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Title: Gabriele Rossetti - A Versified Autobiography
Author: Rossetti, Gabriele
Language: English
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                         TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

                       _This Edition consists of
                       1000 Copies only, of which
                       this is_
                                _No._ 97
                                          S & Co

                           GABRIELE ROSSETTI

_Pen and Sepia_]

                           GABRIELE ROSSETTI

                       A VERSIFIED AUTOBIOGRAPHY

                          AND SUPPLEMENTED BY

                       WILLIAM MICHAEL ROSSETTI

              Così dall’arpa opposti suoni ei desta
              Pel suol che gli diè culla un suon d’affanno
              Di gioia un suon per quel che asil gli presta

                                                           G R

                              SANDS & CO
                       12 BURLEIGH STREET STRAND

                             DEDICATED TO

                      ANTONIO AND OLIVIA AGRESTI

                      WHOSE MARRIAGE HAS RESTORED
                        TO ITALIAN NATIONALITY
                          A GRAND-DAUGHTER OF
                           GABRIELE ROSSETTI


IN Italy the poems of Gabriele Rossetti have enjoyed a large amount of
celebrity, and they are still held in honoured remembrance; his prose
works are there known rather by rumour than in perusal. In England
the case of the prose works is much the same, while the poems are as
good as unknown. His life has never been written on any very complete
scale. In Italian there are some Memoirs, more or less detailed and
accurate--perhaps the most solid is that written by my cousin Teodorico
Pietrocola-Rossetti; in English, the nearest approach to an account of
him may be what appears in the course of my _Memoir of Dante Gabriel
Rossetti_ (1895). There is also some important information in the
book, _John Hookham Frere and his Friends_, mentioned on p. 132 of the
present volume.

The name of Gabriele Rossetti has in this country secured some amount
of respectful regard, but rather on adventitious than on strictly
personal grounds. He is contemplated in his paternal relation--the
father of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti. Dr Garnett, in his
_History of Italian Literature_, has expressed the point neatly, and
in terms stronger than it would behove me to use: “Rossetti assuredly
will not be forgotten by England, for which he has done what no other
inhabitant of these isles ever did, in begetting two great poets.”

On me it can be no less than a filial obligation to do what I can
for the memory of my patriotic, highly gifted, laborious, and loving
father. I therefore offer to the British public the following authentic
record of him, and leave it to obtain such readers as it may.


  LONDON, _January 1901_.



  GABRIELE ROSSETTI--Autobiography, etc.             1

      Life in Italy                                  6

      Life in Exile--Malta and England              60


      HIS WIFE

  A--Letter of 4 May 1831                          117

  B    ”      15 May 1832                          119

  C    ”      29 May 1832                          122

  D    ”       6 September 1836                    126

  E    ”      21 October 1836                      129

  F    ”      21 August 1848                       130


  A--Letter of 29 October 1831                     133

  B    ”        1 October 1832                     134

  C    ”       15 May 1833                         136

  D    ”       13 January 1836                     137

  E    ”       14 January 1836                     139

  F    ”       16 December 1836                    140

  G    ”       21 July 1840                        141

  H    ”        1 February 1842                    143


  A--Letter of 12 September 1840                   144

  B    ”       14 September 1841                   147

  C    ”        5 February 1843                    150


  A--Letter of 28 March 1841                       157

  B    ”       1841?                               159

  C    ”       November 1844?                      160

  D    ”       May 1845?                           161

  E    ”       31 October 1845                     162

  F    ”       January 1847?                       163

  G    ”       January 1847?                       163

  H    ”       8 February 1847                     164

  I    ”       May 1847?                           165

  J    ”       February 1848?                      167

  K    ”       November 1848?                      168

  L    ”       To Corso--1846?                     168


  A--Ad Amore                                      174

  B  Versi d’Amore                                 177

  C  Aurora del 21 Luglio del 1820                 177

  D  Addio alla Patria                             182

  E  San Paolo in Malta--Canto Improvvisato        186

  F  Napoleone a Sant’Elena                        191

  INDEX OF NAMES                                   193


     GABRIELE ROSSETTI, pen and sepia, made
     as a title-page to some of his MS. poems.
     _Circa_ 1804. See p. 11                        _Frontispiece_

  2. GABRIELE ROSSETTI--from the oil-portrait
  by Dante Gabriel Rossetti now belonging
  to Sir Leonard Lyell, Bart.--1848                _To face p._   1

  3. GAETANO POLIDORI--from a pencil-drawing
  by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, done in 1853,
  the same year when Polidori died, aged 89              ”       85

  pencil-drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
  _Circa_ 1846                                           ”       89

  daughters Maria Francesca and Christina
  Georgina--from a photograph. _Circa_ 1855              ”      115

  6. GABRIEL CHARLES DANTE (called Dante
  a water-colour sketch by Filippo
  Pistrucci. _Circa_ 1838                                ”      130

_From the Oil-Portrait by Dante Gabriel Rossetti_


AS the career of Gabriele Rossetti was much mixed up with political and
dynastic events in the Kingdom of Naples (or of the Two Sicilies), it
may be as well at starting to give a very brief _résumé_ of historical

In the year 1734 the Kingdom of Naples, in the resettlement of Europe
consequent upon the Treaty of Utrecht, was under the dominion of the
Empire, or, as we should now word it, of Austria; but in that year an
almost bloodless conquest brought-in a different dynasty. Charles,
Duke of Parma, a son of the Bourbon King of Spain, Philip V., by his
second wife Elizabeth Farnese, a spirited youth only seventeen years
of age, determined to assert his ancestral claims upon the kingdom,
and in a trice he was firmly seated upon the Neapolitan throne. His
government, though in a sense despotic, was popular and enlightened. In
1759 he became by succession King of Spain; and, under the obligation
of existing treaties, he relinquished the Kingdom of Naples to his
third son, Ferdinand, aged only eight. In 1768 Ferdinand married Maria
Caroline, daughter of the Emperor Francis and of Maria Theresa, and
sister of Marie Antoinette.

Ferdinand IV., as he was then termed (afterwards Ferdinand I.) was a
man of no great ability, but of vigorous physique, and sufficiently
well-disposed as a sovereign; his wife, strong-minded and domineering,
was the more active governor of the two, and promoted various
innovations, some of which fairly counted as reforms. Things went on
well enough for the rulers and the subjects until the outbreak of the
French Revolution in 1789, when Neapolitan opposition to France and
all things French became pronounced. Queen Caroline naturally did not
relish the decapitation of her sister in 1793, and hostilities against
the Republic ensued. In 1798 the king decamped to Sicily, and in the
following year his continental dominions became the “Parthenopean
Republic.” This was of short duration, January to June 1799. The
Southern provinces rose in arms, under the leadership of Cardinal
Ruffo; the French army departed, and Ferdinand was re-installed in
Naples--Lord Nelson, victorious from the Battle of the Nile, playing
a large part, and a much-debated one, in this transaction. Ferdinand
now ruled with great rigour, and committed some barbaric acts of
repression and retaliation, for which his consort was regarded as
gravely responsible. The great Napoleon, Consul, Emperor, and King of
Italy, was not likely to tolerate for long the anti-French severities,
demonstrations, and intrigues, of “il Rè Nasone,” as Ferdinand was
nicknamed in virtue of his portentously long and prominent nose. Early
in 1806 Ferdinand and Caroline disappeared once more into Sicily, under
British protection, and Joseph Bonaparte was enthroned in Naples.
Joseph, in 1808, was transferred to the Spanish kingdom; and Joachim
Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon and of Joseph by his marriage with
their sister Caroline, reigned in Naples in his stead. Ferdinand, with
the other Caroline, remained meanwhile unattackable in Sicily, and
was turned into a constitutional king there by British predominance.
In 1815, on the final collapse of the Napoleonic _régime_, and very
shortly after the death of his Queen, he returned to Naples.

These particulars, meagre as they are, seem to be sufficient to
show what was the historical background to the fortunes of Gabriele
Rossetti, with whom alone I am directly concerned. He was born under a
recently-established dynasty, in a kingdom of despotic rule and many
relics of feudalism; from the age of twenty-three to thirty-two he was
the subject of a new and intrusive dynasty, not less despotic, but free
from all trammels inherited from the past. Then in 1815 he again came
under the old system, but in a state of public feeling and aspiration
which rapidly led to a constitutional government, sworn to by the
sovereign, and abolished by him at the first opportunity.

I propose to relate my father’s life in his own verse as translated
by me, supplemented by a little of my prose. It was towards the year
1850, when his general health and strength had grievously decayed,
and he was conscious of the imminent approaches of death, that he
composed a versified autobiography, of which the great majority is
here embodied. He wrote it in rhymed sextets; but I, for ease and
literality, have rendered it into blank verse. His own verse is, as he
himself acknowledges, here pitched in a very subdued key, with little
endeavour after poetic elevation; though there are some passages in a
higher strain. My translation makes still less pretension as poetry; it
conveys the sense with strict accuracy, and that is all it affects. My
father retained in his old age some of the habits of “poetic diction”
which had been customary in the Italy of his youth; and one finds here
more than one quite wants of Phœbus, Neptune, Minerva’s fane, and other
“rattle-traps of mythology” (to borrow a phrase from William Blake); in
all this I follow my original. The versification of the Italian text is
often ingenious, and even masterly; abounding in dactylic line-endings,
or _rime sdrucciole_, as the Italians call them--a difficult feat, at
which Rossetti was uncommonly deft. I have given the great bulk of the
production--which, indeed, I had in the first instance translated in
full; but eventually I thought some passages here and there, and also
some amplifications of phrase, useless for the purposes of the British
reader, and have therefore excluded them. The whole of the expressly
biographical matter is preserved. Those notes which are not marked by
an initial are my father’s own; those to which “W.” is appended are
mine--there being several points which seemed to need some explanation.

My material does not call for much division or subdivision. I shall
therefore simply separate it into the Life of Gabriele Rossetti (his
full Christian names were Gabriele Pasquale Giuseppe) in Italy, and
his Life in Exile, Malta and England; and, plunging at once into the
versified autobiography, I commence the


  I know my fame will have but scanty flight,
  Readers to whom I speak of Italy.
  Yet, if in any of you there rose a wish
  To know me who I am, I’ll meet it here.
  Ovid’s own native soil is mine as well:
  He spoke about himself, and so will I.
  In verses Ovid wrote, but I in prose--
  Prose of eleven syllables with rhymes;
  But, be they verses, I shall not contest.
  And, without more preamble, hear me now.

  Along the beach of the Frentani lies
  On teeming hills, the Adriatic near,
  A small municipality of Rome--
  Histonium once and Vasto now ’tis called.
  There, with no waft of Fortune, I received
  A humble cradle from a worthy pair.[1]

The brief statement of my father, in his verses and his note, may be
slightly extended. Nicola Rossetti was a blacksmith and locksmith; his
wife, Maria Francesca Pietrocola, was the daughter of a shoemaker. Both
families seem to have held a creditable, though certainly a by no means
distinguished, position in the small Vastese community. The original
name of the Rossetti race (as I have heard my father more than once
affirm) was not Rossetti but Della Guardia. Some babies in the Della
Guardia family were born with red or reddish hair (I presume, four
or five generations before my father’s birth); and the Vastese--who,
like other Italians, never lose a chance of calling people by
nicknames--termed them “the Rossetti”--_i.e._ “The Little Reds,”
and this continued to serve as surname for their progeny. Thus the
surname Rossetti may be regarded as equivalent to the English surname
Reddish, or Rudkins (if Rudkins is an abbreviation of Ruddykins). The
family of Della Guardia still exists in Vasto. It appears to have
been entitled to bear a crest--which is a sturdy-looking tree, with
the motto “Frangas non flectas”; for a seal (still in my possession),
showing this crest and motto, was delivered to Gabriele Rossetti, on
his quitting Vasto in youth, by his elder brother the Canon Andrea,
who told him that it was the family-device. This was often used, I may
add, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It appears that in the Rossetti line,
or else in the Della Guardia line, there must have been some degree
of literary eminence prior to the date of the blacksmith Nicola; as
I find, in a letter addressed by Gabriele Rossetti, towards 1807, to
his elder brother Domenico, the phrase: “You know that our stock has
always abounded in great men of letters.” One cannot suppose that this
statement is a mere fib: I have not, however, found any confirmation of
it in books about Vasto, nor do I remember that my father ever referred
to such a matter by word of mouth.

I believe that Nicola Rossetti came to his end in a distressing way.
When the French Republican army invaded the Neapolitan territory in
1798, the troops required Nicola to render some service, such as
horseshoeing, provisioning, transport, or what not. He showed no
inclination to comply, and was beaten or otherwise ill-treated; and
this so preyed on his mind that his health suffered, and death ensued.
His decease may, I presume, have occurred towards 1800; his widow
survived till 1822 or some such date. Gabriele Rossetti used to speak
with much affection of his mother, who (like so many Italian women of
the lower middle class in those days) could neither write nor read. He
remembered his father as a somewhat harsh man, but upright and worthy
of respect. The Rossetti family is now wholly extinct, save in the
persons of myself and my four children; the line of my father’s married
sisters is also extinct.

The precise date of my father’s birth was 28th February 1783 (not
1st March, as has at times been written and printed). He was born in
a lofty brown building, which, in a water-colour with which I was
favoured towards the date of the Vastese centenary celebration of his
birth, wears a somewhat stately though wholly unadorned aspect. It
looks like an edifice which has stood for some centuries, solid but
uncared for. It is now, I understand, a dilapidated structure, let
out in tenements to a poor class of people. The question of buying
it for the city of Vasto, in memory of Gabriele Rossetti, has often
been mooted, but not carried into effect. There are prophets who have
no honour in their own country; and others who, rather profusely
honoured there by word of mouth, are left in the lurch when deeds and
subscriptions are in demand.

