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run, or to have run, so high, that for a stranger to steer impartially between them is next to impossible. It maybe enough, then, at least for my purpose, to quote from their own beautiful language-“Mi pare che in un paese tutto poetico, che vanta la lingua la più nobile ed insieme la più dolce, tutte tutte le vie diverse si possono tentare, e che sinche la patria di Alfieri e di Monti non ha perduto l'antico valore, in tutte essa dovrebbe essere la prima.” Italy has great names still-Canova, Monti, Ugo Foscolo, Pindemonte, Visconti, Morelli, Cicognara, Albrizzi, Mezzophanti, Mai, Mustoxidi, Aglietti, and Vacca, will secure to the present generation an honourable place in most of the departments of Art, Science, and Belles Lettres; and in some the very highest-Europe-the World-has but one Canova. It has been somewhere said by Alfieri, that “ La pianta uomo nasce più robusta in Italia che in qualunque altra terra-e che gli stessi atroci delitti che vi si commettono ne sono una prova.” Without subscribing to the latter part of his proposition, a dangerous doctrine, the truth of which may be disputed on better grounds, namely, that the Italians are in no respect more ferocious than their neighbours, that man must be wilfully blind, or ignorantly heedless, who is not struck with the extraordinary capacity of this people, or, if such a word be admissible, their capabilities, the facility of their acquisitions, the rapidity of their conceptions, the fire of their genius, their sense of beauty, and, amidst all the disadvantages of repeated revolutions, the desolation of battles, and the despair of ages, their still unquenched “longing after immortality,”–the immortality of independence. And when we ourselves, in riding round the walls of Rome, heard the simple lament of the labourers' chorus, “Roma! Roma! Roma non è più come era prima,” it was difficult not to contrast this melancholy dirge 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 whose conduct you yourself have exposed in a work worthy of the better days of our history. For me;“Non movero mai corda Ove la turba di sue ciance assorda.”
What Italy has gained by the late transfer of nations, it were useless for Englishmen to inquire, till it becomes ascertained that England has acquired something more than a permanent army and a suspended Habeas Corpus; it is enough for them to look at home. For what they have done abroad, and especially in the South, “Verily they will have their reward,” and at no very distant period.
Wishing you, my dear Hobhouse, a safe and agreeable return to that country whose real welfare can be dearer to none than to yourself, I dedicate to you this poem in its completed state; and repeat once more how truly I am ever,
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.
CAN to the Fourth.
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; A palace and a prison on each hand: I saw from out the wave her structures rise As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand : A thousand years their cloudy wings expand Around me, and a dying Glory smiles O'er the far times, when many a subject land Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles, Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles.
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean, Rising with her tiara of proud towers At airy distance, with majestic motion, A ruler of the waters and their powers: And such she was;–her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers. In purple was she robed, and of her feast Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased.
In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, And silent rows the songless gondolier; Her palaces are crumbling to the shore, And music meets not always now the ear: Those days are gone—but Beauty still is here. States fall, arts fade—but Nature doth not die, Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear, The pleasant place of all festivity, The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy'
But unto us she hath a spell beyond Her name in story, and her long array Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway; Ours is a trophy which will not decay With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor, And Pierre, can not be swept or worn away— The keystones of the arch I though all were o'er, For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
The beings of the mind are not of clay; Essentially immortal, they create And multiply in us a brighter ray And more beloved existence: that which Fate Prohibits to dull life, in this our state Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied, First exiles, then replaces what we hate; Watering the heart whose early flowers have died, And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.