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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/311

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CANTO IV.]
273
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

Wafting its native incense through the skies.
Sovereigns shall pause amidst their sport of war,
Weaned for an hour from blood, to turn and gaze80
On canvass or on stone; and they who mar
All beauty upon earth, compelled to praise,
Shall feel the power of that which they destroy;
And Art's mistaken gratitude shall raise
To tyrants, who but take her for a toy,
Emblems and monuments, and prostitute
Her charms to Pontiffs proud,[1] who but employ
The man of Genius as the meanest brute
To bear a burthen, and to serve a need,
To sell his labours, and his soul to boot.90
Who toils for nations may be poor indeed,
But free; who sweats for Monarchs is no more
Than the gilt Chamberlain, who, clothed and feed,
Stands sleek and slavish, bowing at his door.
Oh, Power that rulest and inspirest! how
Is it that they on earth, whose earthly power[2]
Is likest thine in heaven in outward show,
Least like to thee in attributes divine,
Tread on the universal necks that bow,
And then assure us that their rights are thine?100
And how is it that they, the Sons of Fame,
Whose inspiration seems to them to shine
From high, they whom the nations oftest name,

Must pass their days in penury or pain,
  1. See the treatment of Michel Angelo by Julius II., and his neglect by Leo X. [Julius II. encouraged his attendance at the Vatican, but one morning he was stopped by the chamberlain in waiting, who said, "I have an order not to let you enter." Michel Angelo, indignant at the insult, left Rome that very evening. Though Julius despatched five couriers to bring him back, it was some months before he returned. Even a letter (July 8, 1506), in which the Pope promised his "dearly beloved Michel Angelo" that he should not be touched nor offended, but be "reinstated in the apostolic grace," met with no response. It was this quarrel with Julius II. which prevented the completion of the sepulchral monument. The "Moses" and the figures supposed to represent the Active and the Contemplative Life, and three Caryatides (since removed) represent the whole of the original design, "a parallelogram surmounted with forty statues, and covered with reliefs and other ornaments."—See Duppa's Life, etc., 1856, pp. 33, 34, and Handbook of Rome, p. 133.]
  2. [Compare Merchant of Venice, act iv. sc. 1, lines 191, 192.]