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'Mid sights and sounds like these my life may close: As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud,
Encompass'd with its dark and rolling shroud,
I have been patient, let me be so yet,
I had forgotten half I would forget,
But it revives-Oh! would it were my lot
To be forgetful as I am forgot!-
Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods ;-
Look on a love which knows not to despair, (3)
The vivid thought still flashes through my frame,
A something which all softness did surpass—
His name was Agostino Mosti. Tasso says of him, in a letter to his sister, ed usa meco ogni sorte di rigore ed inumanità.'" Hobhouse.
was, however, impregnable to the appeal; and Tasso, in another ode to the princesses, whose pity be invoked in the name of their own mother, who had herself known, if not the like horrors, "Conthe like solitude of imprisonment, and bitterness of soul. sidered merely as poems," says Black, "these canzoni are exIn-tremely beautiful; but, if we contemplate them as the productions of a mind diseased, they form important documents in the history of man." Life of Tasso.
It is no marvel-from my very birth
My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade
(1) "This fearful picture is finely contrasted with that which youth, when nature and meditation Tasso draws of himself were forming his wild, romantic, and impassioned genius. deed, the great excellence of the Lament consists in the ebbing and flowing of the noble prisoner's soul;-his feelings often come suddenly from afar off,-sometimes gentle airs are breathing, and then all at once arise the storms and tempest, -the gloom, though black as night while it endures, gives way to fre-made to obtain his liberty, this is one of the negative arguments quent bursts of radiance,-and when the wild strain is closed, founded on an hypothesis, that may be easily destroyed by a our pity and commiseration are blended with a sustaining and thousand others equally plausible. Was not the Princess anxious elevating sense of the grandeur and majesty of his character." to avoid her own ruin? In taking too warm an interest for the poet, did she not risk destroying herself, without saving him?” Wilson. Foscolo.
(4) Tasso's profound and unconquerable love for Leonora, sustaining itself without hope throughout years of darkness and solitude, breathes a moral dignity over all his sentiments, and
(2) Not long after his imprisonment, Tasso appealed to the mercy of Alfonso, in a canzone of great beauty, couched in terms so respectful and pathetic, as must have moved, it might be thought, the severest bosom to relent. The heart of Alfonso
(5) "As to the indifference which the Princess is said to have exhibited for the misfortunes of Tasso, and the little effort she
And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise,
I found the thing I sought—and that was thee;
I loved all solitude-but little thought
we feel the strength and power of his noble spirit in the unupbraiding devotedness of his passion." Wilson.
1) "Nor do I lament," wrote Tasso, shortly after his confinement," that my heart is deluged with almost constant misery, that my head is always heavy and often painful, that my sight and hearing are much impaired, and that all my frame is become spare and meagre; but passing all this with a short sigh, what I would bewail is the infirmity of my mind. My mind sleeps, not thinks; my fancy is chill, and forms no pictures; my negligent senses will no longer furnish the images of things; my hand is sluggish in writing, and my pen seems as if it shrunk from the office. I feel as if I were chained in all my operations,
I thought mine enemies had been but man,
I once was quick in feeling—that is o'er ;—
Stamp Madness deep into my memory,
While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled walls!(2)
and as if I were overcome by an unwonted numbness and oppres sive stupor."-Opere, t. viii. p. 258.
(2) "Those who indulge in the dreams of earthly retribution will observe, that the cruelty of Alfonso was not left without its recompense, even in his own person. He survived the affection of his subjects and of his dependants, who deserted him at his death; and suffered his body to be interred without princely or decent honours. His last wishes were neglected; his testament cancelled. His kinsman, Don Cæsar, shrank from the excommunication of the Vatican, and, after a short struggle, or rather suspense, Ferrara passed away for ever from the dominion of the house of Este." Hobhouse.
Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave. (1) Yes, Leonora ! it shall be our fate
(1) In July, 1586, after a confinement of more than seven years, Tasso was released from his dungeon. In the hope of receiving his inother's dowry, and of again beholding his sister Cornelia, he shortly after visited Naples, where his presence was welcomed with every demon tration of esteem and admiration. Being on a visit at Mola di Gaeta, he received the following remarkable tribute of respect. Marco di Sciarra, the notorious captain of a numerous troop of banditti, hearing where the great poet was, sent to compliment him, and offered him not only a free passage, but protection by the way, and assured him that he and his followers would be proud to execute his orders. See Manso, Vila del Tasso, p. 219.-E.
(2) "The 'pleasures of imagination' have been explained and justified by Addison in prose, and by Akenside in verse; but there are moments of real life when its miseries and its necessities seem to overpower and destroy them. The history of mankind, however, furnishes proofs, that no bodily suffering, no adverse circumstances, operating on our material nature, will extinguish the
A VENETIAN STORY. (1)
ROSALIND. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller look you lisp, and wear strange suits;
Annotation of the Commentators.
That is, been at Venice, which was much visited by the young English gentlemen
spirit of imagination. Perhaps there is no instance of this so
'Tis known, at least it should be, that throughout
The people take their fill of recreation,
(1) Roger Ascham, Queen Elizabeth's tutor, says, in his Schoolmaster-" Although I was only nine days at Venice, I saw, in that little time, more liberty to sin, than ever I heard tell of in the city of London in nine years."
Beppo was written at Venice, in October 1847, and acquired great popularity immediately on its publication in the May of the following year. Lord Byron's letters show that he attached very little importance to it at the time. Ile was not aware that he had opened a new vein, in which his genius was destined to work out some of its brightest triumphs, "I have written," he says to Mr. Murray, "a poem humorous, in or after the excellent manner of Mr. Whistlecraft,* and founded on a Venetian anecdote which amused me. It is called Beppo-the short name for Giuseppo,—that is, the Joe of the Italian Joseph. It has politics and ferocity." Again-"Whistlecraft is my immediate model, but Berni is the father of that kind of writing; which, I think, suits our language, too, very well. We shall see by this experiment.
"He one day received by the mail a copy of Whistlecraft's spectus and specimen of an inter.ded national work, and, moved by its playfulness, immediately after receiving it began Beppo, which he finished at a sitting."" Galt,
With fiddling, feasting, dancing, drinking, masquing,
And other things which may be had for asking.
The moment night with dusky mantle covers
The skies (and the more duskily the better),
It will, at any rate, show that I can write cheerfully, and repel the charge of monotony and mannerism." He wished Mr. Murray to accept of Beppo as a free gift, or, as he chose to express it, "as part of the contract for Canto Fourth of Childe Harold;" adding, however,-"if it pleases, you shall have more in the same mood; for I know the Italian way of life, and, as for the verse and the passions, I have them still in tolerable vigour."
The Right Honourable John Hookham Frere has, then, by Lord Byron's confession, the merit of having first introduced the Bernesque style into our language; but his performance, entitled "Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work, by William and Robert Whistlecraft, of Stowmarket, in Suffolk, Harness and Collar Makers, intended to comprise the most interesting Particulars relating to King Arthur and his Round Table," though it delighted all elegant and learned readers, obtained at the time little notice from the public at large, and is already almost forgotten. For the causes of this failure, about which Mr. Rose and others have written at some length, it appears needless to look further than the last sentence we have been quoting from the letters of the author of the more successful Beppo. Whistlecraft had the verse: it had also the humour, the
The time less liked by husbands than by lovers
Giggling with all the gallants who beset her;
And there are dresses splendid, but fantastical,
Masks of all times and nations, Turks and Jews, And harlequins and clowns, with feats gymnastical, Greeks, Romans, Yankee-doodles, and Hindoos; All kinds of dress, except the ecclesiastical,
All people, as their fancies hit, may choose, But no one in these parts may quiz the clergy,— Therefore take heed, ye freethinkers! I charge ye. IV. You'd better walk about begirt with briars, Instead of coat and small-clothes, than put on A single stitch reflecting upon friars,
Although you swore it only was in fun; They'd haul you o'er the coals, and stir the fires
Of Phlegethon with every mother's son, Nor say one mass to cool the caldron's bubble That boil'd your bones, unless you paid them double. V. But, saving this, you may put on whate'er
You like by way of doublet, cape, or cloak, Such as in Monmouth-street, or in Rag Fair,
Would rig you out in seriousness or joke; And even in Italy such places are,
'Tis as we take a glass with friends at parting, In the stage-coach or packet, just at starting. VII.
