And now, the baleful anthem, loud and long, Rose in full chorus from the passing throng; And Love's sad name, the cause of all their woes, In execrations seem'd the dirge to close.— But who the number and the names can tell Of those that seem'd the deadly strain to swell!— Not men alone, but gods my dream display'd— Celestial wailings fill'd the myrtle shade: Soft Venus, with her lover, mourn'd the snare, The King of Shades, and Proserpine the fair; Juno, whose frown disclosed her jealous spite; Nor, less enthrall'd by Love, the god of light, Who held in scorn the winged warrior's dart Till in his breast he felt the fatal smart.— Each god, whose name the learned Roman told, In Cupid's numerous levy seem'd enroll'd; And, bound before his car in fetters strong, In sullen state the Thunderer march'd along.
Thus, as I view'd th' interminable host, The prospect seem'd at last in dimness lost: But still the wish remain'd their doom to know, As, watchful, I survey'd the passing show. As each majestic form emerged to light, Thither, intent, I turn'd my sharpen'd sight; And soon a noble pair my notice drew, That, hand in hand approaching, met my view. In gentle parley, and communion sweet— With looks of love, they seem'd mine eyes to meet; Yet strange was their attire—their tongue unknown Spoke them the natives of a distant zone; But every doubt my kind assistant clear'd, Instant I knew them, when their names were heard. To one, encouraged by his aspect mild, I spoke—the other with a frown recoil'd.— "O Masinissa!"—thus my speech began, "By Scipio's friendship, and the gentle ban Of constant love, attend my warm request." Turning around, the solemn shade address'd His answer thus:—"With like desire I glow Your lineage, name, and character, to know, Since you have learnt my name." With soft reply I said, "A name like mine can nought supply The notice of renown like yours to claim. No smother'd spark like mine emits a flame To catch the public eye, as you can boast— A leading name in Cupid's numerous host! Alike his future victims and the past Shall own the common tie, while time itself shall last. But tell me (if your guide allow a space The semblance of those tendant shades to trace) The names and fortunes of the following pair Who seem the noblest gifts of mind to share."— "My name," he said, "you seem to know so well That faithful Memory all the rest can tell; But as the sad detail may soothe my woes, Listen, while I my mournful doom disclose:— To Rome and Scipio's cause my faith was bound, E'en Laelius scarce a warmer friendship own'd: Where'er their ensigns fann'd the summer sky, I led my Libyans on, a firm ally; Propitious Fortune still advanced his name, Yet more than she bestow'd, his worth might claim. Still we advanced, and still our glory grew While westward far the Roman eagle flew With conquest wing'd; but my unlucky star Led me, unconscious, to the fatal snare Which Love had laid. I saw the regal dame— Our hearts at once confess'd a mutual flame. Caught by the lure of interdicted joys, Proudly I scorn'd the stern forbidding voice Of Roman policy; and hoped the vows At Hymen's altar sworn, might save my spouse. But, oh! that wondrous man, who ne'er would yield To passion's call, the cruel sentence seal'd, That tore my consort from my fond embrace, And left me sunk in anguish and disgrace. Unmoved he saw my briny sorrows flow, Unmoved he listen'd to my tale of woe! But friendship, waked at last, with reverent awe, Obsequious, own'd his mind's superior law; And to that holy and unclouded light, That led him on through passion's dubious night, Submiss I bow'd; for, oh! the beam of day Is dark to him that wants her guiding ray!— Love, hardly conquer'd, long repined in vain, When Justice link'd the adamantine chain; And cruel Friendship o'er the conquer'd ground Raised with strong hand th' insuperable mound. To him I owed my laurels nobly won— I loved him as a brother, sire, and son, For in an equal race our lives had run; Yet the sad price I paid with burning tears;— Dire was the cause that woke my gloomy fears! Too well the sad result my soul divined, Too well I knew the unsubmitting mind Of Sophonisba would prefer the tomb To stern captivity's ignoble doom. I, too, sad victim of celestial wrath, Was forced to aid the tardy stroke of death: With pangs I yielded to her piercing cries, To speed her passage to the nether skies; And worse than death endured, her mind to save From shame, more hateful than the yawning grave.— What was my anguish, when she seized the bowl, She knows! and you, whose sympathising soul Has felt the fiery shaft, may guess my pains— Now tears and anguish are her sole remains. That treasure, to preserve my faith to Rome, Those hands committed to th' untimely tomb; And every hope and joy of life resign'd To keep the stain of falsehood from my mind. But hasten, and the moving pomp survey, (The light-wing'd moments brook no long delay), To try if any form your notice claims Among those love-lorn youths and amorous dames."— With poignant grief I heard his tale of woe, That seem'd to melt my heart like vernal snow, When a low voice these sullen accents sung:— "Not for himself, but those from whom he sprung, He merits fate; for I detest them all To whose fell rage I owe my country's fall." "Oh, calm your rage, unhappy Queen!" I cried; "Twice was the land and sea in slaughter dyed By cruel Carthage, till the sentence pass'd That laid her glories in the dust at last."— "Yet mournful wreaths no less the victors crown'd; In deep despair our valour oft they own'd. Your own impartial annals yet proclaim The Punic glory and the Roman shame." She spoke—and with a smile of hostile spite Join'd the deep train, and darken'd to my sight. Then, as a traveller through lands unknown With care and keen observance journeys on; Whose dubious thoughts his eager steps retard, Thus through the files I pass'd with fix'd regard; Still singling some amid the moving show, Intent the story of their loves to know. A spectre now within my notice came, Though dubious marks of joy, commix'd with shame, His features wore, like one who gains a boon With secret glee, which shame forbids to own, O dire example of the Demon's power! The father leaves the hymeneal bower For his incestuous son; the guilty spouse With transport mix'd with honour, meets his vows! In mournful converse now, amidst the host, Their compact they bewail'd, and Syria lost! Instant, with eager step, I turn'd aside, And met the double husband, and the bride, And with an earnest voice the first address'd:— A look of dread the spectre's face express'd, When first the accents of victorious Rome Brought to his mind his kingdom's ancient doom. At length, with many a doleful sigh, he said, "You here behold Seleucus' royal shade. Antiochus is next; his life to save, My ready hand my beauteous consort gave, (From me, whose will was law, a legal prize,) That bound our souls in everlasting ties Indissolubly strong. The royal fair Forsook a throne to cure the deep despair Of him, who would have dared the stroke of Death, To keep, without a stain, his filial faith. A skilful leech the deadly symptoms guess'd; His throbbing veins the secret soon confess'd Of Love with honour match'd, in dire debate, Whenever he beheld my lovely mate; Else gentle Love, subdued by filial dread, Had sent him down among th' untimely dead."— Then, like a man that feels a sudden thought His purpose change, the mingling crowd he sought, And left the question, which a moment hung Scarce half suppress'd upon my faltering tongue. Suspended for a moment, still I stood, With various thoughts oppress'd in musing mood. At length a voice was heard, "The passing day Is yours, but it permits not long delay."— I turn'd in haste, and saw a fleeting train Outnumbering those who pass'd the surging main By Xerxes led—a naked wailing crew, Whose wretched plight the drops of sorrow drew From my full eyes.—Of many a clime and tongue Commix'd the mournful pageant moved along While scarce the fortunes or the name of one Among a thousand passing forms was known. I spied that Ethiopian's dusky charms, Which woke in Perseus' bosom Love's alarms; And next was he who for a shadow burn'd, Which the deceitful watery glass return'd; Enamour'd of himself, in sad decay— Amid abundance, poor—he look'd his life away; And now transform'd through passion's baneful power, He o'er the margin hangs, a drooping flower; While, by her hopeless love congeal'd to stone, His mistress seems to look in silence on; Then he that loved, by too severe a fate, The cruel maid who met his love with hate, Pass'd by; with many more who met their doom By female pride, and fill'd an early tomb.— There too, the victim of her plighted vows, Halcyone for ever mourns her spouse; Who now, in feathers clad, as poets feign, Makes a short summer on the wintry main.— Then he that to the cliffs the maid pursued, And seem'd by turns to soar, and swim the flood;— And she, who, snared by Love, her father sold, With her, who fondly snared the rolling gold; And her young paramour, who made his boast That he had gain'd the prize his rival lost.— Acis and Galatea next were seen, And Polyphemus with infuriate mien;— And Glaucus there, by rival arts assail'd, Fell Circe's hate and Scylla's doom bewail'd.— Then sad Carmenta, with her royal lord, Whom the fell sorceress clad, by arts abhorr'd, With plumes; but still the regal stamp impress'd On his imperial wings and lofty crest.— Then she, whose tears the springing fount supplied;— And she whose form above the rolling tide Hangs a portentous cliff—the royal fair, Who wrote the dictates of her last despair To him whose ships had left the friendly strand. With the keen steel in her determined hand.— There, too, Pygmalion, with his new-made spouse, With many more, I spied, whose amorous vows And fates in never-dying song resound Where Aganippe laves the sacred ground:— And, last of all, I saw the lovely maid Of Love unconscious, by an oath betray'd.
