Samuel Rogers.

The poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir online

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There thou did'st do indeed an act divine ;
Nor couldst thou leave thy door or enter in,
Without a blessing on thee.

Thou art now
Again among them. Thy brave mariners,
They who had fought so often by thy side,
Staining the mountain-billows, bore thee back ;
And thou art sleeping in thy funeral-chamber.

Thine was a glorious course ; but couldst thou
Clad in thy cere-cloth — in that silent vault,
Where thou art gather' d to thy ancestors —
Open thy secret heart and tell us all,
Then should we hear thee with a sigh confess,
A sigh how heavy, that thy happiest hours
Were pass'd before these sacred walls were left.
Before the ocean- wave thy wealth reflected, (66)
And pomp and power drew envy, stirring up
The ambitious man,* that in a perilous hour
Fell from the plank.


ITALY. 167


AXD .low farewell to Italy — perhaps
For ever ! Yet, methinks, I could not go,
I could not leave it, were it mine to say,
" Farewell for ever !"

Many a courtesy,
That sought no recompense, and met with none
But in the swell of heart with which it came,
Have I experienced ; not a cabin-door,
Go where I would, but open'd with a smile ;
From the first hour, when, in my long descent,
Strange perfumes rose, as if to welcome me,
From flowers that minister' d like unseen spirits;
From the first hour, when vintage-songs broke

A grateful earnest, and the Southern lakes,
Dazzhngly bright, unfolded at my feet;
They that receive the cataracts, and ere-long
Dismiss them, but how changed — onward to roll
From age to age in silent majesty,
Blessing the nations, and reflecting round
The gladness they inspire.

Gentle or rude,
No scene of life but has contributed
Much to remember — from the Polesine,
Where, when the south-wind blows, and clouda

on clouds
Gather and fall, the peasant freights his bark,
Mindful to migrate when the king of floodst

♦ Written at Susa, May 1 , 1823. t The Pat

188 ITALY.

Visits his humble dwelling, and the kee.,
Slowly uplifted over field hjkI fence,
Floats on a world of waters — from that low,
That level region, where no Echo dwells,
Or, if she comes, comes in her saddest plight.
Hoarse, inarticulate — on to where the path
Is lost in rank luxuriance, and to breathe
Is to inhale distemper, if not death ;
Where the wild-boar retreats, when hunters

And, when the day-star flames, the bufTalo-herd,
Afflicted, plunge into the stagnant pool.
Nothing discern' d amid the water-leaves,
Save here and there the likeness of a head,
Savage, uncouth ; where none in human shape
Come, save the herdsman, levelling his length
Of lance with many a cry, or, Tartar-hke,
Urging his steed along the distant hill
As from a danger. There, but not to rest,
I travell'd many a dreary league, nor turn'd
(Ah then least willing, as who had not been ?)
Wh^n in the South, against the azure sky.
Three temples rose in soberest majesty.
The wondrous work of some heroic race.*

But now a long farewell! Oft, while I live,
If once again in England, once again
In my own chimney-nook, as Night steals on,
With half-shut eyes reclining, oft, methinks,
While the wind blusters and the pelting rain

* The Temples of Fsestum.

ITALY. 189

Clatters without, shall I recall to mina
The scenes, occurrences, I met with hero,
And wander ia Elysium ; many a note
or wildest melody, magician-like,
Awakening, such as the Calabrian horn,
Along the mountain-side, when all is still,
Pours forth at folding-time ; and many a chant,
Solemn, sublime, such as at midnight flows
From the full choir, when richest harmonies
Break the deep silence of thy glens. La Cava;
To him who lingers there with listening ear,
Now lost and now descending as from Heavcsi!


NCTE 1, Pa&e 15.

like him of old.

The Abbot of Clairvaux. "To admire ot
rfespise St. Bernard as he ought," saj's Gibbon,
"the reader, hke myself, should have before
the windows of his Ubraiy that incomparable

Note 2, Page 17.
Two dogg of grave demeanour welcomed me.
Berri, so remarkable for his sagacity, was
dead. His skin is stuffed, and is preserved in
the Museum of Berne.

