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THE LIBRARY

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POEMS



BY



SAMUEL ROGERS.



VOL. II.



LONDON :

PRINTED FOB T. CADELL, STRAND ; AM) E. MOXON,
DOVER-STREET.

1834.






• • • . •
■•••««
• ••.*.■



ITALY,



I T A L Y,



A POEM.



BY



SAMUEL ROGERS-



LONDON:

PRINTED FOB T. CADELL, STRAND; AND F.. MOXON,
DOVER-STREET.

1835.



BRADBURY AND EVANS, PRINTERS, WKITBFRIARR,
(LATE T. DAVISON.






fi






A I



i



THE PREFACE.



Whatever may be the fate of this Poem, it has led
the Author in many an after-dream through a beau-
tiful country; and may not perhaps be uninteresting

to those who have learnt to live in Past Times as
well as Present, and whose minds are familiar with
the Events and the People that have rendered Italy
so illustrious ; for, wherever he came, he could not
but remember ; nor is he conscious of having slept
over any ground that had been ' dignified by wis-
dom, bravery, or virtue.'



IV



Much of it was originally published as it was
written on the spot. He has since revised it
throughout, and added many stories from the old
Chroniclers and many notes illustrative of the
manners, customs, and superstitions.



**v •*






CONTENTS.

PAGF

""The Lake of Geneva 1

Meillerie 5

St. Maurice 9

The Great St. Bernard 11

The Descent 17

Jorasse 20

Marguerite de Tours 25

The Alps 29

Como 32

Bergamo 37

Italy 41

Coll'alto 43

Venice 47

Luigi 54

St. Mark's Place 57

^ The Gondola 65

The Brides of Venice 69



VI

T'A(,F

Fpscari 75

Marcolini 85

Arqui 88

Ginevra 92

Bologna 97

Florence 102

Don Garzia 107

The Campagna of Florence Ill

The Pilgrim 127

An Interview 131

Montorio 137*

Rome 137

A Funeral 144

National Prejudices 149

The Campagna of Home 153

The Roman Pontiffs 158

Cains Cestius 160

The Nun 162

The Fire-Fly 166

Foreign Travel 169

The Fountain 175

Banditti 178

An Adventure 183



Vll

PAGE

Naples 189

The Bag of Gold 197

A Character 205

Paestum 207

Amalfi 212

Monte Cassino 217

The Harper 220

The Feluca 223

Genoa 228

Marco Griffoni 230

A Farewell 233

Notes 237





THE LAKE OF GENEVA.

Day glimmered in the east, and the white Moon
Hung like a vapour in the cloudless sky,
let visible, when on my way I went,
Glad to be gone ; a pilgrim from the north,
Now more and more attracted as I drew
Nearer and nearer. Ere the artisan
Had from his window leant, drowsy, half-clad,
To snuff the morn, or the caged lark poured forth,
From his green sod upspringing as to heaven,

B






'.!



(His tuneful bill overflowing with a song

( )ld in the days of Homer, and his wings

With transport quivering) on my way I went,

Thy gates, Geneva, swinging heavily,

Thy gates so slow to open, swift to shut;

As on that Sabbath-eve when He arrived,*

Whose name is now thy glory, now by thee,

Such virtue dwells in those small syllables,

Inscribed to consecrate the narrow street,

His birth-place — when, but one short step too late,

In his despair, as tho' the die were cast,

He sat him down to weep and wept till dawn ;

Then rose to go, a wanderer thro' the world.

'Tis not a tale that every hour brings with it.
Yet at a City-gate, from time to time,
Much may be learnt; nor, London, least at thine,
Thy hive the busiest, greatest of them all,
Gathering, enlarging still. Let us stand by,
And note who passes. Here comes one, a Youth,
Glowing with pride, the pride of conscious power,
A Ciiatterton — in thought admired, caressed,
And crowned like Petrarch in the Capitol ;
Ere long to die, to fall by his own hand,
And fester with the vilest. Here come two,
Less feverish, less exalted — soon to part,
A Gat; rick and a Johnson ; Wealth and Fame
Awaiting one — even at the gate ; Neglect

* J. J. RODSSEAU.