  In the first opening years of joyousness
  I showed clear sign of studious aptitude;
  And, following my brothers, three in count,
  Whose lively parts had been in evidence,
  I was escorted by this goodly three
  Into Apollo’s and Minerva’s fane.[2]

  Thrilled by the first Phœbean impulses,
  Rough versicles I traced with facile hand:
  And yet, to my surprise, those lines of mine
  Almost took wing into a distant flight.
  A hope of Pindus did I hear me named:
  But praise increased my ardour, not my pride.
  And yet some vanity there came and mixed
  With the fair issue of my preluding:
  But, all the more I heard the applause increase,
  With equal force did study grow in me.
  Not surely that I tried to load my page
  With pomp abstruse extraneous to my drift;
  But counterwise each image and each rhyme,
  The more spontaneous, so meseemed more fair.
  In trump of gold and in the oaten pipe
  Let some seek the sublime, I seek for ease.
  I shunned those verses which sprawl forth untuned
  Even from my days of schoolboy tutelage:
  I know they please some people, but not me:
  Admiring Dante, Metastasio
  I laud; and hold--a true Italian ear
  Must not admit one inharmonious verse.
  Some lines require a very surgeon’s hand
  To make them upon crutches stand afoot.
  So be they! But, to set them musical,
  They must, by Heaven, be in themselves a song.
  This seems a truthful, not a jibing, rule--
  Music and lyric are a twinborn thing.
  Yet think not that I deem me satisfied
  With upblown empty sound without ideas:--
  Then will a harmony be beautiful
  When great emotions and great thoughts it stirs.

  To painting with an equal ardency
  An almost sudden impulse led me on;
  And with the pen I drew in such a mode
  That all my work would look as if engraved.
  To question what I say would nothing serve,
  For on my hands more than one proof remains.[3]
  A plaining ditty which describes my state,
  And wherein I deplore my fate perverse,
  And whose adorning is two pen-designs,
  Is still preserved among my earliest scraps:
  And many more, for him who disbelieves,
  Can thoroughly attest what I aver.

  Not every magnate takes to banqueting,
  Or lust of Cyprus and Pentapolis.
  The Marchese di Vasto, a high-placed lord,
  The King of Naples’ Majordomo in Chief
  (Whatever face he show in history,
  By me his memory must be always blest),
  Being once in company with men of mark
  Whom he was wont to invite from time to time,--
  My verses read by him, and drawings seen--
  Felt pleased that I was of his vassalage;
  He wrote to his agent telling him of this
  And bidding him to send me on to Naples.[4]

  There I was patronized, without parade,
  By him, who from the first received me well:
  But little did that firm support endure,
  For a political whirlwind cut it short.
  Poor I--how fare in a vast capital?
  I had to bow before my destinies.
  For scarcely had a year and month elapsed,
  In which new studies occupied my mind,
  When the French army of invasion came
  In the sixth year of this our century,--
  And, seeking Sicily in urgent flight,
  The Marquis vanished with the perjured King.
  Then for the kingdom rose an altered time,
  And all the people vied to give it hail,
  For they abhorred that Bourbon void of faith,
  With executions and with treasons smirched,--
  And more his wife, a type unparagoned,
  Megæra, Alecto, and Tisiphone.
  I will not paint that husband and his wife--
  Thank Heaven, the tomb has swallowed them ere now.
  Their grandson--this suffices--pairs them both,
  Re-named King Bomba, monster in human form.

  On saddened brows a few, and many glad,
  I read the souls of men enslaved or free:
  And, mixed myself ’mid such conflicting minds,
  Judge you if I was joyful or was grieved.
  The festive thundering of the martial forts
  Responded to by frequent trumpet-call,
  Cheers that were uttered by a thousand mouths
  As the tricoloured banner came in view,
  And hurly-burly weltering all around,
  Opposed enormous joy to enormous grief.
  Yet thoughts, more than enough, ominous and black,
  Whispered me somewhile ’mid those shouts of joy:
  “My hapless country, what dost thou acclaim,
  Now that one despot goes and one arrives?
  Ah on thy shoulders still I find the yoke:
  They doff the old one and they don the new.”
  And from my heart the words leapt to my lips:
  “To call this liberty were sure a jibe!
  As Ferdinand in Naples stifled her,
  So Bonaparte butchered her in France.
  But tremble, tremble, impious man! Thy crime
  On all the nations’ hearts stands written deep.”

  I was a prophet here. Germany in arms,
  A nation of great hearts and thought as great,
  Avenging Freedom foully done to death,
  Against him let whole populations loose.
  Behold him fallen on field, captive at sea:
  By Liberty he rose, by her he fell.
  France in my youthful fervency I loved,
  I loved the awful warrior guiding her:
  But, when I heard, “He’s made an Emperor now,
  Nor that alone, but despot autocrat,”
  The hate I felt extinguished all that fire.

  For many ’twas a cause of deepest grief
  To contemplate with golden diadem
  A brother of that despot on our throne.
  His praise was--having turned the Bourbon out;
  Whence, setting every other thought at rest,
  They all applauded him, and so did I.
  A chosen band of daring souls and brave
  Encircled the incoming Frenchman round,[5]
  And of two evils they acclaimed the less,
  Awaiting a true good to come one day.
  Round the new sceptre flocking now I marked
  A crowd of shining minds, and joyed herein;
  And, taking up the lyre resolvedly,
  Inly I said: “A poet I was born,
  And such I will be in my future course!”[6]
  The use of reason scarce had I attained
  When France’s thundercloud I heard that pealed--Which
  next diffused around and far-afar
  Terror to Kings, to nations hopefulness.
  At dawning of my lifetime I resolved
  To follow in that movement--and alas!
  From the successive shiftings of the chance,
  I, loving good, saw evil that ensued.
  Across the Red Sea, sea of blood and war,
  Must then the Promised Land be still approached?
  That fatal whirlwind, with alternate shock,
  In Naples’ kingdom all-deplorable
  Full ten times made a change of government,
  Alternating with serfdom liberty:
  And, with the flight of that demented court,
  I saw it for the fourth time altering:
  And the ninth change and tenth, which now I see,
  Are the most miserable of them all.

  Many gave homage to the new-built throne;
  And I, while scorning any cringing phrase,
  Struck on my lyre, and spread abroad its sound,
  Saluting that forthcoming period:
  And what I said thereof in varying style,
  If not free-toned, is not subservient.
  Soon do the accents of my lyre recall
  Men’s eyes and praises to the youthful gift,
  And I diffuse the firstlings of my fame
  About the kingdom’s mighty capital;
  But, by attracting blear-eyed rivals too,
  Envy first made me a target for her darts.
  And so much did this trouble my repose,
  And raised hobgoblins such a swarm at home,
  That, freed from them, my dolorous exile
  Has almost seemed to me beatitude.
  How often have I cried--“I am exiled now,
  And pardon all the rancour of my foes.”

  Ah when I think it o’er I shudder still,
  Though past the sixtieth limit of my years.
  One Boccanera, livid in his rage,
  Tempted a bravo to cut short my life;
  Watchful I had to be for several months:
  Can then insensate envy reach to this?
  But who can tell all the contorted roads
  Which rancour led my rivals to pursue?
  Charges unjust, anonymous calumnies,--
  But yet my innocence o’erthrew them all:
  Intrepid I outfaced such keen attacks,
  And became known and cherished by the young.
  In public halls, where it behoved me at times
  To speak the verses I had written down,
  The popular applause served to prelude
  My song, as soon as I appeared in sight.

  That my first volume, as it issued forth,
  Earned me the friendship of distinguished men,
  And I was made, without soliciting,
  The Poet for San Carlo’s Theatre.
  I wrote some dramas there, and every one
  Of my attempts was followed by success:
  First Julius Sabinus’ mournful fate,
  Then Hannibal’s light loves in Capua,
  And finally the Birth of Hercules,[7]
  Were greeted with unanimous applause.
  How much I joyed that on that stately stage
  My mind was thus allowed to spatiate!
  “In this arena of glory,” I would say,
  “If I have genius, I can show it forth”;
  And dreamed of mingling in one dulcet draught
  Alfieri’s style with Metastasio’s.
  But my illusions waned; for various thwarts,
  And fetters both direct and indirect,
  And the composers and the Managers,
  And Prime Donne, plots, and etiquettes,
  And then protectors and aught stranger still,
  Frequently shuffled all my hand of cards.
  Incensed I cried: “I’ll leave the Theatre,
  For here I’m nothing but a slave of slaves.”

  To Monsignor Capecelatro I sped,
  Our Minister at the time for Home-affairs,
  And meekly spoke, expounding first the facts,
  “The Madhouse is not where I want to go.”
  Could vanity from sovereign patronage
  Dazzle a free Parnassian intellect?
  I was content with a subordinate post[8]
  Then vacant in the King’s Museum; here
  Propitious did the Muses nurture me
  With vivid genius of the antique arts.
  Here I could pasture in the selfsame hour
  My craving mind, and shelter it from vice,
  For an immense choice library is joined
  To the Museum, in one building’s span:
  And thus a double discipline exalts
  My soul in beauty’s pathways and in truth’s.
  ’Mid living bronze and marble animate,
  Which constantly held converse with my thoughts,
  I something wrote in prose and much in verse,
  Evolving grace upon the fair and true.

  Staying amid those admirable hoards,
  A treasure-house of arts and industries,
  I met with Kings and met with Emperors,
  Conspicuous artists, men of lettered fame.[9]
  And thus three lustres of my term of life
  Wore in that unperturbed abode along;
  And I beheld two Kings arrive and go,
  Made and unmade by force of destiny.
  But, though my work was converse with the dead,
  I scanned both courts, their virtues and their vice.
  Of the two kings, one bad, and one was good,
  And in this sentence all is summarized;
  And both their fates depended, and their thrones,
  Upon the man who dreamed omnipotence;
  But by the Spanish and the Northern storm
  The star of Bonaparte turned to pale.
  Odious to many, Joseph went his way,--
  That silence followed him which speaks for much;
  Wasteful and lustful and vainglorious,
  He by his courtiers only was deplored.
  Better than Ferdinand he was for sure,
  But that was merit (merit!) none could miss.
  Later when Joachim of a sudden fled,
  I heard a general chorus of concern--
  “If but his mind were equal to his heart,
  Who worthier than he to fill a throne?”
  Ferdinand matched with him produces that
  Which in a picture gives the shades and lights.
  O epoch memorable for wretchedness!
  Oh the caprice of barbarous destiny
  Which sent us back that faithless Ferdinand,
  Bereaving us of kindly Joachim!
  And soon the craven to the valiant gave,
  By the same destiny, a barbarous death.

  O Bonaparte, _thou_ the object deemed
  Of worship? Ah he lies who calls thee great![10]
  For thee the world claims lofty intellect,
  For thee, with an enormous error fooled.
  Thou wast, in wresting from the nations hope,
  At once liberticide and suicide.
  That day when thou didst will thee Emperor,
  Thou in St Helena dugg’st out thy grave:
  That day thou gav’st back Austria all her strength,
  To Russia daring, potency to Kings.
  That edict which the applauding Senate brought
  To thee, ’twas that the edict of thy death.
  Well do I know how scheming sycophants
  Proclaimed the day auspicious and of joy;
  But that day sowed the mournfulness of years
  For thee and thine, for nations, for the world.
  And thou, of piercing sight, thou saw’st it not?
  By God, a mole would not have failed to see!
  For thee I weep not, who in long-drawn throes
  Didst reach convulsive to thy latest hour;
  But for the innocent nations weep I fain,
  Who, by thy hand betrayed, are moaning still.
  Ever have I been prone to pardoning thee
  Thy proper anguish, but not that of man.
  But for that crime by which thou didst indue
  Thee with vast shame and us with sorrows vast,
  How long ago would Europe have beheld,
  One after other, low her tyrants sunk!
  When I the effect contemplate of thy crime,
  I am tempted to exclaim--Be thou accurst!
  Receive the judgment of the centuries--
  I seem to hear it sounding o’er thy grave--
  “Thou couldst have been the tyrants’ death-dealer,
  And chosest for thyself a despot’s name.
  As the keen-cutting vengeful sword of God,
  Let wrong thou didst to others fall on thee!”

  Now the Queen-city, Joachim being gone,
  Remained uncertain of her future fate;
  And, like death’s messenger, the cry arose--
  “Ferdinand hastens back, and Caroline”:
  And on a thousand gloomy brows one read
  More horror than for earthquake or the plague.
  And of those two the most terrific things
  I heard a hundred hundred tongues narrate.
  Some travelled, some escaped, some hid themselves,
  And one was known to have gone mad with fear:
  But hope, I saw, had halfway been revived
  When it was published--“Caroline is dead.”
  Yes, more than halfway; for they all averred:
  “This Bourbon, in himself, is weak and null;
  And, if he did become so black a wretch,
  ’Twas that she-Fury who impelled him on:
  Now that she’s foundered in the realms of night,
  A human being he may be once more.”
  And so it proved. The first-imagined fears
  Were cleared away from the most troubled minds,
  And all perceived that on a better plan
  That richly-gifted Kingdom would be ruled,
  And would attain, under a milder curb,
  If not prosperity, at least repose.
  The Aonian chorus revelled in the peace,
  And chaunted amid others’ songs my own.
  Our Ferdinand the Fourth was just a fiend,
  But, dubbed the First, he wears an angel’s grace.
  And I beheld that festive ardour grow,
  The less expected, all the livelier.
  ’Tis true so much rejoicing was perturbed,
  In almost every confine of the realm,
  By feverish epidemic, Noja’s plague,
  And, worst of all, a longsome year of dearth:
  But still the King dictated remedies,
  And, if he could no more, he sympathized.