Note 3, Page 22.

Bread to the hungry.
They distribute, in the course of the year,
from thirty to th.rty-five thousand rations of food;
receiving travellers of every description.-'— Le
Peke B:selx, Frieur.

Note 4, Page 23.
Dessaix, who lurn'd the scale.
" Of all the generals I ever had tmder me,
Dessaix possessed trie greatest talents He
loved glory for itself."

192 ITALY.

Note 5, Page 28.

A wondrous niotluiten*.

Almost every mountain of any raiJi or con-
dition has such a bridge. The most celebrated
in this country is on the Swiss side of Su

Note 6, Page 35,

quaffing gramolata.

A sherbet half frozen.

Note 7, Page 37.
Like him who, in the days of Minslrelsy.
Petrarch, Epist. Rer. Sen. 1. v, ep. 3.

Note 8, Page 37.
Before the great Mastino.

Mastino de la Scala, the Lord of Verona,
Coriusia, the ambassador and historian, saw
him so surrounded. — L. 6.

This house had been always open to the un-
fortunate. In the days of Can Grande, all were
welcome ; Poets, Philosophers, Artists, War-
riors. Each had his apartment, each a separate
table ; and at the hour of dinner, musicians and
jesters went from room to room. Dante, as
we learn from himself, found an asylum there.

Note 9, Page 40.
In this neglected mirror.
As this is the only instance, with which I am


Ecquainted, of a Ghost in Italy since Bn^tus sat
in his tent, I give it as 1 received it ; though in
the catastrophe I have been anticipated by a
distinguished writer of the present day.

It was first mentioned to me by a friend, as
we were crossing the Apennines together.

Note 10, Page 43.
She was ^Yal^d up within the Castle-wall.
IMurato was a technical word for this punish*
ment in Italy.

Note 11, Page 43.

Issuing forth.

An old huntsman of the family met her in the
haze of the morning, and never went out again.
She is still known by the name of Madonna

Note 12, Page 44.

the tower of Ezzelin—

Now an Observatory. On the wall there is
a long inscription: " Piis carcerem adspergite
iacrymis," etc.

Ezzelino is seen by Dante in the river oi
blood. — Inferno, xii.

Note 13, Page 45.

The lagging mules

The passage boats are drawn up and down
the Brent.


151 TTALT.

Note )4, Page 45.
That child of fun *nd frolic, Arlecchino.

A pleasant instance of his wit and agility was
exhibited some years ago on the stage at Venice.

"The stutterer was in an agony; the word
was inexorable. It was to no purpose that
Harlequin suggested another and another. At
length, in a fit of despair, he pitched his head
full in the dying man's stomach, and the word
bolted out of his mouth to the most distant part
of the house." — See Moore's Viev) of Society
in Italy.

Note 15, Page 47.

Ere yet the Cafila cauie. •

A caravan.

Note 16, Page 50.
riaying at Mora.
A national game of great antiquity, and most
probably the " micare digitis" of the Pcomans.

Note 17, Page 50.

twelve Procurators.

The procuratorship of St. Mark was the
socond dignity in the Republic.

Note 18, Page 52.
The brass is gone, the porphyry remains.
They were placed in tlie floor as memorials.
The brass was engraven with the words ad-

ITALY. 195

dressed by the Pope to the Emperor, "Super
aspidem," etc.

Note 19, Page 53.
Ofihe proud Pontiff-
Alexander III. He lied in disguise to Venice,
and is said to have passed the first night on the
steps of San Salvatore. The entrance is from
the Merceria, near the foot of the Rialto ; and
it is thus recorded, under his escutcheon, in a
small tablet at the door : Alexandre III. Pont.
Max. pernoctanti.

Note 20, Page 54.

some from merry England.

" Recenti victoria exultantes," says Petrarch,
alluding, no doubt, to the favourable issue of the
war in France. This festival began on the 4th
of August, 1364.

