Imágenes de páginas

Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to Heaven! Ye skies, which will receive it!
Thou sun! which shinest on these things; and Thou:
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns!-Attest!
I am not innocent-but are these guiltless?
I perish, but not unavenged: far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,

And show these eyes, before they close, the doom
Of this proud city; and I leave my curse
On her and hers for ever!-Yes, the hours
Are silently engendering of the day,

When she, who built 'gainst Attila a bulwark,
Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield,
Unto a bastard Attila, without

Shedding so much blood in her last defence
As these old veins, oft drained in shielding her,
Shall pour in sacrifice.-She shall be bought
And sold, and be an appendage to those
Who shall despise her!-She shall stoop to be
A province for an empire, petty town
In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates,
Beggars for nobles, panders for a people!
Then when the Hebrew's in thy palaces,
The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his;
When thy patricians beg their bitter bread
In narrow streets, and, in their shameful need,
Make their nobility a plea for pity;

Then, when the few who still retain a wreck
Of their great fathers' heritage, shall fawn
Round a barbarian Vice of King's Vice-gerent,
Even in the palace where they swayed as sovereigns,
Even in the palace where they slew their sovereign,
Proud of some name they have disgraced; when
Thy sons are in the lowest scale of being,-
Slaves turned o'er to the vanquished by the victors,
Despised by cowards for greater cowardice,

And scorned even by the vicious for such vices
As in the monstrous grasp of their conception
Defy all codes to image or to name them;
When these and more are heavy on thee, when
Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without pleasure,
Youth without honour, age without respect,
Meanness and weakness, and a sense of woe
'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and dar'st not mur-
Have made thee last and worst of peopled deserts ;-
Then, in the last gasp of thine agony,

Amidst thy many murders, think of mine!


Thou den of drunkards with the blood of princes!
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!
Thus I devote thee to the infernal Gods!-

Thee and thy serpent seed!

[Here the Doge turns and addresses the Executioner.
Slave, do thine office!
Strike as I would

Strike as I struck the foe!
Have struck those tyrants!
Strike-and but once!

Strike deep as my curse!

THEY never fail who die

In a great cause: the block may soak their gore;
Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs
Be strung to city gates and castle walls-

But still their spirit walks abroad. Though years
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom,

They but augment the dark and sweeping thoughts
Which overpower all others, and conduct

The world at last to freedom. What were we
If Brutus had not lived? He died in giving
Rome liberty, but left a deathless lesson-
A name which is a virtue, and a soul
Which multiplies itself throughout all time,
When wicked men wax mighty, and a state
Turns servile.

LORD BYRON'S "Marino Faliero."

[blocks in formation]

Ir thou shouldst ever come, by choice or chance,
To Modena, where still religiously
Among her ancient trophies is preserved
Bologna's bucket (in its chain it hangs
Within that reverend tower, the Guirlandine),
Stop at a palace near the Reggio-gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,

Will long detain thee; through their archèd walks,
Dim at noon-day, discovering many a glimpse
Of knights and dames, such as in old romance,
And lovers, such as in heroic song,

Perhaps the two, for groves were their delight,
That in the spring-time, as alone they sat,
Venturing together on a tale of love,
Read only part that day.-A summer sun
Sets ere one-half is seen; but, ere thou go,
Enter the house-prithee, forget it not-
And look awhile upon a picture there.
"Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
The very last of that illustrious race,
Done by Zampieri-but by whom I care not.
He who observes it, ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up, when far away.
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half-open, and her finger up,

As though she said, "Beware!" Her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers, and clasped from head to foot,
An emerald stone in every golden clasp ;

And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls. But then her face,
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart-

It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody!

Alone it hangs
Over a mouldering heirloom, its companion,
An oaken chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
With Scripture stories from the Life of Christ;
A chest that came from Venice, and had held
The ducal robes of some old ancestor.

That by the way-it may be true or false-
But don't forget the picture; and thou wilt not,
When thou hast heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child; from infancy
The joy, the pride of an indulgent sire.
Her mother dying of the gift she gave,
That precious gift, what else remained to him?
The young Ginevra was his all in life,
Still as she grew, for ever in his sight;
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gaiety,

Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
Now, frowning, smiling, for the hundreth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum ;
And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy; but at the bridal feast,
When all sat down, the bride was wanting there.
Nor was she to be found! Her father cried :
""Tis but to make a trial of our love!"

And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
"Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Laughing and looking back and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas! she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
But that she was not!

Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and forthwith
Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Orsini lived; and long was to be seen

An old man wandering as in quest of something,
Something he could not find he knew not what.
When he was gone, the house remained awhile
Silent and tenantless-then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgot,
When on an idle day, a day of search
'Mid the old lumber in the gallery,

That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said
By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra,


Why not remove it from its lurking-place?" "Twas done as soon as said; but on the way It burst, it fell; and lo! a skeleton,

With here and there a pearl, an emerald stone,
A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold.
All else had perished-save a nuptial ring,
And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
Engraven with a name, the name of both,
"Ginevra."-There, then, had she found a grave!
Within that chest had she concealed herself,
Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy;
When a spring-lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fastened her down for ever!

« AnteriorContinuar »