Like one by wonder reft of speech, I stood Pond'ring the mournful scene in pensive mood, As one that waits advice. My guide in haste Began:—"You let the moments run to waste What objects hold you here?—my doom you know; Compell'd to wander with the sons of woe!"— "Oh, yet awhile afford your friendly aid! You see my inmost soul;" submiss I said. "The strong unsated wish you there can read; The restless cravings of my mind to feed With tidings of the dead."—In gentler tone He said, "Your longings in your looks are known; You wish to learn the names of those behind Who through the vale in long procession wind: I grant your prayer, if fate allows a space," He said, "their fortunes, as they come, to trace.— See that majestic shade that moves along, And claims obeisance from the ghostly throng: 'Tis Pompey; with the partner of his vows, Who mourns the fortunes of her slaughter'd spouse, By Egypt's servile band.—The next is he Whom Love's tyrannic spell forbade to see The danger by his cruel consort plann'd; Till Fate surprised him by her treacherous hand.— Let constancy and truth exalt the name Of her, the lovely candidate for fame, Who saved her spouse!—Then Pyramus is seen, And Thisbe, through the shade, with pensive mien;— Then Hero with Leander moves along,— And great Ulysses, towering in the throng: His visage wears the signs of anxious thought There sad Penelope laments her lot: With trickling tears she seems to chide his stay, While fond Calypso charms her love-delay.— Next he who braved in many a bloody fight. For years on years, the whole collected might Of Rome, but sunk at length in Cupid's snare The shameful victim of th' Apulian fair!— Then she, that, in a servile dress pursued, (Reft of her golden locks) o'er field and flood, With peerless faith, her exiled spouse unknown, With whom of old she fill'd a lofty throne.— Then Portia comes, who fire and steel defied, And Julia, grieved to see a second bride Engage her consort's love.—The Hebrew swain Appears, who sold himself his love to gain For seven long summers—a vivacious flame, Which neither years nor constant toil could tame!— Then Isaac, with his father, joins the band, Who, with his consort, left at God's command, Led by the lamp of faith, his native land.— David is next, by lawless passion sway'd; And, adding crime to crime, at last betray'd To deeds of blood, till solitude and tears Wash'd his dire guilt away, and calm'd his fears. The sensual vapour, with Circean fume, Involved his royal son in deeper gloom, And dimm'd his glory, till, immersed in vice, His heart renounced the Ruler of the Skies, Adopting Stygian gods.—The changeful hue Of his incestuous brother meets your view, Who lurks behind: observe the sudden turn Of love and hatred blanch his cheek, and burn! His ruin'd sister there, with frantic speed, To Absalom recounts the direful deed.— Samson behold, a prey to female fraud! Strong, but unwise, he laid the pledge of God In her fallacious lap, who basely sold Her husband's honour for Philistian gold.— Judith is nigh, who, mid a host in arms, With gentle accents and alluring charms Their chief o'ercame, and, at the noon of night, From his pavilion sped her venturous flight With one attendant slave, who bore along The tyrant's head amid the hostile throng; Adoring Him who arms the feeble hand. And bids the weak a mighty foe withstand.— Unhappy Sichem next is seen, who paid A bloody ransom for an injured maid: His guiltless sire and all his slaughter'd race, With many a life, attend the foul disgrace. Such was the ruin by a sudden gust Of passion caused, when murder follow'd lust!— That other, like a wise physician, cured An abject passion, long with pain endured: To Vashti for an easy boon he sued; She scorn'd his suit, and rage his love subdued: Soon to its aid a softer passion came, And from his breast expell'd the former flame: Like wedge by wedge displaced, the nuptial ties He breaks, and soon another bride supplies.— But if you wish to see the bosom (war Of Jealousy and Love) in deadly jar, Behold that royal Jew! the dire control Of Love and Hate by turns besiege his soul. Now Vengeance wins the day—the deed is done! And now, in fell remorse, he hates the sun, And calls his consort from the realms of night, To which his fatal hand had sped her flight— Behold yon hapless three, by passion lost, Procris, and Artemisia's royal ghost; And her, whose son (his mother's grief and joy) Razed with paternal rage the walls of Troy,— Another triple sisterhood is seen; This characters of Hades. Mark their mien With sin distain'd: their downcast looks disclose A conscience of their crimes, and dread of coming woes.— Semiramis, and Byblis (famed of old) Her mother's rival there you next behold; With many a warrior, many a lovely dame Of old, ennobled by romantic fame.— There Lancelot and Tristram (famed in fight) Are seen, with many a dame and errant knight;— Genevra, Belle Isonde, and hundreds more; With those who mingled their incestuous gore Shed by paternal rage; and chant beneath, In baneful symphony, the Song of Death." He scarce had spoken, when a chill presage (What warriors feel before the battle's rage, When in the angry trump's sonorous breath They hear, before it comes, the sound of Death) My heart possess'd; and, tinged with deadly pale, I seem'd escaped from Death's eternal jail; When, fleeting to my side with looks of Love, A phantom brighter than the Cyprian dove My fingers clasp'd; which, though of power to wield The temper'd sabre in the bloody field Against an armed foe, a touch subdued; And gentle words, and looks that fired the blood, My friend addressed me (I remember well), And from his lips these dubious accents fell:— "Converse with whom you please, for all the train Are mark'd alike the slaves of Cupid's reign."— Thus, in security and peace trepann'd, I was enlisted in that wayward band, Who short-lived joys by anguish long obtain, And whom the pleasures of a rival pain More than their proper joys. Remembrance shows Too clear at last the source of all my woes, When Jealousy, and Love, and Envy drew That nurture from my heart by which they grew. As feverish eyes on air-drawn features dwell, My fascinated eyes, by magic spell, Dwell'd on the heavenly form with ardent look, And at a glance the dire contagion took That tinged my days to come; and each delight, But those that bore her stamp, consign'd to night. I blush with shame when to my inward view The devious paths return where Cupid drew His willing slave, with all my hopes and fears— When Phoebus seem'd to rise and set in tears For many a spring—and when I used to dwell A lonely hermit in a silent cell. How upwards oft I traced the purling rills To their pure fountains in the misty hills! The rocks I used to climb, the solemn woods, Where oft I wander'd by the winding floods! And often spent, whene'er I chanced to stray, In amorous ditties all the livelong day! What mournful rhymes I wrote and 'rased again, Spending the precious hours of youth in vain! 'Twas in this school I learn'd the mystic things Of the blind god, and all the secret springs From which his hopes and fears alternate rise: 'Graved on his frontlet, the detection lies, Which all may read, for I have oped their eyes. And she, the cause of all my lengthen'd toils, Disdains my passion, though she boasts my spoils. Of rigid honour proud, she smiles to see The fatal triumph of her charms in me. Not Love himself can aid, for Love retires, And in her sacred presence veils his fires: He feels his genius by her looks subdued, And all his spells by stronger spells withstood. Hence my despair; for neither force nor art Can wound her bosom, nor extract the dart That rankles here, while proudly she defies The power that makes a captive world his prize. She is not one that dallies with the foe, But with unconquer'd soul defies the blow; And, like the Lord of Light, displays afar A splendour which obscures each lesser star. Her port is all divine; her radiant smile, And e'en her scorn, the captive heart beguile; Her accents breathe of heaven; her auburn hair (Whether it wanton with the sportive air, Or bound in shining wreaths adorns her face,) Secures her conquests with resistless grace; Her eyes, that sparkle with celestial fire, Have render'd me the slave of fond desire. But who can raise his style to match her charms? What mortal bard can sing the soft alarms That flutter in the breast, and fire the veins? Alas! the theme surmounts the loftiest strains. Far as the ocean in its ample bed Exceeds the purling stream that warbles through the mead, Such charms are hers—as never were reveal'd On earth, since Phoebus first the world beheld! And voices, tuned her peerless form to praise, Suffer a solemn pause with mute amaze. Thus was I manacled for life; while she, Proud of my bonds, enjoy'd her liberty. With ceaseless suit I pray'd, but all in vain; One prayer among a thousand scarce could gain A slight regard—so hopeless was my state, And such the laws of Love imposed by fate! For stedfast is the rule by Nature given, Which all the ranks of life, from earth to heaven. With reverent awe and homage due obey, And every age and climate owns its sway. I know the cruel pangs by lovers borne, When from the breast the bleeding heart is torn By Love's relentless gripe; the deadly harms Of Cupid, when he wields resistless arms; Or when, in dubious truce, he drops his dart, And gives short respite to the tortured heart. The vital current's ebb and flood I know, When shame or anger bids the features glow, Or terror pales the cheek; the deadly snake I know that nestles in the flowery brake, And, watchful, seems to sleep, and languor feigns, When health-inspiring vigour fills the veins. I know what hope and fear assail the mind When I pursue my love, yet dread to find. I know the strange and sympathetic tie, When, soul in soul transfused, a fond ally For ever seems another and the same, Or change with mutual love their mortal frame. From transient smiles to long protracted woe The various turns and dark degrees I know; And hot and cold, and that unequall'd smart When souls survive, though sever'd from the heart. I know, I cherish, and detect the cheat Of every hour; but still, with eager feet And fervent hope, pursue the flying fair, And still for promised rapture meet despair. When absent, I consume in raging fire; But, in her presence check'd, the flames expire, Repress'd by sacred awe. The boundless sway Of cruel Love I feel, that makes a prey Of all those energies that lift the soul To her congenial climes above the pole I know the various pangs that rend the heart; I know that noblest souls receive the dart Without defence, when Reason drops the shield And, recreant, to her foe resigns the field.— I saw the archer in his airy flight, I saw him when he check'd his arrow's flight: And when it reach'd the mark, I watched the god, And saw him win his way by force or fraud, As best befits his ends. His whirling throne Turns short at will, or runs directly on. The rapid follies which his axle bear, Are short fallacious hope and certain fear; And many a promise given of Halcyon days, Whose faint and dubious gleam the heart betrays. I know what secret flame the marrow fries, How in the veins a dormant fever lies; Till, fann'd to fury by contagious breath, It gains tremendous head, and ends in death. I know too well what long and doubtful strife Forms the dire tissue of a lover's life; The transient taste of sweet commix'd with gall, What changes dire the hapless crew befall. Their strange fantastic habitudes I know, Their measured groans in lamentable flow; When rhyming-fits the faltering tongue employ, And love sick spasms the mournful Muse annoy; The smile that like the lightning fleets away, The sorrows that for half a life delay; Like drops of honey in a wormwood bowl, Drain'd to the dregs in bitterness of soul.