Note 21, Page 54.
And lo, the madness of ihe Carnival.
Among those the most followed, there waa
always a mask in a magnificent habit, relating
marvellous adventures, and calling himself
Messer Marco Millioni. Millioni was the name
given by his fellow-citizens in his life-time to
the great traveller, Marco Polo. *' I have seen
him so described," says Ramusio, " in the re*
cords of the Republic ; and his house has,
from that time to this, been called La Corte del
Millioni,' the house of the rich man, the mil*

196 ITALY.

lionnaire. 3t is on the canal of S. Giovanni
Chrisostomo ; and, as long as he lived, was
much resorted to by the curious and the learned.

Note 22, Page 50.
And bore away to the canal Orfano.

A deep channel beliind the island of S. Giorgo

Note 23, Page 58.
All eye, all ear, nowhere and everywhere.
A Frenchman of high rank, who had been
robbed at Venice, and had complained in con-
versation of the negligence of the Police, was
on his way back to the Terra Firma, when his
gondola stopped suddenly in the midst of the
waves. He inquired the reason ; and his gon-
dohers pointed to a boat with a red flag, that had
just made them a signal. It arrived ; and he
was called on board. " You are the Prince de
Craon ? Were you not robbed on Friday even-
ing ? — I was. — Of what ? — Of five hundred du-
cats. — And where were they ? — In a green
purse. — Do you suspect any body? — I do, a
servant. — Would you know him sgain? — Cer-
tainly." The Interrogator with his foot turned
aside an old cloak that lay there ; and the Prince
beheld his purse in the hand of a dead man.
" Take it ; and remember that none set their feet
again in a country where they have presumed
to doubt the wisdom of the government."

ITALT. 197

Note 24, Page 61.

and he sung,

As inlhe lirr.evhen was heiself.

Goldoni, describing his excursion with the
Passalacqua, has left us a lively p'cture of this
class of men.

We were no sooner in the middle of that
great lagoon which encircles the city than our
discreet gondolier drew the curtain behind us,
and let us float at the will of the waves. — At
length night came on, and we could not tell
where we were. " What is the hour?" said I
to the gondolier. "I cannot guess, sir; but if
I am not mistaken, it is the lover's hour." —
" Let us go home," I replied; and he turned
the prow homeward, singing as he rowed, the
twenty-sixth strophe of the sixteenth canto of
the Jerusalem Delivered.

Note 25, Page 62.
The young Bianca found her father's door.
Bianca Capello. It had been shut by a ba-
ker's boy, as he passed by, at day-break ; and
in her despair she fled with her lover to Florence,
where he fell by assassination. Her beauty,
and her love-adventure as here related, her mar-
riage afterwards with the Grand Duke, and that
fatal banquet at which they were both poisoned
by the Cardinal, his brother, have rendered her
history a romance. The Capello Palace is on
the Canale di Canonico ; and the postern-door,
la porta di strada, \i still on its hinges. It

198 ITALY.

opens into one 0/ those narro\/ alleys so numer*
ous at Venice.

No:.E 26, Page 66.

Laid at his feel.

They were to be seen in the treasury of SU
Mark very lately.

Note 27, Page 70.
that maid, at once the faireet, noblest.
She was a Contarini ; a name coeval with the
llepublic, and illustrated by eight Doges. On
the occasion of their marriage, the Bucentaur
came out in its splendour ; and a bridge of
boats was thrown across the Canal Grande for
the Bridegroom and his retinue of three hundred
horse. Sanuto dwells with pleasure on the cost-
liness of the dresses and the magnificence of
the processions by land and water. The tourna-
ments in the Place of St. Mark lasted three
days, and were attended by thirty thousand peo-

Note 28, Page 71.
I have transgress'd, offended, wilfully.
It was a high crime to solicit the intercession
of any foreign Prince.

Note 29, Page 73.

the invisible Three.

The State-Inquisitors. For an account of
their authority, set page 52.

Note 30, Page 77.
Neglect lo visit Arqua.
This village, says Boccaccio, hitherto almost
unknown even at Padua, is soon to becomo
famous through the World ; and the sailor on
the Adriatic will prostrate himself when be
discovers the Euganean hills. " Among them,"
will he say, " sleeps the Poet who is our glory.
Ah, unhappy Florence ! You neglecte-d him —
You deserved him not."

