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LV. And, by the way, about the giants dead
Then to the abbey they went on together, Orlando with Morgante reason'd: “Be,
Where waited them the abbot in great doubt. For their decease, I pray you, comforted,
The monks, who knew not yet the fact, ran thither And, since it is God's pleasure, pardon me; To their superior, all in breathless rout, A thousand wrongs unto the monks they bred, Saying with tremor, “Please to tell us whether And our true Scripture soundeth openly,
You wish to have this person in or out?” Good is rewarded, and chastised the ill,
The abbot, looking through upon the giant,
Too greatly feard, at first, to be compliant.
LVI. “Because his love of justice unto all
Orlando, seeing him thus agitated, Is such, he wills his judgment should devour Said quickly, “Abbot, be thou of good cheer; All who have sin, however great or small;
He Christ believes, as Christian must he rated, But good he well remembers to restore.
And hath renounced his Macon false;" which here Nor without justice holy could we call
Morgante with the hands corroborated, Him, whom I now require you to adore.
A proof of both the giants' fale quite clear:
Saying, “Thou hast contented me, O Lord!”
LVII. “ And here our doctors are of one accord,
He gazed ; Morgante's height he calculated,
Know, that no more my wonder will arise
How you could tear and fling the trees you late did, In hell below, and damn'd in great confusion, When I behold your form with my own eyes. Their happiness would be reduced to nought, You now a true and perfect friend will show And thus unjust the Almighty's self be thought. Yourself to Christ, as once you were a foe. LII.
LVIII. “But they in Christ have firmest hope, and all “And one of our apostles, Saul once named,
Which seems to him, to them too must appear Long persecuted sore the faith of Christ, Well done; nor could it otherwise befall:
Till, one day, by the Spirit being inflamed, He never can in any purpose err.
“Why dost thou persecute me thus ?' said Christ, If sire or mother suffer endless thrall,
And then from his offence he was reclaim'd, They don't disturb themselves for him or her; And went for ever after preaching Christ, What pleases God to them must joy inspire; And of the faith became a trump, whose sounding Such is the observance of the eternal choir.” O’er the whole earth is echoing and rebounding. LIII.
LIX. “A word unto the wise,” Morgante said,
“So, my Morgante, you may do likewise; “Is wont to be enough, and you shall see
He who repents—thus writes the evangelistHow much I grieve about my brethren dead; Occasions more rejoicing in the skies And if the will of God seem good to me,
Than ninet;-nine of the celestial list. Just, as you tell me, 't is in heaven obey'd
Yon may be sure, should each desire arise Ashes to ashes,-merry let us be!
With just zeal for the Lord, that you 'll exist I will cut off the hands from both their trunks, Among the happy saints for evermore; And carry them unto the holy monks:
But you were lost and damn'd to hell before!"
LX. “So that all persons may be sure and certain And thus great honour to Morgante paid
That they are dead, and have no further fear The abbot: many days they did repose. To wander solitary this desert in,
One day, as with Orlando they both stray'd, And that they may perceive my spirit clear
And saunter'd here and there, where'er they chose, By the Lord's grace, who hath withdrawn the curtain The abbot show'd a chamber, where array'd
Of darkness, making his bright realm appear." Much armour was, and hung up certain bows; He cut his brethren's hands off at these words, And one of these Morgante for a whim And left them to the savage beasts and birds. Girl on, though useless, he believed, to him.
With greedy pleasure, and in such a mood, There being a want of water in the place,
That the flesh needs no salt beneath their fork, Orlando, like a worthy brother, said,
Of rankness and of rot there is no fear, “Morgante, I could wish you in this case
For all the fasts are now left in arrear. To go for water.” “You shall be obey'd
LXVII. In all commands," was the reply, “straightways." As though they wish'd to burst at once, they ate; Upon his shoulder a great lub he laid,
And gorged so that, as if the hones had been And went out on his way unto a fountain,
In water, sorely grieved the dog and cat, Where he was wont to drink, below the mountain. Perceiving that they all were pick’d too clean. LXII.
The abbot, who to all did honour great, Arrived there, a prodigious noise he hears,
A few days after this convivial scene, Which suddenly along the forest spread;
Gave to Morgante a fine horse, well train'd, Whereat from out his quiver he prepares
Which he long time had for himself maintain'd. An arrow for his bow, and lifts his head;
And onward rushes with tempestuous tread, To gallop, and to put him to the proof,
Thinking that he a back of iron had, So that the giant 's join'd by all the boars.
Or to skim egys unbroke was light enough; LXIII.
But the horse, sinking with the pain, feel dead,
And burst, while cold on earth lay head and hoof. Morgante at a venture shot an arrow, Which pierced a pig precisely in the ear,
Morgante said, “Get up, thou sulky cur!"
And still continued pricking with the spur.
But finally he thought fit to dismount,
And said, “I am as light as any feather, And reach'd the passage with so swfit a foot,
And he has burst;-to this what say you,
count?" Morgante was not now in time to shoot.
Orlando answer’d, “Like a ship’s mast rather
You seem to ine, and with the trunk for front:LXIV.
Let him go; Fortune wills that we together Perceiving that the pig was on him close,
Should march, but you on foot, Morgante, still.” He gave him such a punch upon the head (1)
To which the giant answer'd, “So I will.
“When there shall by occasion, you will see The other pigs along the valley fled;
How I approve my courage in the fight.” Morgante on bis neck the bucket took,
Orlando said, "I really think you 'll be, Full from the spring, which neither swerved nor Nor will you napping there discover me.
If it should prove God's will, a goodly knight; shook.
But never mind your horse, though out of sight LXV.
’T were best to carry him into some wood, The tun was on one shoulder, and there were If but the means or way I understood.” The hogs on t’ other, and he brush'd apace
Since that to carry me he was so slack-
To render, as the gods do, good for ill; With the dead boars, and with that brimful vase,
But lend a hand to place him on my back.” Marvell’d to see his strength so very great;
Orlando answer'd, "If my counsel still
May weigh, Morgante, do not undertake
To lift or carry this dead courser, who,
As you have done to him, will do to you. Rejoiced, but much more to perceive the pork ;
LXXII. All animals are glad at sight of food;
“Take care he don't revenge himself, though dead, They lay their breviaries to sleep, and work As Nessus did of old beyond all cure.
(1) “Gli delle in su la testa un gran punzone." It is strange punch the head,"-,
'-un punzone in su la testa,”-is th that Pulci should have literally anticipated the technical terms and frequent phrase of our best pugilists, who little dream that of my old friend and master, Jackson, and the art which he has they are talking the purest Tuscan. carried to its highest pitch. “A punch on the head," or "a
I don't know if the fact you've heard or read; Courteous and kind to your great worth appeard,
But he will make you burst, you may be sure.” Than fits me for such gentle blood to express, “But help him on my back,” Morgante said, I know I have done too little in this case;
“And you shall see what weight I can endure. But blame our ignorance, and this poor place. In place, my gentle Roland, of this palfrey,
LXXIX. With all the bells, I'd carry yonder belfry.”
“We can indeed but honour you with masses, LXXIII.
And sermons, thanksgivings, and paler-nosters; The abbot said, “The steeple may do well,
(Hot suppers, dinners, fitling other places But, for the bells, you've broken them, I wot."
In verity much rather than the cloisters); Morgante answer'd, “Let them pay in hell
But such a love for you my heart embraces, The penalty who lie dead in yon grot;"
For thousand virtues which your bosom fosters, And hoisting up the horse from where he fell,
That wheresoe'er you go I too shall be,
And, on the other part, you rest with me.
“This may involve a seeming contradiction; Morgante was like any mountain framed;
But you I know are sage, and feel, and taste, So if he did this,'t is no prodigy;
And understand my speech with full conviction. But secretly himself Orlando blamed,
For your just pious deeds may you be graced Because he was one of his family;
With the Lord's great reward and benediction, And fearing that he might be hurt or maim'd,
By whom you were directed to this waste: Once more he bade him lay his burden by:
To his high mercy is our freedom due, “Put down, nor bear him further the desert in."
For which we render thanks to him and you.
“You saved at once our life and soul: such fear He did; and stow'd him in some nook away,
The giants caused us, thal the way was lost
In search of Jesus and the saintly host;
And your departure breeds such sorrow here,
That comfortless we all are to our cost;
“But to bear arms, and wield the lance; indeed,
, The honours they continued to receive
With these as much is done as with this cowl; Perhaps exceeded what his merits claim'd:
In proof of which the Scriplure you may read. He said, “I mean, and quickly, lo retrieve
This giant up to heaven may bear his soul The lost days of time past, which may be blamed ; By your compassion : now in peace proceed. Some days ago I should have ask'd your leave,
Your state and name I seek not to unroll; Kind father, but I really was ashamed,
But, if :I'm ask'd, this answer shall be given, And know not how to show my sentiment,
That here an angel was sent down from heaven. So much I see you with our stay content.
LXXXIII. LXXVII. “But in my heart I bear through every clime
“If you want armour or aught else, go in,
Look o’er the wardrobe, and take what you choose,
And cover with it o'er this giant's skin.”
Orlando answer’d, “If there should lie loose
Some armour, ere our journey we begin,
Which might be turn'd to my companion's use,
The gift would be acceptable to me.”
The abbot said to him, “Come in and see."
Was cover'd with old armour like a crust,
Morgante rummaged piecemeal from the dust
The whole, which, save one cuirass, was too small,
And that too had the mail inlaid with rust. They wonder'd how it fitted him exactly, Which ne'er had suited others so compactly.
LXXXV. 'T was an immeasurable giant's, who
By the great Milo of Agrante fell Before the abbey many years ago.
The story on the wall was figured well, In the last moment of the abbey's foe,
Who long had waged a war implacable:
Precisely as the war occurr'd they drew him,
In his own heart,“ O God, who in the sky
Who caused the giant in this place to die?”
So that he could not keep his visage dry,–
The Prophecy of Dante. (1)
" "T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before."-Campbell.
that, having compos d something on the subject of
Tasso's confinement, he should do the same on Lady! (2) if for the cold and cloudy clime
Dante's exile,-the tomb of the poet forming one of Where I was born, but where I would not die, the principal objects of interest in that city, both to Of the great Poei-Sire of Italy
the native and to the stranger. I dare to build the imitative rhyme,
“On this hint 1 spake," and the result has been Harsh Runic copy of the South's sublime,
the following four cantos, in terza rima, now ofThou art the cause; and howsoever I
fered to the reader. If they are understood and Fall short of his immortal harmony,
approved, it is my purpose to continue the poem, Thy gentle heart will pardon me the crime.
in various other cantos, to its natural conclusion in Thou, in the pride of Beauty and of Youth,
the present age. The reader is requested to suppose
that Dante addresses him in the interval between Spakest; and for thee to speak and be obey'd Are one; but only in the
the conclusion of the Divina Commedia and his South
sunny Such sounds are ulter'd, and such charms dis death, and shortly before the latter event, foretelling play'd,
the fortunes of Italy in general in the ensuing cenSo sweet a language from so fair a mouth
turies. In adopting this plan I have had in my Ah! to what effort would it not persuade? (3)
mind the Cassandra of Lycophron, and the ProRavenna, June 21, 1819.
phecy of Nereus by Horace, as well as the Prophecies of Holy Writ. The measure adopted is the
leiza rima of Dante, which I am not aware to have PREFACE.
seen hitherto tried in our language, except it may
be by Mr. Hayley, of whose translation I never saw In the course of a visit to the city of Ravenna in but one extract, quoted in the notes to Caliph the summer of 1819, it was suggested to the author, Valhek; so that-if I do not err—this poem may
(1) This poem, which Lord Byron, in sending it to Mr. Murray, in that place, afforded a sufficient pretext for me to invite him to called "the best thing he had ever done, if not unintelligible," come, and for him to accept my invitation. He came in the mooth was written, in the summer of 1819, at
of June, 1819, arriving al Ravenna on the day of the festival of the -- t. That place
Corpus Domini. Being deprived at this time of his books, his of old renown, once in the Adrian sea,
horses, and all that occupied him at Venice, I begged him to Ravenna !where from Dante's sacred tomb
gratisy me by writing something on the subject of Dante; and, He had so oft, as many a verse declares,
with his usual facility and rapidity, he composed his Prophecy." Drawn inspiration." – Rogers,
“ There were in this poem originally three lines of remarkable The Prophecy, however, was first published in May, 1821. It is strength and severity, which, as the Italian poet against whom dedicated to the Countess Guiccioli, who thus describes the origin they were directed was then living, were omitted in the public of ils composition :-"On my departure from Venice, Lord Byron cation. I shall here give them from memory:had promised to come and see me at Ravenna. Dante's tomb, the "The prostitution of his muse and wife, classical pine * wood, the relics of antiquity which are to be found
Both beautiful, and both by bim debased,
Shall salt his bread and give him means of life. ” Moore *"'T was in a grove of spreading pines he stray'd," etc.
(2) “Preltily but inbarmoniously turned." Gall.-E. Dryden's Theodore and Honoria.
(3) See Moore's Life of Byron.-E.
be considered as a metrical experiment. The cantos THE PROPHECY OF DANTE. (1) are short, and about the same length of those of the poet, whose name I have borrowed, and most probably taken in vain.