  Then, when he sickened, weighted now with years,
  And the severe disease seemed past a cure,
  So great the sorrow everywhere appeared
  That all the civil orders shared in it;
  And, when fair daylight followed on the cloud,
  The joy was equal to the genuine grief.
  In style now classic or romantic now
  Native Academies acclaim the event;
  And I, in verse extemporized almost
  (And Fame still guerdons it with some applause),
  Saluted, in the name of Italy,
  The Bourbon Sovereign restored to health.[11]
  One Gallo (maybe Corvo?), of Sicily,
  Who thought himself a swan of Hippocrene--
  Or Gallo or Corvo, acrid and malign--
  Trying to do me an ill turn, did a good.
  And this affair I’m minded to narrate,--
  A curious little story as it is.
  He spread on all sides a censorious croak
  That my address was outrage ’gainst the King:
  And yet that ode contains such flatteries
  That, when I now reflect on it, I blush;
  And _he_ discerned therein, and clamoured loud,
  An actual insult in the seeming praise.[12]
  Against my verses such a cackle-cry
  Was raised by him on one and other hand
  That in the end our arbitrary Police
  Prohibited their printing in the book;
  And many said that I should find myself
  Dismissed my employ, or sent to jail perchance.
  The selfsame calumnies against my song,
  From quarters more than one, arrived in court.
  The King called for a copy, and, reading it,
  He was affected, and was moved to tears.
  The Duke of Ascoli was on the spot,
  Who with minuteness told me of the facts.
  Indeed the King so highly prized my lines
  That he directed the Home-Minister
  To have me summoned, and to give me thanks
  In a dispatch sent by the government:
  And, paper in hand, he added--“Tell him too,
  I wept at it, and feel indebted to him.”
  Further to crush that shameless calumny
  Which he remarked some people still believed,
  He made the Minister Tommasi read
  The poem aloud, in Council at the full,--
  And oh what plaudits did my lines secure!
  And at some parts the King shed tears anew.
  I, then at the Museum, saw arrive
  A Halberdier with grave and serious mien.
  Ah what uncertainties assailed my heart!
  Here comes the announcement that will strip me bare!
  I read, in doubt and wavering, the dispatch:
  “His Majesty requires you--come at once.”
  Anxious I sped, and pondered on the way
  What answer I could offer to the charge.
  I entered with that sinister forecast,
  And General Naselli, a Minister,
  Came forward and encountered me, all smiles.
  He said “Be seated”--pointing with his hand
  To a gilded sofa, face to face with him.
  He, turning with an affable regard
  Toward me, my eyebrows arching with surprise,
  Repeats, with manifest complacency,
  The kindly words used by the Sovereign:
  And on my countenance he could observe,
  Mingled with pleasure, some astonishment.
  I answered--after a simple preluding
  With which I need not here concern myself--
  “This moment compensates for studious years,--
  I’m thankful for the kindness of our King.
  But, Sir, is any power above his own?
  What he so much approves others reject.”
  He answered me with an offended air--
  “Have you your senses? This I can’t excuse.”
  And I: “The whole collection is in print,
  And my one poem only turned adrift;
  My senses serve me well, your Excellency:
  The Censorship has over-ruled the King.”
  He smiled, and then, in a laconic tone,
  Dictated to his secretary thus:
  “The poems all must pass the censorship,
  Except the one by Gabriel Rossetti.
  From his the printing cannot be withheld,
  Because the King has passed it and approved.”
  I showed about all this no great conceit,
  But it was greeted warmly by the young,
  And that Sicilian Gallo, envious man,
  Remained a laughing-stock, and drooped his comb.[13]
  Then, when my lyric came to public light,
  It won in Naples universal praise.
  The fame of it went forth to Rome itself,
  Where I am proud of being amply known,
  For there I left a band of well-wishers
  When the Provisional Government dissolved
  In which I unobtrusively had held
  In the Fine Arts a post of eminence.[14]
  And the Sebezia Academy with pride
  Noted my victory, which involved its own,
  And which was viewed with so much bitterness
  By Gallo that he fled that very night.
  This Gallo against me, an exile now,
  Perhaps is crowing still--which I forgive.

  In that Parthenopean Company
  I sang the Threnody for several dead,
  And for the saintly Bruno d’Amantea,
  The noble surgeon and philanthropist;[15]
  And good Valletta, on coming back from Rome,
  And fair Paloma, did I celebrate.[16]
  And in the presence of the royal court,
  Which had erected a majestic tomb,
  I sang the glory and deplored the death
  Of the renowned Giovanni Paisiello,[17]
  Who, the harmonic Siren’s progeny,
  Bore sway o’er Europe’s music on the stage.
  Torquato Tasso’s golden trumpet next
  Blew with my breath, to magnify himself,[18]
  He mine inspirer from the living stone
  Which near the sea the King had raised for him;
  And on that evening the Sebezia
  Brought from all Europe choicest guests to meet.
  There the good King of Denmark’s worthy heir
  Came to embrace me ’mid a crushing throng;[19]
  And with my daring images I struck
  French, Russians, Germans, Spaniards, Englishmen.

  And now in Sapphic now in Theban mood,
  I sang beside the urn, with laurel wreathed,
  Wherein Luigi Quattromani sleeps,[20]
  A casket from the Bible’s treasure-stores:
  In him I greeted, and I bless him now,
  The kindly master in the social friend.
  Truly a poet--I seem to see him still--
  Inspired himself, inspiring others too:
  When blind and old, he in his mind preserved
  Acutest sight and lively youthfulness.

I interrupt the verse-narrative for a moment, to point out that
Rossetti here recounts--what was of leading importance in his
Neapolitan career--how he came to be an improvising poet. Luigi
Quattromani was a renowned improvisatore, and (so far as I infer)
little or not at all an author of verse written and published. The date
when Rossetti first knew him, and soon afterwards began improvising,
is not here defined; I suppose it may have been towards 1810. When my
father came to London in 1824 he resolved not to prolong the practice;
thinking, and no doubt rightly, that, although he might excite some
surprise and attention by improvising, it would on the whole lower his
position as a serious professional man in the teaching and literary
vocation. Yet he did occasionally give a specimen of his prowess as an
extempore poet; the latest notice I find of such a performance was in
his family-circle, in 1840. If I myself ever heard him improvise, I
have forgotten it. The observations which he here makes on the dangers
of the habit, both to health and to purity of poetic style, are worth
noting. He first proceeds with a description of Quattromani’s doings.

  Whenso I heard him touch on David’s harp,
  All fervid with extemporaneous power,
  Upon his face shone out the impassioned soul
  Which spread around spontaneous bursts of light.
  And that same flame I saw a-shine in him
  On mine own spirit did I feel descend.
  Yes, what I heard meseemed not possible;
  ’Twas ecstasy to me, enchantment, dream.
  But what appeared incredible almost
  Was coming to be realized in myself.
  On my way home I tried to do the like,
  And oh astonishment! I also sang
  Line after line: so strange the upshot seemed
  That I renewed the essay for several days.
  By daytime and by night assiduously
  Did I repeat that same experiment.
  Often with Quattromani I conferred,
  Who gave my verses not a little praise;
  And once the blind old man exclaimed to me--
  “Alternate with me in an improvise.”
  And, after a few trials and demands,
  He took me up with so much ardent zest
  That ’mid the pomp of images produced
  He gave me many a “viva” from his heart.
  He closed by saying: “For poetic strifes
  Nature has given you athletic power.”
  “Persist,” he often said to me, “persist,
  And let no sloth impede you on your road.
  A poet you were born, and those who seek
  To change your course--believe this--envy you.
  What you at your commencement do with me
  Might seem the fruit of lengthy studying.”
  And often did our verses alternate
  In choice assemblies with co-equal praise,
  So much men’s judgments wavered in the scales
  That ’twixt us victory remained in doubt.
  But this impressed on me the stamp of worth--
  What honour to contend with such a man!
  He, like a living mirror, faces me,
  And, seeing myself in him, I can but grieve.
  He old and blind, and I too blind and old:
  And he died poor, and I am dying poor.
  But which of us the more deplorable?
  He in his country, I exiled by fate!

  Oft on this foreign shore I’ve asked myself,
  Did my addiction to extempore song
  Harm me, or profit? I remain in doubt.
  But this, without nice solving, I’ll affirm--
  I was becoming palsied and in spasms.
  A Galen’s rigour ought to cry it down,
  And thus prevent so miserable an end.
  ’Twas so my Brother Dominick expired,[21]
  Who in such efforts was expert and apt.
  I never heard that brother of mine recite--
  He left me a child, but I remember him;
  And well I know that he at Parma’s bar
  Was greeted as a re-born Cicero.
  Youthful he died, far from his family--
  And wherefore died? Because he improvised.
  More than one symptom has convinced me clear
  That, through my leaving off that exercise,
  Exile, in that alone, has been my friend:
  And so, from much reflection I can say,
  That mental strain leads to paralysis.
  Nor only with regard to healthful life
  Makes it the nerves uncertain and unstrung,
  But as to writing with correctness too
  I fear at last it worsens toward neglect.
  Yes, that it harms the style I can but think:
  To work a-sudden is not working well.
  Thou who wouldst merit the Phœbean wreath,
  O youth, take caution ’gainst this same abuse;
  For these my verses, written slipshod-like,
  Perhaps derive from that ill-wont of mine;
  For now I hurry verse to follow verse,
  And reel them off as ’twere a kind of talk.
  Good composition craves a needful space,
  Not emulous capricious fantasy.

  Though such a practice I cannot defend,
  Still I become renowned because of that.
  Full many a noted passage from my muse
  Was quoted, serious and facetious both;
  And oft-times at the tables of the great,
  Invited guest and poet, I had my place.
  What precious days I wasted on good cheer,
  Whence, save keen penitence, I’ve nothing now!
  Amid our Princes, Dukes, and Marquises,--
  Cassero, Campochiaro, Berio--
  Phœbus joined Bacchus with a joyous note,
  Doubly to drench the mind’s ebriety.
  Inflamed and reckless ’mid the toasts and praise,
  I saw my youthful Muse more daring grown;
  And, when I went from Naples to the Tiber,
  I found my fame there copiously diffused.
  Among the poets whom I cherished there,
  I give but Biondi’s and Ferretti’s names.[22]

  As one of the Provisional Government
  King Joachim had summoned me to Rome:[23]
  Monte Citorio there, seven months and more,
  Saw me employed at morning and at eve;
  And I was present at the Pope’s return
  In year thirteen of this our century.
  And _there_ was likewise put in exercise
  My Muse, by urgencies a thousandfold;
  And I again aroused enthusiasm,
  For poetry in Rome is greatly loved.--
  Of this no more, for I can hear a voice--
  “To enlarge hereon were obvious self-conceit.”

  Nor does Rome stint herself to mere applause,
  But gives me titles and diplomas too.
  The Arcadia, and Tiberine Academy,
  The Ardenti of Viterbo, and others more,
  Inscribed my own ’mid many goodly names.
  In Naples not of the Sebezia alone
  But the Pontanian Society,
  And even the Orezia from Palermo,
  I hold diplomas in this distant land;
  And, now that I am at my day’s extreme,
  One also I receive from Lyons in France.
  I _was_, not am. The past is all a school
  Where clear I see the nothingness of man.
  For me has vanished all: only the grave
  Awaits me, and thither willingly I go.
  Life is a lengthened dream, and, when it ends,
  All lettered glory is a dream as well;
  And vanity of vanities I mark,
  Yea even in that which crowns the highest of men
  Had I the golden trump and deathless name
  Of Homer, or of Virgil or Torquato,
  What would the guerdon of my verses be?
  Just a dissyllable I should not hear.
  Sad fate!

                      But I return to Ferdinand,
  Auspicious planet to his realm restored.
  He, by endowing the Sebezia,
  Seemed patron of our country’s intellect;
  So that I frequently heard men proclaim--
  “Demon he went, and angel he returned.”
  But who can ever change the human soul?
  He in reverting saw us evermore
  As liegemen to himself or to Murat:
  The first he greeted with a cheerful mien,
  And for the second nursed a secret grudge.
  Brothers with brothers he did not unite,
  As should have been effected from the first
  All the best posts were given away to these,
  Though oftentimes unjust and ignorant;
  Those others were neglected and depressed,
  However honourable and well-informed.
  A victim I of such partiality,
  Of which the proofs could day by day be seen;
  What was my due he gave to some one else.
  When Naples to their palace had beheld
  From Sicily return the unrighteous court,
  In her most famous University
  The chair of Eloquence was left unfilled;
  And in the ardour of a youthful hope
  I too competed ’mid a lettered band.[24]
  We numbered thirty-six. Before me I saw
  Conspicuous talents, each more strong than I;
  And we were set to pass a triple test,
  Three different subjects taken out by lot:
  Two, writ in the Professors’ presence there,
  Who had to be the censors of the themes.
  The first was in the language of that Rome
  Who gave her laws and usage to the world;
  The second, in the tongue of Italy,
  Classic in style, and resonant and terse;
  Lastly, the third one had to be pronounced
  To the assembled public from the chair.
  For the two writings, Gatti, Oliva, and I,
  Issued with equal credit from the strife:
  But in the third and arduous exercise
  I gained the victory over all the rest.
  Amid the surging and applauding throng,
  The Faculty cried many times “Well done!”--
  Who got the chair? A certain Bianchi did,
  Who had salient merits as a loyalist.
  And mice were cutting capers on the forms
  Deserted by our youth indignantly.
  I vamp up no fantastic notions here:
  All Naples can declare it to be true.

  The young men, nettled by a noble scorn,
  Called _me_ Professor--not the other man;
  And I at home opened a private class,
  Where I was trainer of some vivid minds:
  And, if I thither could return one day,
  How many a pupil should I see around!
  Ah fervid youth, liege to the beautiful,
  Who so did sorrow for mine adverse fate,
  Durso, Malpica, Curci, Caccavon,[25]
  And others to whose names my bosom beats,
  In you I glory; and you, choice grateful souls,
  Glory that I your master was erewhile.
  The army, by the royal ordinance,
  Saw heroes now supplanted by poltroons;
  From the tribunals upright judges banned,
  And greedy vultures were installed on them;
  And, what is worse, the Kingdom’s treasury
  By vultures in like manner was devoured.
  Likewise a matter so terrific happed
  As to fill all the Kingdom with dismay.
  Wicked Canosa, back from Sicily,[26]
  Invested as the Minister of Police,
  Conceived a project truculent and vile,
  Enough for Satan’s self to shudder at.
  This monster stands by various writers drawn,
  And I can be excused from limning him:
  Yet, always by the King’s approval graced,
  The man’s foul shame reflected on the King.
  In every crime he out-did every wretch,
  And now he laboured to out-do himself.
  He, pondering an atrocious butchery
  Which for whole weeks he set to ruminate,
  Filled with the loathliest scum the capital,
  Offscouring of the gibbets and the hulks;
  And at a signal these men were to pounce
  On any whom they saw unlike their crew.
  That felon was a new Friar Alberic.[27]
  Oh the hard fate and outrage of our time!
  The Austrian General fathomed this intrigue,
  And forced the King to turn the monster out;
  Inept Italian princes were and are
  The Austrian Sultan’s underling Bashaws.
  Escaped from this portentous massacre,
  We all denounced it with stentorian lungs.
  And what a sort of crime must that have been
  Which very Austria spurned!--and truth it is.
  ’Twas even said the King----But this I scout.

