[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]


a physician, and a friar. Her last words

had been spoken ; she lay in feeble lanA TALE OF ITALY.

guor upon her pillow, yet the hurried

breathing shewed that the spark of life (For the Parterre:)

still lingered. The picture was such as

Rembrandt would have painted — rich For aught that I could read,

and warm; the rosy tints of evening fell Could ever hear by tale or bistory,

through windows of stained glass, which The course of true love never did run smooth.

were reflected by the rich folds of the

drapery surrounding the couch; an unIt was a brilliant scene! The setting broken silence reigned throughout the sun was sinking with refulgent splen- apartment, which was lofty, and fur-' dour 'neath the blue wave of the Adriatic; nished with regal splendour. The first the cloudless moon, and feeble twink sound that broke the stillness of the ling of the infant-like stars, as yet de- room, was the death sigh with which the feated by the broader glare of day, were Marchesa di Romaine yielded her life high in the heavens. On the Lido, and to the hands of her Maker; the wailing through the various canals of the city, of the female attendants, who had retired the gondolas were floating, and their to an inner chamber during the last sad sombre appearance gave a soft relief to interview between a mother and only the gorgeous scene around..

child, gave audible intimation of this Yet this sight was unheeded and event by tears and lamentations. unseen by the sad inhabitants of the On the son, the fixed expression of Palazzo di Romaine, whose noble mistress' grief was evident, from the anguish delay on the bed from which it was or- picted on his countenance, while burning dained by Providence she was never · tears, the offspring of a sorrowed mind, more to rise.

She was attended by hér were silently chasing each other down son the only survivor of the family, his youthful cheeks.

He quickly retired to his apartment, of his parents, prepared to be a compeand spent the remainder of the night in titor for the prize, which was to be a sleepless sorrow.

golden oar. The early dawn of morning beheld At length the important day arrived, him still in tears; yet he directed the bright and sunshining; yet a light wind melancholy task of committing his mo- tempered the heat with a refreshing ther's remains to the grave, with manly breeze. On both sides of the canal, firmness, which was done amid the tears and on the bridge under which the boats and blessings of the poor and friendless. were to pass, the crowds were immense,

Auguste di Romaine was descended from the senator to the fisherman, from from a long and illustrious line of ances- the Dogana to the fruit-girl,--all the intors his father had settled in Venice; habitants poured forth to witness the previous to his marriage, and his wealth spectacle. and power made him an object of fear The stately Bucentaur, having on and distrust to the chiefs of the republic. board the King of Naples, the Doge of His union with the daughter of one Venice, and members of the dreaded of their senators, did not in the least re. Council of Ten, was the starting and winconcile them to his presence, and though ing point of the rival gondolas ; having possessed of influence sufficient to started, they were to proceed by the counteract their machinations against Canale Grande, under the broad arch of him, still he thought it more prudent to the Rialto, to a state galley, conspicuous dwell in security, blessed by the society of from the flag of the winged Lion of San his wife and child, than expose himself Marco, around which having rowed, to to danger in the councils of St. Mark. return the same course, and the foremost

Intent on pursuing this resolution, he boat to be adjudged the prize. The race fitted up his palace so as to have every was open to all noble youths born in resource within itself. It opened imme. Venice, from the age of fourteen to diately on the Adriatic gulf, to which you twenty, and an officer was appointed to descended by a flight of stairs composed take down their names, and in what saint's of the white marble of Paros ; at their name they chose to commit themselves. base, from a landing place wrought in The first answered: Mosaic work, you embarked on board “My name is Giuseppe, Comte de the gondolas, which were in readiness at Milan, and I trust to San Antonio for all hours.

victory.” On the eastern side of the palace was The second was Il Signor Giercumo, the picture gallery, enriched with paint and hoped for victory from San Andrea. ings of great value; here was the soft- The third and fourth, were sons of ened shade of Rembrandt, the savage Venetian senators, and put their faith in wildness of Salvator Rosa, the historic San Mark. splendour of Titian, and the sunny The name of the fifth, was Carlo landscape of Claude Lorraine.