3



And Want the other. But what multitudes,
Urged by the love of change, and, like myself,
Adventurous, careless of to-morrow's fare,
Press on — tho' but a rill entering the Sea,
Entering and lost ! Our task would never end.
Day glimmered and I went, a gentle breeze
Ruffling the Leman Lake. Wave after wave,
If such they might be called, dashed as in sport,
Not anger, with the pebbles on the beach
Making wild music, and far westward caught
The sun-beam — where, alone and as entranced,
Counting the hours, the fisher in his skiff
Lay with his circular and dotted line
On the bright waters. When the heart of man
Is light with hope, all things are sure to please;
And soon a passage-boat swept gaily by,
Laden with peasant-girls and fruits and flowers,
And many a chanticleer and partlet caged
For Vevay's market-place — a motley group
Seen thro' the silvery haze. But soon 'twas gone.
The shifting sail flapped idly to and fro,
Then bore them off. I am not one of those
So dead to all things in this visible world,
So wondrously profound — as to move on
In the sweet light of heaven, like him of old*
(His name is justly in the Calendar)
Who thro' the day pursued this pleasant path

* Bernard, Abbot ofClairvauz.



That winds beside the mirror of all beauty,

And, when at eve his fellow-pilgrims sat,

Discoursing of the lake, asked where it was.

They marvelled, as they might ; and so must all,

Seeing what now I saw ; for now 'twas day,

And the bright Sun was in the firmament,

A thousand shadows of a thousand hues

Chequering the clear expanse. Awhile his Orb

Hung o'er thy trackless fields of snow, Mont Blanc,

Thy seas of ice and ice-built promontories,

That change their shapes for ever as in sport ;

Then travelled onward, and went down behind

The pine-clad heights of Jura, lighting up

The woodman's casement, and perchance his axe

Borne homeward thro' the forest in his hand ;

And on the edge of some o'erhanging cliff,

That dungeon-fortress never to be named,

Where, like a lion taken in the toils,

Toussaint breathed out his bi;ivc and generous spirit.

Ah, little did He think, who sent him there,

That he himself, then greatest among men,

Should in like manner be so soon conveyed

Athwart the deep — and to a rock so small

Amid the countless multitude of waves,

That ships have gone and sought it, and returned,

Saying it was not !



MEILLERIE.

These grey majestic cliffs that tower to Heaven,

These glimmering glades and open chesnut-groves,

That echo to the heifer's wandering bell,

Or woodman's axe, or steers-man's song beneath,

As on he urges his fir-laden bark,

Or shout of goatherd-boy above them all,

Who loves not ? And who blesses not the light,

When thro' some loop-hole he surveys the lake

Blue as a sapphire-stone, and richly set

W 7 ith chateaux, villages, and village- spires,

Orchards and vineyards, alps and alpine snows ? .

Here would I dwell ; nor visit but in thought

Ferney far south, silent and empty now

As now thy once-luxurious bowers, RiPAlLLE;

Vevay, so long an exiled Patriot's* home;

Or Ciiillon , s dungeon-floors beneath the wave,

Channelled and worn by pacing to and fro ;

Lausanne, where Gibbon in his sheltered walk

Nightly called up the Shade of ancient Rome;



Or Coppet, and that dark untrodden grove*

Sacred to Virtue, and a daughter's tears !

Here would 1 dwell, forgetting and forgot ;

And oft methinks (of such strange potency

The spells that Genius scatters where he will)

Oft should I wander forth like one in search,

And say, half-dreaming, " Here St. Preux has stood!"

Then turn and gaze on Clarens.

