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TRANSLATION FROM VITTORELLI.
ON A NUN.
Sonnet composed in the name of a father whose daughter had recently died shortly after her marriage; and addressed to the father of her who had lately taken the veil.
Of two fair virgins, modest, though admired,
Heaven made us happy; and now, wretched sires, Heaven for a nobler doom their worth desires,
And gazing upon either, both required.
Becomes extinguish'd, soon-too soon-expires :
Eternal captive, to her God aspires.
Which shuts between your never-meeting eyes,
May'st hear her sweet and pious voice once more:
Rush,—the swoln flood of bitterness I pour,
Oh Venice ! Venice ! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls,
A loud lament along the sweeping sea ! If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee, What should thy sons do ?_any thing but weep : And yet they only murmur in their sleep. In contrast with their fathers as the slime, The dull green ooze of the receding deep, Is with the dashing of the spring-lide foam, That drives the sailor shipless to his home, Are they to those that were; and thus they creep, Crouching and crab-like, through their sapping streets. Oh! agony—that centuries should reap No mellower harvest ! Thirteen hundred years Of wealth and glory turn’d to dust and tears ; And every monument the stranger meets, Church, palace, pillar, as a mourner greets ; And even the Lion all subdued appears, And the harsh sound of the barbarian drum With dull and daily dissonance, repeats
The echo of thy tyrant's voice along
And all is ice and blackness, and the earth
There is no hope for nations !_Search the page
Of many thousand years—the daily scene, The flow and ebb of each recurring age,
The everlasting to be which hath been,
Hath taught us nought or little : still we lean On things that rot beneath our weight, and wear Our strength away in wrestling with the air ; For 'tis our nature strikes us down : the beasts Slaughter'd in hourly hecatombs for feasts Are of as high an order—they must go Even where their driver goads them, though to slaughter. Ye men, who pour your blood for kings as water, What have they given your children in return ? A heritage of servitude and woes, A blindfold bondage, where your hire is blows. What! do not yet the red-hot ploughshares burn, O'er which you stumble in a false ordeal, And deem this proof of loyalty the real ; Kissing the hand that guides you to your scars, And glorying as you tread the glowing bars ? All that your sires have left you, all that Time Bequeaths of free, and History of sublime, Spring from a different theme !-Ye see and read, Admire and sigh, and then succumb and bleed ! Save the few spirits, who, despite of all, And worse than all, the sudden crimes engender'd By the down-thundering of the prison-wall, And thirst to swallow the sweet waters tender'd,