So fickle fortune, in a luckless hour, Had close consigned me to a tyrant's power, Who cut the nerves that, with elastic force, Had borne me on in Freedom's generous course— So I, in noble independence bred, Free as the roebuck in the sylvan glade, By passion lured, a voluntary slave— My ready name to Cupid's muster gave. And yet I saw their grief and wild despair; I saw them blindly seek the fatal snare Through winding paths, and many an artful maze, Where Cupid's viewless spell the band obeys. Here, as I turn'd my anxious eyes around, If any shade I then could see renown'd In old or modern times; the bard I spied Whose unabated love pursued his bride Down to the coast of Hades; and above His life resign'd, the pledge of constant love, Calling her name in death.—Alcaeus near, Who sung the joys of Love and toils severe, Was seen with Pindar and the Teian swain, A veteran gay among the youthful train Of Cupid's host.—The Mantuan next I found, Begirt with bards from age to age renown'd; Whether they chose in lofty themes to soar, Or sportive try the Muse's lighter lore.— There soft Tibullus walk'd with Sulmo's bard; And there Propertius with Catullus shared The meed of lovesome lays: the Grecian dame With sweeter numbers woke the amorous flame While thus I turn'd around my wondering eyes, I saw a noble train with new surprise, Who seem'd of Love in choral notes to sing, While all around them breathed Elysian spring.— Here Alighieri, with his love I spied, Selvaggia, Guido, Cino, side by side— Guido, who mourn'd the lot that fix'd his name The second of his age in lyric fame.— Two other minstrels there I spied that bore His name, renown'd on Arno's tuneful shore. With them Sicilia's bards, in elder days Match'd with the foremost in poetic praise, Though now they rank behind.—Sennuccio nigh With gentle Franceschino met my eye.— But soon another tribe, of manners strange And uncouth dialect, was seen to range Along the flowery paths, by Arnald led; In Cupid's lore by all the Muses bred, And master of the theme.—Marsilia's coast And Narbonne still his polish'd numbers boast.— The next I saw with lighter step advance; 'Twas he that caught a flame at every glance That met his eye, with him who shared his name. Join'd with an Arnald of inferior fame.— Next either Rambold in procession trod, No easy conquest to the winged god. The pride of Montferrat (a peerless dame) In many a ditty sung, announced his flame; And Genoa's bard, who left his native coast, And on Marsilia's towers the memory lost Of his first time, when Salem's sacred flame Taught him a nobler heritage to claim,— Gerard and Peter, both of Gallic blood, And tuneful Rudel, who, in moonstruck mood, O'er ocean by a flying image led, In the fantastic chase his canvas spread; And, where he thought his amorous vows to breathe, From Cupid's bow received the shaft of Death.— There was Cabestaing, whose unequall'd lays From all his rivals won superior praise.— Hugo was there, with Almeric renown'd;— Bernard and Anselm by the Muses crown'd.— Those and a thousand others o'er the field Advanced; nor javelin did they want, or shield; The Muses form'd their guard, and march'd before. Spreading their long renown from shore to shore.— The Latian band, with sympathising woe, At last I spied amid the moving show: Bologna's poet first, whose honour'd grave His relics hold beside Messina's wave. O fickle joys, that fleet upon the wind, And leave the lassitude of life behind! The youth, that every thought and movement sway'd Of this sad heart, is now an empty shade! What world contains thee now, my tuneful guide, Whom nought of old could sever from my side? What is this life?—what none but fools esteem; A fleeting shadow, a romantic dream!— Not far I wander'd o'er the peopled field, Till Socrates and Laelius I beheld. Oh, may their holy influence never cease That soothed my heart-corroding pangs to peace! Unequall'd friends! no bard's ecstatic lays Nor polish'd prose your deathless name can raise To match your genuine worth! O'er hill and dale We pass'd, and oft I told my doleful tale, Disclosing all my wounds, end not in vain: Their sacred presence seem'd to soothe my pain. Oh, may that glorious privilege be mine, Till dust to dust the final stroke resign! My courage they inspired to claim the wreath— Immortal emblem of my constant faith To her whose name the poet's garland bears! Yet nought from her, for long devoted years, I reap'd but cold disdain, and fruitless tears.— But soon a sight ensued, that, like a spell, Restrain'd at once my passion's stormy swell: But this a loftier muse demands to sing, The hallow'd power that pruned the daring wing Of that blind force, by folly canonized And in the garb of deity disguised. Yet first the conscious muse designs to tell How I endured and 'scaped his witching spell; A subject that demands a muse of fire, A glorious theme, that Phoebus might inspire— Worthy of Homer and the Orphean lyre! Still, as along the whirling chariot flew, I kept the wafture of his wings in view: Onward his snow-white steeds were seen to bound O'er many a steepy hill and dale profound: And, victims of his rage, the captive throng. Chain'd to the flying wheels, were dragg'd along, All torn and bleeding, through the thorny waste; Nor knew I how the land and sea he pass'd, Till to his mother's realm he came at last. Far eastward, where the vext AEgean roars, A little isle projects its verdant shores: Soft is the clime, and fruitful is the ground, No fairer spot old ocean clips around; Nor Sol himself surveys from east to west A sweeter scene in summer livery drest. Full in the midst ascends a shady hill, Where down its bowery slopes a streaming rill In dulcet murmurs flows, and soft perfume The senses court from many a vernal bloom, Mingled with magic; which the senses steep In sloth, and drug the mind in Lethe's deep, Quenching the spark divine—the genuine boast Of man, in Circe's wave immersed and lost. This favour'd region of the Cyprian queen Received its freight—a heaven-abandon'd scene. Where Falsehood fills the throne, while Truth retires, And vainly mourns her half-extinguish'd fires. Vile in its origin, and viler still By all incentives that seduce the will, It seems Elysium to the sons of Lust, But a foul dungeon to the good and just. Exulting o'er his slaves, the winged God Here in a theatre his triumphs show'd, Ample to hold within its mighty round His captive train, from Thule's northern bound To far Taprobane, a countless crowd, Who, to the archer boy, adoring, bow'd. Sad fantoms shook above their Gorgon wings— Fantastic longings for unreal things, And fugitive delights, and lasting woes; The summer's biting frost, and winter's rose; And penitence and grief, that dragg'd along The royal lawless pair, that poets sung. One, by his Spartan plunder, seal'd the doom Of hapless Troy—the other rescued Rome. Beneath, as if in mockery of their woe, The tumbling flood, with murmurs deep and low, Return'd their wailings; while the birds above With sweet aerial descant fill'd the grove. And all beside the river's winding bed Fresh flowers in gay confusion deck'd the mead, Painting the sod with every scent and hue That Flora's breath affords, or drinks the morning dew, And many a solemn bower, with welcome shade, Over the dusky stream a shelter made. And when the sun withdrew his slanting ray, And winter cool'd the fervours of the day, Then came the genial hours, the frequent feast And circling times of joy and balmy rest. New day and night were poised in even scale, And spring awoke her equinoctial gale, And Progne now and Philomel begun With genial toils to greet the vernal sun. Just then—O hapless mortals! that rely On fickle fortune's ever-changing sky— E'en in that season, when, with sacred fire, Dan Cupid seem'd his subjects to inspire, That warms the heart, and kindles in the look, And all beneath the moon obey his yoke— I saw the sad reverse that lovers own, I heard the slaves beneath their bondage groan; I saw them sink beneath the deadly weight And the long tortures that forerun their fate. Sad disappointments there in meagre forms Were seen, and feverish dreams, and fancied harms; And fantoms rising from the yawning tomb Were seen to muster in the gathering gloom Around the car; and some were seen to climb, While cruel fate reversed their steps sublime. And empty notions in the port were seen, And baffled hopes were there with cloudy mien. There was expensive gain, and gain that lost, And amorous schemes by fortune's favour cross'd; And wearisome repose, and cares that slept. There was the semblance of disgrace, that kept The youth from dire mischance on whom it fell, And glory darken'd on the gloom of hell; Perfidious loyalty, and honest fraud, And wisdom slow, and headlong thirst of blood; The dungeon, where the flowery paths decoy; The painful, hard escape, with long annoy. I saw the smooth descent the foot betray, And the steep rocky path that leads again to day. There in the gloomy gulf confusion storm'd, And moody rage its wildest freaks perform'd; And settled grief was there; and solid night, But rarely broke with fitful gleams of light From joy's fantastic hand. Not Vulcan's forge, When his Cyclopean caves the fumes disgorge; Nor the deep mine of Mongibel, that throws The fiery tempest o'er eternal snows; Nor Lipari, whose strong sulphureous blast O'ercanopies with flames the watery waste; Nor Stromboli, that sweeps the glowing sky With red combustion, with its rage could vie.— Little he loves himself that ventures there, For there is ceaseless woe and fell despair: Yet, in this dolorous dungeon long confined, Till time had grizzled o'er my locks, I pined. There, dreaming still of liberty to come, I spent my summers in this noisome gloom; Yet still a dubious joy my grief controll'd, To spy such numbers in that darksome hold. But soon to gall my seeming transport turn'd, And my illustrious partner's fate I mourn'd; And often seem'd, with sympathising woe, To melt in solvent tears like vernal snow. I turn'd away, but, with inverted glance, Perused the fleeting shapes that fill'd my trance; Like him that feels a moment's short delight When a fine picture fleets before his sight.