Xote31, Page 78.
Hulf-way up
He built his house.

" I have built among the Euganean hills, a
small house decent and proper ; in which I hope
to pass the rest of my days, thinking always of
my dead or absent friends."

When the Venetians overran the country,
Petrarch prepared for flight. " Write your
name over your door," said one of his friends,
'* and you will be safe," *' I am not so sure of
that," replied Petrarch, and fled with his books
to Padua.

His books he left to the Republic of Venice ;
but they exist no longer. His legacy to Francis
Carrara, a Madonna painted by Giotto, is still
preserved in the cathedral of Padua.

Note 32, Page 87.
In this chapel wrought.
A chapel of tlie Holy Virgin in the church o*

200 ITALY.

the Carmelites. It is adorned with his paintings
and all the great artists of Florence studied
there : Lionardo da Vinci, Fra Bartolomeo,
Andrea del Sarto, Michael Angelo, Raphael,

He had no stone, no inscription, says one of
his biographers, for he was thought little of in
his hfe-lime.

Note 33, Page 87.

condemn'd his mortal part

To fire.

In 1302, he was sentenced, if taken, to Va

Note 34, Page 88.
Nor then forget that Chamber of the Dead.
The Chapel de' Depositi ; in which are the
tombs of the Medici, by Michael Angelo.

Note 35, Page 88.
That is the Duke Lorenzo. Mark him well.
He died early ; living only to become the fa-
ther of Catharine de Medicis. Had an evil
spirit assumed the human shape to propagate
mischief, he could not have done better.

The statue is larger than the life, but not so
large as to shock belief. It is the most real and
unreal thing that ever came from the chiseL

Note 36, Page 89.
It must be known— the writing on the wall.
Exoriare aliquis nostris ex osaibus ulior.
Perhaps there is nothing in language n ore ai«

ITALY. 201

fecting than his last testament. It is addressed
"To God, the Deliverer,'' and was found steep-
ed in his blood.

Note 37, Page 90.

That Cosmo.

The first Grand Duke.

Note 28, Page 90.
the disconsolate IMolhcr,

Of the children that survived her, one fell by
a brother, one by a husband, and a thind mur-
dered his wife.

But that family was soon to become extinct.
It is some consolation to reflect that their coun-
try did not go unrevenged for the calamities
which they had brought upon her. How many
of them died by the hands of each other ! —

Note 39, Page 93.
Came out into the meadows.
Once, on a bright November morning, I set
out and traced them, as I conceived, step by
step ; beginning and ending in the Church of
Santa Maria Novella. It was a walk delightful
hi itself, and in its associations.

Note 40, Page 94.
The morning-banquet by the fountaia-side.
Three hours after sun-rise.

302 ITALY.

Note 41, Page 96.
There, unseen.
Milton went to Italy in 1638. "There it
was," says he, " that I found and visited the
famous Galileo, grown old, a prisona* to the
Inquisition." " Old and blind," he might have
said. Galileo, by his own account, became blind
in December, 1637. Milton, as we learn from
the date of Sir Henry Wotton's letter to him,
had not left England on the 18th of April fol-
lowing.— See TiRABOSCHi, and Wotton's He-

Note 42, Page 97.

So near the yellow Tiber's—

They rise within thirteen miles of each other.

Note 43, Page 97.
Hands, clad in gloves of steel, held up imploring.
It was in this manner that the first Sforza
went down, when he perished in the Pescira

Note 44, Page 100.

At the bridge-foot.

Giovanni Buondelmonte was on the point of

marrying an Amidei, when a widow of the Do-

nati family made him break his engagement in

the manner here described.

_ The Amidei washed away the affront with
his blood, attacking him, says Villani, at the
foot of the Ponte Veccbio ; and hence the wars
of the Guelphs and tha Ghibellinea.

irALY. 203

O Buondelmonle, q uanto mal fuggisti

Le nozze sue, per gli altrui conforli 1 Dante.

