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PROPHECY OF DANTE.
ONCE more in man's frail world! which I had left
My earthly sorrows, and to God's own skies
From star to star to reach the almighty throne. Oh Beatrice! whose sweet limbs the sod
So long hath prest, and the cold marble stone,
That nought on earth could more my bosom move, And meeting thee in heaven was but to meet
That without which my soul, like the arkless dove, Had wander'd still in search of, nor her feet Relieved her wing till found; without thy light My paradise had still been incomplete. (2) Since my tenth sun gave summer to my sight
Thou wert my life, the essence of my thought, Loved ere I knew the name of love, and bright Still in these dim old eyes, now overwrought With the world's war, and years, and banishment, And tears for thee, by other woes untaught; For mine is not a nature to be bent
By tyrannous faction, and the brawling crowd; And though the long, long conflict hath been spent In vain, and never more, save when the cloud Which overhangs the Apennine, my mind's eye Pierces to fancy Florence, once so proud
Of me, can I return, though but to die,
Unto my native soil, they have not yet
The world hath left me, what it found me, pure,
I sought it not by any baser lure;
Man wrongs, and Time avenges, and my name
And make men's fickle breath the wind that blows
I would have had my Florence great and free: (3)
Wept over, "but thou wouldst not;" as the bird Gathers its young, I would have gather'd thee Beneath a parent pinion, hadst thou heard
My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce, Against the breast that cherish'd thee was stirr'd Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce, And doom this body forfeit to the fire. Alas! how bitter is his country's curse To him who for that country would expire, But did not merit to expire by her,
And loves her, loves her even in her ire.
Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reassume
Forsooth is over, and repeal'd her doom;
No, she denied me what was mine-my roof, And shall not have what is not hers-my tomb. Too long her armed wrath hath kept aloof
The breast which would have bled for her, the heart That beat, the mind that was temptation proof, The man who fought, toil'd, travell'd, and each part Of a true citizen fulfill'd, and saw
For his reward the Guelf's ascendant art Pass his destruction even into a law.
These things are not made for forgetfulness, Florence shall be forgotten first; too raw The wound, too deep the wrong, and the distress Of such endurance too prolong'd to make My pardon greater, her injustice less, Though late repented; yet-yet for her sake I feel some fonder yearnings, and for thine, My own Beatrice, I would hardly take Vengeance upon the land which once was mine, And still is hallow'd by thy dust's return, Which would protect the murderess like a shrine, And save ten thousand foes by thy sole urn.
Though, like old Marius from Minturnæ's marsh And Carthage ruins, my lone breast may burn At times with evil feelings hot and harsh, And sometimes the last pangs of a vile foe Writhe in a dream before me, and o'erarch My brow with hopes of triumph,-let them go ! Such are the last infirmities of those
Who long have suffer'd more than mortal woe, And yet being mortal still, have no repose
But on the pillow of Revenge-Revenge, Who sleeps to dream of blood, and waking glows With the oft-baffled, slakeless thirst of change, When we shall mount again, and they that trod Be trampled on, while Death and Até range O'er humbled heads and sever'd necks
Take these thoughts from me-to thy hands I yield
Will fall on those who smote me,-be my shield!
For Florence.-I appeal from her to Thee!
And live was never granted until now,
The heart's quick throb upon the mental rack,
And the frail few years I may yet expect
Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear,
On the lone rock of desolate Despair
To lift my eyes more to the passing sail
Which shuns that reef so horrible and bare;
Nor raise my voice-for who would heed my wail?