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It was

in one of Wordsworth's sonnets how itself over the grass, still preserve the perfectly he expresses this sort of reli memory of the great struggle between gious evening calm ?"

the German chivalry of Frederick BarAnd A -, taking up a book which barossa and the free citizens of the lay beside him, turned over the leaves, Italian towns, in which democracy won and read in a clear, impassioned voice, its first and most decisive victory over those lovely lines, commencing with mediæval feudalism. The struggle itself

was a new act, as it were, in the long "It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, The holy time is quiet as a nun,” &c.

contest between the Pope and the Em

pire. Frederick had inherited the tradiWhen he had finished, he relapsed tion of universal rule from Otto and into a satisfied silence from which we from Charles the First ; it was his right did not disturb him.

as German king to claim the crown of Now X— had looked hitherto in Italy, and to receive the greater crown that uncomfortable condition of wanting of the Empire itself in his destined to say something and being unable to capital of Rome. The one obstacle in say it, but the silence which followed the way of imperial ambition had this poetic outburst gave him an open hitherto been the Papacy, and the ing, and he seized it.

Papacy scemed little inclined to plunge " That is beautiful, I grant you ; but into a struggle with Frederick. here, surrounded by the memories of a to complete his realm, therefore, that past struggle for freedom, I like better Frederick marched into Italy, but it was that sonnet of your poet, where he the cry of Como which actually called sings of the influence which the moun. him over the Alps. Unperceived by tains and sea exercise in the cause of kings or emperors, a new force was liberty :

springing up in Italy itself ; city

after city found freedom and self"Two voices are there-one is of the sea, One of the mountains : each a mighty voice.''

government in the choice of its own

magistrates, the deliberations of its own “What is the struggle you mention?" citizens, in a rule of reason and equality

who was in the humour for which replaced the brute force and sublistening “ Was it one of those endless ordination of feudalism. Had the cities quarrels between Guelph and Ghibelline, been as united as they were free, Italy the dreary recital of which wearies the would have “made itself” in the twelfth reader to this day?"

century instead of the nineteenth. But "On the contrary," replied X-; local jealousies followed local indepenthe war between Como and Milan dence; and the greater cities had hardly stands out from the mere squabbles won liberty when they strove to wrest between one town and the other, by liberty from the lesser towns around its great significances; an ancient poet them. relates how that for ten years this little “ The acquisition of Como, through

said A

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our feet detied the united which the trade of Central Italy armies of Lombardy.”

passed on its way to the north, was "We are to have the narration in of the highest importance to Milan, the words of a modern poet, I perceive," and religious as well as political difinterrupted D-, mischievously; but ferences fanned the strife between them. A— interposed, and said heartily, For ten years Como detied the arms of “Let us have it by all means.” And its great rival in a struggle which a X delighted, started off at once. native poet, whose verses commemo

" Its position on the border-land be rate it, likens to the ten years' struggle tween Italy and Gerniany determined around Troy. the fortunes of Como. The gloomy

“ The opening of the conflict had, at walls which surround it, the deep

any rate, something of the fire and fosse where the wild gourd flings energy of Homeric story. The see of

town at

Como was disputed between Guido, which they set on fire. They were whose cause was espoused by the citi- absorbed in the pillage when the zens themselves, and a certain Landolf, Comaschi burst upon them, overpowered whose cause was supported by Milan. them completely, and put them to flight. Guido took the matter into his own Then, masters again of their city, they hands one night, and, sallying forth, raised the ruined walls, quenched the stormed the Castle of St. George, fire, and awaited a new call to duty and where Landolf had been installed, took to arms." him prisoner, and slew many of his “Vive la République !” cried Arelatives and friends. The rest fled to as he threw his hat into the air with a Milan, where they exposed to view on half-feigned enthusiasm. the public place the bloody garments of “The two suburbs,” continued X-, the slain ; they stood by in silence, “ Vico and Coloniola, which we see exwhilst the widows and orphans with tended along the shores of the lake, sustears and lamentations implored the tained next a vigorous attack; but the passers-by to avenge their wrong. During enemy was repulsed with great loss, and this scene the church-bells sounded, and retired, proclaiming (according to the custhe people flocked to worship; but they tom of the day) that they would return in were prevented from entering the temple the following August and lay siege to by the appearance of the Archbishop at the town. They kept their word, and the head of his clergy, who gave orders during the eight years that followed that the doors should be closed; he the Milanese renewed their attacks every then declared that they should only be summer, but the conflict was chiefly opened to those who would take up kept up along the shores of the lakes arms for their country and for their Como, Lugano, and Maggiore, where a church. Amongst a people so easily number of small townships which beexcited to war, this spectacle took longed to the Comaschi had revolted instant effect. A herald was despatched against them. The dash and vigour of to defy the town of Como, and the the warriors of Como was wonderful. Milanese put themselves in readiness for They had constructed a fleet upon the

