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“Under the reign of Nicholas III., Ferrara was wife Parisina, and Hugo his bastard son, a beautful polluted with a domestic tragedy. By the testimony and valiant youth. They were beheaded in the of an attendant, and his own observation, the Mar- castle by the sentence of a father and husband, who quis of Esté discovered the incestuous loves of his published his shame, and survived their execu
al the guilt, before our autention is riveled upon the punishment : complished but too well, since, during the journey, she not
we have scarcely had time to condemn, within our own bearis, only divested berself of all her hatred, but fell into the opposite the signing, though injured son, wbea
extreme. After their return, the Marquess had no longer any • For a departing being's soul
occasion to renew his former reproofs. It happened one day The death-hynin peals and the hollow bells Inoll : that a servant of the Marquess, named Zoese, or, as some cal He is near bis mortal gual;
him, Giorgio, passing before the apartments of Parisina, saw Kneeling at the friar's Inee;
going out from them one of her chambermaids, all terrified and Sud tu bear-and piteous to see Kpeeling on the bure cold ground,
in tears. Ashing the reason, she told him that her mistress, for With the block before and the guards around
some slight oflcuce, had been beating ber; and, giving vent to And the beadsman with his bare arm ready,
her rage, she added, that she could casily be revenged, if she That the blow may be both swift and steady,
chose to make known the criminal familiarity which subsisted Feels if the axe be sharp and IrueSince he set its edge anew :
between Parisina and ker step-son. The servant took note of While the crowd in a speechless circle gather
the words, and related them to his master. lle was astounded To see the son full by the doom of the father!'
thereal, bul, scarcely believing his cars, be assured himself of "The fatal guilt of the Princess is in like manner swallowed up the fact, alas: 100 clearly, on the 18th of May, by looking through a in the dreary contemplation of her uncertain sale. We forbear bole made in the ceiling of his wife's chamber. Instantly be broke
lo think of her as an adulteress, after we have heard that hurrid into a furious rage, and arrested both of them, together with voice' which is sent up to heaven at the death of her paramour-Aldobrandino Rangoni, of Modena, her gentleman, and also, as
sume say, two of the women of her chamber, as abetiors of this • Whatsoe'er ils end below,
sinful act. Her life began and closed in woe.'
lle ordered thein to be brought to a hasty trial, de
siring the judges 10 pronounce sentence, in the accustomed “ Not only has Lord Byron avoided all the details of this unbal- forms, upon the culprits. This sentence was death. Some there loved love, he has also contrived to mingle in the very incest were that bestirred themselves in favour of the delinquents, which he condemns the idea of retribution; and our horror for and, amongst others, Ugoccion Contrario, who was all-powerful ibe sia of Hugo is diminished by our belief that it was brought will Niccolo, and also bis aged and much-deserving minister, about by some strange and superhuman fatalism, lo revenge the Alberto dal Sale. Both of these, their lears flowing down their ruin of Bianca. That gloom of righteous visitation, which in-cheeks, and upon their knces, implored him for mercy; adducing | vests, in the old Greek tragedies, the faced house of Alreus, scems whatever reasons they cou'd suggest for sparing the offenders, here lo impend with some portion of its ancient horror over the besides those motives of honour and decency which might perline of Esté. We hear, in the language of Hugo, the voice of the suade him to conceal from the public so scandalous a deed. But same prophetic solemnily wbich announced to Agamemnon, in the his rage made him inflexible, and, on the instant, he commanded very moment of his triumph, the approaching and inevitable that the sentence should be put in execution. darkness of his fate :
"It was, then, in the prisons of the castle, and exactly in those • The gather'd guilt of elder times
frightful dungeons which are seen at this day beneath the chamber shall reproduce itself in crimes ;
called the Aurora, at the foot of the Lion's tower, at the top of There is a day of vengeance still,
the streel Giovecca, that on the night of the 21st of May were Linger il may—but come it will.'
beheaded, first Ugo, and afterwards Parisina. Zoese, he that ac"That awful chorus does nol, unless we be greatly mistaken, cused her, conducted the latter under his arm 10 the place of leave an impression or destiny upon the mind more powerful punishment. She, all along, fancied that she was to be thrown than that which rushed on the troubled spirit of Azo, when he into a pit, and asked, at every step, whether she was yet come to beard the speech of Hugo in his ball of judgment :
the spot? She was told that her punishment was the are. She
inquired what was become of ugo, and received for answer, that • Thou gavest, and mayst resume my breath, A gift for which I thank thee not;
he was already dead; at the which, sighing grievously, she exNor are my mother's wrongs forgot,
claimed, “Now, then, I wish not myself to live:'and, being come Her slighied love and ruiu'd nunc,
to the block, she stripped herself with her own hands of all her Her offspring's heritage of shame."