And thus they bid farewell to carnal dishes, And solid meats, and highly-spiced ragouts, To live for forty days on ill-dress'd fishes,
With prettier names in softer accents spoke, For, bating Covent Garden, I can hit on
This feast is named the carnival, (2) which, being
Is more than I can tell, although I guess
wit, and even the poetry of the Italian model; but it wanted the life of actual manners, and the strength of stirring passions. Mr. Frere had forgot, or was, with all his genius, unfit to profit by remembering, that the poets, whose style he was adopting, always made their style appear a secondary matter. They never failed to embroider their merriment on the texture of a really interesting story. Lord Byron perceived this; and avoiding his immediate master's one fatal error, and at least equalling him in the excellences which he did display, engaged at once the sympathy of readers of every class, and became substantially the founder of a new species of English poetry.
The reader will find an elaborate critique on Mr. Frere's Whis-
"For, bating Covent Garden, I can't hit on
(2) "The carnival," says Mr. Rose, "though it is gayer or duller, according to the genius of the nations which celebrate it, is, in its general character, nearly the same all over the peninsula.
No place that's call'd "Piazza” in Great Britain. (1) Of all the places where the carnival
Because they have no sauces to their stews, A thing which causes many" poohs" and "pishes," And several oaths (which would not suit the Muse), From travellers accustom'd from a boy To eat their salmon, at the least, with soy;
And therefore humbly I would recommend
"The curious in fish-sauce," before they cross The sea, to bid their cook, or wife, or friend,
Walk or ride to the Strand, and buy in gross (Or if set out beforehand, these may send
By any means least liable to loss) Ketchup, Soy, Chili-vinegar, and Harvey, Or, by the Lord! a Lent will well nigh starve ye; IX.
That is to say, if your religion's Roman,
And you at Rome would do as Romans do, According to the proverb,-although no man, If foreign, is obliged to fast; and you, If Protestant, or sickly, or a woman,
Would rather dine in sin on a ragoutDine and be d--d! I don't mean to be coarse, But that's the penalty, to say no worse.
Was most facetious in the days of yore, For dance, and song, and serenade, and ball,
And masque, and mime, and mystery, and more Than I have time to tell now, or at all,
Venice the bell from every city bore,And at the moment when I fix my story, That sea-born city was in all her glory.
The beginning is like any other season; towards the middle you begin to meet masques and mummers in sunshine: in the last fifteen days the plot thickens; and during the three last all is hurly-burly. But to paint these, which may be almost considered as a separate festival, I must avail myself of the words of Messrs. William and Thomas Whistlecraft, in whose 'Prospectus and Specimen of an intended National Work' I find the description ready made to my hand, observing that, besides the ordinary dra matis personæ,
Beggars and vagabonds, blind, lame, and sturdy, Minstrels and singers, with their various airs,
The pipe, the tabor, and the hurdy-gurdy,
Jugglers and mountebanks, with apes and bears, Continue, from the first day to the third day,
An uproar like ten thousand Smithfield fairs.'
The shops are shut, all business is at a stand, and the drunken cries heard at night afford a clear proof of the pleasures to which these days of leisure are dedicated. These holidays may surely be reckoned amongst the secondary causes which contribute to the indolence of the Italian, since they reconcile this to his con
Whosc course and home we knew not, nor shall They've pretty faces yet, those same Venetians, Like the lost Pleiad (5) seen no more below. [know, Black eyes, arch'd brows, and sweet expressions
Venetian women were, and so they are,
Particularly seen from a balcony (The best 's at Florence (1)-see it, if ye will),
(For beauty 's sometimes best set off afar), They look when leaning over the balcony,
And there, just like a heroine of Goldoni, Or stepp'd from out a picture by Giorgione, (2)
They peep from out the blind, or o'er the bar , XII.