THE TRIUMPH OF CHASTITY.
Quando ad un giogo ed in Un tempo quivi.
When to one yoke at once I saw the height Of gods and men subdued by Cupid's might, I took example from their cruel fate, And by their sufferings eased my own hard state; Since Phoebus and Leander felt like pain, The one a god, the other but a man; One snare caught Juno and the Carthage dame (Her husband's death prepared her funeral flame— 'Twas not a cause that Virgil maketh one); I need not grieve, that unprepared, alone, Unarm'd, and young, I did receive a wound, Or that my enemy no hurt hath found By Love; or that she clothed him in my sight, And took his wings, and marr'd his winding flight; No angry lions send more hideous noise From their beat breasts, nor clashing thunder's voice Rends heaven, frights earth, and roareth through the air With greater force than Love had raised, to dare Encounter her of whom I write; and she As quick and ready to assail as he: Enceladus when Etna most he shakes, Nor angry Scylla, nor Charybdis makes So great and frightful noise, as did the shock Of this (first doubtful) battle: none could mock Such earnest war; all drew them to the height To see what 'mazed their hearts and dimm'd their sight. Victorious Love a threatening dart did show His right hand held; the other bore a bow, The string of which he drew just by his ear; No leopard could chase a frighted deer (Free, or broke loose) with quicker speed than he Made haste to wound; fire sparkled from his eye. I burn'd, and had a combat in my breast, Glad t' have her company, yet 'twas not best (Methought) to see her lost, but 'tis in vain T' abandon goodness, and of fate complain; Virtue her servants never will forsake, As now 'twas seen, she could resistance make: No fencer ever better warded blow, Nor pilot did to shore more wisely row To shun a shelf, than with undaunted power She waved the stroke of this sharp conqueror. Mine eyes and heart were watchful to attend, In hope the victory would that way bend It ever did; and that I might no more Be barr'd from her; as one whose thoughts before His tongue hath utter'd them you well may see Writ in his looks; "Oh! if you victor be Great sir," said I, "let her and me be bound Both with one yoke; I may be worthy found, And will not set her free, doubt not my faith:" When I beheld her with disdain and wrath So fill'd, that to relate it would demand A better muse than mine: her virtuous hand Had quickly quench'd those gilded fiery darts Which, dipp'd in beauty's pleasure, poison hearts. Neither Camilla, nor the warlike host That cut their breasts, could so much valour boast Nor Caesar in Pharsalia fought so well, As she 'gainst him who pierceth coats of mail; All her brave virtues arm'd, attended there, (A glorious troop!) and marched pair by pair: Honour and blushes first in rank; the two Religious virtues make the second row; (By those the other women doth excel); Prudence and Modesty, the twins that dwell Together, both were lodged in her breast: Glory and Perseverance, ever blest: Fair Entertainment, Providence without, Sweet Courtesy, and Pureness round about; Respect of credit, fear of infamy; Grave thoughts in youth; and, what not oft agree, True Chastity and rarest Beauty; these All came 'gainst Love, and this the heavens did please, And every generous soul in that full height. He had no power left to bear the weight; A thousand famous prizes hardly gain'd She took; and thousand glorious palms obtained. Shook from his hands; the fall was not more strange Of Hannibal, when Fortune pleased to change Her mind, and on the Roman youth bestow The favours he enjoy'd; nor was he so Amazed who frighted the Israelitish host— Struck by the Hebrew boy, that quit his boast; Nor Cyrus more astonish'd at the fall The Jewish widow gave his general: As one that sickens suddenly, and fears His life, or as a man ta'en unawares In some base act, and doth the finder hate; Just so was he, or in a worse estate: Fear, grief, and shame, and anger, in his face Were seen: no troubled seas more rage: the place Where huge Typhoeus groans, nor Etna, when Her giant sighs, were moved as he was then. I pass by many noble things I see (To write them were too hard a task for me), To her and those that did attend I go: Her armour was a robe more white than snow; And in her hand a shield like his she bare Who slew Medusa; a fair pillar there Of jasp was next, and with a chain (first wet In Lethe flood) of jewels fitly set, Diamonds, mix'd with topazes (of old 'Twas worn by ladies, now 'tis not) first hold She caught, then bound him fast; then such revenge She took as might suffice. My thoughts did change And I, who wish'd him victory before, Was satisfied he now could hurt no more. I cannot in my rhymes the names contain Of blessed maids that did make up her train; Calliope nor Clio could suffice, Nor all the other seven, for th' enterprise; Yet some I will insert may justly claim Precedency of others. Lucrece came On her right hand; Penelope was by, Those broke his bow, and made his arrows lie Split on the ground, and pull'd his plumes away From off his wings: after, Virginia, Near her vex'd father, arm'd with wrath and hate. Fury, and iron, and love, he freed the state And her from slavery, with a manly blow; Next were those barbarous women, who could show They judged it better die than suffer wrong To their rude chastity; the wise and strong— The chaste Hebraean Judith follow'd these; The Greek that saved her honour in the seas; With these and other famous souls I see Her triumph over him who used to be Master of all the world: among the rest The vestal nun I spied, who was so bless'd As by a wonder to preserve her fame; Next came Hersilia, the Roman dame (Or Sabine rather), with her valorous train, Who prove all slanders on that sex are vain. Then, 'mongst the foreign ladies, she whose faith T' her husband (not AEneas) caused her death; The vulgar ignorant may hold their peace, Her safety to her chastity gave place; Dido, I mean, whom no vain passion led (As fame belies her); last, the virtuous maid Retired to Arno, who no rest could find, Her friends' constraining power forced her mind. The Triumph thither went where salt waves wet The Baian shore eastward; her foot she set There on firm land, and did Avernus leave On the one hand, on th' other Sybil's cave; So to Linternus march'd, the village where The noble Africane lies buried; there The great news of her triumph did appear As glorious to the eye as to the ear The fame had been; and the most chaste did show Most beautiful; it grieved Love much to go Another's prisoner, exposed to scorn, Who to command whole empires seemed born. Thus to the chiefest city all were led, Entering the temple which Sulpicia made Sacred; it drives all madness from the mind; And chastity's pure temple next we find, Which in brave souls doth modest thoughts beget, Not by plebeians enter'd, but the great Patrician dames; there were the spoils display'd Of the fair victress; there her palms she laid, And did commit them to the Tuscan youth, Whose marring scars bear witness of his truth: With others more, whose names I fully knew, (My guide instructed me,) that overthrew The power of Love: 'mongst whom, of all the rest, Hippolytus and Joseph were the best.
When gods and men I saw in Cupid's chain Promiscuous led, a long uncounted train, By sad example taught, I learn'd at last Wisdom's best rule—to profit from the past Some solace in the numbers too I found, Of those that mourn'd, like me, the common wound That Phoebus felt, a mortal beauty's slave, That urged Leander through the wintry wave; That jealous Juno with Eliza shared, Whose more than pious hands the flame prepared; That mix'd her ashes with her murder'd spouse. A dire completion of her nuptial vows. (For not the Trojan's love, as poets sing, In her wan bosom fix'd the secret string.) And why should I of common ills complain, Shot by a random shaft, a thoughtless swain? Unarm'd and unprepared to meet the foe, My naked bosom seem'd to court the blow. One cause, at least, to soothe my grief ensued; When I beheld the ruthless power subdued; And all unable now to twang the string, Or mount the breeze on many-colour'd wing. But never tawny monarch of the wood His raging rival meets, athirst for blood; Nor thunder-clouds, when winds the signal blow, With louder shock astound the world below; When the red flash, insufferably bright, Heaven, earth, and sea displays in dismal light; Could match the furious speed and fell intent With which the winged son of Venus bent His fatal yew against the dauntless fair Who seem'd with heart of proof to meet the war; Nor Etna sends abroad the blast of death When, wrapp'd in flames, the giant moves beneath; Nor Scylla, roaring, nor the loud reply Of mad Charybdis, when her waters fly And seem to lave the moon, could match the rage Of those fierce rivals burning to engage. Aloof the many drew with sudden fright, And clamber'd up the hills to see the fight; And when the tempest of the battle grew, Each face display'd a wan and earthy hue. The assailant now prepared his shaft to wing, And fixed his fatal arrow on the string: The fatal string already reach'd his ear; Nor from the leopard flies the trembling deer With half the haste that his ferocious wrath Bore him impetuous on to deeds of death; And in his stern regard the scorching fire Was seen, that burns the breast with fierce desire; To me a fatal flame! but hope to see My lovely tyrant forced to love like me, And, bound in equal chain, assuaged my woe, As, with an eager eye, I watch'd the coming blow But virtue, as it ne'er forsakes the soul That yields obedience to her blest control, Proves how of her unjustly we complain, When she vouchsafes her gracious aid in vain In vain the self-abandon'd shift the blame Upon their stars, or fate's perverted name. Ne'er did a gladiator shun the stroke With nimbler turn, or more attentive look; Never did pilot's hand the vessel steer With more dexterity the shoals to clear Than with evasion quick and matchless art, By grace and virtue arm'd in head and heart, She wafted quick the cruel shaft aside, Woe to the lingering soul that dares the stroke abide! I watch'd, and long with firm expectance stood To see a mortal by a god subdued, The usual fate of man! in hope to find The cords of Love the beauteous captive bind With me, a willing slave, to Cupid's car, The fortunes of the common race to share. As one, whose secrets in his looks we spy, His inmost thoughts discovers in his eye Or in his aspect, graved by nature's hand, My gestures, ere I spoke, enforced my fond demand. "Oh, link us to your wheels!" aloud I cried, "If your victorious arms the fray decide: Oh, bind us closely with your strongest chain! I ne'er will seek for liberty again!"