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From the well-head, supplying all below;
He who is on his travels and loves ease,
Won by thy looks. Thou wert an honest lad ; All gaiety, and look'd for ere it comes ;
Wert generous, grateful, not without ambition. Winning its way with all that can attract,
Had it depended on thy will and pleasure, Cages, whence every wild cry of the desert, Thou wouldst have number'd in thy family Jugglers, stage-dancers. Well might Charlemain, At least six Doges and twelve Procurators. (34) And his brave peers, each with his visor up, But that was not to be. In thee I saw On their long lances lean and gaze awhile, The last of a long line of Carbonari, When the Venetian to their eyes disclosed
Who in their forest, for three hundred years, The Wonders of the East! Well might they then Had lived and labor'd, cutting, charring wood; Sigh for new Conquests!
Discovering where they were, to those astray, Thus did Venice rise, By the re-echoing stroke, the crash, the fall, Thus flourish, till the unwelcome tidings came, Or the blue wreath that travell’d slowly up That in the Tagus had arrived a fleet
Into the sky. Thy nobler destinies From India, from the region of the Sun,
Led thee away to justle in the crowd; Fragrant with spices—hat a way was found, And there I found thee—by thy own prescription A channel open'd, and the golden stream
Crossing the sea to try once more a change Turn'd to enrich another. Then she felt
Of air and diet, landing and as gaily, Her strength departing, and at last she fell, Near the Dogana-on the Great Canal, Fell in an instant, blotted out and razed ;
As though thou knewest where to dine and sleepShe who had stood yet longer than the longest Of the Four Kingdoms-who, as in an Ark,
First didst thou practise patience in Bologna, Had floated down, amid a thousand wrecks, Serving behind a Cardinal's gouty chair, Uninjured, from the Old World to the New, Laughing at jests that were no laughing matter; From the last trace of civilized life-to where Then teach the Art to others in Ferrara Light shone again, and with unclouded splendor. -At the Three Moors—as Guide, as Cicerone
Dealing out largely in exchange for pence Though many an age in the mid-sea She dwelt, Thy scraps of knowledge—through the grassy street From her retreat calmly contemplating
Leading, explaining-pointing to the bars
Graven in the stone, that yet denotes the door
Many a year
O'er rough and smooth, o'er apennine, maremma; And who in long array (look where they come ; Thy locks jet-black, and clustering round a face Their gestures menacing so far and wide)
Open as day and full of manly daring. Wear the green turban and the heron's plume ? Thou hadst a hand, a heart for all that came, Who-but the Caliphs ? follow'd fast by shapes Herdsman or pedlar, monk or muleteer; As new and strange-Emperor, and King, and Czar, And few there were, that met thee not with smiles. And Soldan, each, with a gigantic stride,
Mishap pass'd o'er thee like a summer-cloud. Trampling on all the flourishing works of peace Cares thou hadst none; and they, who stood to hear To make his greatness greater, and inscribe
thee, Ilis name in blood—some, men of steel, steel-clad ; Caught the infection and forgot their own. Others, nor long, alas, the interval,
Nature conceived thee in her merriest mood,
Her happiest—not a speck was in the sky;
A larum to the echo. In a clime,
Singing or talking ; singing to thyself Unlock Heaven's gate.
When none gave ear, but to the listener talking.
The monk, the nun, the holy legate mask'd !
To-morrow came the scaffold and the heads-man;
And he died there by torch-light, bound and gagg'd, ST. MARK'S PLACE.
Whose name and crime they knew not. Underneath
Where the Archangel, turning with the wind, OVER how many tracts, vast, measureless, Blesses the City from the topinost-tower, Nothing from day to day, from year to year, His arms extended—there continually Passes, save now and then a cloud, a meteor, Two phantom-shapes were sitting, side by side, A famish'd eagle ranging for his prey;
Or up, and, as in sport, chasing each other; While on this spot of earth, the work of man, Horror and Mirth. Both vanish'd in one hour! How much has been transacted! Emperors, Popes, But Ocean only, when again he claims Warriors, from far and wide, laden with spoil, His ancient rule, shall wash away their footstepe Landing, have here perform'd their several parts, Then left the stage to others. Not a stone
Enter the Palace by the marble stairs ! In the broad pavement, but to him who has
Down which the grizzly head of old Faliero An eye, an ear for the Inanimate World,
Roll’d from the block. (40) Pass onward through tho Tells of Past Ages.
