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Thus, then, I must be content to think it was with me. That my love was the “véritable,” I will never cease to believe—that it was no more connected with, or dependant on, the senses, than if the senses did not exist. And yet it ceased. I feel too, now,-(though I did not feel it then)—that my love was not returned,—at least in kind. It follows then, that as “ le véritable amour ne peut se passer du cæur," and as mine could not meet with this necessary of its life, it died a natural though an untimely death.
I have said that I did not perceive the want of this essential to my love's continuance at the time it did continue. And how should I?I did not possess it; but it possessed me. That which it taught me, I knew; and I sought to know no more:that which it bade me do, I did ; and did not try to do more. But this was not enough to gain the indispensable condition of its existence. A woman's heart was never yet gained without being sought; and a lover of fifteen never seeks any thing. He takes what is given to him, and is content,--making out the rest from the yet unexhausted stores which he brought with him,
“ From that imperial palace whence he came.” I used to watch and wait upon my mistress with the constancy and regularity of a pilgrim at the shrine of his saint; and no doubt my saint was as pleased with this kind of homage as the pilgrim's is with that which he pays to her. It was so far so good, in both cases. But in neither case can this be expected to win the worshipped into the performance of miracles in favour of the votaries. Those who look for canonization must undergo penance and martyrdom; whereas my love, instead of being a penance, was a perpetual self-renewing of delightit was its own exceeding great reward." -She, it is true, was content with the kind of homage I paid her, and I was more than content with the smiles and kind words that she gave me in return : but love is not so soon satisfied. He is, to say the truth, "un peu exigeant," and is not to be put off with these idle toys on either side of the question. According to his notions of casuistry, "exchange" is not only “no robbery,” but every thing short of exchange is robbery. This lady-(for she was a lady, though she did live in a little court- lady of Nature's own making)—this lady had received my heart into her keeping, without offering to give me her’s in return; very naturally concluding, that a boy of fifteen would not know what to do with it. But love does not
tion this mode of dealing : so, after letting her keep it and play with it for a time-- (perhaps in order to try if he could tempt her to part with her's in exchange, and thus make mischief, as is his wont,") he brought it back to me, and put it into its place again, without my ever having missed it. And how should I, when I was ten thousand times happier without it than I have ever been since with it?
Hastening at once to the end of this my first tale—(to others, I almost afraid, it has been “ a tedious brief history,”—but to me, long and sweet as a green lane in the country,“ in the pleasant month of June”)—I will only add, that in the midst of these nightly watchings
of expression as he usually is. He evidently means to say, that merely sensual passion is likely to last till it gains the possession that it seeks--and then to be extinguished; but that mental love cannot long endure, without a return.
and meetings, and just after I had received a special evidence of my mistress's favour, in her spontaneously offering to mark some handkerchiefs for me, and doing them with her own hair,—(the last of which, I grieve to say, has only within this year or two unaccountably disappeured,)-in the midst of all this, and without my knowing how or why, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten the graceful and stately Nancy L, and was, some how or other," as the phrase is, become a devoted worshipper at the shrine of another saint-and one as unlike to her from whom I had seceded as the small and delicatelyfashioned lily of the valley is to the majestic queen of the garden, whose family name it bears.
From all this it follows, “as the day the night,” that the first love of our youth was not intended to subsist for any great length of time ;that it is born but to die, and in dying fulfils the end of its existence, if it does but leave its features indelibly impressed on the memory, as it has on mine,—and its image enshrined in the inmost sanctuary of the heart. What, then, is the purest love itself—“qu'est-ce que le véritable amour lui-même si ce n'est chimère, mensonge, illusion ?"What indeed!—But are we to slight and disregard it on this account ? Or, rather, is it not in this that its most touching beauty, as well as its chief majesty and power, consist ? “Shadows," it will be remembered, were able to " strike more terror to the soul of Richard, than could the substance of ten thousand soldiers, &c." And thus it is with the phantoms of our youthful imagination; they give us more pure, real, and intense delight, than can the substance of all the ten thousand realities that we meet with in the whole course of our after-life. Z.
And there he sleeps all the year round,
At home he will surely be found.
Or a kiss will awake his slight doze,
Then tweak him, lore, hard by the nose.
ITALIAN POETS.-NO. U.