— But oh! what fury seem'd his eyes to fill! No bard that ever quaff'd Castalia's rill Could match his frenzy, when his shafts of fire With magic plumed, and barb'd with hot desire, Short of their sacred aim, innoxious fell, Extinguish'd by the pure ethereal spell. Camilla; or the Amazons in arms From ancient Thermodon, to fierce alarms Inured; or Julius in Pharsalia's field, When his dread onset forced the foe to yield— Came not so boldly on as she, to face The mighty victor of the human race, Who scorns the temper'd mail and buckler's ward. With her the Virtues came—an heavenly guard, A sky-descended legion, clad in light Of glorious panoply, contemning mortal might; All weaponless they came; but hand in hand Defied the fury of the adverse band: Honour and maiden Shame were in the ban, Elysian twins, beloved by God and man. Her delegates in arms with them combined; Prudence appear'd, the daughter of the mind; Pure Temperance next, and Steadiness of soul, That ever keeps in view the eternal goal; And Gentleness and soft Address were seen, And Courtesy, with mild inviting mien; And Purity, and cautious Dread of blame, With ardent love of clear unspotted fame; And sage Discretion, seldom seen below, Where the full veins with youthful ardour glow; Benevolence and Harmony of soul Were there, but rarely found from pole to pole; And there consummate Beauty shone, combined With all the pureness of an angel-mind. Such was the host that to the conflict came, Their bosoms kindling with empyreal flame And sense of heavenly help.—The beams that broke From each celestial file with horror struck The bowyer god, who felt the blinding rays, And like a mortal stood in fix'd amaze; While on his spoils the fair assailants flew, And plunder'd at their ease the captive crew; And some with palmy boughs the way bestrew'd, To show their conquest o'er the baffled god. Sudden as Hannibal on Zama's field Was forced to Scipio's conquering arms to yield; Sudden as David's hand the giant sped, When Accaron beheld his fall and fled; Sudden as her revenge who gave the word, When her stern guards dispatch'd the Persian lord; Or like a man that feels a strong disease His shivering members in a moment seize— Such direful throes convulsed the despot's frame. His hands, that veil'd his eyes, confess'd his shame, And mental pangs, more agonising far, In his sick bosom bred a civil war; And hate and anguish, with insatiate ire, Flash'd in his eyes with momentary fire.— Not raging Ocean, when its billows boil; Nor Typhon, when he lifts the trembling soil Of Arima, his tortured limbs to ease; Nor Etna, thundering o'er the subject seas— Surpass'd the fury of the baffled Power, Who stamp'd with rage, and bann'd the luckless hour Scenes yet unsung demand my loftiest lays— But oh! the theme transcends a mortal's praise. A sweet but humbler subject may suffice To muster in my song her fair allies; But first, her arms and vesture claim my song Before I chant the fair attendant throng:— A robe she wore that seem'd of woven light; The buckler of Minerva fill'd her right, Medusa's bane; a column there was drawn Of jasper bright; and o'er the snowy lawn And round her beauteous neck a chain was slung, Which glittering on her snowy bosom hung. Diamond and topaz there, with mingled ray, Return'd in varied hues the beam of day; A treasure of inestimable cost, Too long, alas! in Lethe's bosom lost: To modern matrons scarcely known by fame, Few, were it to be found, the prize would claim. With this the vanquish'd god she firmly bound, While I with joy her kind assistance own'd; But oh! the feeble Muse attempts in vain To celebrate in song her numerous train; Not all the choir of Aganippe's spring The pageant of the sisterhood could sing: But some shall live, distinguished in my lay, The most illustrious of the long array.— The dexter wing the fair Lucretia led, With her, who, faithful to her nuptial bed, Her suitors scorn'd: and these with dauntless hand The quiver seized, and scatter'd on the strand The pointless arrows, and the broken bow Of Cupid, their despoil'd and recreant foe.— Lovely Virginia with her sire was nigh: Paternal love and anger in his eye Beam'd terrible, while in his hand he show'd Aloft the dagger, tinged with virgin blood, Which freedom on the maid and Rome at once bestow'd.— Then the Teutonic dames, a dauntless race, Who rush'd on death to shun a foe's embrace;— And Judith chaste and fair, but void of dread, Who the hot blood of Holofernes shed;— And that fair Greek who chose a watery grave Her threaten'd purity unstain'd to save.— All these and others to the combat flew, And all combined to wreak the vengeance due On him, whose haughty hand in days of yore From clime to clime his conquering standard bore. Another troop the vestal virgin led, Who bore along from Tyber's oozy bed His liquid treasure in a sieve, to show The falsehood of her base calumnious foe By wondrous proof.—And there the Sabine queen With all the matrons of her race was seen, Renown'd in records old;—and next in fame Was she, who dauntless met the funeral flame, Not wrong'd in Love, but to preserve her vows Immaculate to her Sidonian spouse. Let others of AEneas' falsehood tell, How by an unrequited flame she fell; A nobler, though a self-inflicted doom, Caused by connubial Love, dismiss'd her to the tomb.— Picarda next I saw, who vainly tried To pass her days on Arno's flowery side In single purity, till force compell'd The virgin to the marriage bond to yield. The triumph seem'd at last to reach the shore Where lofty Baise hears the Tuscan roar. 'Twas on a vernal morn it touch'd the land, And 'twixt Mount Barbaro that crowns the strand And old Avernus (once an hallow'd ground); For the Cumaean sibyl's cell renown'd. Linterno's sandy bounds it reach'd at last, Great Scipio's favour'd haunt in ages past; Famed Africanus, whose victorious blade The slaughterous deeds of Hannibal repaid, And to his country's heart a bloody passage made. Here in a calm retreat his life he spent, With rural peace and solitude content. And here the flying rumour sped before, And magnified the deed from shore to shore. The pageant, when it reach'd the destined spot, Seem'd to exceed their utmost reach of thought. There, all distinguish'd by their deeds of arms, Excell'd the rest in more than mortal charms. Nor he, whom oft the steeds of conquest drew, Disdained another's triumphs to pursue. At the metropolis arrived at last, To fair Sulpicia's temples soon we pass'd, Sacred to Chastity, to ward the pest With which her sensual foes inflame the breast; The patroness of noble dames alone— Then was the fair plebeian Pole unknown, The victress here display'd her martial spoils, And here the laurel hung that crown'd her toils: A guard she stationed on the temple's bound— The Tuscan, mark'd with many a glorious wound Suspicion in the jealous breast to cure: With him a chosen squadron kept the door. I heard their names, and I remember well The youthful Greek that by his stepdame fell, And him who, kept by Heaven's command in awe, Refused to violate the nuptial law.
THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH.
Questa leggiadra e gloriosa Donna.
The glorious Maid, whose soul to heaven is gone And left the rest cold earth, she who was grown A pillar of true valour, and had gain'd Much honour by her victory, and chain'd That god which doth the world with terror bind, Using no armour but her own chaste mind; A fair aspect, coy thoughts, and words well weigh'd, Sweet modesty to these gave friendly aid. It was a miracle on earth to see The bow and arrows of the deity, And all his armour broke, who erst had slain Such numbers, and so many captive ta'en; The fair dame from the noble sight withdrew With her choice company,—they were but few. And made a little troop, true virtue's rare,— Yet each of them did by herself appear A theme for poems, and might well incite The best historian: they bore a white Unspotted ermine, in a field of green, About whose neck a topaz chain was seen Set in pure gold; their heavenly words and gait, Express'd them blest were born for such a fate. Bright stars they seem'd, she did a sun appear, Who darken'd not the rest, but made more clear Their splendour; honour in brave minds is found: This troop, with violets and roses crown'd, Cheerfully march'd, when lo, I might espy Another ensign dreadful to mine eye— A lady clothed in black, whose stern looks were With horror fill'd, and did like hell appear, Advanced, and said, "You who are proud to be So fair and young, yet have no eyes to see How near you are your end; behold, I am She, whom they, fierce, and blind, and cruel name, Who meet untimely deaths; 'twas I did make Greece subject, and the Roman Empire shake; My piercing sword sack'd Troy, how many rude And barbarous people are by me subdued? Many ambitious, vain, and amorous thought My unwish'd presence hath to nothing brought; Now am I come to you, while yet your state Is happy, ere you feel a harder fate." "On these you have no power," she then replied, (Who had more worth than all the world beside,) "And little over me; but there is one Who will be deeply grieved when I am gone, His happiness doth on my life depend, I shall find freedom in a peaceful end." As one who glancing with a sudden eye Some unexpected object doth espy; Then looks again, and doth his own haste blame So in a doubting pause, this cruel dame A little stay'd, and said, "The rest I call To mind, and know I have o'ercome them all:" Then with less fierce aspect, she said, "Thou guide Of this fair crew, hast not my strength assay'd, Let her advise, who may command, prevent Decrepit age, 'tis but a punishment; From me this honour thou alone shalt have, Without or fear or pain, to find thy grave." "As He shall please, who dwelleth in the heaven And rules on earth, such portion must be given To me, as others from thy hand receive," She answered then; afar we might perceive Millions of dead heap'd on th' adjacent plain; No verse nor prose may comprehend the slain Did on Death's triumph wait, from India, From Spain, and from Morocco, from Cathay, And all the skirts of th' earth they gather'd were; Who had most happy lived, attended there: Popes, Emperors, nor Kings, no ensigns wore Of their past height, but naked show'd and poor. Where be their riches, where their precious gems, Their mitres, sceptres, robes, and diadems? O miserable men, whose hopes arise From worldly joys, yet be there few so wise As in those trifling follies not to trust; And if they be deceived, in end 'tis just: Ah! more than blind, what gain you by your toil? You must return once to your mother's soil, And after-times your names shall hardly know, Nor any profit from your labour grow; All those strange countries by your warlike stroke Submitted to a tributary yoke; The fuel erst of your ambitious fire, What help they now? The vast and bad desire Of wealth and power at a bloody rate Is wicked,—better bread and water eat With peace; a wooden dish doth seldom hold A poison'd draught; glass is more safe than gold; But for this theme a larger time will ask, I must betake me to my former task. The fatal hour of her short life drew near, That doubtful passage which the world doth fear; Another company, who had not been Freed from their earthy burden there were seen, To try if prayers could appease the wrath, Or stay th' inexorable hand, of Death. That beauteous crowd convened to see the end