Chamber, In that temple-porch Where, among all drawn in their ducal robes, (The brass is gone, the porphyry remains), (35) But one is wanting—where, thrown off in heat, Did Barbarossa fling his mantle off,
A short inscription on the Doge's chair And, kneeling, on his neck receive the foot Led to another on the wall yet shorter;(41) Of the proud Pontiff (36)—thus at last consoled And thou wilt track them—wilt from halls of state For flight, disguise, and many an aguish shake Where kings have feasted, and the festal song On his stone pillow. In that temple-porch, Rung through the fretted roof, cedar and gold, Old as he was, so near his hundredth year, Step into darkness; and be told, “ 'T was here, And blind—his eyes put out—did Dandolo Trusting, deceived, assembled but to die, Stand forth, displaying on his ducal crown To take a long embrace and part again, The cross just then assumed at the high altar. Carrara and his valiant sons were strangled ; There did he stand, erect, invincible,
He first—then they, whose only crime had been Though wan his cheeks, and wet with many tears, Struggling to save their Father.—Through that door For in his prayers he had been weeping much; So soon to cry, smiting his brow, “ I'm lost!” And now the pilgrims and the people wept Was shown, and with all courtesy, all honor, With admiration, saying in their hearts,
The great and noble captain, Carmagnola.—(42) "Surely those aged limbs have need of rest!” That deep descent (thou canst not yet discern There did he stand, with his old armor on, Aught as it is) leads to the dripping vaults Ere, gonfalon in hand, that stream'd aloft,
Under the flood, where light and warmth came never! As conscious of its glorious destiny,
Leads to a cover'd Bridge, the Bridge of Sighs ; So soon to float o'er mosque and minaret,
And to that fatal closet at the foot, He sail'd away, five hundred gallant ships, Lurking for prey, which, when a victim enter'd, Their lofty sides hung with emblazon'd shields, Grew less and less, contracting to a span; Following his track to Glory. He returned not ; An iron door, urged onward by a screw, But of his trophies four arrived ere-long,
Forcing out life.—But let us to the roof, Snatch'd from destruction—the four steeds divine, And, when thou hast survey'd the sea, the land, That strike the ground, resounding with their feet,(37) Visit the narrow cells that cluster there, And from their nostrils snort ethereal flame As in a place of tombs. They had their tenants, Over that very portal—in the place
And each supplied with sufferings of his own.
The brain, till Reason fled, and the wild yell
“ Most nights," so said the good old Nicolo
The water-gate below, but seldom spoke, The least, instruct the greatest, did the Doge,
Though much was on his mind),“ most nights arrived Himself, go round, borne through the gazing crowd, The prison-boat, that boat with many oars, Once in a chair of state, once on his bier.
And bore away as to the Lower World,
Disburdening in the Canal Orfano, (43)
Summer or Winter, death the penalty ;
And where a secret, once deposited,
1 Scala de' Giganti.
Yet what so gay as Venice ? Every gale But broken by a cloud. The wind was hush'd, Breathed heavenly music! and who flock'd not thither And the sea mirror-like. A single zephyr To celebrate her Nuptials with the Sea ?
Play'd with her tresses, and drew more and more To wear the mask, and mingle in the crowd Her veil across her bosom. With Greek, Armenian, Persian-night and day
Long I lay (There, and there only, did the hour stand still) Contemplating that face so beautiful, Pursuing through her thousand labyrinths
That rosy mouth, that cheek dimpled with smiles, The Enchantress Pleasure; realizing dreams That neck but half-concealed, whiter than snow. The earliest, happiest—for a tale to catch
"T was the sweet slumber of her early age. Credulous ears, and hold young hearts in chains, I look'd and look'd, and felt a flush of joy Had only to begin, “ There lived in Venice" I would express, but cannot.