Frederick the Second, and Pietro delle Vigne. Among the productions of the minor poets of Italy we meet with many which were composed fifty, eighty, and even more than a hundred years earlier than the great work of Dante. Although few of them deserve to be mentioned for their intrinsic worth, they are all, curious for their extreme antiquity; and some of them afford much as-, sistance in tracing the origin and progress of the language, and the history of manners. The Emperor Frederick the Second and his celebrated minister, Pietro delle Vigne, were, if not the first, certainly the most distinguished and most successful cultivators of Italian literature, and are justly entitled to the praise of being its founders. Pietro delle Vigne, born towards the latter part of the twelfth century, is one of those men of whom much has been written and little has been made known. His talents, his character, his great reputation, his splendid fortunes, and his melancholy fate, gave him a claim to the frequent mention of his contemporaries: nor has his name been forgotten by those who have succeeded him. From his time to ours, numerous have been the writers about Pietro delle Vigne; one class of which seems to have been anxious only. to exaggerate the romantic part of his character; another, to shew off their critical sagacity in tedious refutation of all that is not plain matter-of-fact: the one making large demands upon the credulity, the other, which is worse, upon the patience of their readers. Thus the history of this extraordinary man remains involved in obscurity; and it is singular, that whilst so many have written long tracts to furnish anecdotes about him, or to prove such as exist to be apocryphal, no one has thought proper to write his biography.
Pietro delle Vigne was born at Capua. Of his father we know nothing, and he is never named by himself. His mother's poverty was so extreme, that she was obliged to depend on common charity for support; and after her son had arrived to the dignity of Chancellor of the Empire, he thanks Heaven, “ because,” says he, in one of his letters,“ my poor mother and my poor sister will no longer languish in indigence."* In his early youth he went to the University of Bologna, where he devoted the day to study, and part of the night to soliciting alms through the streets. This resource, far from bringing upon him the contempt of others, was of the greatest service in making still more apparent the energy of his character, the confidence he had in his own genius, and, above all, his undaunted perseverance- ma quality the more admired because possessed by very few. Thus he was known by reputation to Frederick the Second, so that he was favourably received when introduced by accident to the presence of that emperor: who, except for the contests he so long maintained with the Papal authority, then in the height of its ascendancy, would have perhaps created a nation out of the Italian people. He was an Italian by birth, and the only successor of the Cæsars who, since the irruption of the Goths, had habitually resided in Italy. His contemporaries not having dared to speak of him with favour, lest they should incur the accusation of heresy, the writers of later times have not been able to rest their opi
* Petri de Vin. Epist. Vol. II. Ep. 38.
nions on impartial testimony. “ Certainly," says the Abbé Denina, “ if Frederick the Second had been a Pagan, his ambition, his devotedness to the fair sex, and his disrespect of religion, would never have been numbered among the defects of an Emperor. Hence it is that those writers who are indifferent about Christianity have given him the name of a hero. Great in his conceptions, shrewd in his policy, able as a captain, just in making laws, and severe in executing them, active through the whole of his life, and in possession of his throne for more than half a century, he had at his command all that was necessary to establish and extend a great empire. But he knew not how to adapt himself to the opinions of his age. Perhaps the force of political circumstances opposed itself to his vast designs ; and thus it is that the glory he acquired was beneath that which his rare qualities ought to have achieved.” Such is the character which an Italian historian, recently deceased, has drawn of Frederick the Second, and which, almost without changing a word, might be equally well applied to any great prince who happened to be an enemy of the Papal power. The abbé was like our modern professed Artistes d'Histoire, who are more occupied with the rhetoric of their style and the promotion of their own opinions, than with the facts they detail or the characters they pourtray. Their descriptions, therefore, consist of those general touches which they call masterly strokes of the pencil; but under their pencils all the details which are most interesting, and all the individual peculiarities which are traced by the hand of that most correct of all artists-Nature herself, utterly disappear. A Dominican friar, named Salimbene, in a Chronicle which, we believe, has never been printed, and of which Muratori and Tiraboschi have published only a few extracts, and, unfortunately, thuse much too brief, says of Frederick, “ He had no great belief in the faith which comes from God. He was very crafty, shrewd, and greedy: loving luxury, mischievous, and much given to wrath. Sometimes he was very dextrous when he would make a show of his goodness and his courtliness. He was sportive, agreeable, and industrious; and he knew well how to read and write, and to sing, and moreover he had the gift of devising pleasant little ballads and sonnets. He was a fair man to look at, very strong, and withal of middling stature. I have sometimes seen him, and my heart was ever drawn towards him. Once did he write in my behalf unto the father Elias, who was general of the order of the Franciscans, that he should, for the love of God send me back unto my father. Likewise he was skilled in many and divers tongues: and briefly, to make an end of this discourse, if he had been a true Catholic, and had well loved God, and the church, and his own soul, few of the great rulers of the world would have been worthy to be likened unto him." * The original, which we insert in the note, gives a more exact idea of the character and spirit of this artless historian.