  While from the foulness of despotic power
  Such nauseous effluvia were diffused,
  A patriotic flame wound everywhere,
  And a Vesuvius all the Kingdom seemed;
  And from the augmented crackling underground
  At last erupted many external peals.
  Like gushing blood from several arteries
  Toward the treasury all the money flowed;
  And with our straits our hardihood increased,
  So that the government was undermined;
  Already many free-souled squadrons thrilled,
  Like winds unloosed to agitate the main.
  The Carbonari, an unvanquished sect,[28]
  A vast re-union of audacious souls,
  Spread with a progress irresistible,
  As in a wood by winds a tameless fire:
  Opening I saw a gulf without confine,
  And on the shelving marge the governors slept.
  The politicians’ atrabilious brains
  Called that great movement faction--shame be theirs!
  For, being Carbonari almost all,
  The movement may be termed the Kingdom’s own.

  The King, who did us wrong with insolence,
  Might have avoided it, had he been wise.
  Insensate! His commands are ridiculed
  Amid the increasing cries which stun the realm.
  Besides, the Vardarelli slain by fraud,[29]
  Slain Capobianco,[30] all men recollect.
  And what the outcome of the treacheries?
  “Freedom” was sounded, “Freedom” everywhere.
  Not that which, ever hungering for blood,
  Like to a Fury rioted in France;
  But sacred Freedom, of angelic form,
  Who tells the king “Be just,” and harms him not;
  Who at the shrine of the metropolis
  Soon saw the nation prostrated around.
  O Freedom, girdled by the Italian light,
  Never did man kneel unto thee so fair:
  In vain Vandalic outrage hurled thee down,
  For still in thousand hearts thou bear’st the sway.
  I for six lustres vow to thee my life,
  And, thine apostle, thee announce and preach.
  Thou shalt return, return--no frenzy this!

  Our century has seen no brighter year,
  That year beheld not a more radiant day,
  Than that when the symbolic furnaces
  Diffused around the burning and the flash:
  Those vivid flashes and those fiery heats
  Spread light on minds and flame upon the heart.
  And now a lofty hope bestows on all
  Blest harmony which universal seems,
  Because that flame and light can permeate
  Through every member of the social frame.
  And one could hear a new alliance preached
  Of two great forces in a single sway:
  Popular liberty and kingly power
  Conjoined in amity by a lasting link;
  Each one in this serves to ennoble each,--
  Itself the nation honours in the king.[31]
  Of such mixed government, which Europe seems
  To tend to by an impulse from on high,
  England possesses much that’s genuine,
  But France has only seen its counterfeit.[32]

  At that time, to the sound of thousand cheers,
  Spain made it simpler, giving it the throne.
  With friendly breeze from that re-fashioned scheme
  Nations felt joy and princes troublousness;
  And Naples, from of old the liege of Spain,
  Revelled in rapture inexpressible:
  In launching flames on this side and on that
  More than volcano seemed the fiery forge.
  That selfsame ardour all through Italy
  Hurled curses on the shameful Austrian yoke,
  When the year twenty, past its midway course,
  Felt all the parching of the Syrian Dog:
  That heat still swelled the Carbonaro heat,--
  The Ausonian Genius blew his trumpet-call.

  And to those memorable clangours soon
  More than one note replied with sound of joy.
  Silvati and Morelli, noble souls,[33]
  Hoisted aloft the Italian battle-flag;
  And Minichini,[34] of the Nolan church,
  Joining them, sanctified the enterprise.
  From Nola’s city on to Monteforte
  The band of heroes goes determinate:
  Their Country guides them, and Humanity,
  And twixt these Freedom who salutes the two.
  With vast applause the kingdom echoes round:
  Only the palace in dismay is dumb.
  Terror and rage distract it hour by hour:
  Yet troops are sent--but only raise a laugh;
  For squadron after squadron joins with those
  So as to number a resistless host:
  Despotic sway now comes to such a pass
  As to appear a corpse mouldering in worms.

  O Monteforte, oh the glorious slope
  O’er which shone forth the star of liberty!
  Like Sinai and Horeb thou’lt be famed,
  For on thee the new age was brought to birth.[35]

  That hour supreme is present to my soul,
  Whereby I live again in youthful prime.
  Naples is wavering between hope and fear,
  But outside of her walls ’tis only hope.
  She for the towns and cities joyously
  Assembles troops and arms, and sends them on.
  Guglielmo Pepe--and our fear is sped--
  Mounts to be captain of the daring hosts.
  Hero, all hail! History shall celebrate,
  Not thy good fortune, but thy just renown.
  And, more than in thy land, in hard exile
  Constant wast thou, strong son of Italy.
  Proud am I of thy friendship with myself,--
  It is the noblest honour of my life.

  And I from far cry at the mountain’s base
  To that day’s dawn as prompted by a god,
  “Lovely indeed art thou with stars in hair
  Which like to vivid sapphires scintillate!”[36]
  Dawn thou of brightest day!--and that salute
  Soon through the whole of Italy re-rings.

  But wherefore must I moan, remembering this?
  My land, I saw thee throned, thou’rt now i’ the dust:
  For thee, my land, these tears,--no tears for me!
  And yet Hope comes dictating to my heart:
  “From the new mourning shall new joy result;
  That which was then achieved is but a seed,--
  The goodly seed shall bear a goodly fruit.”
  Yes, O ye nations, courage! and expect
  From sterile winter lavish summertime.

  July’s ninth day is blazing in the heaven,
  And to the people’s will the King accedes.
  How could I ever fully represent
  The immense delight which I beheld around?

  The Bourbon King, throned in his gilded seat,
  Object of love in such a festival,
  With rage in bosom and with joy in face,
  Feigns to applaud the good he so detests:
  Then on the gospel swears ... ah crime-stained King!
  Thou stamp’st the kiss of Judas on the Christ!

  O realm betrayed, to which I wailing speak,
  Remember that Alfieri has pronounced--
  “To make a blameless king, unmake him first”--
  And, if a greedy foreigner, all the more.
  The deed then wrought was done in righteousness,
  ’Twas reason’s revolution: all the same,
  As if it were the greatest of all crimes
  ’Twas punished by the Bourbon’s perfidy.
  No, such a sacred movement cost to none
  A drop of blood, not even a drop of tears.
  Ah I remember those nine hurrying months
  As though they had been blessed years of fame!
  August the Parliament was opened, where
  Some Cato, Tully, or Hortensius, pealed.
  Activity is witnessed in the fleet,--
  Ancient Amalfi seems therein revived.
  The manning of the army starts anew,
  But with no mixture of a foreign stock;
  And warlike squadrons are adjoined to it
  Of civic legions and militia-bands.
  The strenuous presses creak, and everywhere
  The country’s intellect displays its fruits.
  My own blood like a burning lava coursed:
  Not I, not I, then sang, but Patriot Love!
  And, to encourage that heroic race
  Which from ancestral ashes came to birth,
  Re-echoed did I hark to those his strains
  Which he was pleased to utter through my lips:
  From women and from children and from all,
  Here, there, and up and down, on every hand.[37]
  With dulcet and with martial harmony
  By the Musician’s skill invested, these,
  Sung in all houses and in every street,
  Were even quoted in the Parliament;
  To their Tyrtæus all the provinces,
  As chorus to the coryphee, replied.
  All, all was active: Usages and laws
  Progressed in union with the newborn rights.
  But many of the law-courts had to shut,
  For rivalry in virtue lessened crime.

I must here make a little digression, to illustrate this matter of
“Tyrtæus.” It need scarcely be said that Tyrtæus, who flourished about
650 B.C., was a Greek elegiac poet, born in Attica, lame and
misshapen, and totally ignorant of military matters. In the second
Messenian war the Lacedæmonians were directed by the oracle to apply to
the Athenians for a general; and the Athenians (such at least is the
legend, which may be largely discounted without undue scepticism) sent
them Tyrtæus. This looked very like a _mauvaise plaisanterie_, and was
so regarded by the Lacedæmonians; yet the result justified the oracle,
and the Athenians as well. The poet poured forth his strains with such
splendid impulse and vigour that he animated the troops; they abandoned
the idea of raising the siege of Ithome, and thoroughly defeated the
Messenians. “The popularity of these elegies in the Spartan army was
such that it became the custom to sing them round the camp-fires at
night, the polemarch rewarding the best singer with a piece of flesh.”

The term “Tyrtæus of Italy” (Tirteo d’Italia) has been constantly
applied by his countrymen to Gabriele Rossetti. I am not clear when
this practice began, whether before or only after 1846, when Rossetti,
in his _Veggente in Solitudine_, applied the term to _himself_. At
any rate, I had until recently assumed that the phrase had only a
lax application, as indicating that Rossetti, by his declaimed and
published patriotic lyrics, had incited, and would continue to incite,
Italians to combat for liberty and independence. But of late I have
come to the almost confident conclusion that he must have taken a
personal part in the sole military expedition in which the Neapolitan
army sought to maintain the constitution of 1820. This conclusion
is founded upon a letter (in my possession) which a certain Dr
Costanza--to me not otherwise known--addressed to my father on 10th
November 1847. I first read the letter with attention towards 1896, and
I here give a translation of it.

  “_10th November 1847._


 “Twenty-six years have now passed since we bade one another a last
 adieu in the Island of Malta, at the fatal period of ’21. You must
 recollect Dr Costanza, then a young physician and surgeon, now
 turned of fifty years of age. You had known him in the capital of
 the kingdom, and you afterwards met him at Montecassino, _when you
 were returning from the gorges of Antrodoca after the hapless result
 of that first passage of arms_ upon which depended the fate of our
 country. That Costanza is now writing to you, and warmly recommends
 to you three fellow-countrymen of ours, recently saved by miracle
 from the blood-red hands of the agents of the tyrant of Naples and

  “Your Compatriot, and erewhile Companion
  in misfortune,

In this letter the mention of Antrodoca (or Antrodoco) is the essential
thing. The mountains of Antrodoco are near Rieti, which was the scene
of an engagement, on 7th March 1821, between the Neapolitan and the
Austrian troops. The actual feat of arms was not discreditable to the
Italians; but--perceiving that they were the weaker party, and that
the final issue was hopeless for them--they immediately afterwards
disbanded, and all was over. I cannot indeed, recollect having ever
heard from my father that he was along with the army on that occasion,
nor does he affirm it in his versified Autobiography; yet I now see
that he must have been so. I do not infer that he was in the fighting
ranks; but I do infer that two passages which are to be found in his
_Veggente in Solitudine_ have a more positive meaning than I used to
attribute to them. The passages are as follows:--

 1. “Fratelli, all’armi, all’armi!” etc.

 “Brothers, to arms, to arms! Our country has summoned us. _I, with my
 stimulating songs, will also go among you._”

 2. (As already referred to) “Tirteo d’Italia,” etc.

 “Who will be the Tyrtæus of Italy in the camp? ’Tis I, ’tis I! _Such I
 have been_, such I am.”

The first of these passages comes from a song composed by Rossetti
towards the date of the soldiering in 1821. The second may have been
written about 1845.

I have found one other paper which seems to bear upon this
semi-military act of Gabriele Rossetti. An excellent friend of his,
Ferdinando Ciciloni, wrote to him from Naples on 24th November 1825,
saying: “Three days ago I went to San Sebastiano, which, from the seat
of the Parliament, has become a College of Music. As I crossed the
courtyard, I had a mental vision of Rossetti in uniform, and with two
very black moustaches.” As we have seen (note on p. 36), Rossetti,
though not at all a man of a soldiering turn, had belonged, in 1814,
to the Guard of Internal Security under King Joachim, and once again,
in 1821, he donned a uniform--a British one this time. But Ciciloni’s
remark does not seem very likely to refer to either of these incidents;
rather to something in which the Parliament-building was concerned, and
a muster immediately before the departure of the army to Rieti appears
the most probable occurrence.

  Freedom immaculate, O thou who hadst
  Such sacred worship on Sebeto’s banks,
  Iniquitous plots ’gainst thee, without and in,
  The Royal Princes’ visible ill-faith,
  Ambition nursed by some few senators,
  And envious grudge of many generals,
  Engirt thee with the trackless labyrinth
  When in thee Heaven was overcome by Hell.

  Nor have I in repentance struck my brow
  Because my worship of thee wrought me scathe.
  Were I in that same case a thousand times,
  A thousand I’d return to do the same.
  Thee from Christianity I ne’er disjoined,--
  I feel my heart-strings quivering to both.
  The Bourbon perjury, the Austrian force,
  On thee, O sacred Liberty, made war:
  And, seeing thy holy worship thus destroyed,
  I bade a farewell to the soil profaned,
  And so the thundering ship conducted me
  Where Christ and Freedom can be both adored.

  Name to the world, O sacred Gratitude,
  The Scotch-born hero who on British deck
  Rescued the singer of Italian hopes
  Out of the Bourbon despot’s slaughter-fangs.
  Sir Graham Moore,[38] inured to combating
  In a great nation’s thundrous lightning-flash,
  I bear with an indelible imprint
  Thy cherished name written upon my heart.
  Those soul-inspired and freedom-loving strains
  Intoned by me upon my native soil
  On the four winds already had dispread,
  O’er mountains and o’er seas, a tireless flight;
  And the Britannic Genius, when they reached
  His shores, bade Italy’s Tyrtæus hail.
  Now my propitious fate had willed it so
  That by a lady were my verses read--
  A British Admiral’s well-honoured wife,
  Whether more fair or gracious who could say?
  But this I know--I saw in her combined
  Penelope’s heart and Helen’s countenance.
  She, worthy partner of the British chief,
  Honours in others’ mental gifts her own;
  And those who know her know how highly trained
  She is, and she alone discerns it not.

  To Naples came the lady at the time
  When flames burned there of patriotic love,
  And she expressed the wish she had conceived
  To know the Italian poet face to face;
  And with such ardour she admired his work
  That numerous verses she could quote by heart.
  An English officer, of cultured mind,
  Who had always shown me marks of courtesy,
  And who in the Museum saw me at whiles,
  Made me acquainted with the lady’s wish.
  I to the invitation gave response,
  And so a day was settled for my call.

