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In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie” Ashes which make it holier, dust which is Even in itself an immortality, Though there were nothing save the past, and this, The particle of those sublimities Which have relapsed to chaos: here repose Angelo's, Alfieri's bones, and his,” The starry Galileo, with his woes; Here Machiavelli's earth return'd to whence it rose.”
These are four minds, which, like the elements, Might furnish forth creation:—Italy | Time, which hath wrong'd thee with ten thousand rents Of thine imperial garment, shall deny, And hath denied, to every other sky, Spirits which soar from ruin: thy decay Is still impregnate with divinity, Which gilds it with revivifying ray; Such as the great of yore, Canova is to-day.
But where repose the all Etruscan three— Dante, and Petrarch, and, scarce less than they, The Bard of Prose, creative spirit ! he Of the Hundred Tales of love—where did they lay Their bones, distinguish'd from our common clay In death as life 7 Are they resolved to dust, And have their country's marbles nought to say? Could not her quarries furnish forth one bust 7 Did they not to her breast their filial earth entrust?
Ungrateful Florence Dante sleeps afar.”
His life, his fame, his grave, though rifled—not thine
Boccaccio to his parent earth bequeath'd” His dust,-and lies it not her great among, With many a sweet and solemn requiem breathed O'er him who form'd the Tuscan's siren tongue 1 That music in itself, whose sounds are song, The poetry of speech 7 No ;-even his tomb Uptorn, must bear the hyaena bigot's wrong, No more amidst the meaner dead find room, Nor claim a passing sigh, because it told for whom /
LIX. And Santa Croce wants their mighty dust; Yet for this want more noted, as of yore The Caesar's pageant, shorn of Brutus' bust, Did but of Rome's best Son remind her more : * Happier Ravenna 1 on thy hoary shore, Fortress of falling empire honour’d sleeps The immortal exile;—Arqua, too, her store Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps, While Florence vainly begs her banish’d dead and weeps.
What is her pyramid of precious stones 1" Of porphyry, jasper, agate, and all hues Of gem and marble, to encrust the bones Of merchant-dukes 7 the momentary dews Which, sparkling to the twilight stars, infuse Freshness in the green turf that wraps the dead, Whose names are mausoleums of the Muse, Are gently prest with far more reverent tread Than ever paced the slab which paves the princely head,
There be more things to greet the heart and eyes In Arno's dome of Art's most princely shrine, Where sculpture with her rainbow sister vies; There be more marvels yet—but not for mine; For I have been accustom'd to entwine My thoughts with Nature rather in the fields, Than Art in galleries: though a work divine Calls for my spirit's homage, yet it yields Less than it feels, because the weapon which it wields
Is of another temper, and I roam By Thrasimene's lake, in the defiles Fatal to Roman rashness, more at home; For there the Carthaginian's warlike wiles Come back before me, as his skill beguiles The host between the mountains and the shore, Where Courage falls in her despairing files, And torrents, swoll’n to rivers with their gore, Reek through the sultry plain, with legions scatter'd o'er