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air announced an approaching earthquake. Ruggiero's joynts began to loosen with the united sensations of guilt and fear; surrounded on all sides by torrents of indurated lava, — which he recollected to have heard flowed from Vesuvius the year that he was born, when both his parents perished in the flames, and he himself was saved as if by miracle, - his feet stood fixed by difficulty, whilst his mind ran rapidly over past events. The mountain now swelled with a second sigh, more solemn than before. The hollow ground heaved under him, and by the light of an electric cloud which caught the blaze as it blew over the hill, he happily discovered a distant crucifix, and seeking with steps become somewhat more steady to gain it. Tears for the first time eased his heart, and gave hope of returning humanity. Ruggiero now prayed for life only that he might gain time to request forgiveness; and after a variety of penances courageously endured, he lives at this day, a hermit on Vesuvius, religion making that residence 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.
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 :
“ O 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;
“ 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 bas 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; 't is 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 truths contain,
More clear than bright, less sweet than plain.
Thou first, to soothe 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 control 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 Heaven's best mercies
Our Piozzi's voice, and Parson's verses.
Thou, too, who oft has strung the lyre
To liveliest notes of gay desire,
No longer seek these scorching flames,
And trifle with Italian dames,
But baste to Britain's chaster isle,
Receive some fair one's virgin smile,
Accept her vows, reward her truth,
And guard from ills her artless youth.
* Mr. Greatheed. She describes him as completely under the influence of his wife, the charming Anna.
Keep her from knowledge of the crimes
That taint the sweets of warmer climes,
But let her weaker bloom disclose
The beauties of a hothouse rose,
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 Heaven's high care,
Fix my firm habitation there;
'T was thus the Grecian sage of old,
As by Herodotus we're told,
Accused by them who sat above,
As wanting in his country's love -
“ 'Tis that,” cried he,“ which most I prize,"
And, pointing upwards, shewed the skies.
Society! gregarious dame ! *
Who knows thy favored baunts to name?
Whether at Paris you prepare
The supper and the chat to share,
While fixed in artificial row,
Laughter displays its teeth of snow;
Grimace with raillery, rejoices,
And song of many mingled voices,
Till young coquetry's artful wile
Some foreign novice shall beguile,
Who home returned, still prates of thee,
Light, flippant, French Society.
Or whether, with your zone unbound,
You ramble gaudy Venice round,
Resolved the inviting sweets to prove,
Of friendship warm, and willing love;
Where softly roll th' obedient seas,
Sacred to luxury and ease,
In coffee-house or casino gay
Till the too quick return of day,
Th’ enchanted votary who sighs
For sentiments without disguise,
Clear, unaffected, fond, and free,
In Venice finds Society.
Or if to wiser Britain led,
Your vagrant feet desire to tread * See ante, p. 137. Moore has substituted Posterity for Society. His reports of conversations are both meagre and inaccurate. Thus (Vol. III. p. 196) he says: “In talking of letters being charged by weight, he (Canning) said the post-office once refused to carry a letter of Sir J. Cox Hippesley's, it was so dull.” Canning said “so heavy"; the letter being the worthy baronet's printed letter against Catholic Emancipation.