Yet there is,
Within an eagle's flight and less, a Scene
Still nobler if not fairer (once again
Would I behold it ere these eyes are closed,
For I can say, ' I also have been there !')
That Sacred Lakej- withdrawn among the hills,
Its depth of waters flanked as with a wall
Built by the Giant-race before the flood ;
Where not a cross or chapel but inspires
Holy delight, lifting our thoughts to God
From God-like men, men in a barbarous age
That dared assert their birth-right, and displayed
Deeds half-divine, returning Good for 111 ;
That in the desert sowed the seeds of life,
Framing a band of small Republics there,
Which still exist, the envy of the World !
Who would not land in each, and tread the ground ;

* The burial-place of Nkckf.r.
f Tlic Lake of the Foui Canton



Land where Tell leaped ashore ; and climb to drink

Of the three hallowed fountains ? He, that does,

Comes back the better ; and relates at home

That he was met and greeted by a race

Such as he read of in his boyish days ;

Such as Miltiades at Marathon

Led, when he chased the Persians to their ships.

There, while the well-known boat is heaving in,
Piled with rude merchandise, or launching forth,
Thronged with wild cattle for Italian fairs,
There in the sun-shine, mid their native snows,
Children, let loose from school, contend to use
The cross-bow of their fathers ; and o'er-run
The rocky field where all. in every age,
Assembling sit, like one great family,
Forming alliances, enacting laws ;
Each cliff and head-land and green promontory
Graven to their eyes with records of the past
That prompt to hero-worship, and excite
Even in the least, the lowliest, as he toils,
A reverence no where else or felt or feigned ;
Their chronicler great Nature ; and the volume
Vast as her works — above, below, around !
The fisher on thy beach, Thermopylae,
Asks of the lettered stranger why he came,
First from his lips to learn the glorious truth !
And who that whets his scythe in RlJNNEMEDE,



8



Tho' hut for them a slave, recalls to mind

The barons in array with their great charter ?

Among the everlasting Alps alone,

There to burn on as in a Sanctuary,

Bright and unsullied lives the' ethereal flame;

And mid those scenes unchanged, unchangeahle,

Why should it ever die?





ST. MAURICE.



Still by the Leman Lake, for many a mile,
Among those venerable trees I went,
Where damsels sit and weave their fishing-nets,
Singing some national song by the way-side.
But now the fly was gone, the gnat careering ;
Now glimmering lights from cottage-windows broke.
'Twas dusk ; and, journeying upward by the Rhone,

c



10



That there came down, a torrent from the Alps,

I entered where a key unlocks a kingdom ;

The road and river, as they Mind along,

Filling the mountain-pass. There, till a ray

Glanced thro' my lattice, and the household-stir

Warned me to rise, to rise and to depart,

A stir unusual and accompanied

With many a tuning of rude instruments,

And many a laugh that argued coming pleasure,

Mine host's fair daughter for the nuptial rite,

And nuptial feast attiring — there I slept,

And in my dreams wandered once more, well-pleased.

But now a charm was on the rocks, and woods,

And waters ; for, methought, I was with those

I had at morn and even wished for there.




THE GREAT ST. BERNARD.



Night was again descending, when my mule,
That all day long had climbed among the clouds,
Higher and higher still, as by a stair
Let down from Heaven itself, transporting me,
Stopped, to the joy of both, at that low door,
That door, which ever, as self-opened, moves
To them that knock, and nightly sends abroad
Ministering Spirits. Lying on the watch,



12



Two dogs of grave demeanour welcomed me,

All meekness, gentleness, tho' large of limb ;

And a lay-brother of the Hospital,

Who, as we toiled below, had heard by fits

The distant echoes gaining on his ear,

Came and held fast my stirrup in his hand,

While I alighted. Long could I have stood,

\\ ith a religious awe contemplating

That House, the highest in the Ancient World,

And destined to perform from age to age

The noblest service, welcoming as guests

All of all nations and of every faith ;

A Temple, sacred to Humanity !