Lake Lugano, and reduced its people to “The Comaschi, quitting their town, submission ; but they had no fleet on stationed themselves at the foot of this the Lake Maggiore, and the enemy were mount, and awaited the onslaught of there in fcrce. Guess what they did! the enemy. They soon perceived the They transported the whole fleet on forces of the Milanese advancing along wheels from the one lake to the other

, the plain, with banners flying, and the distance being eight miles! To the dragging in their midst the carroccio, astonishment of the enemy a new array or war-chariot, around whose floating of vessels sailed up the lake in the standard their chosen men of valour bright morning air, encouraging by its clustered. The fight was long and fierce, presence those allies who were still night only separating the combatants, faithful to the fortunes of the republic

. without either party knowing to whom "The year 1127 found them suffering the victory belonged. At morning light from all the horrors of a prolonged and the Comaschi observed with wonder harassing struggle. Their harvests were that the enemy had disappeared. Hur- burnt, their subjects revolted, and their riedly ascending the mountain, they saw bravest warriors dead. The Milanese (perhaps from the spot on which we prepared for a desperate effort : assemare now seated) the city below covered bling a vast army, gathered from the with a dense volume of smoke, from surrounding republics, they encamped which the fames escaped in lurid gleams. beneath the walls of Como. The towns The enemy had, under cover of the of Pisa, Lecco, and Genoa had furnished darkness, followed the dry bed of a engineers, and with their help they winter torrent, and reached the town, constructed great towers, battering-rais,

the fight.

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and huge inachines for hurling stones he swept down upon the Milanese into the town. When these prepara in 1158, besieged and destroyed their tions were completed, they commenced town, enfranchised Como, rebuilt her the siege with shouts of joy. In spite walls, and granted to the city the of a gallant resistance on the part of the ruined fortress which crowns this hill, Comaschi, and two desperate sorties, the and imperial rights--" battering-rams made so large a breach · Yes," said D

- ;

“ what is Barthat the enemy only waited the morning barossa to me, or I to Barbarossa ?” to enter with their cavalry and take “ You won't say that,” said Apossession of the town.”

laughing, “ when he wakes from his Here D- broke in, for the pro long sleep in the rock at Thuringia, longed resistance of the Comaschi had shakes liis monstrous red beard, and exhausted her. “I hope they were calls for vengeance on the enemies of beaten at last,” she said, “for unless Germany." they were, we shall be late for the boat. Just then a lovely strain of music We lost our dinner at Brunnen owing came floating down to us from the to X—'s interminable recital of the ruins of the tower. Looking upwards rise of the Swiss Confederacy; and if through the green trees, we saw the we lose our dinner again for the sake of singer: it was one of the joyous girls the freedom of Conio, I shall become an whom we had seen at the tower, who Imperialist.”

had separated herself from her com- Never while I live,” said X panions, and wandered, singing as she "the story is worth a hundred dinners, went. The sound rose and fell in for the Comaschi, sooner than surrender lovely cadence as we left our pleasant to the enemy, abandoned the town, resting-place, and struck down through chose the Castle of Vico from whence the green acacias, and went rapidly to defend their liberty, and sending towards the town. In spite of reoff the old men and the children, newed attempts on the part of Agathered round the breach, and rushed and X-- to have "just one more look upon the besiegers with such im at, San Abbondio,” and to reknit their petuosity as to spread dismay through- discussion-for A- who had out their camp. The Comaschi availed knack of forgetting defeat, was again themselves of the confusion, regained sure he was right-we were soon in their ships, and fled to Vico before sight of the shore, and of the little morning dawned. Next day the as- packet, which was fast approaching, its tonished Milanese found the town long pennon of smoke flying in the silent and abandoned, and saw from heavenly azure of the air. afar the Castle of Vico furnished with The evening was closing in as we soldiers and war machines, ready to embarked, and heavy clouds rose from undergo another siege, perhaps longer the north, slowly overshadowing the than that of Como; for the rocks on tender sky, still serene with the rememwhich the fortress was built were inac brance of sunlight. A mist of rain cessible.

Wearied out, they offered came on, and we saw as through a veil favourable terms to the Comaschi, which each mountain barrier lifting its head were accepted, and the war terminated.” against the darkened heavens; whilst

"I rejoice to hear it,” said D the surface of the lake was all alive glancing at X-: "it has been a with wavelets tossing their foam against weary business, and now I suppose we

the vessel's side. The scene wore a may go."

changed aspect since the morning, but "What!” replied X-, “and leave one which I enjoyed. I liked this Frederick Barbarossa behind, and how, angry mood of Nature : and, seated on hearing the cry of the townships of the deck, I watched every impulsive Como, Cremona, and Lodi, as they burst of rain, and every half-repentant groaned under the tyranny of Milan, listing of the veil-shadowy woodland

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and pine-clad ridge glancing through the mist, white-walled villas and church towers gleaming in broken shafts of sunlight as we went along. I was a little sorry when we approached Bellagio, and thought that Como, its Republic, its brave citizens, its poetry, and its beauty must henceforth be but a thing of the past: one of those memories which “flash across the inward eye,” and form the “bliss of solitude;" which, while they bring regret for vanished pleasure, still have strength to throw a tender colouring over the landscape of life we leave behind.

