Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/289

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO I.]
251
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

The man who fought, toiled, travelled, and each part
Of a true citizen fulfilled, and saw
For his reward the Guelfs ascendant art90
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 prolonged 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 Beatricē, I would hardly take
Vengeance upon the land which once was mine,100
And still is hallowed 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,[1]
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 those110
Who long have suffered 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
  1. [At the end of the Social War (B.C. 88), when Sulla marched to Rome at the head of his army, and Marius was compelled to take flight, he "stripped himself, plunged into the bog (Paludes Minturnenses, near the mouth of the Liris), amidst thick water and mud.... They hauled him out naked and covered with dirt, and carried him to Minturnæ." Afterwards, when he sailed for Carthage, he had no sooner landed than he was ordered by the governor (Sextilius) to quit Africa. On his once more gaining the ascendancy and re-entering Rome (B.C. 87), he justified the massacre of Sulla's adherents in a bloodthirsty oration. Past ignominy and present triumph seem to have turned his head ("ut erat inter iram toleratæ fortunæ, et lætitiam emendatæ, parum compos animi").—Plut., "Marius," apud Langhorne, 1838, p. 304; Livii Epit., lxxx. 28.]