Which all must taste; each neighbour, every friend Stood by, when grim Death with her hand took hold, And pull'd away one only hair of gold, Thus from the world this fairest flower is ta'en To make her shine more bright, not out of spleen How many moaning plaints, what store of cries Were utter'd there, when Fate shut those fair eyes For which so oft I sung; whose beauty burn'd My tortured heart so long; while others mourn'd, She pleased, and quiet did the fruit enjoy Of her blest life: "Farewell," without annoy, "True saint on earth," said they; so might she be Esteem'd, but nothing bates Death's cruelty. What shall become of others, since so pure A body did such heats and colds endure, And changed so often in so little space? Ah, worldly hopes, how blind you be, how base! If since I bathe the ground with flowing tears For that mild soul, who sees it, witness bears; And thou who read'st mayst judge she fetter'd me The sixth of April, and did set me free On the same day and month. Oh! how the way Of fortune is unsure; none hates the day Of slavery, or of death, so much as I Abhor the time which wrought my liberty, And my too lasting life; it had been just My greater age had first been turn'd to dust, And paid to time, and to the world, the debt I owed, then earth had kept her glorious state: Now at what rate I should the sorrow prize I know not, nor have heart that can suffice The sad affliction to relate in verse Of these fair dames, that wept about her hearse; "Courtesy, Virtue, Beauty, all are lost; What shall become of us? None else can boast Such high perfection; no more we shall Hear her wise words, nor the angelical Sweet music of her voice." While thus they cried, The parting spirit doth itself divide With every virtue from the noble breast, As some grave hermit seeks a lonely rest: The heavens were clear, and all the ambient air Without a threatening cloud; no adversaire 'Durst once appear, or her calm mind affright; Death singly did herself conclude the fight; After, when fear, and the extremest plaint Were ceased, th' attentive eyes of all were bent On that fair face, and by despair became Secure; she who was spent, not like a flame By force extinguish'd, but as lights decay, And undiscerned waste themselves away: Thus went the soul in peace; so lamps are spent, As the oil fails which gave them nourishment; In sum, her countenance you still might know The same it was, not pale, but white as snow, Which on the tops of hills in gentle flakes Falls in a calm, or as a man that takes Desir'ed rest, as if her lovely sight Were closed with sweetest sleep, after the sprite Was gone. If this be that fools call to die, Death seem'd in her exceeding fair to be.
[LINES 103 TO END.]
And now closed in the last hour's narrow span Of that so glorious and so brief career, Ere the dark pass so terrible to man! And a fair troop of ladies gather'd there, Still of this earth, with grace and honour crown'd, To mark if ever Death remorseful were. This gentle company thus throng'd around, In her contemplating the awful end All once must make, by law of nature bound; Each was a neighbour, each a sorrowing friend. Then Death stretch'd forth his hand, in that dread hour, From her bright head a golden hair to rend, Thus culling of this earth the fairest flower; Nor hate impell'd the deed, but pride, to dare Assert o'er highest excellence his power. What tearful lamentations fill the air The while those beauteous eyes alone are dry, Whose sway my burning thoughts and lays declare! And while in grief dissolved all weep and sigh, She, in meek silence, joyous sits secure, Gathering already virtue's guerdon high. "Depart in peace, O mortal goddess pure!" They said; and such she was: although it nought 'Gainst mightier Death avail'd, so stern—so sure! Alas for others! if a few nights wrought In her each change of suffering dust below! Oh! Hope, how false! how blind all human thought! Whether in earth sank deep the dews of woe For the bright spirit that had pass'd away, Think, ye who listen! they who witness'd know. 'Twas the first hour, of April the sixth day, That bound me, and, alas! now sets me free: How Fortune doth her fickleness display! None ever grieved for loss of liberty Or doom of death as I for freedom grieve, And life prolong'd, who only ask to die. Due to the world it had been her to leave, And me, of earlier birth, to have laid low, Nor of its pride and boast the age bereave. How great the grief it is not mine to show, Scarce dare I think, still less by numbers try, Or by vain speech to ease my weight of woe. Virtue is dead, beauty and courtesy! The sorrowing dames her honour'd couch around "For what are we reserved?" in anguish cry; "Where now in woman will all grace be found? Who with her wise and gentle words be blest, And drink of her sweet song th' angelic sound?" The spirit parting from that beauteous breast, In its meek virtues wrapt, and best prepared, Had with serenity the heavens imprest: No power of darkness, with ill influence, dared Within a space so holy to intrude, Till Death his terrible triumph had declared. Then hush'd was all lament, all fear subdued; Each on those beauteous features gazed intent, And from despair was arm'd with fortitude. As a pure flame that not by force is spent, But faint and fainter softly dies away, Pass'd gently forth in peace the soul content: And as a light of clear and steady ray, When fails the source from which its brightness flows, She to the last held on her-wonted way. Pale, was she? no, but white as shrouding snows, That, when the winds are lull'd, fall silently, She seem'd as one o'erwearied to repose. E'en as in balmy slumbers lapt to lie (The spirit parted from the form below), In her appear'd what th' unwise term to die; And Death sate beauteous on her beauteous brow.
La notte che segui l' orribil caso.
The night—that follow'd the disastrous blow Which my spent sun removed in heaven to glow, And left me here a blind and desolate man— Now far advanced, to spread o'er earth began The sweet spring dew which harbingers the dawn, When slumber's veil and visions are withdrawn; When, crown'd with oriental gems, and bright As newborn day, upon my tranced sight My Lady lighted from her starry sphere: With kind speech and soft sigh, her hand so dear. So long desired in vain, to mine she press'd, While heavenly sweetness instant warm'd my breast: "Remember her, who, from the world apart, Kept all your course since known to that young heart." Pensive she spoke, with mild and modest air Seating me by her, on a soft bank, where, In greenest shade, the beech and laurel met. "Remember? ah! how should I e'er forget? Yet tell me, idol mine," in tears I said, "Live you?—or dreamt I—is, is Laura dead?" "Live I? I only live, but you indeed Are dead, and must be, till the last best hour Shall free you from the flesh and vile world's power. But, our brief leisure lest desire exceed, Turn we, ere breaks the day already nigh, To themes of greater interest, pure and high." Then I: "When ended the brief dream and vain That men call life, by you now safely pass'd, Is death indeed such punishment and pain?" Replied she: "While on earth your lot is cast, Slave to the world's opinions blind and hard, True happiness shall ne'er your search reward; Death to the good a dreary prison opes, But to the vile and base, who all their hopes And cares below have fix'd, is full of fear; And this my loss, now mourn'd with many a tear, Would seem a gain, and, knew you my delight Boundless and pure, your joyful praise excite." Thus spoke she, and on heaven her grateful eye Devoutly fix'd, but while her rose-lips lie Chain'd in cold silence, I renew'd my theme: "Lightning and storm, red battle, age, disease, Backs, prisons, poison, famine,—make not these Death, even to the bravest, bitter seem?" She answer'd: "I deny not that the strife Is great and sore which waits on parting life, And then of death eternal the sharp dread! But if the soul with hope from heaven be fed, And haply in itself the heart have grief, What then is death? Its brief sigh brings relief: Already I approach'd my final goal, My strength was failing, on the wing my soul, When thus a low sad-whisper by my side, 'O miserable! who, to vain life tied, Counts every hour and deems each hour a day, By land or ocean, to himself a prey, Where'er he wanders, who one form pursues, Indulges one desire, one dream renews, Thought, speech, sense, feeling, there for ever bound!' It ceased, and to the spot whence came the sound I turn'd my languid eyes, and her beheld, Your love who check'd, my pity who impell'd; I recognised her by that voice and air, So often which had chased my spirit's gloom, Now calm and wise, as courteous then and fail. But e'en to you when dearest, in the bloom Of joyous youth and beauty's rosy prime. Theme of much thought, and muse of many a rhyme, Believe me, life to me was far less sweet Than thus a merciful mild death to meet, The blessed hope, to mortals rarely given: And such joy smooth'd my path from earth to heaven, As from long exile to sweet home I turn'd, While but for you alone my soul with pity yearn'd." "But tell me, lady," said I, "by that true And loyal faith, on earth well known to you Now better known before the Omniscient's face, If in your breast the thought e'er found a place Love prompted, my long martyrdom to cheer, Though virtue follow'd still her fair emprize. For ah! oft written in those sweetest eyes, Dear anger, dear disdain, and pardon dear, Long o'er my wishes doubts and shadows cast." Scarce from my lips the venturous speech had pass'd, When o'er her fair face its old sun-smile beam'd, My sinking virtue which so oft redeem'd, And with a tender sigh she answer'd: "Never Can or did aught from you my firm heart sever: But as, to our young fame, no other way, Direct and plain, of mutual safety lay, I temper'd with cold looks your raging flame: So fondest mothers wayward children tame. How often have I said, 'It me behoves To act discreetly, for he burns, not loves! Who hopes and fears, ill plays discretion's part! He must not in my face detect my heart;' 'Twas this, which, as a rein the generous horse, Slack'd your hot haste, and shaped your proper course. Often, while Love my struggling heart consumed, Has anger tinged my cheek, my eyes illumed, For Love in me could reason ne'er subdue; But ever if I saw you sorrow-spent, Instant my fondest looks on you were bent, Myself from shame, from death redeeming you; Or, if the flame of passion blazed too high, My greeting changed, with short speech and cold eye My sorrow moved you or my terror shook. That these the arts I used, the way I took, Smiles varying scorn as sunshine follows rain, You know, and well have sung in many a deathless strain Again and oft, as saw I sunk in grief Those tearful eyes, I said, 'Without relief, Surely and swift he marches to his grave,' And, at the thought, the fitting help I gave.' But if I saw you wild and passion spurr'd, Prompt with the curb, your boldness I deterr'd; Thus cold and kind, pale, blushing, gloomy, gay, Safe have I led you through the dangerous way, And, as my labour, great my joy at last." Trembling, I answer'd, and my tears flow'd fast, "Lady, could I the blessed thought believe, My faithful love would full reward receive." "O man of little faith!"