Oft I wish'd “Who were the Six we supp'd with yesternight?”(44) Gently—by stealth—to drop asleep myself, Kings, one and all! Thou couldst not but remark And to incline yet lower that sleep might come; The style and manner of the Six that served them.” Oft closed my eyes as in forgetfulness.
"T was all in vain. Love would not let me rest. “Who answer'd me just now?(45) Who, when I said, • 'T is nine,' turn'd round and said so solemnly,
But how delightful when at length she waked! • Signor, he died at nine!'”_"'T was the Armenian; When, her light hair adjusting, and her veil The mask that follows thee, go where thou wilt.” So rudely scatter'd, she resumed her place
Beside me; and, as gaily as before, “But who stands there, alone among them all ?"(46) Sitting unconsciously nearer and nearer, “ The Cypriot. Ministers from foreign courts Pour'd out her innocent mind! Beset his doors, long ere his hour of rising ;
So, nor long since, His the Great Secret! Not the golden house Sung a Venetian: and his lay of love, (48) Of Nero, or those fabled in the East,
Dangerous and sweet, charm'd Venice. As for me As wrought by magic, half so rich as his!
(Less fortunate, if Love be Happiness)
Glittering, and frost-like, and as day drew on,
Those porches (49) pass'd through which the water-
Plays, though no longer on the noble forms And universai as the air they breathed;
That moved there, sable-vested—and the Quay, A Power that never slumber'd, never pardon'd, Silent, grass-grown-adventurer-like I launch'd All eye, all ear, nowhere and everywhere, (47) Into the deep, ere-long discovering Entering the closet and the sanctuary,
Isles such as cluster in the Southern seas, No place of refuge for the Doge himself;
All verdure. Everywhere, from bush and brake, Most present when least thought of —nothing dropt The musky odor of the serpents came; In secret, when the heart was on the lips,
Their slimy track across the woodman's path Nothing in feverish sleep, but instantly
Bright in the moonshine: and, as round I went, Observed and judged—a Power, that if but glanced at Dreaming of Greece, whither the waves were gliding, In casual converse, be it where it might,
I listend to the venerable pines
Nor when again in Venice, when again
Where nothing comes to drown the human voice
Ceased I to wander. Now a Jessica
Sung to her lute, her signal as she sate
At her half-open window. Then, methought,
A serenade broke silence, breathing hope
Through walls of stone, and torturing the proud heart Boy, call the Gondola ; the sun is set.
Of sore Priuli. Once, we could not err,
(It was before an old Palladian house,
1 See Note.
We rested; and the verse was verse divine ! Fell from beneath a starry diadem;
Before the Churcn,
Each in his hand bearing his cap and plume, Over the lantern at the prow, and cried,
And, as he walk’d, with modest dignity
Folding his scarlet mantle, his tabarro.
They join, they enter in, and, up the aisle
Led by the full-voiced choir in bright procession, And with her fled, scattering, the sons of Pleasure. Range round the altar. In his vestments there Star after star shot by, or, meteor-like,
The Patriarch stands; and, while the anthem flows, Cross'd me and vanish'd—lost at once among
Who can look on unmoved ?-mothers in secret Those hundred Isles that tower majestically,
Rejoicing in the beauty of their daughters, That rise abruptly from the water-mark,
Sons in the thought of making them their own; Not with rough crag, but marble, and the work
And they-array'd in youth and innocence, Of noblest architects. I linger'd still ;
Their beauty heighten'd by their hopes and fears. Nor struck my threshold, till the hour was come And past, when, flitting home in the grey light,
At length the rite is ending. All fall down
In earnest prayer, all of all ranks together;
And, stretching out his hands, the holy man
Proceeds to give the general benediction;
When hark, a din of voices from without,
And shrieks and groans and outcries as in battle
And lo, the door is burst, the curtain rent,
And armed ruffians, robbers from the deep,
Savage, uncouth, led on by Barbarigo,
And his six brothers in their coats of steel,
Are standing on the threshold! Statue-like,
Awhile they gaze on the fallen multitude, As to some grand solemnity. The fisher
Each with his sabre up, in act to strike; Came from his islet, bringing o'er the waves
Then, as at once recovering from the spell, His wife and little one; the husbandman
Rush forward to the altar, and as soon From the Firm Land, along the Po, the Brenta,
Are gone again-amid no clash of arms
Bearing away the maidens and the treasures.
