Open main menu

Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/313

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO IV.]
275
THE PROPHECY OF DANTE.

Who has the whole world for a dungeon strong,
Seas, mountains, and the horizon's[1] verge for bars,[2]
Which shut him from the sole small spot of earth
Where—whatsoe'er his fate—he still were hers,
His Country's, and might die where he had birth—
Florence! when this lone Spirit shall return
To kindred Spirits, thou wilt feel my worth,
And seek to honour with an empty urn[3]
The ashes thou shalt ne'er obtain—Alas!140
"What have I done to thee, my People?"[4] Stern
Are all thy dealings, but in this they pass
The limits of Man's common malice, for
All that a citizen could be I was—
Raised by thy will, all thine in peace or war—

And for this thou hast warred with me.—'Tis done:

    where I was born and bred, and passed half of the life of man, and in which, with her good leave, I still desire with all my heart to repose my weary spirit, and finish the days allotted me; and so I have wandered in almost every place to which our language extends, a stranger, almost a beggar, exposing against my will the wounds given me by fortune, too often unjustly imputed to the sufferer's fault. Truly I have been a vessel without sail and without rudder, driven about upon different ports and shores by the dry wind that springs out of dolorous poverty; and hence have I appeared vile in the eyes of many, who, perhaps, by some better report, had conceived of me a different impression, and in whose sight not only has my person become thus debased, but an unworthy opinion created of everything which I did, or which I had to do."—Il Convito, book i. chap, iii., translated by Leigh Hunt, Stories from the Italian Poets, 1846, i. 22, 23.]

  1. What is Horizon's quantity? Horīzon, or Horĭzon? adopt accordingly.—[B.]
  2. —— and the Horizon for bars.—[MS. Alternative reading.]
  3. [Compare—

    "Ungrateful Florence! Dante sleeps afar."

    Childe Harold, Canto IV. stanza lvii.,
    Poetical Works, 1899, ii. 371, note 1.

    "Between the second and third chapels [in the nave of Santa Croce at Florence] is the colossal monument to Dante, by Ricci ... raised by subscription in 1829. The inscription, 'A marjoribus ter frustra decretum,' refers to the successive efforts of the Florentines to recover his remains, and raise a monument to their great countryman."—Handbook, Central Italy, p. 32.]

  4. "E scrisse più volte non solamente a' particolari Cittadini del Reggimento, ma ancora al Popolo; e intra l' altre un' Epistola assai lunga che incomincia: 'Popule mee (sic), quid feci tibi?'"—Le Vite di Dante, etc., scritte da Lionardo Aretino, 1672, p. 47.