ornaments, and wrapping a cloth round her bead, submitted 10 We shall have occasion to recur to this subject when we reach the fatal stroke, which terminaled the cruel scene. The same our author's Manfred. The facts on which the present poem was done with Rangoni, who, logether with the others, according vas grounded are thus given in Frizzi's History of Ferrara: lo Lwo calendars in the library of St. Francesco, was buried in
"This turned out a calamilous year for the people of Ferrara; the cemetery of that convent. Nothing else is known respecting for there occurred a very tragical event in the court of their the women. sovereiga. Our annals, both printed and in manuscript, with the “The Marquess kept watch the whole of that dreadful night, exception of the unpolished and negligent work of Sardi, and one and as he was walking backwards and forwards, inquired of the other, have given the following relation of it, from which, how- captain of the castle if Ugo was dead yet? who answered him, ever, are rejected many details, and especially the narrative of Yes. He then gave bimself up to the most desperate lamentations, Bandelli, who wrote a century afterwards, and who does not ac- exclaiming, 'Oh! that I loo were dead, since I have been hurried cord with the contemporary historians.
on to resolve thus against my own Ugo! And eben, gnawing "By the above-mentioned Stella dell' Assassino, the Marquess, with his teeth a cane which he had in his hand, he passed the in the year £405, bad a son called Ugo, a beautiful and ingenuous rest of the night in sighs and in tears, calling frequently upon
youth. Parisina Malatesta, second wife of Niccolo, like the ge- his own dear Ugo. On the following day, calling to mind that it nerality of step-molbers, treated him with Jiule kindness, to the would be necessary to make public his justification, seeing that the infinite regret of the Marquess, who regarded him with fond par transaction could not be kept secret, he ordered the narrative to ciality. One day she asked leave of her husband to undertake a be drawn out upon paper, and sent it to all the courts of Italy. certain journey, to which he consented, but upon condition that “On receiving this advice, the Dage of Venice, Francesco
Ego should bear her company; for he boped by these means to Foscari, gave orders, but without publishing his reasons, that induce her, in the end, to lay aside the obstinate aversion which stop should be put to the preparations for a tournament, wbich, sbe bad conceived against him. And indeed his intent was ac- under the auspices of the Marquess, and at the expense of the
tion. (1) He was unfortunate, if they were guilty : if they were innocent, he was still more unfortunate; nor is there any possible situation in which I can sincerely approve the last act of the justice of a parent.”—Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works, vol. iii. p. 470, new edition.
1. It is the hour when from the boughs
The nightingale's high note is heard;
Seem sweet in every whisper'd word;(2)
quick; There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves, And her blush returns, and her bosom heaves : A moment more and they shall meet’T is past—her lover 's at her feet.
Its living things—its earth and sky-
Of aught around, above, beneath;
They only for each other breathe. Their very sighs are full of joy
So deep, that did it not decay,
The hearts which feel its fiery sway:
The spot of guilty gladness past;
As if that parting were the last.
The lip that there would cling for ever,
The heaven she fears will not forgive her, As if each calmly conscious star Beheld her frailty from afarThe frequent sigh, the long embrace, Yet binds them to their trysting-place: But it must come, and they must part In fearful heaviness of heart, With all the deep and shuddering chill Which follows fast the deeds of ill.
And Hugo is gone to his lonely bed,
To covet there another's bride;
A husband's trusting heart beside.