Where are they now ?-plowing the distant waves Throng d her three hundred bridges ; the grave Standing triumphant. To ihe east they go,
Their sails all set, and they upon the deck
Steering for Istria ; their accursed barks
(Well are they known, the galliot and the galley),(57) Hurrying along. For, as the custom was,
Freighted with all that gives to life its value!
The richest argosies were poor to them!
Now might you see the matrons running wild Were on that day to solemnize their nuptials.
Along the beach ; the men half-arm'd and arming,
One with a shield, one with a casque and spear; At noon, a distant murmur through the crowd,
One with an axe hewing the mooring-chain
But on that day was drifting. In an hour
Each having sworn, and by the holy rood,
And from the tower
Her flag St. Mark’s.-And now she turns the point
Over the waters like a sea-bird flying!
Hung with green boughs, she comes, she comes, re- 'T is Foscari, the Doge. And there is one, storing
A young man, lying at his feet, stretch'd out All that was lost.
In torture. "T is his son, his only one ; Coasting, with narrow search, "T is Giacomo, the blessing of his age, Friuli-like a tiger in his spring,
(Say, has he lived for thig ?) accused of murder, They had surprised the Corsairs where they lay The murder of the Senator Donato. Sharing the spoil in blind security
Last night the proofs, if proofs they are, were dropt
Must sit and look on a beloved Son
Twice, to die in peace Breathing a little, in his look retain'd
To save a falling house, and turn the hearts The fierceness of his soul.
Of his fell Adversaries, those who now,
Thus were the Brides Like hell-hounds in full cry, are running down Lost and recover'd; and what now remain'd His last of four, twice did he ask their leave But to give thanks? Twelve breast-plates and twelve To lay aside the Crown, and they refused him, crowns,
An oath exacting, never more to ask it;
" Art thou not guilty?"-"No! Indeed I am not!" Each in her glittering veil; and on the deck, But all is unavailing. In that Court As on a burnish'd throne, they glided by ;
Groans are confessions ; Patience, Fortitude, No window or balcony but adorn'd
The work of Magic; and, released, upheld, With hangings of rich texture, not a roof
For Condemnation, from his Father's lips But cover'd with beholders, and the air
He hears the sentence, “ Banishment to Candia: Vocal with joy. Onward they went, their cars Death, if he leaves it." Moving in concert with the harmony,
And the bark sets sail; Through the Rialto (60) to the Ducal Palace And he is gone from all he loves-for ever! And at a banquet there, served with due honor, His wife, his boys, and his disconsolate parents ! Sate representing, in the eyes of all,
Gone in the dead of night—unseen of any-
He would indulge in weeping.
Like a ghost,
An ancient rampart, that o'erhangs the sea;
All follow'd ; at whose nuptials, when at length Men eminent alike in war and peace;
He won that maid at once the fairest, noblesi, (62) Such as in effigy shall long adorn
A daughter of the House of Contarini, The walls of Venice-to show what she has been! That House as old as Venice, now among Their garb is black, and black the arras is,
Its ancestors in monumental brass And sad the general aspect. Yet their looks Numbering eight Doges—to convey her home, Are calm, are cheerful; nothing there like grief, The Bucentaur went forth ; and thrice the Sun Nothing or harsh or cruel. Sull that noise, Shone on the Chivalry, that, front to front, That low and dismal moaning.
And blaze on blaze reflecting, met and ranged
Half withdrawn, To tournay in St. Mark's. A little to the left, sits one in crimson,
But lo, at last, A venerable man, fourscore and upward.
Messengers come. He is recall'd : his heart Cold drops of sweat stand on his furrow'd brow. Leaps at the tidings. He embarks : the boat His hands are clench'd; his eyes half-shut and glazed; Springs to the oar, and back again he goesHis shrunk and wither'd limbs rigid as marble. Into that very Chamber! there to lie