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sacrifice, seems ever present to her soul, and speaks characteristically in these lines, with which she replies to a wish of Tasso's for the return of the golden age :—

"When earth has men to reverence female hearts,
To know the treasure of rich Truth and Love,
Set deep within a high-soul'd woman's breast;-
When the remembrance of our summer prime
Keeps brightly in man's heart a holy place;-
When the keen glance that pierces through so much
Looks also tenderly through that dim veil

By Time or Sickness hung 'round drooping forms ;-
When the possession, stilling every wish,
Draws not Desire away to other wealth;-
A brighter day-spring then for us may dawn
Then may we solemnize our golden age.'

A character thus meditative, affectionate, and self-secluding, would naturally be peculiarly sensitive to the secret intimations of coming sorrow: forebodings of evil arise in her mind from the antipathy so apparent between Tasso and Antonio; and after learning that the cold, keen irony of the latter has irritated the poet almost to frenzy, she thus, to her friend Leonora de Sanvitale, reproaches herself for not having listened to the monitory whispers of her soul :

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She admits to her friend the necessity for his departure from Ferrara, but thus reverts, with fondly clinging remembrance, to the time when he first became known to her :

“Oh! mark'd and singled was the hour when first
He met mine eye!-Sickness and grief just then
Had pass'd away; from long, long suffering freed,
I lifted up my brow, and silently
Gazed upon life again.-The sunny day,
The sweet looks of my kindred, made a light
Of gladness round me, and my freshen'd heart
Drank the rich healing balm of hope once more.
Then onward, through the glowing world I dared
To send my glance, and many a kind bright shape
There beckon'd from afar. Then first the youth,
Led by a sister's hand, before me stood,
And my soul clung to him e'en then, O friend!
To cling for ever more.


Lament it not,

My princess!-to have known heaven's gifted ones
Is to have gather'd into the full soul

Inalienable wealth!


Oh! precious things-
The richly graced, the exquisite, are things
To fear, to love with trembling!-beautiful
Is the pure flame when on thy hearth it shines,
When in the friendly torch it gives thee light,
How gracious and how calm!-but, once unchained,
Lo! Ruin sweeps along its fatal path!"

She then announces her determination to make the sacrifice of his society, in which alone her being seems to find its full completion.

"Alas! dear friend, my soul indeed is fix'd-
Let him depart!-yet cannot I but feel
Ev'n now the sadness of long days to come;
The cold void left me by a lost delight!-
No more shall sunrise from my opening eye
Chase his bright image glorified in dreams;
Glad Hope to see him shall no longer stir
With joyous flutterings my scarce-waken'd soul;
And vainly, vainly, through yon garden bowers,
Amidst the dewy shadows, my first look
Shall seek his form! How blissful was the thought
With him to share each golden evening's peace!
How grew the longing, hour by hour, to read
His spirit yet more deeply! Day by day
How my own being, tuned to happiness,
Gave forth a voice of finer harmony!-
Now is the twilight gloom around me fallen:
The festal day, the sun's magnificence,
All riches of this many-coloured world,
What are they now?-dim, soulless, desolate!
Veiled in the cloud that sinks upon my heart.-
Once was each day a life!-each care was mute,
Ev'n the low boding hush'd within the soul,
And the smooth waters of a gliding stream,
Without the rudder's aid, bore lightly on
Our fairy bark of joy!"

Her companion endeavours, but in vain, to console her.

"Leonora. If the kind words of friendship cannot soothe, The still sweet influences of this fair world

Shall win thee back unconsciously to peace.

Princess. Yes, beautiful it is! the glowing world!
So many a joy keeps flitting to and fro,

In all its paths, and ever, ever seems
One step, but one, removed-till our fond thirst
For the still fading fountain, step by step,
Lures to the grave! so seldom do we find
What seem'd by Nature moulded for our love,
And for our bliss endow'd-or if we find,
So seldom to our yearning hearts can hold!
That which once freely made itself our own
Bursts from us!-that which eagerly we press'd
We coldly loose! A treasure may be ours,
Only we know it not, or know, perchance,
Unconscious of its worth!"