—her fairest cheek, E'en as she spoke, a warm blush 'gan to streak— "Why should I say it, were it less than true? If you on earth were pleasant in my view I need not ask; enough it pleased to see The best love of that true heart fix'd on me; Well too your genius pleased me, and the fame Which, far and wide, it shower'd upon my name; Your Love had blame in its excess alone, And wanted prudence; while you sought to tell, By act and air, what long I knew and well, To the whole world your secret heart was shown; Thence was the coldness which your hopes distress'd, For such our sympathy in all the rest, As is alone where Love keeps honour's law. Since in your bosom first its birth I saw, One fire our heart has equally inflamed, Except that I conceal'd it, you proclaim'd; And louder as your cry for mercy swell'd, Terror and shame my silence more compell'd, That men my great desire should little think; But ah! concealment makes not sorrow less, Complaint embitters not the mind's distress, Feeling with fiction cannot swell and shrink, But surely then at least the veil was raised, You only present when your verse I praised, And whispering sang, 'Love dares not more to say.' Yours was my heart, though turn'd my eyes away; Grieve you, as cruel, that their grace was such, As kept the little, gave the good and much; Yet oft and openly as they withdrew, Far oftener furtively they dwelt on you, For pity thus, what prudence robb'd, return'd; And ever so their tranquil lights had burn'd, Save that I fear'd those dear and dangerous eyes Might then the secret of my soul surprise. But one thing more, that, ere our parley cease, Memory may shrine my words, as treasures sweet, And this our parting give your spirit peace. In all things else my fortune was complete, In this alone some cause had I to mourn That first I saw the light in humble earth, And still, in sooth, it grieves that I was born Far from the flowery nest where you had birth; Yet fair to me the land where your love bless'd; Haply that heart, which I alone possess'd, Elsewhere had others loved, myself unseen, And I, now voiced by fame, had there inglorious been." "Ah, no!" I cried, "howe'er the spheres might roll, Wherever born, immutable and whole, In life, in death, my great love had been yours." "Enough," she smiled, "its fame for aye endures, And all my own! but pleasure has such power, Too little have we reck'd the growing hour; Behold! Aurora, from her golden bed, Brings back the day to mortals, and the sun Already from the ocean lifts his head. Alas! he warns me that, my mission done, We here must part. If more remain to say, Sweet friend! in speech be brief, as must my stay." Then I: "This kindest converse makes to me All sense of my long suffering light and sweet: But lady! for that now my life must be Hateful and heavy, tell me, I entreat, When, late or early, we again shall meet?" "If right I read the future, long must you Without me walk the earth." She spoke, and pass'd from view.
THE TRIUMPH OF FAME.
Da poi che Morte trionfo nel volto.
When cruel Death his paly ensign spread Over that face, which oft in triumph led My subject thoughts; and beauty's sovereign light, Retiring, left the world immersed in night; The Phantom, with a frown that chill'd the heart, Seem'd with his gloomy pageant to depart, Exulting in his formidable arms, And proud of conquest o'er seraphic charms. When, turning round, I saw the Power advance That breaks the gloomy grave's eternal trance, And bids the disembodied spirit claim The glorious guerdon of immortal Fame. Like Phosphor, in the sullen rear of night, Before the golden wheels of orient light He came. But who the tendant pomp can tell, What mighty master of the corded shell Can sing how heaven above accordant smiled, And what bright pageantry the prospect fill'd. I look'd, but all in vain: the potent ray Flash'd on my sight intolerable day At first; but to the splendour soon inured, My eyes perused the pomp with sight assured. True dignity in every face was seen, As on they march'd with more than mortal mien; And some I saw whom Love had link'd before, Ennobled now by Virtue's lofty lore. Caesar and Scipio on the dexter hand Of the bright goddess led the laurell'd band. One, like a planet by the lord of day, Seem'd o'er-illumined by her splendid ray, By brightness hid; for he, to virtue true, His mind from Love's soft bondage nobly drew. The other, half a slave to female charms, Parted his homage to the god of arms And Love's seductive power: but, close and deep, Like files that climb'd the Capitolian steep In years of yore, along the sacred way A martial squadron came in long array. In ranges as they moved distinct and bright, On every burganet that met the light, Some name of long renown, distinctly read, O'er each majestic brow a glory shed. Still on the noble pair my eyes I bent, And watch'd their progress up the steep ascent. The second Scipio next in line was seen, And he that seem'd the lure of Egypt's queen; With many a mighty chief I there beheld, Whose valorous hand the battle's storm repell'd. Two fathers of the great Cornelian name, With their three noble sons who shared their fame, One singly march'd before, and, hand in hand, His two heroic partners trod the strand. The last was first in fame; but brighter beams His follower flung around in solar streams. Metaurus' champion, whom the moon beheld, When his resistless spears the current swell'd With Libya's hated gore, in arms renown'd Was he, nor less with Wisdom's olive crown'd. Quick was his thought and ready was his hand, His power accomplish'd what his reason plann'd; He seem'd, with eagle eye and eagle wing, Sudden on his predestined game to spring. But he that follow'd next with step sedate Drew round his foe the viewless snare of fate; While, with consummate art, he kept at bay The raging foe, and conquer'd by delay. Another Fabius join'd the stoic pair, The Pauli and Marcelli famed in war; With them the victor in the friendly strife, Whose public virtue quench'd his love of life. With either Brutus ancient Curius came; Fabricius, too, I spied, a nobler name (With his plain russet gown and simple board) Than either Lydian with her golden hoard. Then came the great dictator from the plough; And old Serranus show'd his laurell'd brow. Marching with equal step. Camillus near, Who, fresh and vigorous in the bright career Of honour, sped, and never slack'd his pace, Till Death o'ertook him in the noble race, And placed him in a sphere of fame so high, That other patriots fill'd a lower sky. Even those ungrateful lands that seal'd his doom Recall'd the hanish'd man to rescue Rome. Torquains nigh, a sterner spectre stood, His fasces all besmear'd with filial blood: He childless to the shades resolved to go, Rather than Rome a moment should forego That dreadful discipline, whose rigid lore Had spread their triumphs round from shore to shore. Then the two Decii came, by Heaven inspired, Divinely bold, as when the foe retired Before their Heaven-directed march, amazed, When on the self-devoted men they gazed, Till they provoked their fate. And Curtius nigh, As when to heaven he cast his upward eye, And all on fire with glory's opening charms, Plunged to the Shades below with clanging arms, Laevinus, Mummius, with Flaminius show'd, Like meaner lights along the heavenly road; And he who conquer'd Greece from sea to sea, Then mildly bade th' afflicted race be free. Next came the dauntless envoy, with his wand, Whose more than magic circle on the sand The frenzy of the Syrian king confined: O'er-awed he stood, and at his fate repined. Great Manlius, too, who drove the hostile throng Prone from the steep on which his members hung, (A sad reverse) the hungry vultures' food, When Roman justice claim'd his forfeit blood. Then Cocles came, who took his dreadful stand Where the wide arch the foaming torrent spann'd, Stemming the tide of war with matchless might, And turn'd the heady current of the fight. And he that, stung with fierce vindictive ire, Consumed his erring hand with hostile fire. Duillius next and Catulus were seen, Whose daring navies plough'd the billowy green That laves Pelorus and the Sardian shore, And dyed the rolling waves with Punic gore. Great Appius next advanced in sterner mood, Who with patrician loftiness withstood The clamours of the crowd. But, close behind, Of gentler manners and more equal mind, Came one, perhaps the first in martial might, Yet his dim glory cast a waning light; But neither Bacchus, nor Alcmena's son Such trophies yet by east or west have won; Nor he that in the arms of conquest died, As he, when Rome's stern foes his valour tried Yet he survived his fame. But luckier far Was one that follow'd next, whose golden star To better fortune led, and mark'd his name Among the first in deeds of martial fame: But cruel was his rage, and dipp'd in gore By civil slaughter was the wreath he wore. A less-ensanguined laurel graced the head Of him that next advanced with lofty tread, In martial conduct and in active might Of equal honour in the fields of fight. Then great Volumnius, who expell'd the pest Whose spreading ills the Romans long distress'd. Rutilius Cassus, Philo next in sight Appear'd, like twinkling stars that gild the night. Three men I saw advancing up the vale, Mangled with ghastly wounds through plate and mail; Dentatus, long in standing fight renown'd, Sergius and Scaeva oft with conquest crown'd; The triple terror of the hostile train, On whom the storm of battle broke in vain. Another Sergius near with deep disgrace Marr'd the long glories of his ancient race, Marius, then, the Cimbrians who repell'd From fearful Rome, and Lybia's tyrant quell'd. And Fulvius, who Campania's traitors slew, And paid ingratitude with vengeance due. Another nobler Fulvius next appear'd; And there the Father of the Gracchi rear'd A solitary crest. The following form Was he that often raised the factious storm— Bold Catulus, and he whom fortune's ray Illumined still with beams of cloudless day; Yet fail'd to chase the darkness of the mind, That brooded still on loftier hopes behind. From him a nobler line in two degrees Reduced Numidia to reluctant peace. Crete, Spain, and Macedonia's conquer'd lord Adorn'd their triumphs and their treasures stored. Vespasian, with his son, I next survey'd, An angel soul in angel form array'd; Nor less his brother seem'd in outward grace, But hell within belied a beauteous face. Then Nerva, who retrieved the falling throne, And Trajan, by his conquering eagles known. Adrian, and Antonine the just and good, He, with his son, the golden age renew'd; And ere they ruled the world, themselves subdued. Then, as I turn'd my roving eyes around, Quirinus I beheld with laurel crown'd, And five succeeding kings. The sixth was lost, By vice degraded from his regal post; A sentence just, whatever pride may claim, For virtue only finds eternal Fame.