And mutters she in her unrest
city of Padua, was about to take place, in the square of St. Mark, The above passage of Frizzi was translated by Lord Byron, and in order to celebrate bis advancement to the ducal chair.
formed a closing note to the original edition of Parisina.-E. “ The Marquess, in addition to what he had already done, (1) “Ferrara is much decayed and depopulated; but the from some unaccountable burst of vengeance, commanded that castle still exists entire; and I saw the court where Parisina and as many of the married women as were well known to him to be Ugo were beheaded, according to the annal of Gibbon.” B. Letfaithless, like his Parisina, should, like her, be beheaded. Amongst ters, 1817. others, Barberina, or, as some call her, Laodamia Romei, wife op (2) “The opening verses, though soft and voluptuous, are the court judge, underwent this sentence, at the usual place of tinged with the same shade of sorrow which gives character and execution; that is to say, in the quarter of St. Giacomo, opposite harmony to the whole poem.” Jeffrey. the present fortress, beyond St. Paul's. It cannot be told how
(3) The lines contained in this section were printed as set to strange appeared this proceeding in a prince, who, considering music sonie time since, but belonged to the poem where they bow his own disposition, should, as it seemed, have been in such cases appear; the greater part of which was composed prior to Lara, most indulgent. Some, however, there were who did not fail to and other compositions since published. commend him."
And clasps her lord unto the breast
The long conniving damsels seek Which pants for one away:
To save themselves, and would transfer Aod he to that embrade awakes,
The guilt--the shame—the doom-to her: And, happy in the thought, mistakes
Concealment is no more--they speak That dreaming sigh, and warm caress,
All circumstance which may compel For such as he was wont to bless;
Full credence to the tale they tell : And could in very fondness weep
And Azo's tortured heart and ear
Have nothing more to feel or hear.
He was not one who brook'd delay:
Within the chamber of his state,
The chief of Esté's ancient sway
Upon his throne of judgment sate;
His nobles and his guards are there,Could scarcely thunder o'er his tomb,
Before him is the sinful pair; When he shall wake to sleep no more,
Both young, -and one how passing fair! And stand the eternal throne before.
With swordless belt, and fetter'd hand, And well he may-his earthly peace
Oh, Christ! that thus a son should stand
Before a father's face!
Yet thus must Hugo meet his sire,
And hear the sentence of his ire, And whose that name ? that o'er his pillow
The tale of his disgrace! Sounds fearful as the breaking billow,
And yet he seems not overcome, Which rolls the plank upon the shore,
Although, as yet, his voice be dumb. And dashes on the pointed rock
X. The wretch who sioks to rise no more,–
And still, and pale, and silently So came upon his soul the shock.
Did Parisina wait her doom; And wh.ose that name: 't is Hugo's,-his- How changed, since last her speaking eye lo sooth he had not deem'd of this !
Glanced gladness round the glittering room Tis Hugo's—he, the child of one
Where high-born men were proud to waitHe loved-his own all-evil son
Where beauty watch'd to imitate The offspring of his wayward youth,
Her gentle voice-her lovely mienWhen he betray'd Bianca's truth,
And gather from her air and gait The maid whose folly could confide
The graces of its Queen: lo him who made her not his bride.
Then,-had her eye in sorrow wept,
A thousand warriors forth had leapt,
A thousand swords had sheathless shone, (1) But sheath'd it ere the point was bare
And made her quarrel all their own. Howe'er unworthy now to breathe,
Now —what is she? and what are they? He could not slay a thing so fair
Can she command, or these obey ?
All silent and unheeding now, At least, not smiling-sleeping-there.
With downcast eyes and knitting brow,
And folded arms, and freezing air,
And lips that scarce their scorn forbear,
Her knights, and dames, her court-is there: And o'er his brow the burning lamp
And he, the chosen one, whose lance Gleam'd on the dew-drops big and damp.
Had yet been couch'd before her glance,
Who-were his arm a moment free
Had died or gain'd her liberty!
The minion of his father's bride,-
He, too, is fetter'd by her side;
Nor sees her swoln and full eye swim, In many a tale from those around,
Less for her own despair than him: The proof of all he fear'd to know,
Those lids-o'er which the violet vein Their present guill, his future woe;
Wandering, leaves a tender stain, (1) A sagacious writer gravely charges Lord Byron with para-well-known description of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. parasing, in this passage, without acknowledgment, Mr. Burke's "Verily,” says Mr. Coleridge, "there be amongst us a set o
Throbb’d, as if back upon his brain
The hot blood ebb’d and flow'd again; And therefore bow'd he for a space, And pass'd his shaking hand along His eye, to veil it from the throng; While Hugo raised his chained hands, And for a brief delay demands His father's ear: the silent sire Forbids not what his words require.
“It is not that I dread the death-
Thou gavest, and mayst resume my breath,
But wrong for wrong:-this, deem'd thy bride,
The other victim of thy pride,
And with thy very crime-my birth,
Thou taunted'st me-as little worth;
Yet, were a few short summers mine,
My name should more than Esté's shine
Shining through the smoothest white
But for the eyes that on him gazed:
Stern and erect his brow was raised.