Risconti, and named San Jeremino. The other apartments were equally When our hero gave his name as arranged, and amidst these in the com- Auguste di Romaine, the officer went to pany of his family, would the marquis the Doge to know whether he would be pass his days in far greater pleasure than permitted to take part in the race; the those whose rest is broken by the cares Prince ordered him forward. and disquiet of wretched ambition,

?” He had seen his son under his own “ Auguste, my Lord.” care, emerge from infancy to childhood, “ Your title?" instructed in all the accomplishments of “ Viscomte di Romaine.” the day, and skilled in the manly exer

What! a son of the Marquis." cises of the period. He was now ap.

“Si Signor.” proaching his fifteenth year, and having “Who name you as your patron in been accustomed to the water from his the boat race ?" cradle, could row a gondola better than Il San Teodoro." many more advanced in age.

Having thus interrogated, the Doge The King of Naples being at that whispered the officer, that he supposed time in Venice, great rejoicings were there would be but slight chance of carried on, and amongst the rest all the young Romaine's becoming victor, so young nobles were enjoined to have a he might be allowed a place; then turnregalta on the Canale Grande, for the ing to him, he said : amusement of their royal visitor.

“Go Sir, to your post." Auguste having obtained the consent The youth bowed and went out.

“ What is your

Soon as the signal gun for starting tained; beautifully did the gondolas boomed through the waters, a loud roar plough the curling waves, rising and broke from the assembled multitudes, falling as the billows heaved and fell, and the gondolas shot forth, impelled by with the white water, which in the the lusty strokes of their juvenile mas- splendour of an Italian sun gleamed ters, with such rapidity, that for some like silver dashing from their bows, and moments it was quite impossible to tell their rapid strokes seemed like the which was first, all seemed so wedged lightning's flash-so quick—so sudden. together. But when order was restored, Well did the husbanded strength now it was evident that the boat of Signor stand Auguste in good stead, that of his Giercumo held the lead; she was, how- antagonist's was well nigh exhausted; ever, closely followed by that of young when he put forth his, and to the Risconti, after whom, and at but a little astonishment of all the spectators, he distance, was Auguste di Romaine; the left their favourite Giercumo several others formed a tail behind.

boat-lengths in the rear, as he swiftly From the rate at which the gondola bore up for the Bucentaur. of Signor Giercumo dashed along, it was “I fear, mio caro amico," said Jacques, clear that could the same be retained, again addressing his companion, “ that the she would outstrip all her competitors; stranger's victory will not be well reand on the other hand, the steady and ceived by those in power, they regard even trim of di Romaine's boat, which his father with no friendly eye.' was gaining ground every sweep, seemed “ Be that as it may, and which I'll to promise a hard contest when return- vouch for,” was the reply, “they surely ing, for which time, like the skilful rider cannot withhold the merited prize from in a race, he husbanded his strength. In the victor." this order, amid the deafening cheers of Time, that great arbiter of events, the multitude assembled on the bridge, which have been, are, and will be, they shot in quick succession through shewed, however, that the surmise of the the bold arch, and the foam caused by first speaker was just, for despite of precetheir plying oars had scarcely subsided, dent or principle, the prize was withheld when Jacques Tori addressed his neigh- from the winner, who was Auguste bour Giulio Fontedoni in the following di Romaine. words.

It would have been useless, as well as “Giulio, mio amico, who dost think dangerous for the indignant Marquis to will win the prize ?”

have offered any remonstrance against “How should I know, Jacques ? but the decrees of St. Mark, and he relet's ask Antonio, who, you are aware turned with his family to his Palazzo in is versed in nautical affairs.”

a state of mind producing a disease, The person to whom the latter part of which laid all that was great and noble, this sentence related, was dressed with yet fond and tender of man, in the the tarred hat, large boots, and short grave, after an illness of six months. pea jacket of the fisherman on the The situation of the widowed Marlagoons, to which class he belonged, chesa was such as might excite your sin and being an old hand in races between cere commiseration, Torn by the ruthall kinds of craft, to him the friends less embrace of death, alike unsparing to referred for information.

king or commoner, from him who enSignors," said he, “it is hard to tell livened her lonely hours by his presence yet; the boat of the Giercumo is slacken- and conversation--who, whether gliding ing, that of Risconti's can't hold on, over the silver channels of the “ Sea and trust me, that of the Viscomte di Cybele,” by the chaste light of the moon, Romaine will be the victor - by our had been her loved companion, or when Lady, he's a rare hand at the oar, and occupied in the “ delightful task” of does credit to our city.”

