FREDERIC THOMAS BLANCHAKD
ENGLISH READING ROOM
Printed by A. & R- Spottiswoode,
W S. Ml
HIS LETTERS AND JOURNALS,
AND HIS LIFE,
BY THOMAS MOORE, ESQ.
IN FOURTEEN VOLUMES.
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
THE poems contained in this Volume were
almost all written at Ravenna, in the years
1820 and 1821. The history of the compo-
sition and publication of each piece will be
found in a special note introductory, or preface.
The reader must bear in recollection, that
the fourth Canto of " Childe Harold" was
the performance which Lord Byron gave to
the world next after "Beppo;" and, in like
manner, that the two first Cantos of " Don
Juan" appeared in 1819 ; the third, fourth, and
fifth in 1821. We need not recur to the
grounds on which, in reference to these poems,
the chronological arrangement has been de-
For the use of Lord Byron's original MSS.
of several of the poems, and for one set of
Stanzas not before included in his works, we
are indebted to the courtesy of the Countess
London, November 10. 1832.
CONTENTS OF VOL. XII.
FRANCESCA OF RIMINI - 1
STANZAS TO THE PO - - - 13
STANZAS WRITTEN ON THE RoAD BETWEEN FLORENCE
AND PlSA - 19
THE BLUES; A LITERARY ECLOGUE - 21
MARINO FALIERO, DOGE OF VENICE;
AN HISTORICAL TRAGEDY - -43
APPENDIX - - 217
THE VISION OF JUDGMENT - - 231
APPENDIX - 301
Stanzas. [" Could Love for ever "] - 317
The Charity Ball - 32O
Epigram on my Wedding- Day. - 321
On my Thirty-third Birth-day - 321
Epigram, on the Brasiers' Company having resolved
to present an Address to Queen Caroline - 322
Lines to Mr. Murray - - 323
FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.
[THIS translation, of what is generally considered the most
exquisitely pathetic episode in the Divina Commedia, was exe-
cuted in March, 1820, at Ravenna, where, just five centuries
before, and in the very house in which the unfortunate lady
was born, Dante's poem had been composed.
In mitigation of the crime of Francesca, Boccaccio relates,
that " Guido engaged to give his daughter in marriage to Lan-
ciotto, the eldest son of his enemy, the master of Rimini. Lan-
ciotto, who was hideously deformed in countenance and figure,
foresaw that, if he presented himself in person, he should be re-
jected by the lady. He therefore resolved to marry her by proxy,
and sent as his representative his younger brother, Paolo, the
handsomest and most accomplished man in all Italy. Francesca
saw Paolo arrive, and imagined she beheld her future husband.
That mistake was the commencement of her passion. The
friends of Guido addressed him in strong remonstrances, and
mournful predictions of the dangers to which he exposed a
daughter, whose high spirit would never brook to be sacrificed
with impunity. But Guido was no longer in a condition to
make war ; and the necessities of the politician overcame the
feelings of the father."
In transmitting his version to Mr. Murray, Lord Byron
says " Enclosed you will find, line for line, in third rhyme
(terza rima), of which your British blackguard reader as yet
understands nothing, Fanny of Rimini. You know that she
was born here, and married, and slain, from Cary, Boyd, and
such people. I have done it into cramp English, line for line,
and rhyme for rhyme, to try the possibility. If it is published,
publish it with the original."
In one of the poet's MS. Diaries we find the following pas-
sage: " January 29. 1 ! : 21, past midnight one of the clock.
I have been reading Frederick Schlegel (') till now, and I can
make out nothing. He evidently shows a great power of
(1) [" Lectures on the History of Literature, Ancient and Modern. "J
words, but there is nothing to be taken hold of. He is like
Hazlitt in English, who talks pimples ; a red and white cor-
ruption rising up (in little imitation of mountains upon maps),
but containing nothing, and discharging nothing, except their
own humours. I like him the worse (that is, Schlegel), be-
cause he always seems upon the verge of meaning ; and, lo !
he goes down like sunset, or melts like a rainbow, leaving a
rather rich confusion. Of Dante, he says, that ' at no time
has the greatest and most national of all Italian poets ever
been much the favourite of his countrymen !' 'Tis false. There
have been more editors and commentators (and imitators ulti-
mately) of Dante than of all their poets put together. Not
a favourite! Why, they talk Dante write Dante and
think and dream Dante, at this moment (1821), to an excess
which would be ridiculous, but that he deserves it. He says
also that Dante's ' chief defect is a want, in a word, of gentle
feelings.' Of gentle feelings ! and Francesca of Rimini
and the father's feelings in Ugolino and Beatrice and
' La Pia ! ' Why, there is a gentleness in Dante beyond all
gentleness, when he is tender. It is true that, treating of the
Christian Hades, or Hell, there is not much scope or site for
gentleness : but who but Dante could have introduced any
' gentleness ' at all into Hell ? Is there any in Milton's ? No
and Dante's Heaven is all love, and glory, and majesty."
