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BOSTON, OCTOBER 15, 1828.
[Vol. 1, No. 2.
MONTECO.-AN ITALIAN STORY.
Is Two Parts.-Part I. DURING the latter half of the 16th eyes bent towards the ground; but century, an Englishman, then in his when he looked up, men felt that it was earliest manhood, spent some months something other than timidity which at Venice. He was one of those (so ordinarily induced him to withdraw frequently met with in romance, and his face from observation. To the so seldom in history) who are equally young stranger, whether from the remarkable for almost every bodily and liking which he professed, or, as some mental accomplishment. Noble, beau- suspected, though none hinted, from tiful, brave, learned, eloquent, and a the importance of his name and perpoet, skilful in arms, and perfect in all sonal character, Monteco was studicourtly courtesies,-the youthful cava- ously attentive. They were discourslier was the ornament of the society in ing together, one sultry afternoon, in which he mingled, and the glory of the the palace of the Venetian, on the country which gave him birth. The questions of state policy referring to splendor of his appearance, the readi- the situation of the Ocean Commonness and gracefulness of his discourse, wealth. Several senators and leaders and the exalted and heroic tone of were present, and joined occasionally feeling which shone out through every in the conversation; and, in one corword and gesture, procured him friend- ner of the vast saloon, a pale and ship and respect wherever he travel- sickly-looking youth, the only son of led ; and at Venice he was speedily Monteco, was seated at a little table, acquainted with nearly all the persons engaged in copying papers for his in that city, whom station or talents father. The dialogue of the Engrendered most distinguished. Among lishman and his Italian friend turned. these, the Englishman looked with after some time, on the disputes bepeculiar curiosity at the renowned tween the Roman See and tho VeneStatesman and General, Adrian Mon- tian Government; and the stranger teco. He was then past the prime of mentioned the name of the celebrated life; and holding the most important Father Paul, and expressed an anxious place in the Council of Ten, was con- desire to see him ; Monteco instantly sidered, by foreigners and Venetians, turned, and called to his son, by the as the foremost Noble of the Repub- name of “ Lorenzo !” The youth lic. He was a man of a harsh but started up with an appearance of terdecided expression of lip, with a dark ror; but, pausing for an instant to and subtle eye; a brow always com- dispose of his papers with some regupressed, and an address somewhat os- larity, his father's wrath burst forth in tentatiously open. He habitually the exclamation-"Haste, whelp! Did stooped in the shoulders, and kept his not you hear me call you ?” The lad
6 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.
came forward, trembling, and received instruments, apparently of far greater his parent's commands to accompany value than agreed with the general the young foreigner to the cell of the poverty of the room, and of its masServite Monk, the illustrious antago- ter. The broad and strongly-marked nist of the Papacy. The youth bow- forehead, and steady penetrating ed low, and faltered out his readiness glance of the Monk, were all that to obey. He then turned towards the gave dignity to a meagre and wasted door; and the Englishman, in follow- form, and to garments which, originaling him, perceived that he was not ly poor, had long lost even the homeonly of dwarfish stature, but miserably ly grace of good preservation. The and hopelessly deformed. They en Dwarf bowed low to Paul, who held tered a gondola; and there was time out his hand to him ; but Lorenzo, and opportunity for the stranger to instead of clasping it as an equal, examine Lorenzo's face. It was deli- kissed it like a subject; and when he cately, and almost beautifully formed; had named the Englishman to the but the dead paleness, the eyes which Monk, retired to the back of the looked red with sorrow, and the brow apartment, where scarcely any light and lip which seemed to have been long could penetrate, and there remained and often convulsed by suffering, ren- wrapped in his cloak, and with his dered the first impression of the coun- arms crossed upon his breast. The tenance extremely painful. When Servite and the Cavalier stood togeasked by his companion if he was in- ther in the recess of a window, where timate with Father Paul, he replied, the lattice was thrown open to admit with an appearance of anxious cour- the breezes from the sea, that stretchtesy, that he had often spent whole ed away to the horizon. The setting days in the cell of the poor Monk. “I sun had robed it, as a conqueror for marvel,” said the Englishman, “that his momentary triumph, in regal gold you have not rather conversed with and purple. The gentle waves sparhim in the Monteco Palace.” The kled like jewels as they swelled and Dwarf started, but replied, coldly, that broke ; and the sea-bird, which flew the Father did not love to leave his over the waters, seemed turned for an home. “ Yet, Master Lorenzo, I instant, while it shot across the radishould conceive he hath less to make ant pathway of the sunbeams, into that his home delightful than you find in glorious dove which descended of old yours.” The foreigner had never seen over the bosom of Jordan. The light, Adrian Monteco but in public, and tinted as if it had passed through knew nothing of his family circum- some jewelled casement in the sapstances, except that Lorenzo had no phire ramparts of the skies, illumined mother living; and he went on to say the bent frame and upturned counteto the Dwarf, “ Have you not broth- nance of the priest, and the gallant ers or sisters?"