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And now he number'd, marching by my side, All in their best attire. There first he saw
When all drew round, inquiring; and her face,
The tale was long, but coming to a close, Nor oft unveils. Anon an Avalanche
When his dark eyes flash'd fire, and, stopping short, Roll'd its long ihunder; and a sudden crash, He listen'd and look'd up. I look'd up 100; Sharp and metallic, to the startled ear
And twice there came a hiss that through me thrillid' Told that far-down a continent of Ice
"T was heard no more. A Chamois on the cliff Had burst in twain. But he had now begun; Had roused his fellows with that cry of fear, And with what transport he recall’d the hour And all were gone. When to deserve, to win his blooming bride,
But now the thread was broken Madelaine of Annecy, to his feet he bound Love and its joys had vanish'd from his mind; The iron crampons, and, ascending, trod
And he recounted his hair-breadth escapes . The l'pper realms of Frost; then, by a cord When with his friend, Hubert of Bionnay, Let half-way down, enter'd a Grot star-bright, (His ancient carbine from his shoulder slung, And gather'd from above, below, around, (11) His axe to hew a stair-case in the ice) The pointed crystals!
He track'd their footsteps. By a cloud surprised, Once, nor long before (12) Upon a crag among the precipices, Thus did his tongue run on, fast as his feet, Where the next step had hurld them fifty fathoms, And with an eloquence that Nature gives
Oft had they stood, lock'd in each other's arms, To all her children-breaking off by starts
All the long night under a freezing sky, Into the harsh and rude, oft as the Mule
Each guarding each the while from sleeping, falling. Drew his displeasure) once, nor long before, Oh, 't was a sport he loved dearer than life, Alone at day-break on the Mettenberg,
And only would with life itself relinquish! He slipp'd, he fell; and, through a fearful cleft “ My sire, my grandsire died among these wilds. Gliding from ledge to ledge, from deep to deeper, As for myself,” he cried, and he held forth Went to the Under-world! Long-while he lay His wallet in his hand, " this do I call Upon his rugged bed-then waked like one My winding-sheet-for I shall have no other!” Wishing to sleep again and sleep for ever! For, looking round, he saw or thought he saw
And he spoke truth. Within a little month Innumerable branches of a Cavem,
He lay among these awful solitudes, Winding beneath a solid crust of ice;
|(T was on a glacier-half-way up to Heaven) With here and there a rent that show'd the stars! Taking his final rest. Long did his wife, What then, alas, was left him but to die?
Suckling her babe, her only one, look out What else in those immeasurable chambers,
The way he went at parting, but he came not! Strewn with the bones of miserable men,
Long fear to close her eyes, lest in her sleep Lost like himself! Yet must he wander on, (Such their belief) he should appear before her, Till cold and hunger set his spirit free!
Frozen and ghastly pale, or crush'd and bleeding, And, rising, he began his dreary round;
To tell her where he lay, and supplicate
MARGUERITE DE TOURS.
Now the grey granite, starting through the snow,
That to the pilgrim resting on his staff In a dead lake at the third step he took,
Shadows out capes and islands; and ere long Unfathomable and the roof, that long
Numberless flowers, such as disdain to live Had threaten’d, suddenly descending, lay
In lower regions, and delighted drink Flat on the surface. Statue-like he stood,
The clouds before they fall, flowers of all hues, His journey ended ; when a ray divine
With their diminutive leaves cover'd the ground. Shot through his soul. Breathing a prayer to Her \'T was then, that, turning by an ancient larch, Whose ears are never shut, the Blessed Virgin,
Shiver'd in two, yet most majestical
With its long level branches, we observed
Far down by the way-side-just where the rock Glittering the river ran ; and on the bank
Is riven asunder, and the Evil One The young were dancing ('t was a festival-day) Has bridged the gulf, a wondrous monument (13)
Built in one night, from which the flood beneath, The level plain I travell'd silently,
Nearing them more and more, day after day,
My wandering thoughts my only company, Nearer we drew, And they before me still, oft as I look'd, And 't was a woman young and delicate,
A strange delight, mingled with fear, came o'er me Wrapt in a russet cloak from head to foot,
A wonder as at things I had not heard of!
Great was the tumult there,
Now the scene is changed; On our approach, she journey'd slowly on;
And o'er Mont Cenis, o'er the Simplon winds And my companion, long before we met,
A path of pleasure. Like a silver zone Knew, and ran down to greet her.