But the dark clouds are gathering within the spirit of Tasso itself, and the devotedness of affection would in vain avert their lightnings by the sacrifice of all its own pure enjoyments. In the solitary confinement to which the Duke has sentenced him as a punishment for his duel with Antonio, his jealous imagination, like that of the self-torturing Rousseau, pictures the whole world as arrayed in one conspiracy against him, and he doubts even of her truth and gentleness whose watching thoughts are all for his welfare.-The following passages affectingly mark the progress of the dark despondency which finally overwhelms him, though the concluding lines of the last are brightened by a ray of those immortal

hopes, the light of which we could have desired to recognise more frequently in this deeply thoughtful work :


"Alas! too well I feel, too true a voice
Within me whispers, that the mighty Power
Which, on sustaining wings of strength and joy,
Bears up the healthful spirit, will but cast
Mine to the earth-will rend me utterly!-
I must away!"



Rightly thou speak'st; I am myself no more,
And yet in worth not less than I have been.

Seems this a dark, strange riddle? Yet 'tis none !
The gentle moon that gladdens thee by night,
Thine eye, thy spirit irresistibly

Winning with beams of love-mark! how it floats
Thro' the day's glare, a pale and powerless cloud!
I am o'ercome by the full blaze of noon;
Ye know me, and I know myself no more!"


"Vainly, too vainly, 'gainst the power I strive,

Which, night and day, comes rushing thro' my soul!
Without that pouring forth of thought and song
My life is life no more!

Wilt thou forbid the silkworm to spin on,
When hourly, with the labour'd line, he draws
Nearer to death?-in vain !-the costly web
Must from his inmost being still be wrought,
Till he lies wrapt in his consummate shroud.
Oh! that a gracious God to us may give

The lot of that blest worm!-to spread free wings
And burst exultingly on brighter life,
In a new realm of sunshine!"

He is at last released, and admitted into the presence of the Princess Leonora, to take his leave of her before commencing a distant journey. Notwithstanding his previous doubts of her interest in him, he is overcome by the pitying tenderness of her manner, and breaks into a strain of passionate gratitude and enthusiasm :-

"Thou art the same pure angel, as when first

Thy radiance cross'd my path. Forgive, forgive,
If for a moment, in his blind despair,

The mortal's troubled glance hath read thee wrong!
Once more he knows thee! His expanding soul
Flows forth to worship thee for evermore,
And his full heart dissolves in tenderness !



* .

Is it false light which draws me on to thee?
Is it delirium?-Is it thought inspired,
And grasping first high truth divinely clear?
Yes! 'tis ev'n so-the feeling which alone
Can make me blest on earth!"



The wildness of his ecstacy at last terrifies his gentle protectress from him; he is forsaken by all as a being lost in hopeless delusion, and being left alone to the insulting pity of Antonio, his strength of heart is utterly subdued; he passionately bewails his weakness, and even casts down his spirit almost in wondering admiration before the calm self

collectedness of his enemy, who himself seems at last almost melted by the extremity of the poet's desolation, as thus poured forth :

"Can I then image no high-hearted man



Whose pangs and conflicts have surpass'd mine own,
That my vex'd soul might win sustaining power
From thoughts of him?-I cannot !-all is lost!
One thing alone remains-one mournful boon-
Nature on us, her suffering children, showers
The gift of tears-the impassion'd cry of grief,
When man can bear no more ;-and with my woe,
With mine above all others, hath been link'd
Sad music, piercing eloquence, to pour
All, all its fulness forth! To me a God
Hath given strong utterance for mine agony,
When others, in their deep despair, are mute!
Thou standest calm and still, thou noble man!
I seem before thee as the troubled wave!
But oh! be thoughtful!-in thy lofty strength
Exult thou not! By nature's might alike
That rock was fix'd, that quivering wave was made
The sensitive of storm! She sends her blasts,-
The living water flies—it quakes and swells,
And bows down tremblingly with breaking foam;
Yet once that mirror gave the bright sun back
In calm transparence-once the gentle stars
Lay still upon its undulating breast!
Now the sweet peace is gone-the glory now
Departed from the wave! I know myself
No more in these dark perils, and no more
I blush to lose that knowledge. From the bark
Is wrench'd the rudder, and through all its frame
The quivering vessel groans. Beneath my feet
The rocking earth gives way-to thee I cling-