  She--as a sister might a brother greet
  Returning--greeted me in amity;
  Yet day by day this kindliness increased.
  Fair Angel of God’s presence sent on earth,
  Ah not so soon return to Paradise!
  Many there circle his eternal throne,
  But angels are not plenteous here below.
  In all that effervescent period
  She, whose good wishes were for our success,
  Remained a witness of my innocence,
  And an approver of my patriot zeal.

  When by the foul effect of treacheries
  Our government had perished, she was grieved,
  And for unfortunate Rossetti’s fate
  She felt concern, and to her husband spoke:
  “Save from the axe that guiltless man; if love
  Of country is a crime, you are guilty too!”

  Alas how hard did exile seem to me,
  And leaving in such woes my native land!
  Three times he offered refuge on his ship,
  And all the three times I rejected it.
  But my continuing was so foolhardy
  That wiser I accepted it the fourth.

  Lamenting night and day my country’s lot,
  And as to my own life not caring much,
  From March to June I kept myself concealed,
  ’Mid traps laid by a sleepless-eyed police.[39]
  One night I was in that terrific plight,
  When a voice called upon my name, and said:
  “Fly--I discern your scaffold plain to see!”
  I look, and find ’tis General Fardella,
  Who was just then the Minister of War;
  But, while I am rousing from my wonderment,
  The dark receives him--moveless I remain.
  Meseems I see him still, the while I write.
  He, who so often gave my lines applause,
  Had entered furtive in my hiding-place:
  But how he found it out I cannot say.
  How could I sleep, or hope again for calm?
  Within my soul I heard the word--“Fly, fly!”
  In perturbations having passed the night,
  I to the lady wrote at earliest dawn;
  And towards the eve two English subalterns[40]
  Most willingly responded to my wish;
  And they, to make my move less perilous,
  Gave me red uniform resembling theirs.
  I on the moment, be it luck or thought
  To pass more safely before others’ eyes,
  Packed a few clothes and papers many a one
  In a small trunk, and was in readiness:
  And I exclaimed, twixt joyful heart and grieved,
  “I bear with me my all--Ready--let’s go.”
  Between the gallant pair I took the coach,
  Which drove us forth on our clandestine path[41]
  To where a skiff was in await for us,
  With six athletic oarsmen on the beach.
  O Rochfort,[42] thou to which the naval forts
  All paid salute as they before thee passed,
  And thundering thou through hundred-fourscore mouths
  Didst spread afar thy nautical command,
  Thee sinuous the Mediterranean,
  And thee vast Ocean’s sheer immensity,
  Saw dominating the unstable wave,
  And christened thee the Formidable Fort.
  Thee from the skiff I see, and feed my glance,
  As on artilleried walls, upon thy bows.

  The mighty ship gave symptoms of good-will,
  Expressed in divers modes by the ample crew;
  And I--I kissed that wooden Albion
  Amid the naval group who smiled thereat.
  To the saloon bright-shining in the dusk
  I sped, to give Thetis and Neptune thanks.
  “Here is a pair of gods not fabulous,”
  I said, when greeted by their noble smiles.
  The grace which can forestall a modest wish
  I always found on either countenance.

  Then in the night I went with saddened soul
  To contemplate the shore which met my view.
  All are reposing in the silent hour,
  Except some watch that paces vigilant;
  And I alone and pensive on the prow
  Stand communing with this my land betrayed;
  And a few happy days and many dire
  Are passing in review before mine eyes.
  Ever ferocious Tyranny I saw
  Becoming stronger by flagitious means;
  And Freedom, tasted for a few poor days,
  Begetting, like the fruit of Eden, death;
  And Treason, like a snake pestiferous,
  From two great goblets sipping tears and blood.
  And, while my fantasy on every side
  Ran riot, struck by miserable ideas,
  The scenes of sanguinary Ninety-nine
  Offered themselves to my dejected soul;
  And o’er the regal lair meseemed I saw
  A host funereal of threat’ning ghosts.
  “Unhappy country, adieu!”--And that adieu
  Over all Italy I diffused in song.[43]


  To thee the first the British prow was turned,
  Flourishing Malta, small but beautiful,
  A quiet refuge ’mid the unquiet sea,
  Of an Italian mind and Arab speech.
  I, sifting out of fallacies the truth,
  Full half a lustre passed within thy bounds;
  And, but for patriotic sorrowings,
  Out there I should have led a placid life,--
  For I encountered courteous, cultured minds,--
  Culture in some, in many courtesy.

  But both of these--they have my homage here--
  I amply in one person found conjoined,
  John Hookham Frere, a learned man and wise,
  A Privy Councillor of the British Crown.
  Himself he shone, not through extraneous aids,
  And how I knew him I shall gladly tell.
  Fame, so propitious to poetic gifts,
  In Malta made a magnified report--
  That Italy’s Tyrtæus had arrived,
  And rescued by the British Admiral.
  And I by many people was informed
  That in the higher class the wish prevailed
  That in some noted house I should display
  My fervour of poetic improvise;
  And I, now so suspicious of my powers,
  Unhesitating answered--“Yes, at once.”

  Ah me unhappy! I’m no more the man!
  But such must be the course of human fate.
  Too true, I, then a river, am now a rill--
  A rill which comes anear to drying up.
  In vain I stir my fancy, which is tired,--
  I cannot even command poetic phrase.
  These verses--let me say this prose in rhyme--
  As I dictate them, others write them down,[44]
  And, as they all gush out extempore,
  Some of them will be good, and others bad:
  Nor do I blot the bad to keep the best,
  But pass them current as they chance to come.
  To get the whole expressed without constraint,
  And without labouring after phrase and word,
  I pitched on purpose on that sextal rhyme
  In which one easily words the thing one wants.

  On my assent, a spacious hall prepares
  For ladies, men of letters, diplomats.
  There that distinguished man enraptured heard
  My burst of song ’mid plaudits many and full;[45]
  And, being unused to such demonstrances,
  He deemed the thing almost a prodigy.
  I sang six themes, and my excited mind
  Poured copiously divergent styles and rhythms.
  Persons of eminence, the following day,
  Graced me by visits of civility.
  But one beneficent and reverend mien
  In which I read exalted characters,
  A diction which, arising from the soul,
  Goes to the heart, and fixes what it says--
  This ’mid the throng I noted. He being gone,
  I asked his name--and it astonished me;
  For all that I had heard rumoured around
  About his talents settled on my thought:
  An ample treasure-house of classic lore,[46]
  Such did Fame publish him by hundred mouths:
  Toward him desire resistless drew me on,
  Nor did his presence lessen his repute.
  Unconscious of his fame he singly seemed,--
  To hear it named was what he could not brook;
  Courtesy generous and without display,
  Learning immense, and greater modesty;--
  Ah who could paint that noble-natured man?
  One day when he accorded praise anew
  To chaunts of mine which wakened his surprise,
  I answered him: “In you I seem to see
  The imperial eagle by a sparrow charmed.
  I know my verse has earned me banishment;
  But I, excelling some, bend low to you.”
  And later, when I saw how plenteously
  He dealt his succours to the sick and poor,
  I in John Hookham Frere discerned the type
  Of the sublime Christian philosopher.
  None but an angel could pourtray him true,--
  I feel my eyes grow moist to speak of him.
  He called me friend, and that has been my pride,
  And in myself I reverenced the name.
  Having that store of virtues in my gaze,
  Sanctified in him by Christianity,--
  ’Tis sacred duty to confess as much--
  I felt myself grow better by so great
  A pattern. Nevermore he left my thoughts,
  And even in death within my heart he lives.

  To him, after I reached the English shores
  (All distant from him though I then had passed),
  I dedicated Dante’s Comedy,
  With Analytic Comment from my pen.
  That Psaltery to him too I inscribed
  Which praises freedom and ennobles man,
  And he with kindliness received the wish
  I showed that it be dedicate to him.
  Of him with lively gratitude anew
  I chaunted in my “Seer in Solitude.”
  Those lines while I was writing, thou, blest soul,
  Wast winging forth thy way to Paradise,
  There to embrace the sister and the spouse
  From whom thou languishing wast parted here.

  O all of you elected spirits and pure,
  Look down on desolate Rossetti’s grief.
  He in himself holds that same constancy
  Which every one of you applauded oft.
  Still exiled, but now old, infirm, and blind,
  How different alas from other-while!
  Different? Ah no! Although oppressed by years,
  He for his country always is the same.
  And he, on hearing how that freedom’s tree
  Has there re-budded, full of sapfulness,[47]
  Blesses his every sweat of brow poured out
  To irrigate its high ancestral germ;
  And, now when all men sweat to nurture it
  He hopes before he dies to taste its fruits.
  Now Scythian cold, ’tis true, reigns everywhere,
  But none can think it will last on for aye:
  To the political winter now endured
  A more propitious season must succeed;
  And all by various signs can estimate
  That flowers and fruits we yet shall see in bloom.

As Rossetti has here mentioned his edition of Dante’s _Comedy_, and his
own _Psaltery_, and as references occur later on to other publications
of his, I may as well enter at once into some details in elucidation.
After his arrival in England he printed the following works:--

1. 1826-7. Dante’s _Inferno_, with a “Comento Analitico.” The intention
was to publish the whole of the _Divina Commedia_: but, the expense
proving too great, the _Inferno_ alone came out. The great majority of
the comment on the _Purgatorio_ was written--not any (I think) of that
on the _Paradiso_. The MS. comment on the _Purgatorio_ was presented
by me in 1883 to the Municipality of Vasto, under a stipulation
(volunteered by the Municipality itself) that they would print it; but
this has not been done, and indeed the MS. volume was treated in a
highly neglectful style. My father, when in Italy, was of course very
well acquainted with Dante’s poem; but he had not studied it with any
keenness of scrutiny until he settled in London. When he did that, he
soon reached the conclusion that the surface of Dante’s _Commedia_ is
very different from its inner core of meaning. At first he considered
the inner core to be political: the Empire and Ghibellinism, as against
the Papacy and Guelfism. As he progressed his conceptions expanded, and
he regarded Dante as a member, both in politics and in religion, of an
occult society having a close relation to what we now call Freemasonry;
and he opined that the _Commedia_ and other writings of Dante, and
also the books of many other famous authors in various languages and
epochs, are of similar internal significance. It is not my purpose here
to discuss whether he was right or wrong: I hold that he was highly
ingenious, that some of his reasonings deserve very careful attention,
and that in several instances he pushed things too far. His comment
on Dante, and subsequent writings in the same direction, excited some
notice in Italy, and at least as much in England. Coleridge thought
well of his speculations up to, but not beyond, a certain point; Isaac
Disraeli was fully convinced by them; Arthur Hallam, and afterwards
Panizzi and Schlegel, wrote in opposition. A learned German, Joseph
Mendelssohn, lectured in Berlin on Rossetti’s system, and published
his discourses, which are more expository than critical, in 1843. A
remarkable book (later than my No. 2) was brought out at Naples by
Vecchioni, embodying a course of interpretation and argument closely
resembling that of Rossetti, who never quite understood whether the
conclusions of Vecchioni had been formed independently or not.

2. 1832. _Lo Spirito Antipapale che produsse la Riforma_ (The
Anti-papal Spirit which produced the Reformation) develops and extends
the ideas, which Rossetti had conceived during his study of Dante, as
to a secret society to which that poet and many other writers belonged,
and as to the essentially anti-Christian as well as anti-papal opinions
covertly expressed in their writings. An English translation of this
work was published.

3. 1833. The work to which the Autobiography has applied the name
_Psaltery_ is entitled _Iddio e l’Uomo, Salterio_ (God and Man,
a Psaltery). The majority of it was written in Malta: in London
considerable additions and changes were made. Leaving some of his
individual lyrics out of account, this may be regarded as the
completest and best poetic work produced by Rossetti. In 1843 it
was republished under a new title, _Il Tempo_ (Time), and with some
substantial modifications of plan. This book, and our No. 2, are down
in the Pontifical _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_.

4. 1840. _Il Mistero dell’ Amor Platonico del Medio Evo derivato
dai Misteri Antichi_ (The Mystery of the Platonic Love of the
Middle Ages derived from the Ancient Mysteries). This extensive and
rather discursive work, in five volumes, follows up the line of
speculation and argument shown in Nos. 1 and 2. Rossetti wrote it
with a consciousness that the themes of religion or irreligion which
it discusses were volcanic matter for readers to handle, as well as
perilous to his own professional position in England. He therefore
exhibited his subject with some amount of reticence, meandering through
thickets of very audacious thought--the thought of great writers of
the past as interpreted (but also to a great extent deprecated) by
himself. This book was printed; but, as Mr Frere, partially seconded by
Mr Charles Lyell, pronounced it to be foolhardy, it was withheld from
publication in England, and was only put on sale on the Continent with
precaution and in small numbers.

5. 1842. _La Beatrice di Dante_--an argument that Dante’s Beatrice
was not in any sense a real woman, but an embodiment of Philosophy.
The reasoning extends a good deal beyond this limit, into regions
explored in Nos. 1, 2, and 4. Rossetti completed the work in three
disquisitions--or indeed, according to the final arrangement, in nine
disquisitions. Only the first of these was published. The others
were entrusted to a French writer, M. E. Aroux. He studied them,
and published a book named _Dante Hérétique, Révolutionnaire, et
Socialiste_--a book which my father, on seeing it in print, did not
acknowledge as by any means faithful to his own views. The MS. was
returned to Rossetti: somehow it could never be found in our household
until the close of 1900, when I discovered it, more or less complete,
in an old portfolio.

6. 1846. _Il Veggente in Solitudine_ (The Seer in Solitude) is a long
poem of patriotic aim, in several books and all sorts of metres. Its
main object is to denounce the then political and religious condition
of Italy, and to forecast a better future. This is mixed up with a
good deal of autobiographical matter, and with many lyrics of old time
(some of them evincing Rossetti’s very best work) interpolated into
the context. As a rounded achievement of poetry, this book cannot be
eulogized; it had, however, a great though clandestine circulation in
Italy, roused enthusiastic feelings, and was so much prized that an
honorary medallion of Rossetti, the work of Signor Cerbara, was struck.

7. 1847. _Versi_, published at Lausanne. This volume has not a directly
patriotic or political complexion: it consists of many of Rossetti’s
best poems of early date, along with some of recent years.

