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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/296

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[CANTO II.
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

Of the departed, and then go their way;
But those, the human savages, explore
All paths of torture, and insatiate yet,
With Ugolino hunger prowl for more.90
Nine moons shall rise o'er scenes like this and set;[1]
The chiefless army of the dead, which late
Beneath the traitor Prince's banner met,
Hath left its leader's ashes at the gate;
Had but the royal Rebel lived, perchance
Thou hadst been spared, but his involved thy fate.
Oh! Rome, the Spoiler or the spoil of France,
From Brennus to the Bourbon, never, never
Shall foreign standard to thy walls advance,
But Tiber shall become a mournful river.100
Oh! when the strangers pass the Alps and Po,
Crush them, ye Rocks! Floods whelm them, and for ever!
Why sleep the idle Avalanches so,
To topple on the lonely pilgrim's head?
Why doth Eridanus but overflow
The peasant's harvest from his turbid bed?

Were not each barbarous horde a nobler prey?
  1. See "Sacco di Roma," generally attributed to Guicciardini [Francesco (1482-1540)]. There is another written by a Jacopo Buonaparte.

    [The original MS. of the latter work is preserved in the Royal Library at Paris. It is entitled, "Ragguaglio Storico di tutto l'occorso, giorno per giorno, nel Sacco di Roma dell anno MDXXVII., scritto da Jacopo Buonaparte, Gentiluomo Samminiatese, che vi si trovo' presente." An edition of it was printed at Cologne, in 1756, to which is prefixed a genealogy of the Buonaparte family.

    The "traitor Prince" was Charles IV., Connétable de Bourbon, Comte de Montpensier, born 1490, who was killed at the capture of Rome, May 6, 1527. "His death, far from restraining the ardour of the assailants [the Imperial troops, consisting of Germans and Spanish foot], increased it; and with the loss of about 1000 men, they entered and sacked the city.... The disorders committed by the soldiers were dreadful, and the booty they made incredible. They added insults to cruelty, and scoffs to rapaciousness. Upon the news of Bourbon's death, His Holiness, imagining that his troops, no longer animated by his implacable spirit, might listen to an accommodation, demanded a parley; but ... neglected all means for defence.... Cardinals and bishops were ignominiously exposed upon asses with their legs and hands bound; and wealthy citizens ... suspected of having secreted their effects ... were tortured ... to oblige them to make discoveries, ... the booty ... is said to have amounted to about two millions and a half of ducats."—Mod. Univ. History, xxxvi. 512.]