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or an Arria. How much more graceful, and even more sublime, is the moral strength, the silent enduring heroism of the Christian, than the stern, impatient defiance of destiny, which showed so imposing in the heathen ! How much difficult is it sometimes to live than to die !

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Più val d'ogni vittoria un bel soffirire.

Or as Campbell has expressed nearly the same sentiment,

To bear, is to conquer our fate!

81

CHAPTER VI.

CONJUGAL POETRY CONTINUED.

VERONICA GAMBARA.

VITTORIA COLONNA, and her famed friend and contemporary, Veronica, Countess of Correggio, are inseparable names in the history of Italian literature, as living at the same time, and equally ornaments of their sex. They resembled each other in poetical talent, in their domestic sorrows and conjugal virtues : in every other respect the contrast is striking. Vittoria, with all her genius, seems to have been as lovely, gentle, and feminine a creature as ever wore the form of woman.

No lily_no_nor fragrant hyacinth,
Had half such softness, sweetness, blessedness.

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Veronica, on the contrary, was one,

to whose masculine spirit
To touch the stars had seemed an easy flight.

She added to her talents and virtues, strong passions, -- and happily also sufficient energy of mind to govern and direct them. She had not Vittoria's personal charms: it is said, that if her face had equalled her form, she would have been one of the most beautiful women of her time; but her features were irregular, and her grand commanding figure, which in her youth was admired for its perfect proportions, grew large and heavy as she advanced in life. She retained, however, to the last, the animation of her countenance, the dignity of her deportment, and powers of conversation so fascinating, that none ever approached her without admiration, or quitted her society without regret.

Her verses have not the polished harmony and the graceful suavity of Vittoria's; but more vigour of expression, and more vivacity of colouring. Their defects were equally opposed :

the simplicity of Veronica sometimes borders upon harshness and carelessness; the uniform sweetness of Vittoria is sometimes too elaborate and artificial.

Veronica Gambara was born in 1485. Her fortunate parents, as her biographer expresses it, * were Count Gian Francisco Gambara, and Alda Pia. In her twenty-fifth year, when already distinguished as a poetess, and a woman of great and various learning, she married Ghiberto Count of Correggio, to whom she appears to have been attached with all the enthusiasm of her character, and by whom she was tenderly loved in return. After the birth of her second son, she was seized with a dangerous disorder, of what nature we are not told. The physicians informed her husband that they did not despair of her recovery, but that the remedies they should be forced to employ would probably preclude all hope of her becoming again a mother. The Count, who had always wished for a numerous offspring, ordered them to employ these remedies instantly, and save her to him at every other risk. She recovered; but the effects upon her constitution were such as had been predicted.

* Zamboni.

Like Vittoria Colonna, she made the personal qualities and renown of her husband the principal subjects of her verse. She dwells particularly on his fine dark eyes, expressing very gracefully the various feelings they excited in her heart, whether clouded with thought, or serene with happiness, or sparkling with affection.* She devotes six Sonnets and a Madrigal to this subject; and if we may believe his poetical and admiring wife, these “occhi stellante” could combine more variety of expression in a single glance than ever

did
eyes

before or since.

Lieti, mesti, superbi, umili, altieri,
Vi inostrate in un punto; onde di speme
E di timor m'empiete.--

*“ Molto vagamente spiegando i varj e differenti effetti che andavano cagionando nel di lei core, a misura che essi eran torbidi, o lieti, o sereni ”-See her Life by Zamboni.

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