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A TALE OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.
poet Dante. All, and much more than all this, is I stood before thee, while the god was steeping
circled in our eyes within a halo which shades to In soft forgetfulness thy slumbering eye,
softer loveliness, while it does not obscure those days Oh! didst thou think, that while thy soul was sleeping, of old romance ; elating the mind to a fond enthuThus bending o'er thy couch myself was nigh?
siasm for its brighter, while it sleeps it into a willing I leaned above thee, and thy gentle bosom
forgetfulness of its darker and more repugnant Heav'd with the bliss of love's enchanted dream; It was not that my hopes should ever blossom
shapes. Beneath the sun-breath of thy dark eyes' beam.
I remember hearing some years ago, in the neighI saw thee smile; but well I knew that never
bourhood of Pisa, a legend of those dark yet fondly My love drew that approving smile from thee:
recollected times. I tell it, because it is of them, I heard thee sigh-those lips might sigh for ever;
and this must be its only merit. It was enough, they did not sigh for me!
Every one knows, or at least ought to know, the A smile of glory melted on thy slumber,
wretched condition to which the city of Pisa was As of sweet memories that came brightly o'er tbee, But, ah! my image glanced not ʼmid the number
reduced about the end of the fifteenth century. Then Of those, who lov'd and liv'd but to adore thee.
it was that this little state almost fell a victim to the Farewell, farewell, that passing scene is over;
ambition, or causeless vengeance of the Florentines; I would not, would not waste a tear for thee;
and but for a spark of high independence, the only Thy heart from love and mine has turn'd a rover, Then take thy chains and set another free!
and best inheritance of this great republic, which still lingered among the petty communities of Italy, together with a fixed and rooted hatred towards the
invaders of her liberty, she would have been swept Maddelena,
from her existence as a nation and a people.
Just on the eve of the breaking out of that con
cealed and bitter enmity which had long rankled in * “ It was of a strange order that the doom
the bosoms of the two states, Florence and Pisa, Of these two creatures should be thus traced out.
before the wild invasion of Charles the Eighth of To end in madness— both in misery." BYRON.
France, upon the liberties of Naples, had roused There has always been to my mind a something
their animosity to its full and reckless strength, hallowed and mysterious---a strange shadowy hue
their inhabitants lived in a sort of society together, which seems not of this world, cast over that period
restrained and suspicious it is true, yet not without of the history of Europe, generally designated “ the the traces of apparent friendship at least. Many dark ages.” The minds of the nations seemed then
Florentines were to be seen in the streets of Pisa, to have sunk beneath the terrible and undermining
and some Pisans in the streets of Florence. Still convulsions which they had undergone, (ere the the contact, when they happened to come into colbarbarian banners were triumphantly unfurled, and
lision, was far from friendly. Each scowled on the waved over the conquests of the Hun, the Vandal, other, as if he would have given way at once to and the Goth); into a long, dark, dismal night of open enmity; but both were equally afraid to begin heavy and restless slumber. Their greatest efforts, the attack. The heart's wish of the one was to inconsiderable though always daring, resembled the have spit in the face of the other, and cried villain ; misdirected starts of a troubled rest. Their in but somehow or other there existed for several years telligence seems to have been as a dream to them- | a sort of courtesy and restraint on both sides, which selves, and is ever so now to us. Yet then there! prevented this generally taking place, though somewas the soul of bold enterprise and watchful | times it did occur. prowess ; the mailed knight and lady fair---the As always happens in cases of this kind, the fair castle, the warden, and the armed retainers---the | sex were sure to catch up and perpetuate the spirit of sternest encounters relieved by the brightness of soft their lords. Withered matrons and spinster ladies eyes, and the storiest hearts refined and purified be had their national “ likes and dislikes,” and along neath the tender influence of woman's love. Then with these, heir feuds and bitter hostilities. In spite too there was the name of Petrarch and his Laura, of all this, however, there were often little love the wild and flashing light of Ariosto’s muse, and affairs between the youth of the two cities, genial the shadowy, unearthly inspiration of the patriot | and fond, though at times burning into madness, the
same as love has always appeared and now appears solicitude, Maddelena had arrived at the age of seunder the sun of Italy;
venteen, and her heart was still her own. Many of
the richest nobles of Pisa had made proposals for her ** Where fiercest passion riots uncoofined, And in its madness tires the softest miod."
hand, which Jacopo had deemed it prudent to refuse.