Pien d' infinita e nobil maraviglia.
Full of ecstatic wonder at the sight, I view'd Bellona's minions, famed in fight; A brotherhood, to whom the circling sun No rivals yet beheld, since time begun.— But ah! the Muse despairs to mount their fame Above the plaudits of historic Fame. But now a foreign band the strain recalls— Stern Hannibal, that shook the Roman walls; Achilles, famed in Homer's lasting lay, The Trojan pair that kept their foes at bay; Susa's proud rulers, a distinguish'd pair, And he that pour'd the living storm of war On the fallen thrones of Asia, till the main, With awful voice, repell'd the conquering train. Another chief appear'd, alike in name, But short was his career of martial fame; For generous valour oft to fortune yields, Too oft the arbitress of fighting fields. The three illustrious Thebans join'd the train, Whose noble names adorn a former strain; Great Ajax with Tydides next appear'd, And he that o'er the sea's broad bosom steer'd In search of shores unknown with daring prow, And ancient Nestor, with his looks of snow, Who thrice beheld the race of man decline, And hail'd as oft a new heroic line: Then Agamemnon, with the Spartan's shade, One by his spouse forsaken, one betray'd: And now another Spartan met my view, Who, cheerly, call'd his self-devoted crew To banquet with the ghostly train below, And with unfading laurels deck'd the brow; Though from a bounded stage a softer strain Was his, who next appear'd to cross the plain: Famed Alcibiades, whose siren spell Could raise the tide of passion, or repel With more than magic sounds, when Athens stood By his superior eloquence subdued. The Marathonian chief, with conquest crown'd, With Cimon came, for filial love renown'd; Who chose the dungeon's gloom and galling chain His captive father's liberty to gain; Themistocles and Theseus met my eye; And he that with the first of Rome could vie In self-denial; yet their native soil, Insensate to their long illustrious toil, To each denied the honours of a tomb, But deathless fame reversed the rigid doom, And show'd their worth in more conspicuous light Through the surrounding shades of envious night. Great Phocion next, who mourn'd an equal fate, Expell'd and exiled from his parent state; A foul reward! by party rage decreed, For acts that well might claim a nobler meed: There Pyrrhus, with Numidia's king behind, Ever in faithful league with Rome combined, The bulwark of his state. Another nigh, Of Syracuse, I saw, a firm ally To Italy, like him. But deadly hate, Repulsive frowns, and love of stern debate, Hamilcar mark'd, who at a distance stood, And eyed the friendly pair in hostile mood. The royal Lydian, with distracted mien, Just as he 'scaped the vengeful flame, was seen And Syphax, who deplored an equal doom, Who paid with life his enmity of Rome; And Brennus, famed for sacrilegious spoil, That, overwhelm'd beneath the rocky pile, Atoned the carnage of his cruel hand, Join'd the long pageant of the martial band; Who march'd in foreign or barbarian guise From every realm and clime beneath the skies But different far in habit from the rest, One tribe with reverent awe my heart impress'd: There he that entertain'd the grand design To build a temple to the Power Divine; With him, to whom the oracles of Heaven The task to raise the sacred pile had given: The task he soon fulfill'd by Heaven assign'd,— But let the nobler temple of the mind To ruin fall, by Love's alluring sway Seduced from duty's hallow'd path astray; Then he that on the flaming hill survived That sight no mortal else beheld, and lived— The Eternal One, and heard, with awe profound, That awful voice that shakes the globe around; With him who check'd the sun in mid career, And stopp'd the burning wheels that mark the sphere, (As a well-managed steed his lord obeys, And at the straiten'd rein his course delays,) And still the flying war the tide of day Pursued, and show'd their bands in wild dismay.— Victorious faith! to thee belongs the prize; In earth thy power is felt, and in the circling skies.— The father next, who erst by Heaven's command Forsook his home, and sought the promised land; The hallow'd scene of wide-redeeming grace: And to the care of Heaven consign'd his race. Then Jacob, cheated in his amorous vows, Who led in either hand a Syrian spouse; And youthful Joseph, famed for self-command, Was seen, conspicuous midst his kindred band. Then stretching far my sight amid the train That hid, in countless crowds, the shaded plain, Good Hezekiah met my raptured sight, And Manoah's son, a prey to female sleight; And he, whose eye foresaw the coming flood, With mighty Nimrod nigh, a man of blood; Whose pride the heaven-defying tower design'd, But sin the rising fabric undermined. Great Maccabeus next my notice claim'd, By Love to Zion's broken laws inflamed; Who rush'd to arms to save a sinking state, Scorning the menace of impending Fate Now satiate with the view, my languid sight Had fail'd, but soon perceived with new delight A train, like Heaven's descending powers, appear, Whose radiance seem'd my cherish'd sight to clear There march'd in rank the dames of ancient days, Antiope, renown'd for martial praise; Orithya near, in glittering armour shone, And fair Hippolyta that wept her son; The sisters whom Alcides met of yore In arms on Thermodon's distinguish'd shore; When he and Theseus foil'd the warlike pair, By force compell'd the nuptial rite to share. The widow'd queen, who seem'd with tranquil smile To view her son upon the funeral pile; But brooding vengeance rankled deep within, So Cyrus fell within the fatal gin: Misconduct, which from age to age convey'd, O'er her long glories cast a funeral shade. I saw the Amazon whom Ilion mourn'd, And her for whom the flames of discord burn'd, Betwixt the Trojan and Rutulian train When her affianced lover press'd the plain; And her, that with dishevell'd tresses flew, Half-arm'd, half-clad, her rebels to subdue. Her partner too in lawless love I spied, A Roman harlot, an incestuous bride. But Tadmor's queen, with nobler fires inflamed, The pristine glory of the sex reclaim'd, Who in the spring of life, in beauty's bloom, Her heart devoted to her husband's tomb; True to his dust, aspiring to the crown Of virtue, in such years but seldom known: With temper'd mail she hid her snowy breast, And with Bellona's helm and nodding crest Despising Cupid's lore, her charms conceal'd, And led the foes of Latium to the field. The shock at ancient Rome was felt afar, And Tyber trembled at the distant war Of foes she held in scorn: but soon she found That Mars his native tribes with conquest crown'd And by her haughty foes in triumph led, The last warm tears of indignation shed. O fair Bethulian! can my vagrant song O'erpass thy virtues in the nameless throng, When he that sought to lure thee to thy shame Paid with his sever'd head his frantic flame? Can Ninus be forgot, whose ancient name Begins the long roll of imperial fame? And he whose pride, by Heaven's imperial doom, Reduced among the grazing herd to roam? Belus, who first beheld the nations sway To idols, from the Heaven-directed way, Though he was blameless? Where does he reside Who first the dangerous art of magic tried? O Crassus! much I mourn the baleful star That o'er Euphrates led the storm of war. Thy troops, by Parthian snares encircled round, Mark'd with Hesperia's shame the bloody ground; And Mithridates, Rome's incessant foe, Who fled through burning plains and tracts of snow Their fell pursuit. But now, the parting strain Must pass, with slight survey, the coming train: There British Arthur seeks his share of fame, And three Caesarian victors join their claim; One from the race of Libya, one from Spain, And last, not least, the pride of fair Lorraine, With his twelve noble peers. Goffredo's powers Direct their march to Salem's sacred towers; And plant his throne beneath the Asian skies, A sacred seat that now neglected lies. Ye lords of Christendom! eternal shame For ever will pursue each royal name, And tell your wolfish rage for kindred blood, While Paynim hounds profane the seat of God! With him the Christian glory seem'd to fall, The rest was hid behind oblivion's pall; Save a few honour'd names, inferior far In peace to guide, or point the storm of war. Yet e'en among the stranger tribes were found A few selected names, in song renown'd. First, mighty Saladin, his country's boast, The scourge and terror of the baptized host. Noradin, and Lancaster fierce in arms, Who vex'd the Gallic coast with long alarms. I look'd around with painful search to spy If any martial form should meet my eye Familiar to my sight in worlds above, The willing objects of respect or love; And soon a well-known face my notice drew, Sicilia's king, to whose sagacious view The scenes of deep futurity display'd Their birth, through coming Time's disclosing shade. There my Colonna, too, with glad surprise, 'Mid the pale group, assail'd my startled eyes. His noble soul was all alive to fame, Yet holy friendship mix'd her softer claim, Which in his bosom fix'd her lasting throne, With Charity, that makes the wants of all her own.