This translation was first published in 1830. E.]
FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, (i)
SIEDE la terra dove nata fui
Su la marina, dove il Po discende,
Per aver pace coi seguaci sui.
Amor, che al cor gentil ratto s' apprende,
Prese costui della bella persona
Che mi fu tolta ; e il modo ancor m' offende.
Amor, che a nullo amato amar perdona,
Mi prese del costui piacer si forte,
Che, come vedi, ancor non m' abbandona ;
Amor condusse noi ad una morte :
(1) [Franceses, daughter of Guide da Polenta, Lord of Ravenna and of
Cervia, was given by her father in marriage to Lanciotto, son of Malatesta,
Lord of Rimini, a man of extraordinary courage, but deformed in his
person. His brother Paolo, who unhappily possessed those graces which
the husband of Francesca wanted, engaged her affections; and being taken
in adultery, they were both put to death by the enraged Lanciotto. The
interest of this pathetic narrative is much increased, when it is recollected
that the father of this unfortunate lady was the beloved friend and generous
protector of Dante during his latter days. See antl, Vol. XI. p. 302., and
also Canto xxvii. of the Inferno, where Dante, speaking of Ravenna,
L' aquila da Polenta la si cova,
SI che Cervia ricopre co' suoi vanni.
There Polenta's eagle broods,
And in his broad circumference of plume
O'ershadows Cervia. CARV.
Guido was the son of Ostasio da Polenta, and made himself master of
Raveuna in 1265. In 1322, he was deprived of his sovereignty, and died at
Bologna in the year following. He is enumerated, by Tiraboschi, among
the poets of his time. E.]
FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.
FROM THE INFERNO OF DANTE.
" THE land where I was born ( ! ) sits by the seas,
Upon that shore to which the Po descends,
With all his followers, in search of peace.
Love, which the gentle heart soon apprehends,
Seized him for the fair person which was ta'en ( 2 )
From me, and me even yet the mode offends.
Love, who to none beloved to love again
Remits, seized me with wish to please, so strong,
That, as thou seest, yet, yet it doth remain.
Love to one death conducted us along,
(2) [Among Lord Byron's unpublished letters we find the following:
" Varied readings of the translation from Dante.
Seized him for the fair person, which in its
Bloom was ta'en from me, yet the mode offends.
Seized him for the fair form, of which in its
Bloom I was reft, and yet the mode offends.
Love, which to none beloved to love remits,
f with mutual wish to pleased
Seized me < with wish of pleasing him > so strong,
C. with the desire to please J
That, as thou see'st, not yet that passion quits, &c.
You will find these readings vary from the MS. I sent you. They are
closer, but rougher : take which is liked best; or, if you like, print them
as variations. They are all close to the text." B. Letters.'}
FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.
Caina attcndc chi in vita ci spense:(')
Queste parole da lor ci fur porte.
Da ch' io intcsi quell' aninie offense
Chinai il viso, e tanto il tenni basso
Fin che il Poeta mi disse : " Che pense?'
Quando risposi incomminciai : " Ahi lasso !
Quanti dolci pensier, quanto desio
Meno costoro al doloroso passo ! "
Pol mi rivolsi a loro, e parlai io,
(1) [The whole history of woman's love is as highly and completely
wrought, we think, in these few lines, as that of Juliet in the whole tragedy
of Shakspeare. Francesca impute? the passion her brother-in-law con-
ceived for her, not to depravitv, but nobleness of heart in him, and to her
own loveliness. With a mingled feeling of keen sorrow and complacent
naivete, she says she was fair, and that an ignominious death robbed him
of her beauty. She confesses that she loved, because she was beloved,
that charm had deluded her ; and she declares, with transport, that joy had
not abandoned her even in hell
" piacer si forte,
Che, come vedi, ancor non m' abbandona."
