel lived, perchance
Yes, all, though not by human pen, is graven, Thou hadst been spared, but his involved thy fate. There where the farthest suns and stars have birth, Oh! Rome, the spoiler or the spoil of France, Spread like a banner at the gate of heaven,
From Brennus to the Bourbon, never, never The bloody scroll of our millennial wrongs Shall foreign standard to thy walls advance Waves, and the echo of our groans is driven But Tiber shall become a mournful river.
Athwart the sounds of archangelic songs, Oh! when the strangers pass the Alps and Po, And Italy, the martyr'd nation's gore, Crush them, ye rocks! floods whelm them, and Will not in vain arise to where belongs for ever!
Omnipotence and mercy evermore: Why sleeps the idle avalanches so,
Like to a harpstring stricken by the wind, To topple on the lonely pilgrim's head ?
The sound of her lament shall, rising o'er Why doth Eridanus but overflow
The seraph voices, touch the Almighty Mind.
Meantime I, humblest of thy sons, and of
To sense and suffering, though the vain may scoff Her sandy ocean, and the sea waves' sway
And tyrants threat, and meeker victims bow Rollid over Pharaoh and his thousands,--why Before the storm because its breath is rough,
Mountains and waters, do ye not as they ? To thee, my country! whom before, as now,
And melancholy gift high powers allow
Is not as once it shone o'er thee, forgive! Are the Alps weaker than Thermopylæ ?
I but foretell thy fortunes—thon expire; Their passes more alluring to the view
Think not that I would look on them and live.
A spirit forces me to see and speak,
In's mouth, lest truth should stammer throngh his And for my guerdon grants not to survive;
strain, My heart shall be pour'd over thee and break: But out of the long file of sonneteers Yet for a moment, ere I must resume
There shall be some who will not sing in vain, Thy sable web of sorrow, let me take
And he, their prince shall rank among my peers, ** Over the gleams that flash athwart thy gloom And love shall be his torment; but his grief A softer glimpse; some stars shine through thy Shall make an immortality of tears, night,
And Italy shall hail him as the Chief And many meteors, and above thy tomb
Of poet-lovers, and his higher song Leans sculptured Beauty, which Death cannot of Freedom wreathe him with as green a leaf. blight;
But in a farther age shall rise along And from thine ashes boundless spirits rise The banks of Po two greater still than he;
To give thee honor, and the earth delight; The world which smiled on him shall do taen Thy soil shall still be pregnant with the wise,
wrong The gay, the learn'd, the generous, and the brave, Till they are ashes, and repose with me. Native to thee as summer to thy skies,
The first will make an epoch with his lyre
Discoverers of new worlds, which take their name;& His fancy like a rainbow, and his fire,
Like that of Heaven, immortal, and his thought And all thy recompense is in their fame,
Borne onward with a wing that cannot tire: A noble one to them, but not to thee
Pleasure shall, like a butterfly new caught, Shall they be glorious, and thou still the same? Flutter her lovely pinions o'er his theme, Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be
And Art itself seem into Nature wrought The being—and even yet he may be born- By the transparency of his bright dream,
The mortal saviour who shall set thee free, The second, of a tenderer, sadder mood, And see thy diadem so changed and worn
Shall pour his soul out o'er Jerusalem; By fresh barbarians, on thy brow replaced; He, too, shall sing of arms, and Christian blood And the sweet sun replenishing thy morn,
Shed where Christ bled for man; and his high harp Thy moral morn, too long with clouds defaced Shall, by the willow over Jordan's flood,
And noxious vapors from Avernus risen, Revive a song of Sion, and the sharp
Such as all they must breathe who are debased Conflict, and final triumph of the brave By servitude, and have the mind in prison.
And pious, and the strife of hell to warp Yet through this centuried eclipse of wo Their hearts from their great purpose, until wave
Some voices shall be heard, and earth shall listen; The red-cross banners where the first red Cross Poets shall follow in the path I show,
Was crimson'd from his veins who died to save, And make it broader; the same brilliant sky Shall be his sacred argument; the loss Which cheers the birds to song shall bid them Of years, of favor, freedom, even of fame glow,
Contested for a time, while the smooth gloss And raise their notes as natural and high;
Of courts would slide o'er his forgotten name, Tuneful shall be their numbers; they shall sing And call captivity a kindness, meant Many of love, and some of liberty,
To shield him from insanity or shame, But few shall soar upon that eagle's wing, Such shall be his meet guerdon! who was sent
And look in the sun's face with eagle's gaze, To be Christ's Laureat-they reward him well! All free and fearless as the feather'd king,
Florence dooms me but death or banishment, But fly more near the earth; how many a phrase Ferrara him a pittance and a cell,
Sublime shall lavish'd be on some small prince Harder to bear and less deserved, for I
Had stung the factions which I strove to quell; And language, eloquently false, evince
But this meek man, who with a lover's eye The harlotry of genius, which, like beauty, Will look on earth and heaven, and who will deiga Too oft forgets its own self-reverence,
To embalm with his celestial flattery, And looks on prostitution as a duty.
As poor a thing as e'er was spawn'd to reign, 9He who once enters in a tyrant's hall
What will he do to merit such a doom?
A captive, sees his half of manhood gone-10 Yet it will be so—he and his compeer,
The Bard of Chivalry, will both consume
Quails from his inspiration, bound to please, And, dying in despondency, bequeath
To the kind world, which scarce will yield a teat,
With the wealth of a genuine poet's soul, Aught save his eulogy, and find, and seize, And to their country a redoubled wreath, Or force, or forge fit argument of song?
Unmatch'd by time; not Hellas can unroll Thus trammell'd, thus condemn’d to Flattery's Through her olympiads such names, though ono trebles,
Of hers be mighty ;--and is this the whole He toils through all, still trembling to be wrong: of such men's destiny beneath the sun ? For fear some noble thoughts, like heavenly rebels, Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling sense,
Should rise up in high treason to his brain, The electric blood with which their arteries run, He sings, as the Athenian spoke, with pebbles Their body's self-tuned soul with the intense