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LIII. I leave to learned fingers, and wise hands, The artist and his ape, to teach and tell How well his connoisseurship understands The graceful bend, and the voluptuous swell: Let these describe the undescribable: I would not their vile breath should crisp the stream Wherein that image shall for ever dwell;
The unruffled mirror of the loveliest dream That ever left the sky on the deep soul to beam.
LIV. In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie 27) Ashes which make it holier, dust which is Even in itself an immortality, Though there were nothing save the past, and this, The particle of those sublimities Which have relapsed to chaos :- here repose Angelo's, Alfieri's bones, and his, 28)
The starry Galileo, with his woes; Here Machiavelli's earth return'd to whence it rose 29,
Which gilds it with revivifying ray;
LII. Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar, 50) Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore; 51) Thy factions, in their worse than civil war, Proseribed the bard whose name for evermore Their children's children would in vain adore With the remorse of ages; and the crown 53) Which Petrarch's laureate brow supremely wore,
Upon a far and foreign soil had grown, His life, his fame, his grave, though ritled — not thine own.
LVIII. Boccaccio to his parent earth bequeath'd 33) His dust, – and lies it not her Great among, With many a sweet and solemn requiem breathed O'er him who form’d the Tuscan's siren tongue ? That music in itself, whose sounds are song, The poetry of speech? No; - even his tomb Uptorn, must bear the hyaena bigot's wrong,
No more amidst the meaner dead find room, Nor claim a passing sigh, because it told for whom!
LIX. And Santa Croce wants their mighty dust; Yet for this want more noted, as of yore The Caesar's pageant, shorn of Brutus' bust, Did but of Rome's best Son remind her more: Happier Ravenna! on thy hoary shore, Fortress of falling empire! honour'd sleeps The immortal exile;- - Arqua, too, her store Of tuneful relics proudly claims and keeps, While Florence vainly begs her banish'd dead and weeps.
LX. What is her pyramid of precious stones ? :-) of porphyry, jasper, agate, and all hues Of gem and marble, to encrust the bones Of merchant - dukes? the momentary dews Which, sparkling to the twilight stars, infuse Freshness in the
green turf that wraps the dead, Whose names are mausoleums of the Muse, Are gently prest with far more reverent tread Than ever paced the slab which paves the princely
There be more things to greet the heart and eyes
Calls for my spirit's homage, yet it yields Less than it feeis, because the weapon which it wields
LXII. Is of another temper, and I roam By Thrasimene's lake, in the defiles Fatal to Roman rashness, more at home; For there the Carthaginian's warlike wiles Come back before me, as his skill beguiles The host between the mountains and the shore, Where Courage falls in her despairing files, siendo
And torrents, swoln to rivers with their gore, Reek through the sultry plain, with legions scatter'd o'er,
LXIII. Like to a forest felld by mountain winds; And such the storm of battle on this day, And such the phrensy, whose convulsion blinds To all save carnage, that, beneath the fray, An eartlıquake reel'd unheededly away! 35) None felt stern Nature rocking at his feet, And yawning forth a grave for those who lay
Upon their bucklers for a winding sheet; Such is the absorbing hate when warring nations meet!
LXIV. The Earth to them was as a rolling bark Which bore them to Eternity; they saw The Ocean round, but had no time to mark The motions of their vessel; Nature's law, In them suspended, reck'd not of the awe (birds Which reigns when mountains tremble, and the Plunge in the clouds for refuge and withdraw From their down-toppling nests; and bellowing
herds Stumble o'er heaving plains, and man's dread hath Lxv. Far other scene is Thrasimene now; Her lake a sheet of silver, and her plain Rent by no ravage save the gentle plough; Her aged trees rise thick as once the slain Lay where their roots are; but a brook hath ta'enA little rill of scanty stream and bedA name of blood from that day's sanguine rain; And Sanguinetto tells ye where the dead Made the earth wet, and turn’d the unwilling waters
But thou, Clitumnus! in thy sweetest wave 36)
Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughtersA mirror and a bath for beauty's youngest daughters!
LXVII. And on thy happy shore a temple still, Of small and delicate proportion, keeps, Upon a mild declivity of hill, Its memory of thee; beneath it sweeps Thy current's calmness; oft from out it leaps The finny darter with the glittering scales, Who dwells and revels in thy glassy deeps;
While, chance, some scatter'd water - lily sails Down where the shallower wave still tells its
With Nature's baptism, - 'tis to him ye must Pay orisons for this suspension of disgust.
LXIX. The roar of waters! from the headlong height Velino cleaves the wave - worn precipice; The fall of waters! rapid as the light The flashing mass foams shaking the abyss; The hell of waters! where they howl and hiss, And boil in endless torture; while the sweat Of their great agony, wrung out from this Their Phlegethon, curls round the rocks of jet That gird the gulf around, in pitiless horror set,
Lxx. And mounts in spray the skies, and thence again Returns in an unceasing shower, which round, With its unemptied cloud of gentle rain, Is an eternal April to the ground, Making it all one emerald: how profound The gulf! and how the giant element From rock to rock leaps with delirious bound,
Crushing the cliffs, which, downward worn and rent With his fierce footsteps, yield in chasms a fearful vent
LXXI. To the broad column which rolls on, and shows More like the fountain of an infant sea Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes Of a new world, than on!y thus to be Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly, With many windings, through the vale :- Look
back! Lo! where it comes like an eternity,
As if to sweep down all things in its track, Charming the eye with dread, - a matchless ca. taract, 37)
LXXII. Horribly beautiful! but on the verge, From side to side, beneath the glittering morn, An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge, 38) Like Hope upon a death - bed, and, unworn Its steady dyes, while all around is torn By the distracted waters, bears serene Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn :
Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene, Love watching Madness with unalterable mien.