Nay, scarce was there a finger in all Pisa that could About this time there lived in Pisa a rich Florentine touch the lute, which was not, som merchant, by name Jacopo. He had retired many | the year, sweeping its chords beneath her latticed years from trade, living quietly and contentedly on window. She used to smile, as she heard the serehis gains. Pisa had become his place of residence,
nades to her own beauty, at times admiring the munot so much from choice, as from the strong asso sician's skill, and sometimes blushing, as she heard ciations with which it was connected in his mind--- herself, in the same stanza, compared to the rose, the reminiscences of early love, which his business life lily, and the morning star. and business habits had all been unable to efface. One night in December---it was a cold and silent Pisa had been the birth-place of his wife, and the night, and the moon was up, which steeped, as it first scene of the first and fondest affection he had
were, the pure white marble of Pisa in her own still ever known. There too the curtain had dropped,
purer and whiter light---Maddelena sat alone in her and left him widowed in heart and life. It was to pannelled chamber, in anxious expectation of the rehim, therefore, as the enchanter's palace of light turn of her father, who had been absent for some and darkness, which he would gladly have avoided, hours. The moon-light streaming through the but which he found it impossible to tear himself
casement at which she sat, fell full and bright on the from. He clung to it as the spirit of an injured maid picture of an old crusader, giving a shadowy and anis said, in the old legends,, to linger round the scene usual look to the countenance. This, together with of her ruin. Those who have had the links of the wild imagery of one of the provençal ballads she earliest, and consequently most powerful love, snapt had been reading, deeply embued her mind with a asunder, e'er well united, alone know the feelings melancholy and tender feeling. She threw down which still through life attach themselves to the the ballad---she gazed on the bold and rugged outscene of its first raptures, even though its original lines of the warrior's face---she attempted again to brightness may afterwards have been dimmed, by read---she desisted---and her eyes were rivetted on becoming the scene of its bitterest desolation. the dark contour of the warrior's countenance, made
His wife died little more than a year after they , more striking by the moon-light which rested upon had been united, leaving Jacopo a daughter. On it. Her mind could not settle. The hour, and the this solitary pledge of his wedded love, all his at scene altogether, had wrought her up into that fetention had been lavished, and no expense spared ; verish feeling of romance which all young hearts so that when Maddelena attained the age of woman have known, and they the most which have held hood, there was scarcely a more accomplished, and least intercourse with the world. not a more beautiful and gentle maiden to be found 1 While she continued in this state, half in pleasure, in the whole of Pisa. She was the image of her half in pain, the tones of a lute, in a slow and solemn mother in figure, mind, and temper; and this had | Italian air, softly arose from below the casement at bound, if possible, more closely the ties of paternal which she sat. At first the musician's fingers affection. Jacopo, in the warmth of his love, had seemed scarcely to touch the chords. A single note never allowed her to leave his sight, or at least to be
was only now and then heard, like the distant murfar from him. She was seldom to be met with in mur of a stream in the desert; then it gradually rose the public places, to which, in those days, the youth and rose, and swelled into deeper softness, till the of her age so generally resorted. The lists, the
music at length burst into all the voluptuousness of dance, and the marriage-feast, were seldom graced perfect melody. Love could not have fixed upon a by her presence; and even when she did make her better hour to insinuate himself into the most impeappearance there, it was more as a spectator than a netrable heart. A maid alone, and in moon-light, partaker in their gaities ; for Jacopo, though he with her senses floating on the lovely sounds of lived in that dissolute age, knew and dreaded the
music, and her heart steeped in romantic feeling, radangers to which youth and beauty are exposed in ther woos than shuns his approaches ; and we need their communion with the world.
scarcely inform our readers of either sex, that so it Under the protection and guidance of this fatherly I was with Maddelena.
(To be continued.)