Note 45, Page 101.
It "had been well, hadsi ihji; slept on, Imelda.
The story isBolognese, and is toldby Cheru-
bino Ghiradacci in his history of Bologna. Her
lover was of the Guelphic party, her brothers of
the Ghibelline ; and no sooner was this act of
violence made known, than an enmity, hitherto
but half-suppressed, broke out into open war.
The Great Place was a scene of battle and
bloodshed for forty successive days ; nor was a
reconciliation accomplished till six years after-
wards, when the families and their adherents
met there once again, and exchanged the kiss
of peace before the Cardinal Legate ; as the ri-
val families of Florence had already done in
the place of S. Maria Novella. Every house on
the occasion was hung with tapestry and gar-
lands of flowers.

Note 46, Page 101.

fr.)m the wound

Sucking the poison.

The Saracens had introduced among them the
practice of poisoning their daggers.

Note 47, Page 101.

Yet when Slavery came,

"Worse foUow'd.
It is remarkable that the noblest wojjks of hu*

204 iTAi-y.

man genius have been produced in times of tu-
mult ; when every man was his own master, and
all things were open to all. Homer, Dante,
and Milton appeared in such times ; and we
may add Virgil.

Note 48, t*AGE 102.
Cruel Tophana.

A Sicilian, the inventiess of many poisons;
the most celebrated of which, from its transpa*
rency, was called Acquetta, or Acqua Tophana.

Note 49, Page 104.
Of that old den far up among the hills.

Caffagglolo, the favourite retreat of Cosmo,
" the father of his country." Eleonora di To-
ledo was stabbed there on the 11th of July,
1576, by her husband, Pietro de' Medici ; and
on the 16th of the same month, Isabella de'
Medici was strangled by hers, Paolo Giordano
Orsini, in his villa of Cerroto. They were at
Florence, when they were sent for, each in her
turn, Isabella under the pretext of a hunting,
party ; and each in her turn went to die.

Isabella was one of the most beautiful and
accomplished women of the age. In the Latin,
French, and Spanish languages, she spoke not
only with fluency, but elegance ; and in her own
she excelled as an Improvisatrice, accompany-
ing herself on the lute. On her arrival at dusk,
Paolo presented her with two beautiful grey-
hounds, that she might make a trial of their

ITALY. 205

speed in the morning ; and at suppei was gay
beyond measure. When he retired, he sent
for her into his apartment ; and, pressing her
tenderly to his bosom, slipped a cord round her

Eleonora appears to have had a presentiment
of her fate. She went when required ; but,
before she set out, took leave of her son, then
a child ; weeping long and bitterly over him.

Note 50, Page 114.

the Appian.

The street of the tombs in Pompeii may serve
to give us some idea of the Via Appia, that Re-
gina Viarum, in its splendour. It is perhaps
the most striking vestige of Antiquity that re-
mains to us.

Note 51, Page 114.

Horace himself.

And Augustus in his litter, coming at a still
slower rate. He was borne along by slaves ;
and the gentle motion allowed him to read,
write, and employ himself as in his cabinet.—
Though Tivoli is only sixteen miles from the
City he was always two nights on the road.—


Note 52, Page 115.

the centre of iheir Universe.

From the golden pillar in the Forum the ways
ran to the gates, and from the gatos to the ex-
tremities of the Empire.

Note 53, Page 115.
To the twelve tables.
The laws of the twelve tables were inscribed
on pillars ofbrasfs, and placed in the most con-
spicuous part of the Forum. — Dion. Hal.

Note 54, Page 117.

On those so young, well- pleased wiih all they see.

In the triumph of ^milius, nothing affected
the Roman people like the children of Perseus.
Many wept ; nor could any thing else attract
notice, till they were gone by. — Plutarch.

Note 55, Page 131.

And architectural pomp, such as none else;
And dazzling light, and darkness visible.

