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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/288

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[CANTO I.
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

Like that Jerusalem which the Almighty He
Wept over, "but thou wouldst not;" as the bird
Gathers its young, I would have gathered thee
Beneath a parent pinion, hadst thou heard
My voice; but as the adder, deaf and fierce,
Against the breast that cherished thee was stirred
Thy venom, and my state thou didst amerce,
And doom this body forfeit to the fire.[1]
Alas! how bitter is his country's curse
To him who for that country would expire,70
But did not merit to expire by her,
And loves her, loves her even in her ire.
The day may come when she will cease to err,
The day may come she would be proud to have
The dust she dooms to scatter, and transfer[2]
Of him, whom she denied a home, the grave.
But this shall not be granted; let my dust
Lie where it falls; nor shall the soil which gave
Me breath, but in her sudden fury thrust
Me forth to breathe elsewhere, so reassume80
My indignant bones, because her angry gust
Forsooth is over, and repealed her doom;
No,—she denied me what was mine—my roof,
And shall not have what is not hers—my tomb.
Too long her arméd wrath hath kept aloof
The breast which would have bled for her, the heart

That beat, the mind that was temptation proof,

    Didst sit austere at banquets of the great
    And muse upon this far-off stone of thine,
    And think how oft some passer used to wait
    A moment, in the golden day's decline,
    With 'Good night, dearest Dante!' Well, good night!"

    Casa Guidi Windows, by E. B. Browning,
    Poetical Works, 1866, iii. 259.]

    }}

  1. "Ut si quis predictorum ullo tempore in fortiam dicti communis pervenerit, talis perveniens igne comburatur, sic quod moriatur." Second sentence of Florence against Dante, and the fourteen accused with him. The Latin is worthy of the sentence. [The decree (March 11, 1302) that he and his associates in exile should be burned, if they fell into the hands of their enemies, was first discovered in 1772 by the Conte Ludovico Savioli. Dante had been previously, January 27, fined eight thousand lire, and condemned to two years' banishment.]
  2. The ashes she would scatter ——.—[MS. Alternative reading.]