It was a pile of simplest masonry,

With narrow windows and vast buttresses,

Built to endure the shocks of Time and Chance ;

Yet showing many a rent, as well it might,

Warred on for ever by the elements,

And in an evil clay, nor long ago,

By violent men — when on the mountain-top

The French and Austrian banners met in conflict.

On the same rock beside it stood the church,
Reft of its cross, not of its sanctity ;
The vesper-bell, for 'twas the vesper-hour,
Duly proclaiming thro' the wilderness,
" All ye who hear, whatever be your work,
Stop for an instant— move your lips in prayer !"



13



And, just beneath it, in that dreary dale,
If dale it might be called, so near to Heaven,
A little lake, where never fish leaped up,
Lay like a spot of ink amid the snow ;
A star, the only one in that small sky,
On its dead surface glimmering. 'Twas a place
Resembling nothing I had left behind,
As if all worldly ties were now dissolved; —
And, to incline the mind still more to thought,
To thought and sadness, on the eastern shore
Under a beetling cliff stood half in gloom
A lonely chapel destined for the dead,
For such as, having wandered from their way,
Had perished miserably. Side by side,
Within they lie, a mournful company,
All in their shrouds, no earth to cover them ;
Their features full of life yet motionless
In the broad day, nor soon to suffer change,
Tho' the barred windows, barred against the wolf,
Are always open ! — But the North blew cold;
And, bidden to a spare but cheerful meal,
I sat among the holy brother-hood
\t their long board. The fare indeed was such
As is prescribed on days of abstinence,
But might have pleased a nicer taste than mine ;
And thro' 1 the floor came up, an ancient crone
Serving unseen below; while from the roof



14



(The roof, the floor, the walls of native fir,)

A lamp hung flickering, such as loves to fling

Its partial light on Apostolic heads,

And sheds a grace on all. Theirs Time as yet

Had changed not. Some were almost in the prime ;

Nor was a brow o'ercast. Seen as they sat,

Ranged round their ample hearth-stone in an hour

Of rest, they were as gay, as free from guile,

As children ; answering, and at once, to all

The gentler impulses, to pleasure, mirth ;

Mingling, at intervals, with rational talk

Music; and gathering news from them that came,

As of some other world. But when the storm

Rose, and the snow rolled on in ocean-waves,

When on his face the experienced traveller fell,

Sheltering his lips and nostrils with his hands,

Then all was changed ; and, sallying with their pack

Into that blank of nature, they became

Unearthly beings. " Anselm, higher up,

Just where it drifts, a dog howls loud and long,

And now, as guided by a voice from heaven,

Digs with his feet. That noble vehemence

Whose can it be, but his who never erred?

A man lies underneath ! Let us to work ! —

But who descends Mont Velan ? 'Tis La Croix.

Away, away ! if not, alas, too late.

Homeward he drags an old man and a boy,



1



K



Faltering and falling, and but half awaked,
Asking to sleep again." Such their discourse.

Oft has a venerable roof received me ;
St.BRUNo'sonce* — where, when the winds were hushed,
Nor from the cataract the voice came up,
You might have heard the mole work underground,
So great the stillness of that place; none seen,
Save when from rock to rock a hermit crossed
By some rude bridge — or one at midnight tolled
To matins, and white habits, issuing forth,
Glided along those aisles interminable,
All, all observant of the sacred law
Of Silence. Nor is that sequestered spot,
Once called ' Sweet Waters,' now ' The Shady Yale/ j
To me unknown ; that house so rich of old,
So courteous, and by two, that passed that way,
Amply requited with immortal verse,
The Poet's payment. But, among them all,
None can with this compare, the dangerous seat
Of generous, active Virtue. What tho' Frost
Reign everlastingly, and ice and snow
Thaw not, but gather — there is that within,
Which, where itcomes, makes Summer ; and, in thought,
Oft am I sitting on the bench beneath
Their garden-plot, where all that vegetates
Is but some scanty lettuce, to observe

* The Grande Chartreuse.
■f Vallombrosa, formerly called Acqua Bella.



k;



Those from the South ascending, every step
As tho' it were their last — and instantly
Restored, renewed, advancing as with songs,
Soon as they see, turning a lofty crag,
That plain, that modest structure, promising
Bread to the hungry, to the weary rest.