I “De fide Dei nihil habebat. Callidus homo fuit, versutus, avarus ; luxuriosus, malitiosus, iracundus. Et valens homo fuit interdum, quando voluit bonitates et curialitates suas ostendere. Solatiosus, jucundus, industriosus, legere, scribere et cantare sciebat, et cantilenas et cantiones invenire. Pulcher homo et bene fortis, séd mediæ staturæ fuit. Vidi enim eum et aliquando dilexi. Nam pro me scripsit f. Helie generali ministro Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, ut amore Dei me redderet patri mco. Item multis linguis et variis loqui sciebat. Et ut breviter me expediam, si bene fuisset Catholicus, et dilexisset Deum et Ecclesiam et animam suam, paucos habuisset in imperio pares in mundo.” Salimbene Cron. ined. cit. apud Tirabosch. Vol. IV. lib. I. p. 9.
On the political character of Frederick and Pietro we should make no observation, were it not necessary to the correct conception of their poetical and literary character; since the one is, in a great degree, the consequence of the other. In the public circumstances of their times it was as much from political motives as from the impulse of their talents, that they cultivated and encouraged literature, and gave the earliest specimens of Italian poetry.
The great superiority of Pietro consisted in his profound knowledge of the civil and canon law, in his dialectic skill in refuting the arguments of the Roman court, and especially in his natural eloquence, mixed with an elegance of language truly surprising for that age. In his numerous letters, which still remain, many of which are written in the name of his master, we find displayed, with an irresistible force and evidence, some of the strongest of those arguments which, three centuries later, the Protestants opposed against the temporal authority of the Holy See. Whenever a Pope thundered forth a sentence of excommunication against Frederick, releasing his subjects from their allegiance, and dispossessing him of his realms, his chancellor promptly replied in a letter, which often excited the doubts of the Church herself, whether she had come victorious out of the conflict. We ought not to estimate the efficiency of words by their feeble influence in our times. So much, in the present age, is written for and against all general principles, and even all questions of fact, that, whilst every one reads, very few believe; and we pass from one opinion to another with as little reflection as we take up or fling aside our books. Since literature has become a kind of manufacture, authors the most popular adopt their principles and their manner as the interest of the moment suggests. There are some writers, who, to irritate the public opinion, in order to draw it towards themselves, make hardy professions of greater incredulity than they in fact entertain: others make a vast parade of their zeal for tenets, for which their real regard is quite as questionable. Thus in our days, authors and readers, the learned and the ignorant, the wise and the foolish, poets and divines, kings and ministers, all ramble about without any settled crced, till they are finally lost in the wildest pyrrhonism; and, whilst many of them live without believing in any religion, they die in the belief of all. It was not so in the middle
ages; the war of words was then more decisive, because few were capable of carrying it on; and the people, in proportion as they were less vain of their own learning, were more easily persuaded. Frederick II. in the talents and writings of his chancellor, had the means of gaining a victory, which his subjects, whom he could never employ in fighting against the priest, were unable to procure him. The church of Romeas unhappily, indeed, almost all churches, and, perhaps, nearly all individuals, when they find even the most unimportant parts of their doctrines assailed_have generally recourse to accusations of incredulity, and sometimes of direct atheism.
To destroy their opponents there are no means which they do not look upon as lawful, and calumny is their favourite, and, indeed, the most infallible weapon. In this spirit it was, that a Pope wrote thus of Frederick the Second, to an Archbishop of Canterbury:-*" Iste rex pestilentiæ, à tribus Baratatoribus, ut
* Matth. Paris ad. an. 1233.