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Souls nursed in freedom; but that law of gold,
That glad and golden law, all free, all fitted, Which Nature's own hand wrote - what pleases is permitted.
Then among streams and Alowers,
The little winged Powers
The nymphs and shepherds sat
Mingling with innocent chat
Kisses that would not go.
The maid, her childhood o'er,
Which now a veil must hide,
And oftentimes, in river or in lake,
'Twas thou, thou, Honor, first
That didst deny our thirst
Thou badst kind eyes withdraw
Into constrainèd awe,
Thou gatherdst in a net
The tresses from the air,
Turn all to sullen ways,
Thy work it is — thou shade that wilt not move
Our sorrows and our pains,
These are thy noble gains.
Thou conqueror of the crowned.
What dost thou on this ground,
Go, and make slumber dear
To the renowned and high;
Can live without thy grace,
Go, let us love — since years
But unto us the light
BY LORD BYRON.
(From "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.")
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
In Venice, Tasso's echoes are no more,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
But unto us she hath a spell beyond
The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er,
By J. A. SYMONDS.
[JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS, English man of letters, was born October 5, 1840; graduated at Balliol College, Oxford. He wrote “ Introduction to the Study of Dante" (1872); “Studies of the Greek Poets" (1873-1876); “The Renaissance in Italy" (six volumes, 1875–1886); “Shakespeare's Predecessors in the English Drama" (1884); “Life of Michelangelo" (1892); several vol. umes of poetry; translated Benvenuto Cellini's autobiography ; etc. He died April 18, 1893, at Rome.]
THE history of the Medicean family during the sixteenth century epitomizes the chief features of social morality upon which I have been dwelling. It will be remembered that Alessandro de' Medici, the first Duke of Florence, poisoned his cousin, Ippolito, and was himself assassinated by his cousin Lorenzino. To the second of these crimes Cosimo, afterwards Grand Duke of Tuscany, owed the throne of Florence, on which, however, he was not secure until he had removed Lorenzino from this world by the poniard of a bravo. Cosimo maintained his authority by a system of espionage, remorseless persecution, and assassination, which gave color even to the most improbable of legends. But it is not of him so much as of his children that I have to speak.
Francesco, who reigned from 1564 till 1587, brought disgrace upon his line by marrying the infamous Bianca Capello, after authorizing the murder of her previous husband. Bianca, though incapable of bearing children, flattered her besotted paramour before this marriage by pretending to have borne a
In reality, she had secured the coöperation of three women on the point of childbirth ; and when one of these was delivered of a boy, she presented this infant to Francesco, who christened him Antonio de' Medici. Of the three mothers who served in this nefarious action, Bianca contrived to assassinate two, but not before one of the victims to her dread of exposure made full confession at the point of death. The third escaped. Another woman, who had superintended the affair, was shot between Florence and Bologna in the valleys of the Apennines. Yet after the manifestation of Bianca's imposture, the Duke continued to recognize Antonio as belonging to the Medicean family; and his successor was obliged to compel this young man to assume the Cross of Malta, in order to exclude his posterity from the line of princes.