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O Italy, how beautiful thou art ! Yet I could weep-for thou art lying, alas, Low in the dust; and we admire thee now As we admire the beautiful in death. Thine was a dangerous gift, when thou wast born, The gift of Beauty. Would thou hadst it not ; Or wert as once, awing the caitiffs vile That now beset thee, making thee their slave ! Would they had loved thee less, or feared thee mora !
-But why despair ? Twice hast thou lived already; Twice shone among the nations of the world, As the sun shines among the lesser lights Of heaven ; and shalt again. The hour shall come, When they who think to bind the ethereal spirit, Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey, Watch with quick eye, and strike and strike again If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously, And, dying, left a splendour like the day, That like the day diffused itself, and still Blesses the earth-the light of genius, virtue, Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death, God-like example. Echoes that have slept Since Athens, Lacedæmon, were Themselves, Since men invoked ‘By Those in Marathon !' Awake along the Ægean; and the dead, They of that sacred shore, have heard the call, And thro' the ranks, from wing to wing, are seen Moving as once they were-instead of rage Breathing deliberate valour.
[From the same.]
Stop at a Palace near the Reggio-gate,
'Tis of a Lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Alone it hangs
That by the way-it may be true or false,
She was an only child ; from infancy
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
Great was the joy; but at the Bridal feast, When all sat down, the Bride was wanting there. Nor was she to be found! Her Father cried "'Tis but to make a trial of our love !' And filled his glass to all ; but his hand shook, And soon from guest to guest the panic spread. 'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco, Laughing and looking back and flying still, Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger. But now, alas, she was not to be found; Nor from that hour could anything be guessed, But that she was not !
Weary of his life, Francesco flew to Venice, and forth with Flung it away in battle with the Turk. Orsini lived; and long might'st thou have seen An old man wandering as in quest of something, Something he could not find – he knew not what.
When he was gone, the house remained awhile VOL. IV.
Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgot, When on an idle day, a day of search Mid the old lumber in the Gallery, That mouldering chest was noticed ; and 'twas said By.one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, "Why not remove it from its lurking place !' 'Twas done as soon as said ; but on the way It burst, it fell; and lo, a skeleton, With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone, A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold. All else had perished-save a nuptial ring, And a small seal, her mother's legacy, Engraven with a name, the name of both, ‘Ginevra
WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES.
[The Rev. WILLIAM LISLE BOWLES was born at King's Sutton in 1762. His chief work is his Sonnets, first published in 1789. He died at Salisbury in 1850.]
It was the candle of Bowles that lit the fire of Coleridge. We have it on record in the Biographia Literaria that to the author of The Ancient Mariner, bewildered at seventeen between metaphysics and theological controversy, and utterly out of sympathy with the artificialities of the Popesque school, the early sonnets of Bowles came almost in the light of a revelation. In a copy preserved at South Kensington he writes of them later as 'having done his heart more good than all the other books he ever read excepting his Bible.' Those who to-day turn to the much-praised verses will scarcely find in their pensive amenity that enduring charm which they presented to the hungry and restless soul of Coleridge, seeking its fitting food in unpropitious places. They exhibit a grace of expression, a delicate sensibility, and above all a'musical sweet melancholy' that is especially grateful in certain moods of mind ; but with lapse of time and change of fashion they have grown a little thin and faint and colourless. Of Bowles's remaining works it is not necessary to speak. He was overmatched in his controversy with Byron as to Pope, and the blunt
‘Stick to thy sonnets, Bowles, -at least they pay' of the former must be accepted as the final word upon the poetical efforts of the cultivated and amiable Canon of Salisbury.