Flung about carelessly, it shines afar,
She was born Catching the eye in many a broken link, (Such was her artless tale, told with fresh tears) In many a turn and traverse as it glides ; In Val d'Aosta ; and an Alpine stream,
And oft above and oft below appears, Leaping from crag to crag in its short course Seen o'er the wall by him who journeys up, To join the Dora, turn'd her father's mill.
As though it were another, not the same, There did she blossom till a Valaisan,
Leading along he knows not whence or whither A townsman of Martigny, won her heart,
Yet through its fairy course, go where it will,
Opens and lets it in; and on it runs,
Not such my path! She pictured to herself that aged face
Mine but for those, who, like Jean Jacques, delight(14) Sickly and wan, in sorrow, not in anger;
In dizziness, gazing and shuddering on And, when at last she heard his hour was near, Till fascination comes and the brain turns! Went forth unseen, and, burden'd as she was, Mine, though I judge but from my ague-fits Cross'd the high Alps on foot to ask forgiveness, Over the Drance, just where the Abbot fell, (15) And hold him to her heart before he died.
The same as Hannibal's.
But now 't is past,
Singing aloud for joy, to him is not
Such sudden ravishment as now I feel
Could I recall the ages past, and play As to belong rather to Heaven than Earth
The fool with Time, I should perhaps reserve But instantly receives into his soul
My leisure for Catullus on his Lake, A sense, a feeling that he loses not,
Though to fare worse, or Virgil at his farm A something that informs him 't is a moment A little further on the way to Mantua. Whence he may date henceforward and for ever ? But such things cannot be. So I sit still,
And let the boatman shift his litile sail, To me they seer'd the barriers of a World, His sail so forked and so swallow-like, Saying, Thus far, no farther! and as o'er
Well-pleased with all that comes. The morning air
Plays on my cheek how gently, flinging round
Rise like a curtain ; now the sun looks out, And reading, in the eyes that sparkled round,
The thousand love-adventures written there.
Can I forget-no, never, such a scene
But the strain follow'd me; and still I saw
Thy smile, Angelica; and still I heard
THE song was one that I had heard before, To hear once more the sounds of cheerful labor! But where I knew not. It inclined to sadness; -But in a clime like this where are they not? And, turning round from the delicious fare Along the shores, among the hills 't is now
My landlord's little daughter, Barbara, The heyday of the Vintage ; all abroad,
Had from her apron just rollid out before me, But most the young and of the gentler sex,
Figs and rock-melons at the door I saw Busy in gathering; all among the vines,
Two boys of lively aspect. Peasant-like Some on the ladder, and some underneath,
They were, and poorly clad, but not unskilld; Filling their baskets of green wicker-work, With their small voices and an old guitar While many a canzonet and frolic laugh
Winning their mazy progress to my heart
But soon they changed the measure, entering on And every avenue a cover'd walk,
A pleasant dialogue of sweet and sour, Hang with black clusters. "T is enough to make A war of words, and waged with looks and gestures, The sad man merry, the benevolent one
Between Trappanti and his ancient dame,
Mona Lucilia. To and fro it went;
When 't was done,
Their dark eyes flash'd no longer, yet, methought, Here I received from thee, Filippo Mori,
In many a glance as from the soul, express'd One of those courtesies so sweet, so rare !
More than enough to serve them. Far or near, When, as I rambled through thy vineyard-ground
Few let them pass unnoticed ; and there was not On the hill-side, thou sent'st thy little son,
A mother round about for many a league, Charged with a bunch almost as big as he,
But could repeat their story. Twins they were, To press it on the stranger.
And orphans, as I learnt, cast on the world ;
Their parents lost in the old ferry-boat
That, three years since, last Martinmas, went down Live to become ere-long himself a giver;
Crossing the rough Penacus.' And in due time, when thou art full of honor,
May they live
Blameless and happy-rich they cannot be,
Like him who, in the days of Minstrelsy, (18) Such things, however trifling, reach the heart,
Came in a beggar's weeds to Petrarch's door, And through the heart the head, clearing away
Crying without, “Give me a lay to sing !" The narrow notions that grow up at home,
And soon in silk (such then the power of song) And in their place grafting Good-Will to All.