training the tender mind of their only All eyes were now turned on the flag- child to the paths of rectitude and knowship, which was to be rounded; the ledge, had been her unwearied assistant, first which appeared on the return was it was more than human nature could still that of Giercumo, the next Auguste; bear-hers was no every day occurrence. that of Risconti's turning too short, got In the midst of a crowd they were alone ; entangled in the rigging of the vessel, isolated from the world, left in short which detained it.

like two lonely birds forced from the The remainder of the race was now society of their fellows, when one of them strictly confined to the two boats, and had died, the other pined away, in vain well and manfully was the contest main- lamenting her lost mate. Her main stay of life being taken away, she pre- the spiral cap, and flowing caftan of the pared to follow ; but still she had much Persian; the crescent target and glitterto see done in this world,—her child ing buckler of the Sclavonian; the fallclaimed her care, sole vestige of her losting cap and furred pelisse of the Hunlord : and could she leave him, no! for garian; the braided jacket and jewelled his sake she tried to prolong her fleeting ataghan of the Moor; and the embossed hours of existence to the period when helmet and scarlet capote of the war-like our tale commences, at which time he Greek. Such was the sight, which had completed his one and twentieth caused Auguste to doubt whether it was year.

not enchantment that he beheld, when Among the very few with whom the his eyes encountered those of a being, deceased parents of Auguste kept up any such as he would conceive in his dreams : acquaintance, none was so intimate as her figure was exquisitely moulded, and the father of Angelica Villadomonti. He about his own height; her lovely face was the friend and companion of the was shaded in its ringlets of light brown Marquis from the days of his childhood; hair, which partly wantoned over her and when the latter settled in Venice, he marble forehead, and was partly confined contrived still to keep near the companion by a bandeau composed of the finest of his youth.

oriental pearls, the clasp of which was a The time and manner in which our single diamond; her robe was white satin, hero and heroine were first presented to triinmed with a wreath of olive leaves and each other, deserve to be recorded; it silver laurel-blossoms entwined. He was was on the feast of the Madonna, one of so intensely gazing on her beauteous face, those few days which the Marquis made that he started when he was touched by it a point of appearing with his house. the hand of her companion, who pre. hold in a manner befitting his own high sented her as his daughter, Angelica rank, as also that of his lady.

Villadomonti. The sun was in its meridian, and hun- “How feetly pass the hours in the dreds of gondolas were gaily stemming society of her we love,” thought poor the waters; the gondoliers, in their deco- Auguste, when for the first time he found rated jackets of various hues, forming a out that he had no longer a heart, and he most motley scene, some fantastically sigbed as he thought how many hours arrayed in scarlet, some in green and would intervene between the time she gold; others were clad in sky-blue, stud- had appointed for the serenade. ded with silver stars, while others dis- At length it came: hurriedly, and with played richly embroidered robes of silver a beating beart, yet noiseless steps, tissue, forming a lively contrast to the Auguste stole from his chamber, cast his sombre appearance of their boats. guitar on his neck, and wrapped in a

At length many drew aside, to make roquelaire, threw himself into his gondola, way for the gondola di Romaine, which seized the oar, and with a few lusty and staid its way at the Piazza di San Marco. hurried strokes, found himself on the Never did such a scene of splendour meet bosom of the Adriatic. the astonished eyes of Auguste. The The night was effectively grand : the noble columns entwined with full moon shone in cloudless splendour, wreaths of the finest flowers, each of and shed her silent light on the broad which breathed delicious fragrance. The and unrippled bosom of the sea; all had trophies of the conquering Republic sus- retired to rest ; the city was hushed, the pended from the dome, proudly floated hum of its people silent, no cloud diso'er

turbed the heavens, no voice the earth ; “Many a lord, and lady bright.” he saw nought, he heard nought, save The insignia of empire hung from the the lamp in the open window of his indazzling pinnacles of the temple; every amorata, and the rushing of his boat as balcony was crowded with nobles and she held her course thither. ladies, whose glittering jewels and rich As the lengthened shadows of the ornaments gave an animated appearance house in which dwelt the lovely Angelica to the marble pillars supporting the roof, served to cast a veil of shade over him, while in the aisle, or body of the build- and effectually to prevent his being visiing, the coup d'æil was no less imposing. ble to any of the inmates of the Palazzo,

