Let those who pine in pride or in revenge,
Or think that ill for ill should be repaid,
Who barter wrong for wrong, until the exchange
Ruins the merchants of such thriftless trade,
Visit the tower of Vado, and unlearn 5
Such bitter faith beside Marenghi's urn.
A massy tower yet overhangs the town,
A scattered group of ruined dwellings now…
Another scene are wise Etruria knew
Its second ruin through internal strife 10
And tyrants through the breach of discord threw
The chain which binds and kills. As death to life,
As winter to fair flowers (though some be poison)
So Monarchy succeeds to Freedom’s foison.
In Pisa’s church a cup of sculptured gold 15
Was brimming with the blood of feuds forsworn:
A Sacrament more holy ne’er of old
Etrurians mingled mid the shades forlorn
Of moon-illumined forests, when…
And reconciling factions wet their lips 20
With that dread wine, and swear to keep each spirit
Undarkened by their country’s last eclipse…
Was Florence the liberticide? that band
Of free and glorious brothers who had planted,
Like a green isle mid Aethiopian sand, 25
A nation amid slaveries, disenchanted
Of many impious faiths–wise, just–do they,
Does Florence, gorge the sated tyrants’ prey?
O foster-nurse of man’s abandoned glory,
Since Athens, its great mother, sunk in splendour; 30
Thou shadowest forth that mighty shape in story,
As ocean its wrecked fanes, severe yet tender:–
The light-invested angel Poesy
Was drawn from the dim world to welcome thee.
And thou in painting didst transcribe all taught 35
By loftiest meditations; marble knew
The sculptor’s fearless soul–and as he wrought,
The grace of his own power and freedom grew.
And more than all, heroic, just, sublime,
Thou wart among the false…was this thy crime? 40
Yes; and on Pisa’s marble walls the twine
Of direst weeds hangs garlanded–the snake
Inhabits its wrecked palaces;–in thine
A beast of subtler venom now doth make
Its lair, and sits amid their glories overthrown, 45
And thus thy victim’s fate is as thine own.
The sweetest flowers are ever frail and rare,
And love and freedom blossom but to wither;
And good and ill like vines entangled are,
So that their grapes may oft be plucked together;– 50
Divide the vintage ere thou drink, then make
Thy heart rejoice for dead Marenghi’s sake.
[Albert] Marenghi was a Florentine;
If he had wealth, or children, or a wife
Or friends, [or farm] or cherished thoughts which twine 55
The sights and sounds of home with life’s own life
Of these he was despoiled and Florence sent…