It is thus that Dante unites perspicuity with conciseness, and the most
naked simplicity with the protbundest observation of the heart. Her
guilty passion survives its punishment by Heaven but without a shade
of impiety. How striking is the contrast of her extreme happiness in the
midst of torments that can never cease; when, resuming her narrative,
she looks at her lover, and repeats with enthusiasm
" Questi, che mai dame non fia diviso"
She nevertheless goes on to relieve her brother-in-law from all imputation of
having seduced her. Alone, and unconscious of their danger, they read a
love-story together. They gazed upon each other, pale with emotion;
but the secret of their mutual passion never escaped their lips : j
" Per piii fiate gli occhi ci sospinse
Quella lettura, e scolorocci il viso ;
Ma solo un punto fu qual che ci vinse."
The description of two happy lovers in the story was the ruin of Francesca.
It was the romance of Lancilot and Gcnevra, wife of Arthur, King of
FRAXCESCA OF RIMINI. 7
But Caint\( 1 ) waits for him our life who ended:"
These were the accents utter'd by her tongue.
Since I first listen'd to these souls offended,
I bow'd my visage, and so kept it till
" What think'st thou?" said the bard; when I
unbended, ( 2 )
And recommenced : " Alas ! unto such ill
How many sweet thoughts, what strong ecstasies
Led these their evil fortune to fulfil ! "
And then I turn'd unto their side my eyes,
" Ouando leggemmo il disiato riso
Esser baciato da cotanto amante,
Questi, che mai da mo non fia diviso
La bocca mi bacio tuito tremante."
After this avowal, she hastens to complete the picture with one touch
which covers her with confusion
" Quel giorno piu non vi leggemmo avante."
She utters not another word ! and yet we fancy her before us, with her
downcast and glowing looks ; whilst her lover stands by her side, listening
in silence and in tears. Dante, too, who had hitherto questioned her, no
longer ventures to enquire in what manner her husband had put her to
death ; but is so overawed by pity, that he sinks into a swoon. Xor is this
to be considered as merely a poetical exaggeration. The poet had pro-
bably known her when a girl, blooming in innocence and beauty under
the paternal roof. This, we think, is the true account of the overwhelming
sympathy with which her form overpowers him. The episode, too, was
written by him in the very house in which she was born, and in which he
had himself, during the last ten years of his exile, found a constant
(1) [From Cain, the first fratricide. By Caimi we are to understand that
part of the Inferno to which murderers are condemned.]
' [_" I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid ;
A little cupola, more neat than solemn,
Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid
To the bard's tomb, and not the warrior's column :
The time must come when, both alike decay'd,
The chieftain's trophy, and the poet's volume,
Will sink where lie the songs and wars of earth,
Before Pclides' death, or Homer's birth," Don Juan, C. iii.]
8 FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.
E cominciai : Francesca, i tuoi martiri
A lagrimar mi fanno tristo e pio.
Ma dimmi : al tempo de' dolci sospiri
A che, e come concedette Amore
Che conosceste i dubbiosi desiri?
Ed ella a me : nessun maggior dolore
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria ; ( x ) e cio sa il tuo dottore.
Ma se a conoscer la prima radice
Del nostro amor tu hai cotanto affetto
Faro ( 2 ) come colui che piange e dice.
Noi leggevamo un giorno per diletto
Di Lancillotto, ( 3 ) come Amor lo strinse :
Soli eravamo, e senza alcun sospetto.
Per piu fiate gli occhi ci sospinse
Quella lettura, e scolorocci il viso :
Ma solo un pun to fu quel che ci vinse.
Quando leggemmo il disiato riso
Esser baciato da cotanto amante,
Questi, che mai da me non fia diviso,
La bocca mi bacio tutto tremante :
(1) [" In omni adversitate fortunas infelicissimum genus infortunii est
fuisse felicom." Boctius. Dante himself tells us, that Boetius and Cicero
de Amicitia were the two first books that engaged his attention. E.]
(2) [In some of the editions it is ' dir6,' in others ' faro;' an essential
difference between ' saying ' and ' doing,' which I know not how to decide.
Ask Foscolo. The d d editions drive me mad." Lord B. to Mr. jV.]
(3) [One of the Knights of Arthur's Round Table, and the lover of
Gcnevra, celebrated in romance. See Southey's " King Arthur," vol. i.
p. 52. Whitaker, the historian of Manchester, makes out for the knight
both a local habitation and a name. " The name of Lancelot," he
says, " is an appellation truly British, and significative of royalty;
Lance being a Celtic term for a spear, and Leod, Lod, or Lot, import-
ing a people. He was therefore (!) a British sovereign ; and since he is
denominated Lancelot of the Lake, perhaps ('.} he resided at Coccium, in
the region Linnis, and was the monarch of Lancashire ; as the kings of
FHANCESCA OF RIMINI.