THE DESCENT.



My mule refreshed — and, let the truth be told,
He was nor dull nor contradictory,
But patient, diligent, and sure of foot,
Shunning the loose stone on the precipice,
Snorting suspicion while with sight, smell, touch,
Trying, detecting, where the surface smiled ;
And with deliberate courage sliding down,
Where in his sledge the Laplander had turned

D



IS



With looks aghast — my mule refreshed, his hells,
Gingled once more, the signal to depart,
And we set out in the grey light of dawn,
Descending rapidly — by waterfalls
Fast-frozen, and among huge blocks of ice
That in their long career had stopt mid- way.
At length, unchecked, unbidden, he stood still;
And all his bells were muffled. Then my Guide,
Lowering his voice, addressed me: " Thro' this Gap
On and say nothing — lest a word, a breath
Bring down a winter's snow — enough to whelm
The armed files that, night and day, were seen
Winding from cliff to cliff in loose array
To conquer at Marengo. Tho' long since,
Well I remember how I met them here,
As the sun set far down, purpling the west ;
And how Napoleon, he himself, no less,
Wrapt in his cloak — I could not be deceived —
Reined in his horse, and asked me, as I passed,
How far 'twas to St. Remi. W'here the rock
Juts forward, and the road, crumbling away,
Narrows almost to nothing at its base,
'Twas there ; and down along the brink he led
To Victory ! — Desaix,* who turned the scale,



* "Of all the generals 1 ever had under mo, Desaix possessed the
greatest talents. He loved glory for itself."



19



Leaving his life-blood in that famous held,
(When the clouds break, we may discern the spot
In the blue haze,) sleeps, as thou saw'st at dawn,
Just where we entered, in the Hospital-church."
So saying, for awhile he held his peace,
Awe-struck beneath that dreadful Canopy ;
But soon, the danger passed, launched forth again.







JORASSE.



Jorasse was iii his three-and-tvventieth year;
Graceful and active as a stag just roused ;
Gentle withal, and pleasant in his speech,
Yet seldom seen to smile. He had grown up
Among the Hunters of the Higher Alps;
Had caught their starts and fits of though tfulness,
Their haggard looks, and strange soliloquies,
Arising (so say they that dwell below)






From frequent dealings with the Mountain-Spirits.
But other ways had taught him better things ;
And now he numbered, marching by my side,
The great, the learned, that with him had crossed
The frozen tract, with him familiarly
Thro' the rough day and rougher night conversed
In many a chalet round the Peak of Terror,*
Round Tacul, Tour, Well-horn and Rosenlau,
And Her, whose throne is inaccessible,-}-
Who sits, withdrawn in virgin-majesty,
Nor oft unveils. Anon an Avalanche
Rolled its long thunder ; and a sudden crash,
Sharp and metallick, to the startled ear
Told that far-down a continent of Ice
Had burst in twain. But he had now begun ;
And with what transport he recalled the hour
When to deserve, to win his blooming bride,
Madelaine of Anneey, to his feet he bound
The iron crampons, and, ascending, trod
The Upper Realms of Frost ; then, by a cord
Let half-way down, entered a Grot star-bright,
And gathered from above, below, around,
The pointed crystals ! — Once, nor long before,
(Thus did his tongue run on, fast as his feet,
And with an eloquence that Nature gives
To^U her children — breaking off" by starts

* The Schrekhora. f The Jung-fmi.