My thoughts and my regrets were broken in upon by the boat stopping at the little quay, and the consequent tumult of the passengers, amongst whom I heard the cheerful voice of A-saying, “Here we are, amongst the olives and vines again, far from the noise of towns and the rattle of vehicles. I feel like an enfranchised spirit.”

“Ah, but we have seen Como,” said X--- triumphantly, "and I have had a good historic talk, and the Broletto has warmed my heart, and D— will never forget the wars of Como.”

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THIRTY-ONE.

TO A LADY WHO TOLD HER AGE.

WELL, if it's true, this “thirty-one,"
It proves that years are like their sun;
That birthdays may as widely vary
As months in latitudes contrary.
Grain ripens at the Antipodes
When waters here a foot thick freeze;
And in New Zealand, as we know,
June loads the Southern Alps with snow.
And thus at “thirty-one,” perhaps,
Some spinsters wisely take to caps ;
At "thirty-one,” just touched by frost,
The bloom of beauty's often lost.
With you that birthday breathes of Spring,
And Time has done a gentle thing.
At “thirty-one,” spoiled child of fate !
He brings your summer to you late.
Just when with some Life's sun grows cold,

And wears towards October chill,
On your fair head its costliest gold
Sustains the year at April still.

F. N. B.

137

THE ARTS IN CAPTIVITY.

1. Jules Simon lately reminded us entry. Columbus brought gold from that there is a chapter of history yet Hispaniola as evidence of a new world. to be written. In his Address to the The Crusaders shipped cargoes of earth French Institute in October last, he and water, that tbeir children might lamented the vandalism of the Allies of be christened in Jordan, and themselves 1814, and “especially of the English,” buried in the dust of Jehoshaphat. who, as he informed his countrymen, But no one ever burdened himself with " robbed the Galleries, Museums, and other people's property without conArchives of Paris of invaluable trea sidering what he was to do with it. sures, monuments of French artistic and The same may be said of destructive literary genius.” Few things would, per instincts. Omar may have burnt a haps, be more instructive than a correct library to give glory to the Koran; and minute statement of what there was the Iconoclasts waged war to Art out at that time to be taken away from of hatred to idolatry ; Savonarola made Paris, and of what was actually taken.

bonfires of the classics by way of a proMen own and claim property by a test against Pagan licentiousness; and variety of titles, and especially by "the Knox fired the nests that the crows old and simple plan, that those should might "flee awa.” take who have the power, and those But there is something in French should keep who can," a principle nature altogether out of the laws of which, in Yankee slang, makes every human gravitation. The fires of the body's luggage his “plunder." It is late Commune revealed a new bump desirable, therefore, to know by what in man's skull. One wonders what chance the French of 1814 had come by men like Ferré would have done had what they called their own; for there time and courage been given to them ; if may be genius in “appropriating” as the Louvre had gone with the Tuileries, well as in creating art, and it took all and Notre Dame with the Theatre of the the wisdom of Solomon himself to dis Porte St. Martin. What if all Paris tinguish real from assumed maternity. had really been “in ashes," and what

If it is true that all men are liars, it if it had been the Paris of 1814, instead may also be asserted that all nations are, of that of 1871 ? There have been at or have been, robber-bands. The life of all times revolutions in the world, the conquered is, according to the laws mad passions let loose ; the dregs of of war, forfeited to the victor. How society wrought up to the surface ; much more his property ! Ancient Jack Cade in London; Masaniello in monarchs carried whole nations away Naples : but there is no instance of into captivity. Red Indians hang the a population cutting off its nose to scalps of slain warriors to their saddle spite its own face. It must, at all bows. Mere tourists have been known, events, be somebody else's nose, an when they had a chance, to chip off a obnoxious nose.

The Parisians alone nose from a bas-relief, or strip the bark wreaked a mad spite upon what did from a sacred tree. International rob them no harm, upon what gave them bery, however, on a large or small scale, no offence. should have an object.

You take It is necessary to bear in mind all booty from your neighbour, or a trophy; these peculiar features in the French a keepsake, or a curiosity. The Romans character to understand the causes of of old plundered Egypt or Greece to all the mischief they did in Europe on enhance the splendour of a triumphal their first revolutionary outbreak. The

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