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and in the pursuit of knowledge in the most refined cities of Italy. The reputation which he there acquired, caused Leo X., on his accession to the pontifical dignity, to make Bembo his first secretary. In the luxurious court of this epicurean pontiff, Bembo lived in the enjoyment of all the pleasures of taste, wealth, and rank ; and even yielded so far to the example of the age as to assume a degree of license in his manners wholly unsuited to his profession and station. In his official character, however, he is without reproach, and his letters are remarkable for their pure and elegant latinity, his style being exactly modelled upon that of Cicero, whom he copied with scrupulous exactness amounting to affectation.
In 1520 Bembo retired from Rome to Padua for the benefit of his health, and his patron, Leo X., dying about that time, he determined not to return to Rome. He continued at Padua, therefore, attracted by the splendid collections of books and monuments of art in that polished city. Whilst here, he entirely reformed his morals; and here he conceived the plan and wrote a great part of his History of Venice. In 1539 he was honoured with the purple by Pope Paul III., when he transferred his residence to Rome. He remained there until he died, in 1547, at the advanced age of seventy-seven years, a patriarch in letters as he was in the church, the friend of all the distinguished literary men of the age, and loaded with public distinctions.
His literary reputation depends chiefly, perhaps, upon his prose writings; but his rank as an Italian poet, nevertheless, is such as to entitle him to this extended notice here. He was one of the earliest to discriminate, by his example and his precepts, purer principles of taste than had generally prevailcd among his immediate predecessors. He took Petrarca for his guide, and by the diligent study of his writings acquired a comparatively correct and pure style of composition, though he was unable to divest himself altogether of a certain stiffness of manner, incompatible with the highest poetic excellence. In fact, his poetical reputation was derived rather from the polished elegance of his style, than from any depth of sentiment or thought which he displayed; for though always chaste, he is often cold and insipid ; and therefore his character has never stood so high with posterity as it did with his contemporaries.
His poems consist of Rime, from which the following sonnets are selected.
Fair land, once loved of heaven o'er all beside,
Which blue waves gird and lofty mountains screen ;
What boots it now, that Rome's old warlike pride
Left thee of humbled earth and sea the queen ?
To tear thy locks and strew them o'er the tide.
Who, luring foreign friends to thine embrace,
Stabs to the heart thy beauteous, bleeding frame?
Thus do ye God's almighty name adore ?
TURNING TO GOD.
If, gracious God, in life's green, ardent year
Around my brow, and youth's bright promise hide, –
Sinoe days misspent will never more return,
My future path do thou in mercy trace;
That all the trust, which in thy name I place,
GIOVANNI GUIDICCIONI was born at Lucca in the year 1500. He was educated at the best Italian universities by his uncle, the Cardinal Bartolommeo Guidiccioni, who finally carried him to Rome and placed him in the service of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, afterwards Pope Paul III. ; in which situation he had access to the society of the first literary men of the city, and contracted a very close friendship with the poet Annibal Caro. In 1534 his patron was raised to the pontificate, and afterwards constaptly employed him in the highest offices of the papal see, both at home and abroad, until his premature death in 1541, which alone prevented his receiving the purple. As a literary man, he is most eminent for his poems. His style is particularly adapted to grave and heroic subjects ; and on these, in the opinion of the Italian critics, it is impossible for any style to be more select in diction or to possess greater nobleness and sustained dignity. His chief blemish is an occasional obscurity, arising from his aiming too sedulously at compressed strength. The two foilowing are among the most admired of his sonnets.
Thou noble nurse of many a warlike chief,
Who in more brilliant times the world subdued;
And sadly o’er thy faded fame I brood,
Thine empire shrunk within a petty fief.
Of bearing seems, thy name so holy now,
That even thy scattered fragments I adore ;-
In pristine splendor, while thy glorious brow
Thy torpid faculties have slumboring lain,
Wake, and behold thy wounds with noble rage.
Once more thy long-lost freedom to obtain ;
And leave no blot upon my country's page.
Have worn the yoke, which bows to earth thy neck,
Unhappy land ; thy spoils the invader deck,
THE GRAVES OF THE PATRIOTS.
With which their children tread the hallowed ground
Touch not the ancient elms, that bend their shade
SUNRISE ON THE HILLS.
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
And in their fading glory shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown, As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance, Through the grey mist thrust up its shattered lance,
And rocking on the cliff was left
The da pine blasted, bare, and cleft. The veil of cloud was lifted, and below Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow
Was darkened by the forest's shade,
Or glistened in the white cascade, Where upward in the mellow blush of day The noisy bittero wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash
I saw the current whirl and flash-
Then o'er the vale with gentle swell
The music of the village bell
Was ringing to the merry shout
That faint and far the glen sent out, Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke Through thick-leaved branches from the dingle broke.
If thou art worn and hard beset
With sorrows that thou wouldst forget,-
Go to the woods and hills !-no tears
H. W. L.
THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY.