Page images
PDF
EPUB

delightful, the sight of which, when guilty, chilled him with horror,— and he scruples not to relate the story of his conversion to those who, passing that way, are sure to partake his hospitality.

This story was never seen since that day by any one.

DELLA CRUSCA VERSES.

Among many other undeserved praises I received at generous Florence, I select these from Mr. Merry, whom we called Della Crusca, because he was a member of their academy :

“ Oh you! whose piercing azure eye

Reads in each heart the feelings there;
You! that with purest sympathy

Our transports and our woes can share;
You! that by fond experience prove,

The virtuous bliss of Piozzi's love;
Who while his breast affection warms,

With merit heightens music's charms;

“Oh deign to accept the verse sincere
Nor yet deride my rustic reed;

.
But pitying wait my woes to hear,

For pity sure is folly's meed;
The good, the liberal, and the kind,

Possess a tolerating mind:
Nor view the madman with a frown
Because of straw he weaves a crown.'

These were sincere verses indeed; for he wanted me not to join the Greatheeds and Parsons and Piozzi, who were all persuading him to go home, and not fling any more time away in prosecuting his dangerous passion for Lady Cowper; while the Grand Duke himself was his rival. I answered his application, poor fellow! in the concluding verses of our “Florence Miscellany." They wanted it larger; so I said:

The book 's imperfect you declare,
And Piozzi has not given her share;
What's to be done? some wits in vogue
Would quickly find an epilogue;
Composed of whim, and mirth, and satire,
Without one drop of true good nature;
But trust me; 'tis corrupted taste
To make so merry with the last :
When in that fatal word we find
Each foe to gayety combined.
Since parting then - on Arno's shore
We part — perhaps to meet no more;
Let these last lines some truth contain,
More clear than bright, less sweet than plain.

Thou first; to sooth whose feeling heart
The Muse bestowed her lenient art;
Accept her counsel, quit this coast
With only one short lustrum lost:
Nor longer let the tuneful strain
On foreign ears be poured in vain;
The wreath which on thy brow should live,
Britannia's hand alone can give.

#

Meanwhile for Bertie Fate prepares
A mingled wreath of joys and cares;
When politics and party-rage
Shall strive such talents to engage,
And call him to controul the great,
And fix the nicely balanced state:
Till charming Anna's gentler mind,
For storms of faction ne'er designed,
Shall think with pleasure on the times
When Arno listened to his rhymes;
And reckon among Heav'n's best mereies,
Our Piozzi's voice, and Parsons' verses.

Thou toof; who oft has strung the lyre
To liveliest notes of gay desire ;
No longer seek these scorching flames,
And trifle with Italian dames;
But haste to Britain's chaster isle,
Receive some fair one's virgin smile,
Accept her vows, regard her truth,
And guard from ills her artless youth.
Keep her from knowledge of the crimes
That taint the sweets of warmer climes ;
But let her weaker bloom disclose
The beauties of a hot-house rose :

a

Mr. Greatheed. She describes him as completely under the influence of his wife, the charming Anna. In the “Baviad and Mæviad” he is called the Rubens of the Della Cruscan school. His tragedy,“ The Regent," was acted in 1788. † Parsons.

[ocr errors]

Whose leaves no insects ever haunted,
Whose perfume but to one is granted;
Pleased with her partner to retire
And cheer the safe domestic fire,

While I --- who, half-amphibious grown,
Now scarce call any place my own
Will learn to view with eye serene
Life's empty plot, and shifting scene :
And trusting still to Heav'n's high care,
Fix my firm habitation there :
'Twas thus the Grecian sage of old,
As by Herodotus we're told*,
Accused by them who sate above,
As wanting in his country's love:
66 'Tis that,” cried he, “ which most I prize,
And pointing upwards, shewed the skies.

An obvious anachronism. There is something like the thought towards the conclusion of the Ninth Book of Plato's Republic.

« PreviousContinue »