Whoever has entered the Church of St. Pe
ter's or the Pauline Chapel, during the Exposi-
tion of the Holy Sacrament there, will not goon
forget the blaze of the altar, or the dark circle
of worshippers kneeling in silence before it.

Note 56, Page 134.
'T was in her utmost need ; nor, while she livefl.

Her back was at that time turned to the peo-
ple ; but in his countenance might be read all
that was passing. The Cardinal, who officiated,
was a venerable old man, evidently unused to
the ceremony and much affected by it.

ITALY. 207

ISOTE 57, Page 135.
Tha black pall, the requiem.
Among other ceremonies, a pall was thrown
over her, and a requiem sung.

Note 58, Page 169.
The fishing-town, Amalfi.
"Amalfi fell, after three hundred years of
prosperity ; but the poverty of one thousand
fishermen is yet dignitied by the remains of an
arsenal, a cathedral, and the palaces of royal
merchants." — Gibbon.

Note 59, Page 171.

relics of ancient Greece.

Among other things the Pandects of Justi-
nian were found there in 1137. By the Pisans
they were taken from Amalfi, by the Floren-
tines from Pisa ; and they are now preserved
with rehgious care in the Laurentian Library.

Note 60, Page 172.
Serve for their monument.
By degrees, says Giannone, they made them-
selves famous through the world. The Tarini
Amalfitani were a coin familiar to all nations ;
and their maritime code regulated everywhere
the commerce of the sea. Many churches in
the East were by them built and endowed : by
them wa-3 hrst founded in Palestine the most
renowed military order ot St. John of Jerusa

208 ITALY.

lem ; and who docs not know that tne Mariner's
Compass was invented by a citizen of Araalfi ?

Note 61, Page 175.

and Posidonia roee.

Originally a Greek City under that name, and
afterwards a Roman City, under the name of
Psesium. See Mitford's Hist, of Greece, chap.
X, sec. 2. It was surprised and destroyed by
the Saracens at the beginning of the tenth cen-

Note 62, Page 180.
Wilhin a crazed and talter'd vehicle.
Then degraded and belonging to a Vetturino,

Note 63, Page 180.
A Bhield aa splendid as the Bardi wear.
A Florentine family of great antiquity. In
the sixty-third novel of Franco Sacchetty we
read that a stranger, suddenly entering Giotto's
study, threw down a shield and departed, say-
ing, "Paint me my arms in that shield;" and
that Giotto, looking after him, exclaimed —
" Who is he ? What is he ? He says, Paint me
my arms, as if he was one of the Bardi ! What
arms does he bear?"

Note 64, Page 182.
Ruffling with many an oar the cn'stalline sea.
The Feluca is a large boat for rowing and
Bailing, much used in the Mediterranean.

CTALT. 209

Note 65, Page 185.
A house of u-ade.
When I saw it in 1822, a basket-mjiker lived
en th«} ground-floor, and over him a seller of

Note GG, Page 186.
Before the ocean-wave thy wealth reflecled-
Alluding to the Palace which he built after-
wards and in which he twice entertained the
Emperor Charles the Fifth. It is the ir.ost mag«
Bificent edifice on the bay of Geui*.



Introduction— Ringing of bells in a neighbouring Village
on the binhof an heir— General Reflections on Human
Life— The Subject Proposed— Childhood— Youth-
Manhood— Love— Marriage— Domestic Happiness and
Ajiiictinn— War— Peace — Civil Dissension— Retire-
ment from active Life— Old Age and its Enjoymenia

The lark has sung his carol in the sky :
The bees have humm'd their noon-tide lullaby.
Still in the vale the vi.iuge-bells ring round,
Still in Llewellyn-hall the jests resound:
For now the caudle-CKp is circling there,
Now, glad at heart, the gossips breathe their

And, crowding, stop the cradle to admire,
The babe, the sleeping image of his sire.

A few shori years — and then these sounds
shall haii
The day again, and giadness fill the vale ;
So soon the ctkla a vouth, the youth a man,
Eager to run ^e race his fathers ran.
Then tbs huge ox shall yield the broad sirloin ;
The ale now brew'd, in flood? of amber shine .



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