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XXVII.

The moon is up, and yet it is not night—
Sunset divides the sky with her—a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity;

While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air—an island of the blest!

XXVIII.

A single star is at her side, and reigns

With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill,
As Day and Night contending were,
until
Nature reclaim'd her order :-gently flows

The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil

The odorous purple of a new-born rose,

Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it

glows,

XXIX.

Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar,
Comes down upon the waters; all its hues,
From the rich sunset to the rising star,
Their magical variety diffuse :

And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps away,

The last still loveliest, till-'tis gone-and all is gray.

XXX.

There is a tomb in Arqua;-rear'd in air,
Pillar'd in their sarcophagus, repose
The bones of Laura's lover; here repair
Many familiar with his well-sung woes,
The pilgrims of his genius. He arose
To raise a language, and his land reclaim
From the dull yoke of her barbaric foes:

Watering the tree which bears his lady's name With his melodious tears, he gave himself to fame.

XXXI.

They keep his dust in Arqua, where he died; The mountain-village where his latter days Went down the vale of years; and 'tis their pride-An honest pride-and let it be their praise, To offer to the passing stranger's gaze His mansion and his sepulchre; both plain And venerably simple, such as raise A feeling more accordant with his strain, Than if a pyramid form'd his monumental fane.

XXXII.

And the soft quiet hamlet where he dwelt
Is one of that complexion which seems made
For those who their mortality have felt,
And sought a refuge from their hopes decay'd
In the deep umbrage of a green hill's shade,
Which shows a distant prospect far away
Of busy cities, now in vain display'd,
For they can lure no further; and the ray
Of a bright sun can make sufficient holiday,

XXXIII.

Developing the mountains, leaves, and flowers,
And shining in the brawling brook, whereby,
Clear as its current, glide the sauntering hours
With a calm languor, which, though to the eye
Idlesse it seem, hath its morality.

If from society we learn to live,

'Tis solitude should teach us how to die;

It hath no flatterers; vanity can give

No hollow aid; alone-man with his God must strive:

XXXIV.

Or, it may be, with demons, who impair

The strength of better thoughts, and seek their prey

In melancholy bosoms, such as were

Of moody texture from their earliest day,
And loved to dwell in darkness and dismay,
Deeming themselves predestined to a doom
Which is not of the pangs that pass away;

Making the sun like blood, the earth a tomb,
The tomb a hell, and hell itself a murkier gloom.

XXXV.

Ferrara in thy wide and grass-grown streets,
Whose symmetry was not for solitude,

There seems as 'twëre a curse upon the seats
Of former sovereigns, and the antique brood
Of Este, which for many an age made good
Its strength within thy walls, and was of yore
Patron or tyrant, as the changing mood
Of petty power impell'd, of those who wore

The wreath which Dante's brow alone had worn before,

XXXVI.

(And Tasso is their glory and their shame.
Hark to his strain! and then survey his cell!
And see how dearly earn'd Torquato's fame,
And where Alfonso bade his poet dwell.
The miserable despot could not quell

The insulted mind he sought to quench, and blend
With the surrounding maniacs, in the hell
Where he had plunged it. Glory without end
Scatter'd the clouds away—and on that name attend

XXXVII.

The tears and praises of all time, while thine
Would rot in its oblivion-in the sink

Of worthless dust, which from thy boasted line
Is shaken into nothing; but the link

Thou formest in his fortunes bids us think

Of thy poor malice, naming thee with scorn-
Alfonso! how thy ducal pageants shrink

From thee! if in another station born,

Scarce fit to be the slave of him thou madest to mourn :

XXXVIII.

Thou! form'd to eat, and be despised, and die,
Even as the beasts that perish, save that thou
Hadst a more splendid trough, and wider sty;
He! with a glory round his furrow'd brow,
Which emanated then, and dazzles now,
In face of all his foes, the Cruscan quire,
And Boileau, whose rash envy could allow

No strain which shamed his country's creaking lyre, That whetstone of the teeth-monotony in wire!

XXXIX.

Peace to Torquato's injured shade! 'twas his
In life and death to be the mark where Wrong
Aim'd with her poison'd arrows-but to miss.
Oh, victor unsurpass'd in modern song!

Each year brings forth its millions; but how long
The tide of generations shall roll on,

And not the whole combined and countless throng Compose a mind like thine? Though all in one Condensed their scatter'd rays, they would not form a

sun.

XL.

Great as thou art, yet parallel'd by those,
Thy countrymen, before thee born to shine,
The Bards of Hell and Chivalry: first rose
The Tuscan father's Comedy Divine;
Then, not unequal to the Florentine,

The southern Scott, the minstrel who call'd forth

A new creation with his magic line,

And, like the Ariosto of the North,

Sang ladye-love and war, romance and knightly worth.

XLI.

The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust
The iron crown of laurel's mimick'd leaves;
Nor was the ominous element unjust,

For the true laurel-wreath which Glory weaves
Is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves,
And the false semblance but disgraced his brow:
Yet still, if fondly Superstition grieves,
Know that the lightning sanctifies below
Whate'er it strikes ;-yon head is doubly sacred now.

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