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Scarce of her form a vestige dost thou wear;
A slave, degraded and compelled to bear! Chains gird thy hands and feet; deep clouds of care
Darken thy brow, once radiant as thy skies; And shadows, born of terror and despair
Shadows of death have dimmed thy glorious eyes. Italia !-oh! Italia now no more!
For thee my tears of shame and anguish flow, And the glad strains my lyre was wont to pour
Are changed to dirge-notes; but my deepest woe Is, that base herds of thine own sons the while Behold thy miseries with insulting smile.
And, in her proud triumphal course through Rome, Dragged them, from freedom and dominion hurled,
Bound by the hair--pale, humbled, and o'ercome ! I see her now, dismantled of her state,
Spoiled of her sceptre,-crouching to the ground, Beneath a hostile car; and lo! the weight
Of fetters her imperial neck around !
This desolation ! for I then would say,
Losing my grief;—but 'tis the ignoble sway
FRANCESCO MARIA DE CONTI.
The Shore of Africa.
Where verdure never spread its bright array,
From Pompey's heart the life-blood ebbed away. 'Twas here, betrayed, he fell, neglected lay,
Nor found his relics a sepulchral stone, Whose life, so long a bright, triumphal day,
O'er Tiber's wave supreme in glory shone !
Thou, stranger! if from barbarous climes thy birth, Look round exultingly, and bless the earth
Where Rome, with him, saw Power and Virtue die ! But if 'tis Roman blood that fills thy veins, Then, son of heroes ! think upon thy chains, And bathe with tears the grave of Liberty !
Thy beauty, dimmed and changed, with tearless eye, Think not thy son's ungrateful heart is cold ;
But know I deem rebellious every sigh! Hallowed to patriot faith, to counsel high,
Glory is on thy ruins !--and my feet,
Where'er I turn, majestic traces meet,
While thy strong spirit thus unbound remains !
“ Welcome be ruins ! -never, never chains ,'”
Thou whom the rocks gird in, the waves enshrine ! Bright region ! mantled as for festival,
And proudly belted by the Apennine ! What now avails that sons of mighty line
Left thee the crown of Sea and Earth to wear ? They that were once thy slaves now rudely twine
Their hostile hands in thy dishevelled hair. Alas! nor want there of thy children's band Those that call in the stranger to the land,
And with unfilial sword thy charms deface! Are these, like deeds of olden time, thy pride ? Thus, thus is God now served and glorified ?
Oh, bitter age! and oh, degenerate race !
CONFESSIONS OF A POLITICAL ADVENTURER.
Long before the following narrative can be glanced at by human eye, or listened to by human ear, the sufferings of him who is the subject of it will, in this world at least, be at an end. May I hope that, though in life I have little benefited my species, my example may serve as negative instruction to my successors for ever.”
I am a younger son of a gentleman of good family, but small estate, in one of the midland counties of England. It is not my purpose to enter into further details than are necessary to illustrate the main object of my narrative. At an early age I was sent to Eton, where I soon began to distinguish myself, particularly by the elegance of my Latin verses, and the facility with which I composed them. Nor did I stop there. I learned, in process of time, to excel in Greek verse also; and, what was perhaps of more importance than either, I discovered that I had a peculiar aptitude for English versification. In short, by the time I was ready to leave Eton, and go to the University, I had acquired the reputation of being, if not a very profound, an elegant scholar, and a ery repaired to the University of Oxford with my school honours budding thick upon me; and there I found a new career open my tion. There were the University honours, as well as the honours and emoluments of my College, to be tried for; and there was, besides, the palm of eloquence to be won at the Oxford Spouting Club. Everybody who knows anything of Oxford must have heard of its Spouting Clubthat arena of eloquence in which the young Oxonian, as he declaims in all the majesty of would-be manhood, and real verse-out-of-place and prose-run-mad, feels, or fancies, that “the eyes of Europe are upon him.”
I soon became so enamoured of the eloquium et famam of the orators of this club, that I devoted no small degree of exertion, and no inconsiderable portion of my time, to enable myself to assume a respectable station amongst them. In due time, and after one or two failures, I succeeded in the object of my ambition, and, by so doing, led the way to my misery and ruin in after life. But I will not refer to that at present; the sequel of my story will be dark enough, without the introduction of gloomy reflections out of place.
In process of time I became (I believe I may venture to say) the second speaker there. It is in the hour of my humiliation that I write this, when the pride of that spirit which I once believed invincible has, indeed, received a fall; but had I been asked then, or had, perhaps, any of
my friends been asked, the answer would most probably have been that I was the first. But, be that as it may, another man and myself were certainly the two leading orators of the Oxford Debating Society, at the time of which my narrative leads me to treat: that other man was an Etonian, and was my intimate friend—indeed, by far the most intimate friend, save one, I ever had. We were united by the “idem nolle atque nolle,”—by a similarity of tastes in literature,-by a similarity of principle, at least of sentiment, in politics. The side we had chosen in
politics was the liberal one, perhaps I might say the ultra-liberal; and we defended it with a constancy, a skill, and a resolution that obtained for us almost uninterrupted victory on the narrow field on which we then fought. Though my friend's taste in literature was nearly similar, his application was greater, and his character less mercurial than mine. But I must proceed; for I write for a far other end than to give a critique either upon his eloquence or my own.