8. 1852. _L’Arpa Evangelica_ (The Evangelic Harp). Although printed in
1852, this volume only reached Rossetti’s hands at an advanced date
in 1853. It consists of hymns and lyrics of a distinctly Christian,
combined with an enlarged humanitarian, character. Several of the poems
in this volume are now used in the Evangelical churches of Italy. I
find twenty-one in a volume entitled _Inni e Cantici ad uso delle
Chiese, Famiglie, Scuole, ed Associazioni Cristiane d’ Italia_. Roma,

It may be as well to say here something as to my father’s religious
opinions. His parents were religious Catholics of the ordinary Italian
type. His bringing-up was religious; and I suppose that, until
manhood was well advanced, he acquiesced, without special zeal, in
the established views and practices of Catholicism. As his political
opinions progressed into active opposition to despotism and the foreign
yoke, so did his religious opinions progress into active, and indeed
very fierce, opposition to Papal dogma and pretensions, and to all
that side of Roman Catholicism which pertains more to sacerdotal and
hierarchical system than to the personality and the gospel utterances
of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, he never ceased to cherish and
reverence this original basis of Evangelical faith and practice. As
I knew him from my earliest years (say from 1834), he adhered to no
ecclesiastical sect whatever; and--allowing for the primitive-Christian
sympathy just referred to--he was certainly far more a free-thinker
than definitely a Christian. As his writings were never of a personally
anti-Christian tone (though they often developed the anti-Christian
views of other authors), and _were_ of an anti-papal tone, he became
mixed up in his later years with Italian anti-papal Protestantizing
religionists, to an extent greater than in his prime he would have
tolerated. Towards 1849 disfrocked priests and semi-Waldensian
semi-simpletons got a good deal about him, when broken health and
precarious eyesight had to some extent enfeebled his mental along
with his bodily powers; and association with these people and their
publications did certainly not tend to promote a vigorous presentment
of his essentially undogmatic but not essentially unspiritual mind. He
came to write about Christian matters in terms suited to an absolute
Christian believer; whereas, in fact, he was a devotional adherent to
the moral and spiritual utterances of Jesus, but was not a practising
member of any Christian denomination, nor a disciple in any theological
school. It should be understood that, though a fervent and outspoken
anti-papalist, he never expressly renounced the Roman Catholic faith.
In the earlier years of his London sojourn it might have been to his
advantage (as Professor of Italian in King’s College and elsewhere)
to join the Anglican rather than the Roman communion; but this he
considered unworthy of an Italian, and he never took any step in that
direction. Neither did he naturalize himself as an Englishman.

The means of Gabriele Rossetti were never equal to paying the cost
of expensive publications. My No. 1 was brought out by subscription;
Nos. 2 and 4 by the spontaneous liberality of Mr Lyell, and, as far
as No. 4 is concerned, Mr Frere came forward, as well, at the close.
It is only fair to say that Rossetti was a laborious worker, of
independent spirit; and, though he accepted with grateful satisfaction
the volunteered bounty of Mr Lyell in these instances, and of Mr Frere
in some others likewise, he was the least likely of men to go about to
“ask, and ye shall receive.”

As I have been speaking--with the distaste which I learned to feel
for them as a class--of Protestantizing Italians, I will add that
one excellent man I have known among them was my cousin Teodorico
Pietrocola-Rossetti. He was in London in the later years of my father’s
life, but was not then taking an active part in the Evangelical
propaganda to which he devoted all the closing part of his career.
In 1883 he died in Florence, while conducting a service for his
congregation. A great number of his hymns are in the collection _Inni e
Cantici_ before mentioned.

  Back to my tale. And I should here premise
  That, turning lengthened studies to account,
  I undertook in Malta first to spread
  A taste for our Italian literature;
  And in distinguished houses not a few
  To witness others’ progress was my joy.
  A Massic or Falernian wine no more
  I drank, as oft in Naples I had done,
  But quaffed the spirit of the classics now
  Alone, and none could say “Why gorge thyself?”
  But, even in study laudable howe’er,
  Intemperance is still condemnable.
  Many, I know, find teaching wearisome,
  Whereas to me ’twas profit and repute;
  And I could all repeat from memory
  The Comedy of Dante, mystical,
  Tasso, Ariosto, drama, satirists,
  Petrarch, Chiabrera, and some lyrists more.
  Become the foremost of professors there,
  I knew the most distinguished travellers
  And highest officers of government:
  Indeed, from titled man to boatman, all
  Bore me affection--saving only one.

  The Consul there from Naples was Gerardi,
  Who constantly molested refugees.
  One day that upon me he fixed his glance,
  I cried: “You hangman’s face, what see you in me?”
  Confused he drooped his far from pleasant eyes,
  And put the tail of him between his legs.
  This serf of tyrant power endeavoured then
  To get me turned adrift out of the isle,
  When Albion’s Sejanus, Castlereagh,
  Was ordering to expel the fugitives:
  But this Gerardi (he might cry with rage)
  Had read my face “Noli me tangere.”
  As long as there I lived, I felt assured
  That all the world contained no baser man;
  But, when I saw in London a Minasi,[48]
  I found that I had made a great mistake.
  But such a name, by God, pollutes my lips.
  No, let my mouth be nevermore befouled
  To speak a most opprobrious brigand’s name!
  Go, galleys’ rot, or rather gallows’ rot,
  Go, Ruffo’s bravo[49] and worse knave than he!

  Through that Gerardi, under-strapper of Kings,
  I saw from Malta hounded Rossaroll,[50]
  And Carrascosa[51] and Abatemarchi,[52]
  Capecelatro,[53] Florio, and many more;
  And a Poerio,[54] in his rage convulsed,
  Was first imprisoned, afterwards expelled.
  And Pier de Luca (I record with tears
  Thy fate, the flower of courteous learned men)
  And Pier de Luca lost his reason hence,
  And was in frenzy for some days and nights:
  He trembled at Gerardi’s very name,
  And later on, to escape, he drowned himself.
  O Castlereagh! Thy country rightly deems
  That thy best service was thy suicide;
  But why no suicide a year before?

  Indignant I returned to England’s masts,
  For Malta grew to me insufferable.
  A nest of corsairs Malta now meseemed,
  Where, save that single man, all things I abhorred;
  So to the seat imperial of the main
  Thetis and Neptune re-conveyed my steps.
  Nor shall I paint that lengthy voyaging,
  Which in another poem[55] I described.

  The curst Gerardi, in insulting terms,
  Had written to the Bourbon Council-board
  How that Rossetti, that incendiary,
  Was to be found upon the British ship;
  And cried the King: “Upon a sovereign’s faith,
  I’ll do my utmost to get hold of him.”
  Well had that General Fardella said,
  Who gave me secret pledge of friendliness,
  That a malignant star detained me there,
  Since o’er me impended a tremendous ire.
  And I had stayed, at hazard of my life,
  For full three months exposed to all the risk!
  Following routine, the British Admiral
  Was bidding farewell to the Sovereign;
  And he perceived astonished that for rage
  The King, like a hyæna, bit his lips.
  Treating him almost as a menial, he
  Said with an angry and imperious tone:
  “Surrender that rebellious subject whom
  You saved, and now to England would conduct.”
  And he with firmset aspect made reply:
  “An English Admiral will not be base.”
  Menaces and entreaties he contemned,
  And turned his back on him resolvedly;
  And, when that evening he returned aboard,
  He told what was demanded and refused.
  And such a fact cannot be called in doubt,
  For all o’er Naples did its rumour run.

  I felt myself so moved by that account
  That, in the presence of his noble wife,
  I with emotion kissed his saving hand.
  Thee may God guerdon, mounted soul in heaven!
  Twice over did I owe my life to thee,--
  And gracious lady, God bless thee alike!

  And I reflected: “Why in Ferdinand
  Boils up against me such a fierce despite
  That, not appeased by lifelong banishment,
  He would inflict on me a barbarous death?
  So much of rage against my civic song,
  In which as father I so lauded him!
  And how has he forgotten those my lines
  Which drew the very tear-drops from his eyes?”

  The savage spirit! When he heard me named,
  His knees would jog beneath his body’s weight,
  And he against me, the poor exiled bard,
  Was all a-tremble, furiously convulsed.
  And thence a truthful penman wrote to me
  He had himself from the fierce Bourbon heard--
  “If even the court declares him innocent,
  I’ll make him die under the bastinade:
  On public scaffold or in darkest crypt
  Die he infallibly shall--and that I swear.”[56]
  Thus for a long while I remained in doubt
  Of the true motive for such senseless rage:
  But then the pen of a most worthy man
  Gave me a light amid the obscurity.
  What time the King of Naples had decamped,
  And I had turned my course to another goal,
  Some praise of me was heard by Gaspare Mollo
  Duke of Lusciano, who was reckoned then
  An able poet; and my fate so willed
  That he desired to meet me face to face.
  Of voluntary good-will he gave me proofs,
  Which I responded to with modesty:
  But, when he heard me improvise in verse,
  Mollo became as jealous as a beast:
  He in my presence spoke in jest alone,
  But poured his insults forth behind my back.
  He piqued himself the most on improvise:
  He saw his primacy endangered much,
  And tried his best to make me ludicrous.
  And I upon his dramas and his rhymes
  (For who can damp a youthful poet’s fire?)
  Launched a good ten or dozen epigrams,[57]
  Which many men rehearsed with loud guffaws.
  For one he gave me, I returned him ten:
  This was ill done, I know--but so I did.
  Mollo kept brooding o’er his inward grudge,
  Which well I read upon his pallid cheek.
  Now, when the liberal Government had fall’n,
  He was installed as President of a Board
  To overhaul the writings then produced.
  The President, and Censors in his wake,
  From that explosion of anonymous print
  Chose hundreds of inflammatory attacks,
  And called them all my own--no fable this--
  And showed me like a devil to the King.
  And how that monumental lie disprove?
  If even I had been Briareus,
  Writing by night and day with hundred pens,
  It would have been a thing impossible
  To achieve that quantity of verse and prose.
  A shameless slander! Yet my enemy
  Mouths it against me, and the King believes.

This statement about the Duke of Lusciano may be quite true--a point
as to which I am not competent to express an opinion. I have always
understood, however, that one main professed grievance of the King
against Rossetti was as follows (and in candour I state it here, as
I did in my Memoir of Dante Rossetti):--At the time when an Austrian
invasion of the Neapolitan territory, connived at by King Ferdinand,
was imminent, Rossetti wrote a lyric expressive of the patriotic rage
natural at the time, containing this quatrain addressed to the King--

  “I vindici coltelli
    Sapran passarvi il cor:
  I Sandi ed i Luvelli
    Non son finiti ancor.”

(Avenging knives will be apt to pierce[58] your heart: the Sands and
the Louvels are not yet done with). These lines clearly say that King
Ferdinand, if he were to persist in a certain course, would be very
liable to be assassinated; and, although they do not add that he
_ought_ to be assassinated, the Rè Nasone cannot have been solitary
in scenting out that implication. There was also the affair (referred
to on p. 50 as more than probable) that Rossetti had accompanied the
Neapolitan troops, animating them by his verses to fight against the
Austrians in defence of a constitution which the King, by a gross act
of perjury, had then abolished.

  We in the harbour of Naples made a stay
  Two weeks almost--it gave me many a thrill.
  The very aspect of the city enslaved
  Became for me a melancholy scene.
  The vigilant Police, who day and night
  Laid scores of snares if they might catch me so,
  Set full a hundred spies around the ship
  To learn who might be come to visit me--
  But no one came; and yet by means unknown
  Earnest of friendship did not fail to reach.

  But now the breeze is favouring, waves a-calm,
  And the much longed-for moment is at hand.
  How many mothers o’er their slaughtered sons
  Wept on the shore because of that wild beast
  Who for a five years’ term had sheathed his claws,
  And now unsheathed them in the lust of rage!

  Joyful I turned my back on servitude,
  And full of ardour sped toward Liberty.

  Hail and thrice hail, O puissant Albion,
  Who, ceaseless in diffusing trades and arts,
  Thine irresistible trident dost extend
  Over the immense four quarters of the world.
  If thou, devout to rightful liberty,
  Impart’st to others its inspiring rays,
  Thou, arbiter of warfare and of peace,
  Wilt become mightier than antique Rome.
  Will it, and thou redeem’st a world oppressed,
  For thy determined will ensures result.
  America, thy rival and thy child,
  If thou dost fail, will do it later on:
  She in her nascent empire will become
  The foremost nation of the rounded world.
  She’ll be thy rival, truly glorious,
  For still in her gigantic state she grows;
  But not vociferous conceited France,
  Free and enslaved at once, as if by Fate.
  In you two all is diverse--customs, tongues;
  Her mark is impetus, and reason thine.
  Since my arrival, England, much thou hast done,
  Yet much remains to do--do it thou wilt.

  Hardly had I set foot upon the land
  But I around me felt a freer air:
  ’Mid grand activity which knows no pause
  I found my own increasing day by day;
  And by the influences which wove my web
  After the poet’s came the scholar’s turn.
  Accounting precious every instant’s time
  In high conceptions I was all immersed:
  Dante, with Analytic Commentary,
  Was the first outcome of my new pursuits:
  And, spite of all disparagement, the work
  Earns me the sympathy of distinguished men.
  Charles Lyell, having read it, to me wrote,
  Giving clear pledge of unsolicited
  Regard--a Scotchman he, of lofty mind,
  And Allighieri’s signal devotee:
  He on my heart, which honours his deserts,
  Is still impressed, after the unequalled Frere.
  And now him also doth the urn enclose,[59]
  And bitter tears he leaves me to outpour.
  I say it again; no longer in the heat
  Of Massic or Falernian, nor indeed
  Of politics, I set to tracing out
  Our classic writers’ anti-papal spirit,
  With critical mind--confuting carping tongues;
  To Lyell did I dedicate the book.

  Stately an University had risen
  In this enormous capital of the realm:[60]
  And now the Council, from whose midst emerged
  Such ample learning sacred and profane,
  Offered me of its own accord the chair
  Allotted to Italian literature.

