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Why were they proud? Because fair orange-mounts

Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs ? Why were they proud ? Because red-lined accounts

Were richer than the songs of Grecian years? Why were they proud ? again we ask aloud, Why in the name of Glory were they proud ?


Yet were these Florentines as self-retired

In hungry pride and gainful cowardice,
As two close Hebrews in that land inspired,

Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies;
The hawks of ship-mast forests — the untired

And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies Quick cat's-paws on the generous stray-away, — Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.

How was it these same ledger-men could spy

Fair Isabella in her downy nest ?
How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye

A straying from his toil? Hot Egypt's pest Into their vision covetous and sly!

How could these money-bags see east and west? Yet so they did- and every dealer fair Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare.

O eloquent and famed Boccaccio !

Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon,
AI of thy spicy myrtles as they blow,

And of thy roses amorous of the moon,

And of thy lilies, that do paler grow

Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune,
For venturing syllables that ill beseem
The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme.

Grant thou a pardon here, and then the tale

Shall move on soberly, as it is meet;
There is no other crime, no mad assail

To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet: But it is done-succeed the verse or fail

To honour thee, and thy gone spirit greet; To stead thee as a verse in English tongue, An echo of thee in the north-wind sung.

These brethren having found by many signs

What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
And how she loved him too, each unconfines

His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad That he, the servant of their trade designs,

Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad, When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees To some high noble and his olive-trees.

And many a jealous conference had they,

And many times they bit their lips alone,
Before they fix'd upon a surest way

To make the youngster for his crime atone; And at the last, these men of cruel clay

Cut Mercy with a sharp knife to the bone;
For they resolved in some forest dim
To kill Lorenzo, and there bury him.

So on a pleasant morning, as he leant

Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade
Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent

Their footing through the dews; and to him said, “You seem there in the quiet of content,

Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade Calm speculation ; but if you are wise, Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.

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XXIV. “To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount

To spur three leagues towards the Apennine; Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count

His dewy rosary on the eglantine."
Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,

Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine,
And went in haste, to get in readiness,
With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.

And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,

Each third step did he pause, and listen'd oft
If he could hear his lady's matin-song,

Or the light whisper of her footstep soft;
And as he thus over his passion hung,

He heard a laugh full musical aloft;
When, looking up, he saw her features bright
Smile through an in-door lattice all delight.

XXVI. “Love, Isabel !” said he, “I was in pain

Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow :

Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain

I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow Of a poor three hours' absence ? but we'll gain

Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow. Good bye! I'll soon be back.”—“Good bye!”

said she: And as he went she chanted merrily.

So the two brothers and their murder'd man

Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream Gurgles through straighten'd banks, and still doth fan

Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan

The brothers' faces in the ford did seem, Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass'd the water Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.

There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,

There in that forest did his great love cease;
Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,

It aches in loneliness—is ill at peace As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin:

They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur, Each richer by his being a murderer.

XXIX. They told their sister how, with sudden speed,

Lorenzo had ta'en ship for foreign lands,
Because of some great urgency and need

In their affairs, requiring trusty hands.
Vol. III.


Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,

And 'scape at once from Hope's accursed bands; To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, And the next day will be a day of sorrow.

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She weeps alone for pleasures not to be ;

Sorely she wept until the night came on,
And then, instead of love, O misery!

She brooded o'er the luxury alone :
His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,

And to the silence made a gentle moan,
Spreading her perfect arms upon the air,
And on her couch low murmuring, “Where? O



But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long

Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
She fretted for the golden hour, and hung

Upon the time with feverish unrest —
Not long; for soon into her heart a throng

Of higher occupants, a richer zest,
Came tragic; passion not to be subdued,
And sorrow for her love in travels rude.

In the mid days of autumn, on their eves

The breath of Winter comes from far away,
And the sick west continually bereaves

Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay

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