The time for taking my degree of Bachelor now approached, and I found, to my no small dissatisfaction, that my oratorical occupations had encroached so far upon my time, that I was not prepared to take nearly so high a place in the examination as my friends expected me to take, and as, perhaps, I myself felt that I ought to have taken. My fears were too well-grounded; I failed in my degree,-that is to say, I took a much lower degree than I ought, or, at least, than I wished, to have done. And this was scene the first of the advantages of being a spouting-club orator. I remained at Oxford, and read for an Oriel Fellowship. Failed in that, too ;-once-twice. Scene the second of the young orator's tragedy.
I now went down to my father's seat, in -shire. I cannot say exactly that I met with a cold reception : but I saw that they were disappointed; for they had expected to see me return crowned with Oxford honours, and, what was of more importance to a younger son of a not over-wealthy family, in possession of a fellowship. I soon found that I was a mere cypher in the family, and, perhaps what was worse, in the neighbouring families. There was my eldest brother, who was to have the estate, and
second brother, who was to have the family living, both very important persons
whose talk was of horses and dogs, guns and fishing-rods. In “such branches of learning ” their acquirements were considerable; and their contempt was proportionably great for most of the other human arts and sciences. I who, though not altogether unskilled in the exercises in which they excelled, yet, from having had my attention constantly directed to pursuits of a different character, was a neophyte compared to them, came in for my full share of that contempt; but what annoyed me rather more (for, to own the truth, the estimation in which I might be held by such judges as my dearly-beloved brothers never much troubled my repose) was, that I found myself, in the circles in which my family mingled, particularly among the young ladies of those circles, a person of marvellously small importance. The young jades, while they treated my brothers with due consideration, appeared to regard me as a disappointed, a ruined man-in a word, as a failure; they had not the discrimination to find out the germ of an orator and a statesman in the landless and livingless younger brother. I perceived this--and the discovery, I promise you, was far from an agreeable one-on the contrary, it was gall and wormwood to my haughty and aspiring spirit. Yes, the thought that I was despised, even by them, cut me to the very soul. “What,” thought I, “ are all the once fair prospects to the haughty and aspiring—blighted for ever? Are his hopes dead within him ? His visions of fame, and power, and glory-are those for ever fled ? Is the fabric of his towering ambition crumbled into dust? No, truly, they shall find not. I have failed in my degrees and in my fellowship, where many a dull, plodding pedant succeeds; but, for that, surely I have not failed as the architect of my fortunes. The energies I had within me were not, and they shall not have been, bestowed in vain."
My resolution was taken. I sought an interview with my father, and explained to him my desire of immediately commencing in real earnest the study of the law, with a view of being called to the bar as soon as possible. He consented, but told me that, as the expenses of my education had already been very considerable, he must limit my allowance in London to the smallest sum that I could possibly subsist on as a gentleman ; and that, as he could undertake to continue that only for a very few years, I must make up my mind, if I did not succeed at the bar within that space of time, to give up my profession of the law, and live on a curacy. I readily agreed, feeling confident, as most young men under similar circumstances do, that I should make my fortune long before the expiration of the time prescribed.
Accordingly I left -shire, determined never to return to it, or, at least, not till I was a great man. Alas! I never returned—I will never return. Let that pass. I commenced my legal studies and began to keep terms at Lincoln's-Inn. The life of a young lawyer, who means to live by his profession, is often, I might say is almost necessarily a hard and, what is worse, a cheerless one. In the middle of a large and luxurious capital, he sees himself surrounded by gaieties in which he cannot mingle, and tempted by pleasures in which he dares not to partake. And thus, in that gloom of solitude, he wastes his youth, and, perhaps, the best years of his early manhood, enjoying neither the cup of pleasure nor the smile of beauty, and as yet without a share of those honours which, to hoary ambition, are sometimes more than a recompense for the loss of all the pleasures of youth. Vain thought! As if anything which human life or vulgar ambition could bestow was a recompense for those pleasures. But this, at least, was not my fate, however hard it might be, it was not this. Not so was I doomed to waste my golden youth,--and for the maturity of manhood, that I shall never behold.
My friend and rival in eloquence, I think I should rather say fellowlabourer, in the Debating Society at Oxford, had not disappointed the expectations of his boyhood. He had written one or two clever pamphlets, and, in short, had gained so much reputation for ability both as a speaker and writer, that the Whigs thought it worth their while to bring him into Parliament. He did not disappoint their expectations of him, and soon proved himself a powerful accession to their forces.
Shortly after I had been called to the bar, and had already began to feel the influence of that“ Hope deferred which maketh the heart sick," the portion of so many a young lawyer, I was sitting one morning expecting briefs, but expecting them in vain, when a somewhat sharp double knock at my outer door aroused my attention (not very deeply fixed) from the law-book I was perusing. I have an ear for knocks though not for music--and it seemed to me that there was something peculiar in the knock in question-something that bespoke decision and a degree of impatience. I listened attentively, and, heard my clerk (poor devil ! his steps, no doubt, quickened by a regard to the main chance, videlicet, in this case, his jackall share of the spoil) move with alacrity to open
the door. 66 Is Mr.
at home ?”—a gentleman certainly, by his voice.