CANTO J. Amongst the inconveniences of authors in the present day, it is difficult for any who have a name, Once more in man's frail world! which I had left good or bad, lo escape translation. I have had the So long that 't was forgotten; and I feel fortune to see the fourth canto of Childe Harold The weight of clay again,- too soon bereft translated into Italian versi sciolti,—that is, a poem of the immortal vision which could heal written in the Spenserean stanza into blank My earthly sorrows, and to God's own skies verse, without regard to the natural divisions of Lift me from that deep gulf without repeal, the stanza or of the sense. If the present poem,
Where late my ears rung with the damned cries being on a national topic, should chance to undergo Of souls in hopeless bale; and from that place the same fate, I would request the Italian reader to
Of lesser torment, whence men may arise remember that when I have failed in the imitation Pure from the fire to join the angelic race; of his great “Padre Alighier," I have failed in imi 'Midst whom my own bright Beatrice bless'd (2) tating that which all study and few understand, My spirit with her light; and to the base since to this very day it is not yet settled what was of the eternal Triad! first, last, best, the meaning of the allegory in the first canto of the Mysterious three, sole, infinite, great God! Inferno, unless Count Marchetti's ingenious and Soul universal! led the mortal guest, probable conjecture may be considered as having Unblasted by the glory, though he trod decided the question.
From star to star to reach the almighty throne. He may also pardon my failure the more, as I am O Beatrice! whose sweet limbs the sod not quite sure that he would be pleased with my So long hath press'd, and the cold marble stone, success, since the Italians, wiih a pardonable na Thou sole pure seraph of my earliest love, tionality, are particularly jealous of all that left Love so ineffable, and so alone, them as a nation-their literature; and in the pre-That nought on earth could more my bosom sent bitterness of the classic and romantic war, are And meeting thee in heaven was but to meet but ill disposed to permita foreigner even to approve
That without which my soul, like the arkless dove, or imitale then, without finding some fault with Had wander'd still in search of, nor her feet his ultramontane presumption. I can easily enter Relieved her wing till found; without thy light into all this, knowing what would be thought in My paradise had still been incomplete. (3) England of an Italian imitator of Milton, or if a Since my tenth sun gave summer to my sight translation of Monti, or Pindemonte, or Arici,
Thou wert my life, the essence of my thought, should be held up to the rising generation as a
Loved ere I knew the name of love, (4) and bright model for their future poetical essays. But I per- Still in these dim old eyes, now overwrought ceive that I am deviating into an address to the Ita With the world's war, and years, and banishment, lian reader, when my business is with the English And tears for thee, by other woes untaught: one; and, be they few or many, I must take my For mine is not a nature to be bent leave of both.
By tyrannous faction, and the brawling crowd;
(1) Dante Alighieri was born in Florence in May, 1265, of an manners most courteous and civil; and, both in public and privale ancient and honourable family. In the early part of his life he lise, he was admirably decorous."-E. gained some credii in a military characler, and distinguished (2) The reader is requested lo adopt the Italian pronunciation bimself by his bravery in an action where the Florentines ob- of Beatrice, sounding all the syllables. tained a signal victory over the citizens of Arezzo. He became
(3) Canzone, in which Dante describes the person of Beatrice, still more eminent by the acquisition of court honours; and at Strophe third:the age of thirty-five he rose to be one of the chief magistrates of Florence, when that dignity was conferred by the suffrages of “ Cbe sol per le belle opre the people. From this exaltation the poet himself daled his
Che fanno in Cielo il sole e l'altre stelle
Dentro di lui' si crede il Paradiso principal misfortunes. Italy was at that time distracted by the
Cosi se guardi fiso contending factions of the Ghibelines and Guelphs,-among the Pensar ben dei ch' ogni terren' piacere." former Dante took an active part. In one of the proscriptions ho was banished, his possessions confiscated, and he died in exile (4) “According to Boccaccio, Dante was a lover long before in 1321.
Boccaccio thus describes his person and manners :- he was a soldier, and his passion for the Beatrice whom he has "He was of the middle slature, of a mild disposition, and, from immortalised commenced while be was in bis ninth year, and the time he arrived at manhood, grave in his manner and deport. she in her eighth year. It is said that their first meeting was al ment. His clothes were plain, and his dress always conformable a banquet in the house of Folco Portinaro, her father; and certo his years: his face was long; his nose aquiline; his eyes rather lain it is, that the impression then made on the susceptible and large than otherwise. His complexion was dark, melancholy, constant heart of Danie was not obliterated by her death, which and pensive. In bis meals he was extremely moderate; in his happened after an interval of sixteen years.” Cary.