Imatges de pÓgina

And living in its dreams beyond the rage

Of death or lise; while they were still arraying
In liveries ever new, the rapid, blind
And fleeting generations of mankind.

LXXII. And she would write strange dreams upon the brain

Of those who were less beautiful, and make All harsh and crooked purposes more vain

Than in the desert is the serpent's wake
Which the sand covers, -all his evil gain

The miser in such dreams would rise and shade
Into a beggar's lap :- the lying scribe
Would his own lies betray without a bribe.


The priests would write an explanation full,

Translating hieroglyphics into Greek, How the God Apis, really was a bull,

And nothing more ; and bid the herald stick The same against the temple doors, and pull

The old cant down; they licensed all to speak Whate'er they thought of hawks, and cats, and geese, By pastoral letters to each diocese.

The king would dress an ape up in his crown

And robes, and seat him on his glorious seat,
And on the right hand of the sunlike throne

Would place a gaudy mock-bird to repeat
The chatterings of the monkey.-Every one

Of the prone courtiers crawled to kiss the feet
Of their great Emperor when the morning came;
And kissed-alas, how many kiss the same !


The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, and

Walked out of quarters in somnambulism, Round the red anvils you might see them stand

Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm, Beating their swords to ploughshares ;-in a band

The jailors sent those of the liberal schism Free through the streets of Memphis ; much, I wis, To the annoyance of King Amasis.


And timid lovers who had been so coy,

They hardly knew whether they loved or not, Would rise out of their rest and take sweet joy.

To the fulfilment of their inmost thought; And when next day the maiden and the boy

Met one another, both, like sinners caught, Blushed at the thing which each believed was done Only in fancy-till the tenth moon shone ;

And then the Witch would let them take no ill :

Of many thousand schemes which lovers find The Witch found one, -and so they took their fill

Of happiness in marriage warm and kind. Friends who by practice of some envious skill,

Were torn apart, a wide wound, mind from mind! She did unite again with visions clear Of deep affection and of truth sincere.

LXXVIII. These were the pranks she played among the cities

Of mortal men, and what she did to sprites And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties

To do her will, and show their subtle slights, I will declare another time ; for it is

A tale more fit for the weird winter nightsThan for these garish summer days, when we Scarcely believe much more than we can see.





“ The meadow's with fresh streams, the bees with thyme,

The goats with the green leaves of budding spring,
Are saturated not--nor Love with tears." - Virgil's Gallus.

COUNT MADDOLO is a Venetian nobleman of ancient family and of great fortune, who, without mixing much in the society of his countrymen, resides chiefly at his magnificent palace in that city. He is a person of the most consummate genius; and capable, if he would direct his energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of his degraded country. But it is his weakness to be proud: he derives, from a comparison of his own extraordinary mind with the dwarfish intellects that surround him, an intense apprehension of the nothingness of human life. His passions and his powers are incomparably greater than those of other men, and instead of the latter having been employed in curbing the former, they have mutually lent each other strength.. His ambition preys upon itself, for want of objects which it can consider worthy of exertion. I say that Maddalo is proud, because I can find no other word to express the concentered and impatient feelings which consume him; but it is on his own hopes and affections only that he seems to trample, for in social life no human being can be more gentle, patient, and unassuming than Maddalo. He is cheerful, frank, and witty. His more serious conversation is a sort of intoxication; men are held by it as by a spell. He has travelled much; and there is an inexpressible charm in his relation of his adventures in different countries.

Julian is an Englishman of good family, passionately attached to those philosophical notions which assert the power of man over his own mind, and the immense improvements of which, by the extinction of certain moral superstitions, human society may be yet susceptible. Without concealing the evil in the world, he is for ever speculating how good may be made superior. He is a complete infidel, and a scoffer at all things reputed holy; and Maddalo takes a wicked pleasure in drawing out his taunts against religion. What Maddalo thinks on these matters is not exactly known. Julian, in spite of his heterodox opinions, is conjectured by his friends to possess some good qualities. How far this is possible, the pious reader will determine. Julian is rather serious.

