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As winter to fair flowers (though some be poison) So Monarchy succeeds to Freedom's foison.
In Pisa's church a cup of sculptured gold
Was brimming with the blood of feuds forsworn At sacrament; more holy ne'er of old
Etrurians mingled with the shades forlorn Of moon-illumined forests.
And reconciling factions wet their lips
With that dread wine, and swear to keep each
Undarkened by their country's last eclipse.
Was Florence the liberticide? that band
Of free and glorious brothers who had planted, Like a green isle 'mid Ethiopian sand,
A nation amid slaveries, disenchanted Of many impious faiths-wise, just do they, Does Florence, gorge the sated tyrants' prey?
O foster-nurse of man's abandoned glory,
Since Athens, its great mother, sunk in splendor; Thou shadowest forth that mighty shape in story, As ocean its wrecked fanes, severe yet tender. The light-invested angel Poesy
Was drawn from the dim world to welcome thee.
And thou in painting didst transcribe all taught
was this thy crime?
Yes; and on Pisa's marble walls the twine
A beast of subtler venom now doth make
The sweetest flowers are ever frail and rare,
And love and freedom blossom but to wither; And good and ill like vines entangled are,
So that their grapes may oft be plucked together.
Divide the vintage ere thou drink, then make
No record of his crime remains in story,
For when by sound of trumpet was declared
So much of water with him as might wet His lips, which speech divided not, he went Alone, as you may guess, to banishment.
Amid the mountains, like a hunted beast,
He hid himself, and hunger, toil, and cold, Month after month endured; it was a feast Whene'er he found those globes of deep-red gold
Which in the woods the strawberry-tree doth bear, Suspended in their emerald atmosphere.
And in the roofless huts of vast morasses,
He housed himself. There is a point of strand
Near Vado's tower and town; and on one side The treacherous marsh divides it from the land, Shadowed by pine and ilex forests wide, And on the other creeps eternally, Through muddy weeds, the shallow sullen sea.
Here the earth's breath is pestilence, and few
But things whose nature is at war with life — Snakes and ill worms – endure its mortal dew.
The trophies of the clime's victorious strife White bones, and locks of dun and yellow hair, And ringed horns which buffaloes did wear
And at the utmost point stood there
Had lived seven days there; the pursuit was hot When he was cold. The birds that were his grave Fell dead upon their feast in Vado's wave.
There must have lived within Marenghi's heart That fire, more warm and bright than life or hope,
(Which to the martyr makes his dungeon. ..
More joyous than the heaven's majestic cope
Nor was his state so lone as you might think.
And each one, with peculiar talk and play,
And the marsh-meteors, like tame beasts, at night
He mocked the stars by grouping on each weed.
Its pictured footprints, as on spots of lawn
And many a fresh Spring morn would he awaken, While yet the unrisen sun made glow, like iron Quivering in crimson fire, the peaks unshaken
Of mountains and blue isles which did environ With air-clad crags that plain of land and sea, And feel liberty.
And in the moonless nights, when the dim ocean Heaved underneath the heaven,
Starting from dreams . . .
Communed with the immeasurable world; And felt his life beyond his limbs dilated, Till his mind grew like that it contemplated.