And, truth to say, they ’re mostly very pretty, Whose tints are truth and beauty at their best;
And rather like to show it, more 's the pity! And when you to Manfrini's palace go,(3)
XVI. That picture (howsoever fine the rest)
For glances beget ogles, ogles sighs, Is loveliest to my mind of all the show;
Sighs wishes, wishes words, and words a letter, It may perhaps be also to your zest,
Which flies on wings of light-heeld Mercuries, And that's the cause I rhyme upon it so:
Who do such things because they know no better;! | ’T is but a portrait of his son, and wife,
And then, God knows, what mischief may arise, And self; but such a woman! love in life !(4) When love links two young people in one fetter, XIII.
Vile assignations, and adulterous beds, Love in full life and length, not love ideal,
Elopements, broken vows, and hearts, and heads. No, nor ideal beauty, that fine name,
Shakspeare described the sex in Desdemona
Such malters may be probably the same,
To suffocate a wife no more than twenty,
Because she had a “cavalier servente."
Their jealousy (if they are ever jealous) In momentary gliding; the soft grace,
Is of a fair complexion altogether, The youth, the bloom, the beauty which agree, Not like that sooty devil of Othello's In many a nameless being we retrace,
Which smothers women in a bed of feather,
science, as being of religious institution. Now there is, perhaps, or wisdom ;-it is the kind of face to go mad for, because it cannot no offence which is so unproportionably punished by conscience walk out of its frame. There is also a famous dead Christ and live as that of indolence. With the wicked man, it is an intermittent Apostles, for which Bonaparte offered in vain five thousand louis; disease; with the idle man, it is a chronic one." Lellers from and of which, though it is a capo d'opera of Titian, as I am no con the North of Italy, vol. ii. p. 171.
noisseur, I say little, and thought less, except of one figure in it. (1) “At Florence I remained but a day, having a hurry for There are ten thousand others, and some very fine Giorgiones Rome. However, I went to the two galleries, from which one re- amongst them. There is an original Laura and Petrarch, very lurns drunk with beauty; but there are sculpture and painting, hideous both. Petrarch has not only the dress, but the seawhich, for the first time, gave me an idea of what people mean by Lures and air of an old woman; and Laura looks by no means like their cant, about those lwo most artificial of the arts. What struck a young one, or a prelly one. What struck me most in the general me most were,-the mistress of Raphael, a portrait; the mistress collection, was the extreme resemblance of the style of the female of Tilian, a portrait; a Venus of Titian, in the Medici gallery-the races in the mass of pictures, so many centuries or generalions Venus ; Canova's Venus, also in the other gallery,” etc. B. I.et-old, to those you see and meet every day among the existing ltalers, 1817.
lians. The Queen of Cyprus and Giorgione's wife, particularly (2) “I know nothing of pictures myself, and care almost as the latter, are Venetians as it were of yesterday; the same eyes little; but to me there are none like the Venetian-above all, and expression, and to my mind, there is none tiner. You must Giorgione. I remember well his Judgment of Solomon, in the recollect, however, tbal i know nothing of painting, and that I Mariscalchi gallery in Bologna. The real mother is beautiful, detest it, unless it reminds me of something I have seen, or think exquisitely beautiful.” B. Lelters, 1820.
il possible to see."-E. (3) The following is Lord Byron's account of his visit to this (4) This appears to be an incorrect description of the picture; as, palace, in April, 1817:—“To-day, I have been over the Manfrini according to Vasari and others, Giorgione never was married, and paiace, famous for its pictures. Amongst them, there is a por- died young.-E. trait of Ariosto, by Titian, surpassing all my anticipation of the (8) " Quæ septem dici sex tamen esse solent."-Ooid. power of painting or human expression: it is the poetry of portrait, (6) "Look to 'l:and the portrait of poetry. There was also one of some learned in Venice they do let heaven see the pranks lady centuries old, whose name I forgel, but whose features must They dare not show their husbands; their best conscience always be remembered. I never saw greater beauty, or sweetness, Is- not to leave undone, but keep unknown."--Othello.-E,