And said, " Francesca, thy sad destinies
Have made me sorrow till the tears arise.
But tell me, in the season of sweet sighs,
By what and how thy love to passion rose,
So as his dim desires to recognise?"
Then she to me : " The greatest of all woes
Is to remind us of our happy days( 1 )
In misery, and that thy teacher knows. ( 2 )
But if to learn our passion's first root preys
Upon thy spirit with such sympathy,
I will do even as he who weeps and says. ( 3 )-
We read one day for pastime, seated nigh,
Of Lancilot, how love enchain'd him too.
We were alone, quite unsuspiciously.
But oft our eyes met, and our cheeks in hue
All o'er discoloured by that reading were ;
But one point only wholly us o'erthrew ;( 4 )
When we read the long-sigh'd-for smile of her,
To be thus kiss'd by such devoted lover, ( 5 )
He who from me can be divided ne'er
Kiss'd my mouth, trembling in the act all over.
Creones, living at Selma, on the forest of Morven, are generally denomi-
nated sovereigns of Morven ; or, more properly, was King of Cheshire,
and resided at Pool-ton Lancelot, in the hundred of Win-all." See also
Ellis's Specimens of early Romances, vol. i. p. 271. E.]
(1) [MS._ I. to[^'jour happy days,']
(2) [MS. " In misery and f [J'!^ ? thy teacher knows."]
(3) [MS. " I will [ d oCTen ] as lle wee P s and sa )' s -"3
(4) [MS. -"But one point only us [oShreT]'" 3
(5) [MS. -" To be thus kiss'd by such a ^^^ t lover."]
10 FRANCESCA OF RIMINI.
Galeotto f'u il libro, e chi lo scrisse
Quel giorno piu non vi leggemmo avante.
Mentre che 1' uno spirto questo disse,
L'altro piangeva si che di pietade
lo venni men cosi com' io morisse,
E cadtli come corpo morto cade. (')
(1) [Tht episode of Francesca of Rimini is thus translated by Cary : and
it is only justice to Lord Byron to give the passage here, in order to show
how he succeeded in overcoming all the difficulties of rhyme, with which
Mr. Cary does not grapple :
" ' The land that gave me birth
Is situate on the coast, where Po descends
To rest in ocean with his sequent streams.
" ' Love, that in gentle heart is quickly learnt,
Entangled him by that fair form, from me
Ta'en in such cruel sort, as grieves me still :
Love, that denial takes from none beloved,
Caught me with pleasing him so passing well,
That, as thou seest, foe yet deserts me not.
Love brought us to one death : Caina waits
The soul, who spilt our life.' Such were their words ;
At hearing which downward I bent my looks,
And held them there so long, that the Hard cried:
' What art thou pondering '?' I in answer thus :
' Alas ! by what sweet thoughts, what fond desire,
Must they at length to that ill pass have rcach'd ! "
" Then turning, I to them my speech address'd,
And thus began : ' Francesca! your sad fate
Even to tears my grief and pity moves.
But tell me ; in the time of your sweet sighs,
By what, and how Love granted, that ye knew
Your yet uncertain wishes ? ' She replied :
' No greater grief than to remember days
Of joy, when misery is at hand. That kens
Thy learn'd instructor. Yet so eagerly
If thou art bent to know the primal root
From whence our love gat being, I will do
As one, who weeps and tells his tale. One day,
For our delight, we read of Lancelot,
How him love thrall'd. Alone we were, and no
Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
Fled from our alter'd cheek. But at one point
Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
FRANCESCA OF RIMINI. 11
Accursed was the book and he who wrote !
That day no further leaf we did uncover.
While thus one spirit told us of their lot,
The other wept, so that with pity's thralls
I swoon'd as if by death I had been smote,
And fell down even as a dead body falls.'^ 1 )
The wished smile, so rapturously kiss'd
By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
From me shall separate, at once my lips
All trembling kiss'd. The book and writer both
Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
We read no more.' While thus one spirit spake,
The other wail'd so sorely, that heart-struck,
J, through compassion fainting, seem'd not far
From death, and like a corse fell to the ground."
The story of Francesca and Paolo is a great favourite with the Italians.