Here might be recognised by his high save her whom he sought, a low soft yellow cap, and purple gaberdine, the prelude announced that the instrument wealthy Jew. Here stood the Turk in was prepared, and after running over a his embroidered robe, as the sunbeams few light airs, which he produced in a played on his richly gemmed turban; masterly manner, he accompanied him



self in the following serenade, which the ter, the reader will have no difficulty melodious tones of his voice admirably in imagining his anxiety to have the suited.

project of his departed parents carried The pale soft moun with silvery gleam,

into effect, and as soon as arrangements Haih cast her brightness o'er the wive, were made respecting the marriage, he Her vestal light falls o'er the stream,

determined to obey the dying injuncWbich thy loved chambers laveThen come to me in the still dark night,

tions of his mother, and leave Venice, at Which silently falls from above

least till such time as injustice and preThen baste, oh ! haste, ere the morning's light judice should be banished from her Should chance to disclose our love.

society. Away! away o'er the bonnding wave,

With no small feelings of joy did In smiles and in joy we'll go

Angelica look forward to the splendid While all is calm as the quiet grave,

prospect which awaited her on her union As the slumbering surges flow. Oh! come with me to yon lovely isle, with the young Marquis di Romaine, Thro' its shady bowers we'll rove :

Evening was the time when they most Then haste, oh l haste, that thy sweet smile

enjoyed each other's society; in the cool May quickly bless my love.

twilight hour they would stray through Come forth! come forth to your own true knight, the romantic gardens, or beneath the Come forth, dismiss yonr fear

piazza, but in particular O'er Adria's waves will be our flight, O'er its waters bright we'll steer ;

It was an evening bright and still, Then come with me io my own dear land,

As ever blushed from wave or bower ; Its mistress thon wilt move:

of those brief moments when, Then haste, oh! haste, that with thy hand,

heedless of the strifes and discords of At length thou may bless my love.

this jarring world, we experience feel. Scarcely had the last note, which was ings too big for utterance;"not a frown prolonged till it was caught by the echo disturbed the serene face of nature, of the opposite side, ceased to be heard, roseate hues beautifully dappled the and the figure of Auguste, as he stood azure sky, as the flush of beauty sleeps with his instrument in hand, his little beneath a night's dissipation; how inskiff rocking at each undulation of the tensely did the lovers feel, as they viewed sea, seemed the very model of a young the flowering luxuriance of the verdant A pollo, so still, and so statue-like, than turf and the tender green of the budding slowly and cautiously the beauteous face trees, or caught between the opening of Angelica appeared.

vistas, glimpses of the varied landscape, Oh bave you seen bathed in the morning dew,

richly wooded, and bounded in the disThe budding rose its infant bloom display, tance by the blue mountains, what were When first its virgin tints unfold to view, not their thoughts when

It shrinks, and scarcely trusts the blaze of day? So soft, so delicate, so sweet she came,

- They were left to themselves, Youth's damask glów just dawning on ber cheek. . To the moon and the stars, those fairy elves,

To the murmuring wave and the zephyr's wing,

That dreams of gentlest joyance bring. He thought that an inhabitant of the celestial world had descended, as the Love, though above all things the angel-countenance of his beloved was for most delightful in enjoyment, is by no a brief moment presented to his sight; means interesting in description ; the he was preparing a prelude for a second days passed in the society of those we song, when a handkerchief, only ex- love, are assuredly the happiest we can celled in whiteness by the hand that experience, therefore taking all that for waved it, either accidentally or purposely granted, instead of lifting the veil, and slipped from her fingers, and wafting relating all the little tender nothings through the air, fell Auttering into the that passed on both sides, and which boat. Auguste picked it up, and placed most of my fair readers, I dare say, having it in his bosom : a glance convinced him had a little experience in such matters, that this was the finale of that night, can well imagine, suppose it had all for the latice was closed; so in a mourns passed, and that ful strain, as if lamenting being parted Now't was done, on the lone shore were plighted from his mistress, he again seized the Their hearts; the stars their nuptial torches shed oar, and, well satisfied with his adventure, Beauty on the beautiful they lighted retired to dream of Angelica.

the wedding day appointed, and Auguste It had been a previously arranged was to take his departure next morning to affair, that the two young people should prepare his Neapolitan castle for the be united, if it was pleasing to both, and reception of its future mistress. as now we are about to arrive at that With a mind buoyant with happiness period when Auguste was his own mas- did Auguste fly impatiently on his road,

« VorigeDoorgaan »