And Azo spake:-“But yesterday
I gloried in a wife and son;
Ere day declines, I shall have none.
Let that too pass ;-the doom 's prepared!
And then-thy crime's reward! Away! address thy prayers to Heaven,
Before its evening stars are metLearn if thou there canst be forgiven;
Its mercy may absolve thee yet. But here, upon the earth beneath,
There is no spot where thou and I
Farewell! I will not see thee die-
Away! I cannot speak the rest:
Go! woman of the wanton breast :
For on his brow the swelling vein
critics, who seem to hold, that every possible thought and image perforation made in some otber man's tank."-E. is traditional; who have no notion tbat there are such things as (1) Haught-haughty.--"Away, haught man, thou art insultfountains in the world, small as well as great; and who would ing me."-Shakspeare. therefore charitably derive every rill they behold Nowing from a
A few brief hours or days, that must
Yet in my lineaments they trace
Some features of my father's face, And in my spirit-all of thee. From thee—this tamelessness of heartFrom thee-nay, wherefore dost thou start ? From thee, in all their vigour, came My arm of strength, my soul of flameThou didst not give me life alone, But all that made me more thine own. See what thy guilty love hath done! Repaid thee with too like a son! I am no bastard in my soul, For that, like thine, abhorr'd control: And for my breath, that hasty boon Thou gavest and wilt resume so soon, I valued it no more than thou, When rose thy casque above thy brow, And we, all side by side, have striven, And o'er the dead our coursers driven : The past is nothing—and at last The future can but be the past; Yet would I that I then had died:
For though thou work'dst my mother's ill, And made thy own my destined bride,
I feel thou art my father still;
On which the circling felters sounded;
When those dull chains in meeting clank'd: Till Parisina's fatal charms (1) Again attracted every eyeWould she thus hear him doom'd to die! She stood, I said, all pale and still, The living cause of Hugo's ill : Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide, Not once had turn’d to either side Nor once did those sweet eyelids close, Or shade the glance o'er which they rose, But round their orbs of deepest blue The circling white dilated grewAnd there with glassy gaze she stood, As ice were in her curdled blood; But every now and then a lear,
So large and slowly gather'd, slid
From the long dark fringe of that fair lid, It was a thing to see, not hear! And those who saw, it did surprise Such drops could fall from human eyes. To speak she thought-the imperfect note Was choked within her swelling throat, Yet seem'd in that low hollow groan Her whole heart gushing in the tone. It ceased--again she thought to speak, Then burst her voice in one long shriek, (2) And to the earth she fell like stone Or statue from its base o’erthrown, More like a thing that ne'er had life, A monument of Azo's wife, Than her, that living guilty thing, Whose every passion was a sting, Which urged to guilt, but could not bear That guilt's detection and despair. But yet she lived—and all too soon Recover'd from that death-like swoonBut scarce to reason-every sense Had been o'erstrung by pangs intense; And each frail abre of her brain (As bowstrings, when relax'd by rain, The erring arrow launch aside) Sent forth her thoughts all wild and wide The past a blank, the future black, With glimpses of a dreary track, Like lightniug on the desert path, When midnight storms are mustering wrath.
(1) "I sent for Marmion, because it occurred to me, there And there she stood so calm and pale, might be a resemblance between part of Parisina and a similar That, but her breathing did not fall, scene in the second canto of Marmion. I fear there is, though
And motion slight of eye and head,
And of her bosom, warranted, I never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to imitate that
That peither sense nor pulse she lacks, which is inimitable. I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford whether I
You must have thought a form of wax, ought to say any thing upon it. I had completed the story on the
Wrought to the very life, was therepassage from Gibbon, which indeed leads to a like scene natu
So still she was, so pale, so fair."-E. rally, without a thought of the kind: but it comes upon me not (2) "The arraignment and condemnation of the guilty pair, very comfortably."--Lord B. to Mr. M. Feb. 3, 1816.-The scene
with the bold, high-loned, and yet temperate defence of the son, referred to is the one in whicb Constance de Beverley appears are managed with considerable talent; and yet are less touching before the conclave :
than the mule despair of the fallen beauty, who stands in speech* Her look composed and steady eye,,
less agony before him." Joffrey. Bespoke a matchless constancy ;