22



Into the harsh and rude, oft as the Mule
Drew his displeasure,) once, nor long before,
Alone at day-break on the Mettenberg,
He slipped and fell ; and, thro' a fearful cleft
(Hiding from ledge to ledge, from deep to deeper,
Went to the Under-world ! Long-while he lay
Upon his rugged bed — then waked like one
Wishing to sleep again and sleep for ever!
For, looking round, he saw or thought he saw
Innumerable branches of a Cave,
Winding beneath that solid Crust of Ice ;
With here and there a rent that shewed the stars !
What then, alas, was left him but to die?
What else in those immeasurable chambers,
Shewn with the bones of miserable men,
Lost like himself? Yet must he wander on,
Till cokl and hunger set his spirit free !
And, rising, he began his dreary round;
When hark, the noise as of some mighty Flood
Working its way to light ! Back he withdrew,
But soon returned, and, fearless from despair,
Dashed down the dismal Channel ; and all day,
If day could be where utter darkness was,
Travelled incessantly ; the craggy roof
Just over-head, and the impetuous waves,
Nor broad nor deep, yet with a giant's strengths
Lashing him on. At last as in a pool



23

The water slept ; a pool sullen, profound,

Where, if a billow chanced to heave and swell,

It broke not; and the roof, descending, lay

Flat on the surface. Statue-like he stood,

His journey ended ; when a ray divine

Shot thro' his soul. Breathing a prayer to Her

Whose ears are never shut, the Blessed Virgin,

He plunged and swam — and in an instant rose,

The barrier passed, in sunshine ! Thro' a vale,

Such as in Arcady, where many a thatch

Gleamed thro 1 the trees, half-seen and half-embowered,

Glittering the river ran ; and on the bank

The Young were dancing ('twas a festival-day)

All in their best attire. There first he saw

His Madelaine. In the crowd she stood to hear,

When all drew round, inquiring ; and her face,

Seen behind all and varying, as he spoke,

With hope, and fear, and generous sympathy,

Subdued him. From that very hour he loved.

The tale was long, but coming to a close,
When his wild eyes flashed fire ; and, all forgot,
He listened and looked up. I looked up too ;
And twice there came a hiss that thro' me thrilled !
'Twas heard no more. A Chamois on the cliff*
Had roused his fellows with that cry of fear,
And all were gone. But now the theme was changed ;
And he recounted his hair-breadth escapes,



24



When with his friend, Hubert of Bionnay,

(His ancient carbine from his shoulder slung,

His axe to hew a stair-way in the ice)

He tracked their wanderings. By a cloud surprised,

Where the next step had plunged them into air,

Long had they stood, locked in each other's arms,

Amid the gulfs that yawned to swallow them ;

Each guarding each thro" many a freezing hour,

As on some temple's highest pinnacle,

From treacherous slumber. Oh, it was a sport

Dearer than life, and but with life relinquished !

" My sire, my grandsire died among these wilds.

As for myself," he cried, and he held forth

His wallet in his hand, " this do I call

My winding-sheet— for I shall have none else!"

And he spoke truth. Within a little month
He lay among these awful solitudes,
('Twas on a Glacier — half-way up to Heaven)
Taking his final rest. Long did his wife,
Suckling her babe, her only one, look out
The way he went at parting, but he came not ;
Long fear to close her eyes, from dusk till dawn
Plying her distaff thro' the silent hours,
Lest he appear before her, lest in sleep,
If sleep steal on, he come as all are wont,
Frozen and ghastly blue or black with gore,
To plead for the last rite.




MARGUERITE DE TOURS.



Now the grey granite, starting thro' the snow,
Discovered many a variegated moss *
That to the pilgrim resting on his staff
Shadows out capes and islands ; and ere long

* Lichen Oeofrrapliicus.

E



26



Numberless flowers, such as disdain to live

In lower regions, and delighted drink

The clouds before they fall, flowers of all hues,

With their diminutive leaves covered the ground.

There, turning by a venerable larch,

Shivered in two yet most majestical

With his long level branches, we observed

A human figure sitting on a stone

Far down by the way-side — just where the rock


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