  To Italy, to flout three Kings, I sped
  My fame, and triumphed over lies with truth.
  Let Tyranny hate me, while my country loves,--
  Her exiled son has never wrought her shame;
  And this I know--despite all senseless rage,
  My books have made their way from hand to hand.
  And not those hymns alone where I forecast
  The Ausonian Genius’ future rapt in thought;[61]
  But that Arcanum of Platonic Love
  Which offers in five tomes broad scrutinies,
  Where pondering I analyse the myths
  Of every country, every faith and age;
  And that in which I showed symbolic all
  Our Allighieri’s mystic Beatrice,
  Delineated by the schemes occult
  Of most remote gymnosophistic times,
  Which schools of magians had inherited,
  And through the Mysteries bequeathed to us;
  Also that other noted by its name,
  Rome toward the Middle of our Century.
  In each my work, to freedom dedicate,
  I demonstrate the iniquities of priests:
  In all that I expounded nought I feigned,
  But drew my facts from pages thousandfold.

  Immoderate study always is unwise,
  But, if ’tis noxious, it amounts to guilt.
  No, that which I have published, much though it be,
  Is but the half of what I’ve written down.
  Ah for my blindness whom have I to blame,
  When by myself my eyes were done to death?

  Having in England stayed my roaming course,
  And seeing my future less ambiguously,
  Like Dante’s, “Vita Nuova!”[62] was my word:
  He wrote but I resolved to practise it.
  “Let warm affections in my novel lot
  Arise,” I said, “to populate my breast.

  [Illustration: GAETANO POLIDORI

  _From a Pencil-Drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti_


  Within the hotbed of our vicious times
  Love proffered me its frenzies and remorse:
  But, never a seducer, still seduced,
  Quicksand to quicksand, angry seas I ploughed:
  Now let a holier love possess my soul,--
  May he who churned it up restore its calm.”
  And prudent reason here will not disclose
  What and how many tempests I endured.
  Upon my canvas be concealed, concealed,
  The flush upon my brow in others’ shame.[63]
  And on those quicksands while I fix my gaze
  A dreadful shudder creeps along my veins,
  And in that shudder I my visage smite,
  Uttering a curse against my weaknesses.
  The quicksands are afar, the harbour’s here.

  Settled in London, all my travels past,
  Among the men I most was pleased to meet,
  Gaetano Polidori, learned, wise,
  Who had been Count Alfieri’s secretary,
  ’Mid all the Italians whom I had known as yet
  Appeared to merit honour and esteem.
  Teaching was his profession. He had done
  No small translating-work, had much composed.
  Tuscan by birth, by accent all the more,
  An elegant writer both in prose and verse,
  He showed me, joined with candid character,
  The strictest morals and a cultured mind.
  Upon the day when I returned his call,
  And saw him ’mid his well-bred family,
  I twice and thrice fixed my admiring eyes
  Upon the second daughter’s comeliness.
  A single moment regulates a life:
  My heart became the lodestone, she the pole.
  And every hour my love became more keen
  When hundred virtues and no self-conceit ...
  I know that what I’m writing she dislikes,[64]
  But, hiding it from her, I speak it still:
  Knowing her fully, I have often said--
  Angel in soul, and angel in her looks.
  Feeling within me glow the lighted flame,
  I wrote to Polidori, and ’twas thus:
  “If to the gracious name of friend you please
  To add the loving name of son as well
  (Pray Heaven that so it may be!) be not loth
  To give the enclosed into your Frances’ hands.
  If this displease you, little though it were,
  If so it haps you disapprove my suit,
  Throw the two letters both into the fire,
  And speak of this no more; but pray concede
  Our friendship be not sundered, yours and mine,--
  You so would punish my straightforwardness.”
  A day being past, the maid to me so dear
  Gave me a most affectionate response;
  And at the altar after four months more
  We vowed between us two a mutual faith.[65]
  In marriage-knot at summit of my hopes,
  My days went by in cheerful industry.
  As sweet reward of honourable zeal,
  My credit made advance from day to day.
  Four only children Heaven conceded me,
  And all the four I see around me still,
  The issue of affections tender and true
  In the four opening matrimonial years.

  To speak about my wife I shall not pause,--
  Others would think it overcharged, inept:
  This I may tell--she is a blooming graft
  Of English mother and of Tuscan sire;
  Through mother and through sire in her one sees
  Two nations tempering the mind and heart.
  Let me but say that in her is evinced
  Frankness of manner unpremeditate;
  That she both speaks and writes three high-prized tongues,
  Which rank ’mong Europe’s choicest and most rich;
  And, when their authors she was studying,
  She culled the flower of the three literatures.
  That firm-fixed character which she displays
  Founded, by means of Jesus’ gospel-book,
  Upon religion pure morality,
  Upon morality the purest life;
  Thus she presents, perfect on every side,
  The steadfast woman of the sacred page.
  From living pattern oh what strength the love
  Of ethical instructions must receive!
  Wherefore to her more than myself is due
  Our children’s educating discipline;
  For of each rule she utters with her lips
  They see in her the breathing prototype.
  I never had occasion for a school,
  Too apt to vitiate a guileless heart;
  For she in her two daughters had betimes
  Transfused a taste for music;[66] in all four
  (Presenting now this model and now that)
  The taste for letters and the beautiful.
  In theory and in practice, both alike,
  Her life is a fine treatise on the good:
  Always a Christian, not a fanatic,
  Always devout, but not ecstatical:
  Heavens, what a woman! her Anglo-Italian soul
  Has never trespassed over duty’s bound.
  ’Tis now five lustres I have made her mine,
  And in five lustres I still see her the more
  An angel harmony of deeds and words,
  And in five lustres her all-blameless life
  Has not one moment, one, belied itself.
  I thank my God that, when he addressed my heart
  To new affections, he made these be high:
  And you, beloved children, thank you me
  That such a mother I chose to give you breath.


  _From a Pencil-Drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti_

  C. 1846]

  Others perhaps will say that every bird
  (An ancient saw) approves his proper nest.
  Maria, Christina, William, Gabriel,
  My children, _you_’ll reply, and that’s enough.

  My loving girls, in whom my soul descries
  A heavenly mind in virgin modesty,
  Of intellect and ethics you have given
  Already a shining proof in prose and verse:[67]
  You from a double looking-glass, it seems,
  Reflect upon us all your mother’s soul.

  As from a twin-branched fountain-source there spurt
  Rills of fresh lymph to inundate a mead--
  So sometimes sister-like do poetry
  And painting beautify the selfsame mind:
  And both unite in you, my Gabriel,
  And fertilize your soul, and give it fire.
  These like two fountains both in you upflow,
  Both in you like two torches are alight;
  And, while you make them brightly manifest,
  They both prepare in you exalted work.
  Run and attain the duplicated goal,
  Though yours is the most early dawn of life:
  As able poet I hear you already hailed,
  Already as able painter see you admired.[68]
  Now onward, and the double race-course win!
  You will be doing what I could not do.

  If ’tis not vanity, almost re-born
  I feel in person, even in countenance,
  My calm-attempered William, in yourself,[69]
  Thought in your eyes, and on your lips a smile.
  In two dead languages and four that live
  Already Truth converses with your mind.

  My children, grow, grow up to patriot love;
  In you the blood and name of me is stored
  To England from Abruzzo transmigrate.
  Free you were born, and I was born a serf.
  O Providence! Mine exile seemed to me
  The dire injustice of a Fate my foe;
  But, if mine exile’s fruitage was to prove
  A family like this, I bless the ban.
  Yes, for thy deadly rage which hurled me forth,
  Perfidious Bourbon King, I give thee thanks.

  The thirteenth lustre have I now o’erstept
  Of veteran life used to the field of fight;
  And, never deviating from myself,
  I glory in a changeless character.
  A splendid servitude enchants me not:
  Dying I’ll cry “All life to Italy!”
  From the first day when her I knew oppressed,
  I envied any who could give her aid.
  Not for _my_ sake I loved her, but for hers,
  When I devoted to her rest and life.
  But there are some who, posed as Liberals,
  Defame with such a title country and self:
  And things I have to tell so silly or mean
  That but to think of them my stomach turns.

  But, ere I yield me to indignant zeal,
  I sever the few good from numerous bad.
  You who, despite the despots and the priests,
  As firm Italians have revealed yourselves,
  Ricciardi and Cagnazzi and Saliceti,
  Gazzola, Mamiani, and Muzzarel,[70]
  You let Fame publish in all time and place,
  You and some others--yet ye are but few.
  And where, immortal Pepe, leave I thee,
  Who wreath’st young laurel upon hoary hair?
  Sole Garibaldi is compeer of thine--
  The sword of Venice thou, and he of Rome:
  Tarpeian Eagle and Lion of Adria
  Maintained by you two a determined strife.
  By virtue of you Venice and Rome exclaim:
  “All have we lost, ’tis true, but honour not;
  For ne’er, undaunted heroes, did you yield
  Save to the greater number and adverse fate.
  Ye both, our century’s honour, have pursued
  The good of Italy and not your own.”

That my father was most right in saying, “And where, immortal Pepe,
leave I thee?” will be generally allowed by persons cognizant of the
facts. I sincerely regret that he did not add, “And where, immortal of
immortals, Mazzini, leave I _thee_?” As he did not add that, I must say
a few words to account for so grave an omission.

Mazzini did not settle in London until 1837. It was inevitable that
two such patriots and exiles as Mazzini and Rossetti should know one
another. There was a great amount of mutual respect between them
(of which my Appendix furnishes ample proof), but not anything like
constant personal intercourse--in fact, I do not recollect having
even once seen Mazzini in our house, but I have occasionally seen him
elsewhere. To Italy and freedom they were equally devoted, and the
great conception of Italian unity was present to the minds of both. But
Mazzini was a determined Republican, which Rossetti was not--being,
from the course of his experiences and reflections, more in favour of a
constitutional monarchy, though by no means unsympathetic with the idea
of a Republic at the rare conjunctures when it emerged as having some
practical application: he was never a member of the Giovine Italia.
Mazzini was also, by nature and circumstance, an incessant conspirator,
and promoted a number of unpromising and abortive insurrections,
foredoomed to failure, and viewed with regret, and at times even
with great repugnance, by such Italians as were not committed to the
extremest forms of political theory and practice. It is no business of
mine to express an opinion whether Mazzini or Rossetti was the more
nearly in the right; but it has always been my conviction that, had it
not been for the agitation so strenuously kept alive by the sublime
Genoese patriot, the emancipation and unifying of Italy would not have
taken place so soon as they did.

It happened that towards 1850, when my father was writing his
Autobiography, he was particularly alienated from the policy pursued
by Mazzini and his adherents. The great revolutionary year, 1848, had
witnessed uprisings in various parts of Italy (an insurrection in
Messina had preceded the French Revolution of February 1848 against
Louis Philippe), followed by a regular campaign between the Piedmontese
and the Austrians; this was renewed in 1849. In both instances the
Austrians were the victors; and many patriotic Italians, including
Rossetti, opined that this disastrous result had in large measure been
brought about by a Mazzinian agitation (I will not pretend to say how
far Mazzini himself was personally responsible for it) which repelled
aid that might possibly have been forthcoming from some foreign powers,
especially republican France, and denounced the Piedmontese sovereign,
Charles Albert, as covertly a traitor to the Italian cause for which he
was fighting. I can thus understand a certain feeling on my father’s
part which, when he undertook to “sever the few good from numerous
bad,” among Italians “posed as Liberals,” withheld him from expressly
naming the great protagonist of the national movement, Mazzini,
although he indisputably, in his own mind, included him in the roll of
“the few good.” Even so the omission is to be regretted.

As to the question of Rossetti’s estimate of Republicanism (to which,
as I have already said, he preferred, for practical purposes, a
constitutional monarchy), the following distinct profession of faith
seems worth preserving. Its date cannot be earlier than June 1850, and
is probably a little later. It was written to introduce a poem--not, I
think, any that has been published.

“After having seen what is almost always the issue of a democratic
republic, more than once attempted in Europe; having seen that,
barbarous, sanguinary, fratricidal, predaceous, and atheistic, in
France in the last century, it ended in the absolute despotism of
Bonaparte; and that, although mild, gentle, generous, and believing,
in our own century, it is about to merge into the augmenting despotism
of another Bonaparte, who does not even possess the fascination of the
military and political successes and the talents of the first; how
can ever this blessed Republic still abide in the hearts of so many
Italians who sincerely love their country? And yet it does abide....
And was it not this desire which produced among us the discord of minds
in 1848, and caused all our subsequent reverses? Oh if all the Italians
had then unanimously combined with Charles Albert to expel the common
enemy from our sacred soil--oh if many inconsiderate men had not, with
the cry of ’Republic’ which they proclaimed with so much fervour,
first dismayed that sovereign, and afterwards damped his enthusiasm
for Italian independence--at this hour not one German foot would be
insolently stamping our land, and Italy would not be such as she has
miserably returned to being. Pius IX. himself took fright at that name;
and, retreating from the glorious path which he was already footing, he
ended by betraying us. A melancholy story this--which has made, makes,
and will make, all who love Italy shed prolonged tears.

“‘But then you have no liking for a Republic?’ To any who ask me this,
I shall answer: Yes, I like it, and that far better than others do;
but I like one which would not have severed from us either Charles
Albert or Pius IX., and which would have conduced to our obtaining that
national independence that was the ardent longing of all Italians.... I
like that Republic which alone can suit the interest of all, and which
alone seems capable of enduring in Italy, or indeed in modern Europe.

“Whilst our hapless country had a prospect of good success, I wrote
these few extemporized octaves, which might furnish occasion for many
notes, so as to establish more fully what such a _Republic without
peril_ ought to be--which I have always desired, and now more than ever
desire.... I felt my heart touched in re-reading these stanzas; and,
rude and unpolished as they are, I yet transcribe them, so that they
may bear evidence that my soul did not participate in that political
offence which was the cause of our disasters.”

After this rather long digression, I return to the Autobiography, and
its contrast between “the few good” and the “numerous bad” Italians.

  But ah how few there are that acted thus!
  With us a most repulsive crew combined,
  Seeking to fish in troubled water-streams.
  ’Mong scanty good men many bad escaped,
  A show of baseness and of wretchedness:
  These brought dishonour on the refugees
  In French and Portuguese and Spanish soil;
  But here in England unexpectedly
  There came to settle down the best and worst.
  I grieved for famished men and mendicants
  Who had recourse to swindling and intrigue:
  But Paolelli who became a spy,
  And wrought out General Turrigo’s death,[71]
  And other such, Italy’s sorrow and shame,
  Made me repent--but this I will not say.
  Bozzelli was a Liberal of this kind,
  And acted it with comic gravity;
  And, viler than Borrelli, vilest man,
  Betrayed anon his country for a “place.”[72]
  The royal beasts having re-sought their dens,
  Scoundrels in crowds go to consort with them;
  Rome, Naples, Lombardy, and Tuscany,--
  I turn my indignant eye from such a horde.