Return'd to thank him; or like him, way worn At least I found it so; nor less at eve,
And lost, who, by the foaming Adige When, bidden as an English traveller
Descending from the Tyrol, as night fell, T was by a little boat that gave me chase
Knock'd at a city-gate near the hill-foot, With oar and sail, as homeward-bound I cross'd
The gate that bore so long, sculptured in stone, The bay of Tramezzine), right readily
An eagle on a ladder, and at once I tum'd my prow and follow'd, landing soon |Found welcome-nightly in the banner'd hall Where steps of purest marble met the wave;
Tuning his harp to tales of Chivalry Where, through the trellises and corridors,
Before the great Mastino, (19) and his guests, Soft music came as from Armida's palace,
The three-and-twenty, by some adverse fortune,
Reft of their kingly crowns, reft of their all,
But who now
Enters the chamber, flourishing a scroll
1 Lago di Garda.
Brushing the floor with what was once a hat And through the ranks, from wing to wing, are seen Of ceremony. Gliding on, he comes,
Moving as once they were instead of rage
Breathing deliberate valor.
In this neglected mirror (23) (the broad frame
Of massive silver serves to testify “ I am a Poet, Signor give me leave
That many a noble matron of the house
The bat came hither for a sleeping-place ;
Shunn'd like Coil'alto." "T was in that old Castle, Saying so, he laid
Which flanks the cliff with its grey battlements His sonnet, an impromptu, on my table,
Flung here and there, and, like an eagle's nest, And bow'd and left me; in his hollow hand
Hangs in the Trevisan, that thus the Steward, Receiving my small tribute, a zecchino,
Shaking his locks, the few that Time had left him, Unconsciously, as doctors do their fees.
Address'd me, as we enter'd what was calid
“ My Lady's Chamber.” On the walls, the chairs, My omelet, and a flagon of hill-wine,
Much yet remain'd of the rich tapestry; “The very best in Bergamo!" had long
Much of the adventures of Sir Lancelot
The toilet-table was of massive silver,
Florentine Art, when Florence was renown'd:
A gay confusion of the elements,
Dolphins and boys, and shells and fruits and flowers:
And from the ceiling, in his gilded cage,
Hung a small bird of curious workmanship,
That, when his Mistress bade him, would unfold Are those the distant turrets of Verona ?
(So said at least the babbling Dame, Tradition) And shall I sup where Juliet at the Masque (20) His emerald-wings, and sing and sing again Saw her loved Montague, and now sleeps by him? The song that pleased her. While I stood and look'd, Such questions hourly do I ask myself ; (21) A gleam of day yet lingering in the West, And not a finger-post by the road-side
The Steward went on. “ To Mantua"_“To Ferrara "_but excites
“She had ('t is now long since) Surprise, and doubt, and self-congratulation. A gentle serving-maid, the fair Cristina,
Fair as a lily, and as spotless 100; O Italy, how beautiful thou art!
None so admired, beloved. They had grown up Yet I could weep—for thou art lying, alas!
As play-fellows; and some there were, who said, Low in the dust; and they who come, admire thee Some who knew much, discoursing of Cristina, As we admire the beautiful in death.
1. She is not what she seems. When unrequired, Thine was a dangerous gift, the gift of Beauty. She would steal forth ; her custom, her delight, Would thou hadst less, or wert as once thou wast, To wander through and through an ancient grove Inspiring awe in those who now enslave thee! Self-planted half-way down, losing herself -But why despair? Twice hast thou lived already, Like one in love with sadness; and her veil Twice shone among the nations of the world, (22) And vesture white, seen ever in that place, As the sun shines among the lesser lights
Ever as surely as the hours came round,
Is gone, and I delay you.
In that chair If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess
The Countess, as it might be now, was sitting, Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame
Her gentle serving-maid, the fair Cristina, Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously, Combing her golden hair; and, through this door And, dying, left a splendor like the day,
The Count, her lord, was hastening, call'd away That like the day diffused itself, and still
By letters of great urgency to Venice; Blesses the earth—the light of genius, virtue, When in the glass she saw, as she believed, Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death, ('T was an illusion of the Evil SpiritGodlike example. Echoes that have slept
Some say he came and cross'd it at the instant) Since Athens, Lacedæmon, were themselves, A smile, a glance at parting, given and answer'd, Since men invoked “ By Those in Marathon!" That turn'd her blood to gall. That very night Awake along the Ægean; and the dead,
The deed was done. That night, ere yet the Moon They of that sacred shore, have heard the call, Was up on Monte Calvo, and the wolf
Baying as still he does (oft do I hear him,
A vagrant crew, and careless of to-morrow, (28) An hour and more by the old turret-clock),
Careless and full of mirth. Who, in that quaver, They led her forth, the unhappy lost Cristina, Sings “ Caro, Caro !"-"T is the Prima Donna, Helping her down in her distress-to die.
