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Stripped to their depths by the awakening north; And, from the waves, sound like delight broke

forth Harmonizing with solitude, and sent Into our hearts aërial merriment. So, as we rode, we talked ; and the swift

thought, Winging itself with laughter, lingered not, But flew from brain to brain,--such glee was ours,

30 Charged with light memories of remembered

hours, None slow enough for sadness : till we came Homeward, which always makes the spirit

tame. This day had been cheerful but cold, and now The sun was sinking, and the wind also. Our talk grew somewhat serious, as may be Talk interrupted with such raillery As mocks itself, because it cannot scorn The thoughts it would extinguish :-'twas

forlorn, Yet pleasing, such as once, so poets tell, 40 The devils held within the dales of Hell Concerning God, freewill and destiny: Of all that earth has been or yet may be, All that vain men imagine or believe, Or hope can paint or suffering may achieve, We descanted, and I (for ever still Is it not wise to make the best of ill ?) Argued against despondency, but pride Made my companion take the darker side. The sense that he was greater than his kind 50 Had struck, methinks, his eagle spirit blind By gazing on its own exceeding light.

1 Milton said vales ; but Shelley unquestionably wrote dales.-ED.

Meanwhile the sun paused ere it should alight,
Over the horizon of the mountains ;-Oh
How beautiful is sunset, when the glow
Of Heaven descends upon a land like thee,
Thou Paradise of exiles, Italy !
Thy mountains, seas and vineyards and the

towers
Of cities they encircle !—it was ours
To stand on thee, beholding it; and then, 60
Just where we had dismounted, the Count's men
Were waiting for us with the gondola.-
As those who pause on some delightful way
Though bent on pleasant pilgrimage, we stood
Looking upon the evening and the flood
Which lay between the city and the shore
Paved with the image of the sky... the hoar
And aëry Alps towards the North appeared
Through mist, 'an heaven-sustaining bulwark
reared

69 Between the East and West; and half the sky Was roofed with clouds of rich emblazonry, Dark purple at the zenith, which still grew Down the steep West into a wondrous hue Brighter than burning gold, even to the rent Where the swift sun yet paused in his descent Among the many-folded hills : they were Thoše famous Euganean hills, which bear As seen from Lido through the harbour piles The likeness of a clump of peaked islesAnd then-as if the Earth and Sea had been 80 Dissolved into one lake of fire, were seen Those mountains towering as from waves of

flame Around the vaporous sun, from which there

came The inmost purple spirit of light, and made Their very peaks transparent. “Ere it fade,"

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Said my companion, “I will show you soon
“A better station ”-s0, o'er the lagune
We glided, and from that funereal bark
I leaned, and saw the city, and could mark
How from their many isles in evening's gleam
Its temples and its palaces did seem
Like fabrics of enchantment piled to Heaven.
I was about to speak, when-“ We are even
“Now at the point I meant," said Maddalo,
And bade the gondolieri cease to row.
“ Look Julian on the west, and listen well
“If you hear not a deep and heavy bell.”
I looked, and saw between us and the sun
A building on an island ; such a one
As age to age might add, for uses vile, 100
A windowless, deformed and dreary pile;
And on the top an open tower, where hung
A bell, which in the radiance swayed and

swung; We could just hear its hoarse and iron tongue: The broad sun sunk behind it, and it tolled In strong and black relief.-“What we behold “ Shall be the madhouse and its belfry tower,” Said Maddalo, “and ever at this hour “ Those who may cross the water hear that bell, Which calls the maniacs each one from his

cell “ To vespers.”—“As much skill as need to pray “ In thanks or hope for their dark lot have

they “ To their stern maker," I replied. “O ho! You talk as in years past,” said Maddalo. “ 'Tis strange men change not. You were ever

still Among Christ's flock a perilous infidel, “ A wolf for the meek lambs-if you can't

swim

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“ Beware of Providence.” I looked on him, But the gay smile had faded in his eye, “ And such,”—he cried, “is our mortality, 120 “ And this must be the emblem and the sigu “ Of what should be eternal and divine!And like that black and dreary bell, the soul “ Hung in a heaven-illumined tower, must toll “ Our thoughts and our desires to meet below “ Round the rent heart and pray--as madmen

I do “For what? they know not, till the night of

death, “ As sunset that strange vision, severeth Our memory from itself, and us from all “ We sought and yet were baffled.” I recall The sense of what he said, although I mar 131 The force of his expressions. The broad star Of day meanwhile had sunk behind the hill, And the black bell became invisible, And the red tower looked grey, and all between The churches, ships and palaces were seen Huddled in gloom ;-into the purple sea The orange hues of heaven sunk silently. We hardly spoke, and soon the gondola Conveyed me to my lodgings by the way. 140

The following morn was rainy, cold and dim; Ere Maddalo arose, I called on him, And whilst I waited with his child I played ; A lovelier toy sweet Nature never made, A serious, subtle, wild, yet gentle being, Graceful without design and unforeseeing, With eyes-Oh speak not of her eyes !—which

seem Twin mirrors of Italian Heaven, yet gleam With such deep meaning, as we never see But in the human countenance : with me 150 She was a special favourite, I had nursed

Her fine and feeble limbs when she came first To this bleak world; and she yet seemed to

know On second sight her ancient playfellow, Less changed than she was by six months or so; For after her first shyness was worn out We sate there, rolling billiard balls about, When the Count entered--salutations passed; “ The words you spoke last night might well

have cast A darkness on my spirit—if man be 160 “ The passive thing you say, I should not see “ Much harm in the religions and old saws “ (Though I may never own such leaden laws) “ Which break a teachless nature to the yoke: “ Mine is another faith”--thus much I spoke, And noting he replied not, added : “ See “ This lovely child, blithe, innocent and free, “ She spends a happy time with little care “ While we to such sick thoughts subjected are “ As came on you last night-it is our will 170 “ That thus enchains us to permitted ill“ We might be otherwise—we might be all “ We dream of happy, high, majestical. “ Where is the love, beauty and truth we seek “ But in our mind? and if we were not weak “ Should we be less in deed than in desire ?" “ Aye, if we were not weak—and we aspire “ How vainly to be strong!” said Maddalo: “ You talk Útopia.” “It remains to know,” I then rejoined, “and those who try may find “ How strong the chains are which our spirit

bind; “ Brittle perchance as straw ... We are assured “ Much may be conquered, much may be

endured “ Of what degrades and crushes us. We know

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