Of the Maniac I can give no information. He seems by his own account to have been disappointed in love. He was evidently a very cultivated and amiable person when in his right senses. His story, told at length, might be like many other stories of the same kind: the unconnected exclamations of his agony will perhaps be found a sufficient comment for the text of every heart,

I RODE one evening with Count Maddalo
Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow
of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand
Of hillocks, heaped from ever-shifting sand,
Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds,
Such as from earth's embrace the salt ooze breeds,
Is this; an uninhabited seaside,
Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,
Abandons; and no other object breaks
The waste, but one dwarf tree and some few stakes
Broken and unrepaired, and the tide makes
A narrow space of level sand thereon,
Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
This ride was my delight. I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be:
And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
More barren than its billows; and yet more
Than all, with a remembered friend I love
To ride as I then rode;—for the winds drove
The living spray along the sunny air
Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
Stripped to their depths by the awakening north;
And, from the waves, sound like delight broke forth
Harmonizing with solitude, and sent
Into our hearts aërial merriment.
So, as we rode, we talked; and the swist thought,
Winging itself with laughter, lingered not,
But few from brain to brain,-such glee was ours,
Charged with light memories of remembered hours,
None slow enough for sadness: till we came
Homeward, which always makes the spirit tame.
This day had been cheerful but cold, and now
The sun was sinking, and the wind also.
Our talk grew somewhat serious, as may be
Talk interrupted with such raillery
As mocks itself, because it cannot scorn
The thoughts it would extinguish:-'twas forlorn,
Yet pleasing; such as once, so poets tell,
The devils held within the dales of hell,
Concerning God, free will, and destiny.
Of all that Earth has been, or yet may be;
All that vain men imagine or believe,
Or hope can paint, or suffering can achieve,
We descanted; and I (for ever still
Is it not wise to make the best of ill?).
Argued against despondency; but pride
Made my companion take the darker side.
The sense that he was greater than his kind
Had struck, methinks, his eagle spirit blind
By gazing on its own exceeding light.
Meanwhile the sun paused ere it should alight
Over the horizon of the mountains-Oh!
How beautisul is sunset, when the glow
Of heaven descends upon a land like thee,
Thou paradise of exiles, Italy!

Thy mountains, seas, and vineyards, and the towers Of cities they encircle !-It was ours To stand on thee, beholding it: and then, Just where we had dismounted, the Count's men Were waiting for us with the gondola. As those who pause on some delightful way, Though bent on pleasant pilgrimage, we stood, Looking upon the evening and the flood, Which lay between the city and the shore, Paved with the image of the sky: the hoar And aery Alps, towards the north, appeared, Through mist, an heaven-sustaining bulwark, reared Between the east and west; and half the sky Was roofed with clouds of rich emblazonry, Dark purple at the zenith, which still grew Down the steep west into a wondrous hue Brighter than burning gold, even to the rent Where the swift sun yet paused in his descent Among the many folded hills-they were Those famous Euganean hills, which bear, As seen from Lido, through the harbour piles, The likeness of a clump of peaked islesAnd then, as if the earth and sea had been Dissolved into one lake of fire, were seen Those mountains towering, as from waves of flame, Around the vaporous sun, from which there came The inmost purple spirit of light, and made Their very peaks transparent. “Ere it fade," Said my companion, • I will show you soon A better station." So, o'er the lagune We glided; and from that funereal bark I leaned, and saw the city, and could mark How from their many isles, in evenitig's gleam, Its temples and its palaces did seem Like fabrics of enchantment piled to heaven. I was about to speak, when "We are even Now at the point I meant," said Maddalo, And bade the gondolieri cease to row. “Look. Julian, on the west, and listen well Il you hear not a deep and heavy bell." I looked, and saw between us and the sun A building on an island, such an one As age to age might add, for uses vile, A windowless, deformed and dreary pile; And on the top an open tower, where hung A bell, which in the radiance swayed and swung, We could just hear its hoarse and iron tongue: The broad sun sank behind it, and it tolled In strong and black relief. “What we behold Shall be the madhouse and its belfry tower," Said Maddalo; "and even at this hour, Those who may cross the water hear that bell, Which calls the maniacs, each one from his cell, To vespers."-"As much skill as need to pray, In thanks or hope for their dark lot have they, To their stern Maker," I replied.—"Oh, ho! You talk as in years past," said Maddalo. " "Tis strange men change not. You were ever still

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