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"Indè iter accelerat Turones festinus in urbem,
Quam geminum nitida flumen circumfluit unda,
Hinc Liger, inde Carus, medio sedet inter utrumque
Clara situ, speciosa solo, jucunda fluentis,
Fertilis arboribus, uberrima fruge, superba
Cive, potens clero, populis numerosa, referta
Divitiis, lucis et vitibus undique lucens."
(Francfort, 1596; Phillippide de Guillaume le Breton.)
AGAIN We caught a glimpse of Italy,
And felt the influence of her purple sky;
And scripture-wonders that her Raphael pour'd
On canvass, present miracles, adored;
His life, one scene of glory, quickly past;
Too prodigal of mighty works to last.
In sacred temples of each lesser town,
A wealth of art, elsewhere unknown, is shewn ; Devotion hallows there what genius paints, Legends, and gospel-truths, Madonnas, Saints.
Albano, whose sweet thoughts a world embrace
Of fiction, rising to a higher place,
Pourtrays, as if illumin'd from above,
The Incarnate Christ, a Boy-God breathing love;
Beams piety, subliming grace of youth,
Beams the eye-speaking eloquence of truth;
How wonderful the art that thus has given
Expression to the Majesty of Heaven:
The blessed Mother with affection mild,
Awe-mingled, gazes on her holy Child,
Such bodied-forth perfections waken deep
Feelings in man that are not dead, but sleep.
Scenes to mankind of endless interest,
In colours glorious as themselves exprest,
All that on sacred ground has acted been,
The chain uniting heaven to earth, are seen;
And fervency of faith a martyr shews,
As if the painter felt that fervour, glows.
Lavish of pictured poesy that warms
The heart, what church boasts not her sculptured forms?
So true to nature, so divine they kneel,
The living even from marble learn to feel.
By master-spirits wrought, the sons of light
Appear in bodily shapes to human sight:
The Apocalypse reveal'd around us seems
To realize that most sublime of dreams.
The lovely land through which the Arno winds
Its course, gave birth of old to mighty minds
That are exprest in Titian's portraits, rife
With intellect patrician, looking life:
Complexion dark, fine eyes, and lips comprest,
The thorough-bred Italian there attest.
Force triumphs over mind, and Austrians dull
With their vile presence men of talent full !
They cannot, Italy, obscure thy sky,
Nor make thy mountains shapeless to the eye,
Nor dim the lights that there at eve are glowing,.
As if her treasures heaven to earth were shewing;
Still in thy cities, poets say that there
"Wit walks the streets and music's in the air;"
Though the usurping Austrian would imbrute
Thy sons, the voice of genius is not mute;
And there are bards who through the long, long night
Of slavery wait return of freedom's light.
When will it reappear? alas! obscured
Is native worth, or exiled, or immured:
The tuneful brethren cherish hopes forlorn;
Their guerdon is the thick-lipp'd stranger's scorn:
He, the Boeotian, with indifferent gaze
Views their poetic shores and smiling bays;
The beautiful, sublime-such scenes as Claude
And Rosa painted-Byron loved to laud.
Who now dares seize on Ariosto's wand,
And conjure up with magic words a band
Of fays, magicians, warriors into one
Action without confusion mingling? none.
E'en in the theatres, to frighten down
All mirth, with bayonet fixed and well drill'd frown,
A grim automaton, on either side
Of the parterre a soldier stands, like Pride;
Mementos sad of thraldom to alloy,
Like death's-heads at Egyptian banquets, joy.
Gorgeous as noonday sun, the ocean-queen,
Fair Venice, shone; we read what she has been;
We now behold her crownless, and despoil'd
Of wealth; rude masters have her beauty soil'd.
Her green and yellow melancholy shews
The effects of commerce gone; a sad repose:
In her unrivall'd palaces no more
Glows pleasure by wealth pamper'd as of yore;
No suitors young and gay now serenade
With Tasso's songs some rich and lovely maid.
Palladio's glories have not perish'd yet,
Nor wonder-works of Paul or Tintoret:
Art there displays what deeds hath Venice done,
Triumphant o'er the world in arms alone,
Opposing, as repels the surge a tower
Of strength, the earth o'er-rushing papal power.
How changed her state, she scarcely seems to live; Who dares to hope she may again revive
To wed the Adriatic with her gem,
With strength her robe and wealth her diadem?
To none but gifted beings it belongs
To sing of Italy the charms, the wrongs!
Where now I write, more fit for humble lays
Are men and things, scarce worthy blame or praise.
Tours is a pleasant city, though around
We see not wooded mountains convent-crown'd;
Nor forest-circled lakes, nor temples graced
With overhanging foliage where defaced;
The clear wide Loire flows through the fertile plain,
Glittering with splendid châteaux of Touraine.
There in the woods of untaxed nobles howl'd
Wolves, in seigneurial protection bold;
They, trooping round the peasant's cottage, scared
Mothers, no serf to check their inroads dared :
For lordly vengeance the poor wretch pursued
Who struck but one of the invasive brood.
As if to mock of mighty man the pride,
Woman, though satirists her power deride,