_" Your being of an- figure and youthful beauty of the other land, Sir Knight, excuses you courtly soldier, and showed, in all for not having heard what hath been their contrasted singularity, the two said in all the streets of Venice, that distinguished men who, alike bold, but for me my father is without a son, able, and accomplished, though in and that my only sister is in a Roman such different fashions, were each inconvent.” The Cavalier repented that teresting to the other, perhaps more he had struck a string which seemed than any among all their great conto jar at the slightest touch. But he temporaries. The Monk looked had no time to repair the error, for earnestly, almost curiously, at his the gondola stopped, and in a few mo- companion for some seconds; and ments he found himself in the small then said : and mean apartment of Father Paul. “ Aye, Sir, methinks I can see in
In his chamber he had little furni- that countenance the traces of the ture, except books and philosophical studies and the wisdom which fame
has so loudly reported of. But there an unworthy devotee, to mean a ceris also much which agrees better with tain vain and frivolous attention to the this rich mantle and these glittering forms and names, the symbols and slashes than with the doctor's gown.” ceremonies, and not to include, yea,
The youth seemed surprised at the to require, as the one necessary eleconfidence of such an address ; but ment, a living spirit of truth and hoanswered : “ You would not interdict, nor. What is it, in fact, but the ultigood Father, something of that court- mate blossom, and finer fragrance of ly splendor and soldierly array, which all that is excellent in man? To be are common among the noble and a perfect knight, according to the old the warlike?”
exemplars of virtue, demands learn“No, my son,” said the Monk; ing, eloquence, piety, truth and jus« but I may well wonder to see a tice, courage and charity, the mind to stripling, who is both learned and draw the sword in a good cause, and loverlike, both an accomplished dispu- the hand to wield it with vigor !” tant in the schools, and a tried cava. “Nay,” responded the Monk with a lier in the camp.”
faint smile, “ I know not how large a “If all that your kindness supposes domain, and how brilliant a diadem, were true, is it not even such a char- you would claim for this queen whom acter which chivalry demands from you serve, this fair fancy. I presume men ; though, alas ! it too often finds you are ready to do battle with sword them bankrupt debtors ?"
and shield, and to challenge me to the “Ah, my son ! that fantastic dream combat in her quarrel. I am practisof chivalry is not for our century. It ed in no such contests, and must dewas the rainbow seen amid the morn- cline perilling my poor gown against ing mist, which is beheld no more at that silken jerkin of yours.” noon; but we have well exchanged it “ Father, you may weil believe that for the all-cheering and all-maturing I should prefer to strike a hundred splendor of the mid-day sun!”
strokes in your defence, than to make “Say, rather, that chivalry belongs one against you. But if you say that I not to age or country ; but, like that would die on the instant for my faith, blessed sun, extends its benefits to all, in the possibility of chivalrous perfecand never wearies in its course.” tion, I trust that you but speak the
“ Such is not my faith ; and I am truth. Give me but a good cause, well persuaded that some romancer of and a worthy enemy, and I care little a subtle, yet a solemn wit, might exhi- how soon the death-blow may come to bit the choicest attributes that belong Philip Sidney." to your mystery and calling of chival- “Ah! my young friend, is it inry, embodied in the person of a mod- deed thus ? Now, I warrant that you ern, and surrounded by all the circum- will have share in the first broil for stances of our day, so as to generate the redress of injuries into which the contempt no less than the delight your generous heart can drag your of all men. And therein would he, strong hand, and that gay sword, at the same time, shadow forth a larg- which I saw you touch just now, when er meaning, and manifest the unceas- you spoke of a just cause, and a bold ing progress of the world through and antagonist.” out of its ancient modes of thought. “Even so, Father; I would risk Methinks, the grave and stately hu- much of peril to my person for the mor of the Spaniard, the cloak and chance of rescuing misery or overmask of his facetiousness, point him throwing oppression.” out as the knight destined to slay “Alas !" said the Monk, looking at your giant."
him affectionately, “if such is to be “Now, heaven forbid !” said the your course in such times as these, Englishman, “ for I perceive that you your fate will, indeed, be soon and apprehend the chivalry whereof I am bloody. But if the world is to lose