And to her monkey, smiling in his face,
Who, as transported, cries, “ Brava! Ancora ?” - No blood was spilt; no instrument of death | 'Tis a grave personage, an old macaw, Lurk'
d or stood forth, declaring its bad purpose ; Perch'd on her shoulder. But mark him who leaps Nor was a hair of her unblemish'd head
Ashore, and with a shout urges along Hurt in that hour. Fresh as a flower ungather'd, The lagging mules ; (29) then runs and climbs a tree And warm with life, her youthful pulses playing, That with its branches overhangs the stream, She was wall'd up within the Castle-wall. (24) And, like an acorn, drops on deck again. The wall itself was hollow'd to receive her; "T is he who speaks not, stirs not, but we laugh; Then closed again, and done to line and rule. That child of fun and frolic, Arlecchino. (30) Would you descend and see it 1-'T is far down; And mark their Poet-with what emphasis And many a stair is gone. T is in a vault
He prompts the young Soubrette, conning her part ! Under the Chapel : and there nightly now,
Her tongue plays truant, and he raps his box, As in the narrow niche, when smooth and fair, And prompts again; for ever looking round And as though nothing had been done or thought of, | As if in search of subjects for his wit, The stone-work rose before her, till the light His satire; and as often whispering Glimmer'd and went there, nightly, at that hour Things, though unheard, not unimaginable. (You smile, and would it were an idle tale! Would we could say so!) at that hour she stands Had I thy pencil, Crabbe (when thou hast done, — Shuddering—her eyes uplifted, and her hands Late may it be—it will, like Prospero's staff, Join'd as in prayer; then, like a Blessed Soul Be buried fifty fathoms in the earth), Bursting the tomb, springs forward, and away I would portray the Italian—Now I cannot. Flies o'er the woods, the mountains. Issuing forth, (25) Subtle, discerning, eloquent, the slave The hunter meets her in his hunting track; Of Love, of Hate, for ever in extremes; The shepherd on the heath, starting, exclaims Gentle when unprovoked, easily won, (For still she bears the name she bore of old) But quick in quarrel-through a thousand shades • Tis the White Lady'!”
His spirit flits, chameleon-like ; and mocks
The eye of the observer.
At length we leave the river for the sea.
At length a voice aloft proclaims “Venezia !" THERE is a glorious City in the Sea.
And, as call'd forth, it comes. The Sea is in the broad, the narrow streets,
A few in fear, Ebbing and flowing; and the salt sea-weed
Flying away from him whose boast it was,' Clings to the marble of her palaces.
That the grass grew not where his horse had trod, No track of men, no footsteps to and fro,
Gave birth to Venice. Like the water-fowl, Lead to her gates. The path lies o'er the Sea,
They built their nests among the ocean-waves ; Invisible; and from the land we went,
And, where the sands were shifting, as the wind As to a floating City-steering in,
Blew from the north, the south ; where they that And gliding up her streets as in a dream,
came, So smoothly, silently—by many a dome
Had to make sure the ground they stood upon, Mosque-like, and many a stately portico,
Rose, like an exhalation, from the deep, The statues ranged along an azure sky;
A vast Metropolis, (31) with glittering spires, By many a pile in more than Eastern splendor,
With theatres, basilicas adorn'd; of old the residence of merchant-kings;
A scene of light and glory, a dominion, The fronts of some, though Time had shatter'd them,
1,That has endured the longest among men. Still glowing with the richest hues of art, (26) As though the wealth within them had run o'er.
And whence the talisman, by which she rose,
Towering? 'T was found there in the barren sea. Thither I came, and in a wondrous Ark,
Want led to Enterprise; and, far or near, (That, long before we slipt our cable, rang
Who met not the Venetian ?-now in Cairo; As with the voices of all living things)
Ere yet the Califa came, (32) listening to hear From Padua, where the stars are, night by night,
Its bells approaching from the Red-Sea coast; Watch'd from the top of an old dungeon-tower,
Now on the Euxine, on the Sea of Azoph, Whence blood ran once, the tower of Ezzelin—(27)
In converse with the Persian, with the Russ, Not as he watch'd them, when he read his fate
The Tartar; on his lowly deck receiving And shudderd. But of him I thought not then,
Pearls from the gulf of Ormus, gems from Bagdad; Him or his horoscope ; far, far from me
Eyes brighter yet, that shed the light of love, The forms of Guilt and Fear ; though some were
From Georgia, from Circassia. Wandering round, there,
When in the rich bazaar he saw, display'd, Sitting among us round the cabin-board,
Treasures from unknown climes, away he went, Some who, like him, had cried, “ Spill blood enough!"
And, travelling slowly upward, drew ere-long