It is noticed by all the historians of Ravenna. Petrarch introduces it, in
his Trionii d'Amore, among his examples of calamitous passion ; and
Tassoni, in his Secchia Hapita, represents Paolo Malatesta as leading the
troops of Rimini, and describes him, when mounted on his charger, as con-
templating a golden sword-chain, presented to him by Francesca :
" Rimini vien con la bandiera sesta,
Guida mille cavalli, e mille fanti ...
Halli donata al dispartir Francesca
L' aurea catena, a cui la spada appende.
La vl mirando al misero, e rinfresca
Quel foco ognor, che 1' anima gli accende,
yuanto cerca fuggir, tanto s' invesca."
" To him Francesca gave the golden chain
At parting-time, from which his sword was hung ;
The wretched lover gazed at it with pain,
Adding new pangs to those his heart had wrung ;
The more he sought to fly the luscious bane,
The firmer he was bound, the deeper stung." E.]
STANZAS TO THE PO.
[ABOUT the middle of April, 1819, Lord Byron travelled from Venice to
Ravenna, at which last city he expected to find the Countess Guiccioli.
The following stanzas, which have been as much admired as any of the
kind he ever wrote, were composed, according to Madame Guiccioli's
statement, during this journey, and while Ix>rd Byron was actually sailing
on the Po. In transmitting them to England, in May, 1820, he says,
" They must not be published : pray recollect this, as they are mere verses
of society, and written upon private feelings and passions. They were first
printed in 1821." E.]
TO THE PO.
RIVER, that rollest by the ancient walls, (')
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me ;
(1) [Ravenna a city to which Lord Byron afterwards declared himself
more attached than to any other place, except Greece. He resided in it
rather more than two years, " and quitted it," says Madame Guiccioli,
" with the deepest regret, and with a presentiment that his departure would
be the forerunner of a thousand evils : he was continually performing
generous actions : many families owed to him the few prosperous days
they ever enjoyed ; his arrival was spoken of as a piece of public good for-
tune, and his departure as a public calamity." In the third Canto of" Don
Juan," Lord Byron has pictured the tranquil life which, at this time, he was
" Sweet hour of twilight ! in the solitude
Of the pine forest, and the silent shore
Which bounds Kavenna's immemorial wood,
Rooted where once the Adrian wave flow'd o'er,
To where the last Ca?-arean fortress stood,
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore
And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me,
How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!
" The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song,
Were the sole echoes, save my steed's and mine,
And vesper bells that rose the boughs among;
The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line,
His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair throng,
Which learn'd from this example not to fly
From a true lover, shadow'd my mind's eye."]
16 STANZAS TO THE PO.
What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she may read
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed !
What do I say a mirror of my heart ?
Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong ?
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art ;
And such as thou art were my passions long.
Time may have somewhat tamed them, not for ever
Thou overflow's! thy banks, and not for aye
Thy bosom overboils, congenial river !
Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away.
But left long wrecks behind, and now again,
Borne in our old unchanged career, we move ;
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main,
And I to loving one I should not love.
The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls and murmur at her feet ;
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's heat.
STANZAS TO THE PO. 17
She will look on thee, I have look'd on thee,
Full of that thought ; and, from that moment, ne'er
Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see,
Without the inseparable sigh for her !
Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream,
Yes ! they will meet the wave I gaze on now :
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
That happy wave repass me in its flow !
The wave that bears my tears returns no more :
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep?
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore,
I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.
But that which keepeth us apart is not
Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth,
But the distraction of a various lot,
As various as the climates of our birth.
A stranger loves the lady of the land,
Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
Is all meridian, as if never fann'd
By the black wind that chills the polar flood.
VOL. XII. C
18 STANZAS TO THE PO.
My blood is all meridian ; were it not,
I had not left my clime, nor should I be,
In spite of tortures, ne'er to be forgot,
A slave again of love, at least of thee.
'Tis vain to struggle let me perish young
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved ;
To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,
And then, at least, my heart can ne'er be moved.
STANZAS WRITTEN ON THE ROAU BETWEEN
FLORENCE AND PISA.(')
On, talk not to me of a name great in story ;
The days of our youth are the days of our glory ;
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty
Are worth all your laurels, though ever so plenty.
What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is
'Tis but as a dead-flower with May-dew besprinkled.
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary !
What care I for the wreaths that can only give glory ?
Oh FAME I ( 2 ) if I e'er took delight in thy praises,