grasp thee with mine arms. In wild despair So doth the struggling sailor clasp the rock Whereon he perishes!"




And thus painfully ends this celebrated drama, the catastrophe being that of the spiritual wreck within, unmingled with the terrors drawn from outward circumstances and change. The majestic lines in which Byron has embodied the thoughts of the captive Tasso will form a fine contrast and relief to the music of despair with which Goethe's closed :


may wear,

"All this hath somewhat worn me, and
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair,
For I have battled with mine agony,
And made me wings wherewith to overfly
The narrow circus of my dungeon wall;
And freed the holy sepulchre from thrall;
And revell'd among men and things divine,
And pour'd my spirit over Palestine,
In honour of the sacred war for Him,
The God who was on earth and is in heaven;
For He hath strengthen'd me in heart and limb.
That through this sufferance I might be forgiven,
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored."




IRELAND has the reputation of having produced a great number of shrewd fellows, and occasionally a knave or two. I can vouch for the quantity of fools to which it gives birth, or at least used to do in my boyish days, and the good old times before me. I do not mean those ninnies, who, believing well of human nature, trust to those whom they have served, and are deceived the more deeply in proportion to their confidence and kindness; nor yet those swaggering, rollicking, foolish fellows who get drunk and swear,

"Who kiss the girls and coax them,
And spend their money free;"

and thus end by ruining themselves, as they had previously ruined others; but those lamentable abortions of intellect, by courtesy called "innocents" or "naturals," but in plain speaking designated" boru idiots," varying in degree, from the slavering baby, propped in a rushbottomed chair, to the aged and mind-palsied object, stretched on straw by the road-side, to disgust and pain the traveller-to fill his eyes and drain his pockets.


The extreme diversity of shades in Irish character is not more remarkable than the wild harmony with which they blend together. Almost every individual is made up of contradictions, or at least of contrasts. The joy of an Irishman has always a dash of melancholy in it; and there is a rainbow even in his most clouded sky.

It is incontestable that Ireland is more fertile than any other country in what is generally called folly; folly in all its Proteus forms, bu specially of that humiliating sort I have just alluded to. I am almost inclined to think that it is quite a matter of chance whether any given Irish infant turn out a wise or a foolish man. And in the majority of adults it is hard to say to which category they belong. They, almost without exception, seem to hover through life between the two attractions; and in nine cases out of ten a feather would turn the beam. It is this uncertainty which gives such a racy flavour to Irish humour, and such picturesqueness to Irish conduct. Other nations scarcely know how to estimate us. Our fools perpetually say the shrewdest things; our wise men constantly do the most foolish.

And is it then, really, I have often asked myself, that the quickness of intellect, which is admitted to distinguish the mass of my countrymen, is but a chance item in the balance-sheet of the national character, and that, due allowances for shades of difference being made, and the proportions between sense and nonsense fairly struck, it is even doubtful which ought to be held predominant? Is the boundary between intellect and idiotism so narrow? Is it a mere accident of cerebral formation that makes one man an orator and another an "innocent ?" Of what is "Irish eloquence " and "Irish wit" compounded? And how are we to draw the line between them on one hand, and bombast and ribaldry on the other? Does the reputation of our bold-voiced demagogues and spirit-stirring speakers in Parliament hang on the simple thread of a phrenological subdivision? May Dryden's couplet

Great wit is sure to madness near allied,

And thin partitions do their bounds divide "

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