  And then reposefully my glance can pause
  Upon the upright whom Heaven has with me leagued,
  And who, inflamed with patriot charity,
  Reverberate on me their proper light.
  In a great cause we fell, and from that day
  We share the sacredness of Fortune’s blows.
  On reaching London, from the very first
  I knew some trustworthy, some faithless souls:
  These base Minasi set upon my track,
  And I--fool that I was--discerned it not.
  But all the emigrating company
  Treated me brother-like--save only one.[73]
  Still, if in me he blames and snaps on all,
  For all that’s mine he deems detestable,
  He prized my steadfast politics alone,
  And, joined with this, my blameless moral course:
  As for the rest, he wants all men to sniff
  In me the agreeable smell which donkeys yield.
  But wherefore in him did such rage collect?
  I know not, I: I saw him only once,
  When some one showed him to me in the street.

  Italy, subject of mine every thought,
  Thine exiled son found kindness everywhere
  In hundreds of high-hearted foreigners:
  Only one exiled brother’s fatal hate ...
  Yet this disgrace is common, and I pause.

  Behold I waken from the dream of life,
  And all the past meseems a flitting shade.
  Before I quit the earth, or--better so--
  Before I there return and sleep in peace,
  I think it time to make my testament,
  For now I feel me on the bed of death.

  It shall be brief indeed. What can I say?
  I will repeat with other sufferers--
  I leave my corpse to earth, my soul to God,
  Of whom I ask forgiveness of my sins.
  I trust in Christ, and cheer me with the thought
  That his true dogma I have tried to avow.
  I pardon all, yes all, my enemies.

  More than one work of mine lies on my hands;
  Something I think it well to say of them.
  I have indited a great roll of rhymes,
  Eight volumes[74]--to my country they’re bequeathed.
  Four I have published;[75] four I leave behind,
  Which are extemporaneous almost all,--
  For, having reached the arduous goal of life,
  A popular poet’s title I desire.
  The book I called _Arpa Evangelica_,
  Which aims the man-God’s worship to promote,
  Will prove--and would it were already in print!--
  Grateful to pious souls, I doubt not this.
  With what rapidity I wrote the book!
  It seemed as if I knew the whole by heart.
  Those hymns are not of all one calibre
  But all of them evince a feeling soul.

  I did it in three months--the vein ran quick.
  In volumes twain, where I make practical
  Rights linked to duties, which I specify,
  To which I have appropriately given
  The title Politic-Dogmatic Lyre,
  Eschewing style fantastic or bizarre
  ’Gainst all despotic power I hurl my words.
  Then in the fourth, mid plaudits, pomps, and rites,
  I sang that man[76] whom many wrote about,
  Who first deceived us all, and then betrayed.
  _Pœnitet me fecisse_ is my finale:
  I hate as once I loved thee--Man of Fraud!

  The work however where with critic thoughts
  My mind has spatiated and rested most,
  And where I have sought out the essential truth
  Of Dante’s Beatrice, as yet concealed,
  Is that in which I clasp a mighty orb
  As ’twere, and thereon most I plume myself.
  In this the mystic diction I expound
  Of which I recollect I spoke before.
  A sample of it I printed ten years back
  In one Discourse alone, but now they are nine.
  “This, more than poems,” I sometimes exclaim,
  “May prove my passport to a future age.”

  I, if my life is now a bitter one,
  Can still, amid my very sorrows, say:
  “I live a freeman,--at my country’s shrine
  Freedom for me becomes a form of faith:
  And as I lived I’ll die--a sacred vow.”

  And, while I look on all my bygone life,
  The year of this our century forty-three
  With black stone noted figures on the roll:
  I fancied I should die, but sore mishap
  Left me my life but took my sight away.[77]
  Worn down and down by bronchial sufferings,
  From January until September increased,
  I yet, exhaling in my verse my woes,
  Nurtured my mind with patriotic thoughts:
  And daybreaks of the Seer in Solitude
  Shed on my visioned spirit glowing beams:
  No, those were not fantastical ideas,
  For to men’s eyes they are daily verified.[78]

  But ah my life now dwindles more and more,
  And hurries toward its occidental dusk;
  Yet I enjoyed aforetime strenuous health,
  Which for grave constant study made me apt:
  And, now that old and blind I cling to that,
  I feel that habit serves me more than drugs.
  How could I curb myself? For I confess
  My heart vibrates to thousand impulses;
  Existence is almost the same as thought,--
  To live and nought to do I cannot brook.
  A course of living honourable and hard
  A poet I began, a poet end.

  But, if I am condemned to days so black,
  At least let Tyranny not therefor joy.
  I, in this night to which no dawn ensues,
  Record a vow to raise my chaunt ’gainst her
  So long as life endures, and yet beyond--
  For even when I am silent in the earth
  To war on her in verse will I persist.
  Great God, to whom I hymning wafted prayers
  Of Italy--diseased, betrayed, unvenged--
  Thou didst preserve me, I know, that I might wage
  War on the wretch who in man insults Thyself.
  Who knows, who knows but for my latest days
  Thou mayest have held reserved a greater strength?
  Perchance Thou hast reft mine eyes that I might turn
  Back to that poesy which I had left;
  Thought prompts me that for this supreme intent
  Thou a blind instrument will’st me of Thine hand.
  How haps it that the old man’s heart glows young,
  And in him life and daring are re-greened?
  How haps it that his soul’s a looking-glass,
  So to reflect the future’s burst of flame?
  A light of prophecy salutes his eyes,
  A voice of prophecy salutes his lips.
  Magnify, magnify the name of Him
  Who knots the mighty bindings of events--
  Him by whose hand I, an obscure young man,
  Was drawn into the strife of politics.
  I nought, He all. I comprehend His power,
  And for my very ills I yield Him thanks.
  All the less possible the victory seems
  So much the greater is the glory of God![79]

  To Thee, great God, I owe devoutest praise,
  In that, before I sleep the eternal sleep,
  In the Subalpine noble Realm I see
  Already a liberal form of better rule.
  If all has gone to wreckage in the storm,
  At least this single plank remains to us.

  And nigh to death I still can joy and chaunt,
  And can foresee more favourable days.
  From the two sees which they so much befouled
  Refractory priests a pair have been dismissed;[80]
  And without mitre on their tonsured scalps
  One takes his way to France, and one to Rome.
  Those desecrated altars wait you there
  Whence Christ indignant has withdrawn his foot:
  There full a thousand demons are your peers,--
  Sole Bonaparte and Pius distance you.

  Fair Kingdom which, to avenge that double scorn,
  Art now expelling the two mitred fiends,
  Wherefore dost thou retain a hateful cult
  Which Petrarch called a “school of fallacies”?
  Oh let the Man of Sin and Realm of Sin,
  Pitiful God, come to their end at last!

  Farewell, farewell for ever, land beloved,
  To whom I joyed to vow my whole of life;
  And, while thy foe remains upon the throne,
  I evermore against him will to fight.
  Yes, I will fight till underground I sink....
  And yet I feel alas all vigour wanes:
  What is the use of will bereft of strength?

  Moaning I quit mine arms: and to the last
  Of hours my daytime goes precipitant.
  O land of Liberty, accept my thanks;
  O hour of my repose, I greet thee well.
  When he has footed a disastrous road,
  And night without a star engirds him round,
  The wearied traveller searches for repose,
  Waiting until the dayspring rise anew:
  Yes, sleep in quiet, you are tired indeed,
  But nevermore the sun for you will rise.
  If you have done your duty, happy you,
  And for your dust your country prays for peace.
  If, sleeping in the earth, you wake in heaven,
  Amid the daylight without even and dawn,
  Each of your sufferings here becomes a claim,
  And in your garland like a jewel shines.
  There you will hold, amid the angelic throng,
  Fixed on the Eternal Sun insatiate eyes.
  Where summer burns not nor doth winter chill,
  I shall again embrace thee, O my wife,
  Within that everlasting nuptial-bond
  Which never hand of Death can sunder more.
  There I await thee, thou art sure to come:
  Who worthier than thou of that abode?
  I know what sun will in thy pilgrimage
  Serve as the guide to thine unswerving feet.
  Be, in the zenith of thy life and path,
  Be thou the escort of our children loved;
  This duty when thou wholly hast fulfilled,
  Well know’st thou who expects thee above the spheres.
  When these my wearied eyelids shall be closed,
  Her steps, beloved children, follow ye:
  Of her be worthy--and of me perchance--
  And unto us you four will all return.
  Oh glad the day when seated ’mid you all,
  I shall see Paradise for me complete!
  Ah let not one of you be wanting there!
  And, when you shall ascend to our embrace,
  Speak to me of Italy, speak one by one,
  For then her state will not endure the same.

  Oh if in heaven one day the fame should spread
  That she anew resurges free and grand!
  Hosannah and hosannah ’mid the harps
  Of gold a thousand toward the Eternal Breath
  I shall intone: Hosannah in infinite
  Chorus, Hosannah, shall the Saints resound:
  And in the new augmented jubilee
  Far lovelier to me Paradise will show.

  Oh let the prison unclose where I am shut!
  My penal period has fulfilled its term.

And here the versified Autobiography also fulfils its term.

The desire for death, expressed in verse, was genuinely present to
Gabriele Rossetti’s mind. Ever since the break-up of his health--which
came to a severe crisis in 1843, followed by partial blindness, and
that by many and increasing infirmities, paralytic and other--he
found life more burdensome than otherwise, and would willingly have
resigned it but for his earnest wish to work for the benefit of his
family. Even the power of remunerative work failed towards 1847, when
he had to resign his professorship at King’s College. Troublous public
events ensued; the tergiversation of Pope Pius IX., the defeat of the
Piedmontese and other Italians by the Austrian armies, the crushing of
the Roman Republic by a French expedition. These and other political
occurrences greatly darkened the closing years of Rossetti; and yet he
was unconquerably hopeful as to a more or less near future, and the
result justified his hopes.

I will summarize very briefly the events of his life subsequent to the
date of the Autobiography, say 1850.

Rossetti being now, by failure of health and eyesight, debarred from
professional work--though he always continued diligent in no common
degree as a writer, principally in verse--the support of the family
devolved in large part on our mother, who went out teaching, and at one
time conducted a small day-school in London. The four children were, at
the end of 1850, in this position:--Maria, aged twenty-three, a teacher
of Italian, French, etc.; Dante Gabriel, aged twenty-two, a painter
struggling to sell his pictures and make a position; Christina, aged
just twenty, assisting our mother when the day-school was going on,
otherwise without regular employment; myself, aged twenty-one, a clerk
in the Inland Revenue Office and art-critic of _The Spectator_--my
earnings of course scanty, but on the whole the least precarious among
the slender resources of the family. As the day-school in London
brought in no income worth speaking of, Mrs Rossetti, seeing some
prospect of an opening at Frome-Selwood, Somerset, started another
day-school there in the spring of 1853; her husband and Christina
accompanied her. This school proved no more successful than its
predecessor; and, as by the end of 1853 I was beginning to advance
a little in my office, I got the family to re-unite in London from
Lady-day 1854, and had the satisfaction of housing my suffering father
in his last days. The house was named 45 Upper Albany Street, Regent’s
Park--later on, 166 Albany Street. The end came very soon, 26th April

I subjoin here two obituary notices. The first was written by Conte
Giuseppe Ricciardi, on 1st May 1854, and published in the _Opinione_
of Turin. The second was written by myself, and published in _The
Spectator_, 6th May. In the latter there are a few details (of dates
etc.) which I now know to be not absolutely correct, but I leave
them as they stand. I could cite a great number of other eulogistic
tributes, more especially since 1882, but need not launch out upon

 (_a_) “Italian emigrants, and with the emigrants all Italy, are
 constrained to mourn another loss. The earliest, the most venerable,
 of the exiles, the illustrious Gabriele Rossetti, died in London
 on the evening of 26th April, after a banishment of thirty-three
 years--all of them spent in upholding the sacred Italian cause....

 “Rossetti, an extemporaneous poet already known and valued by the
 public at the date, 1820, when in Naples the revolution broke out
 which came to such a wretched end in the following year, composed,
 among other lyrics, the splendid hymn, ’Sei pur bella cogli astri sul
 crine,’ to which I find nothing to be compared except the other lyric
 brought out by himself in London in 1831, beginning ‘Sù brandisci la
 lancia di guerra’; and this too records another hapless revolution!...

 “It is needless to say that not a few writings of the highly
 distinguished author remain unpublished; pre-eminent among which are
 Parts II. and III. of his Comment on the _Divine Comedy_. For this
 (shall I say it?) I have in vain, up to the present date, sought out a
 publisher--so miserable are the conditions of Italian literature.

 “Rossetti, besides being, as all know, an eminent poet and renowned
 scholar, was a fervent patriot, always most constant to his
 principles, and a man of unsullied virtue, so that he was revered
 even by his political enemies, and no one ever ventured to assail his
 reputation in the least degree; while all who came to have a little
 knowledge of him soon got to love him.”

 (_b_) “Gabriele Rossetti, the most daringly original of the
 commentators on Dante, died on the 26th ultimo, in London, in his
 seventy-second year.

 “Born on the 28th February 1783, in Vasto, a sea-coast town in the
 Kingdom of Naples, he first visited the capital in the capacity of
 secretary to the Marquis of Vasto, but for the purpose of following,
 under the auspices of that nobleman, the profession of a painter. His
 tastes soon took a more decided bent, however, towards literature. He
 developed a particular talent as a poetical improvisatore; and his
 poems, both recited and written, gained him considerable reputation.
 For some while he held the official post of poet to the Theatre of
 San Carlo. He afterwards entered the Museo Borbonico, as sub-director
 of the collection generally, and curator of the splendid sculptural
 department,--a position which led him to devote especial attention
 to the then fresh explorations at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Here he
 remained for fifteen years; with an interval of seven months, ending
 with the Pope’s return in 1813, during which he was at Rome, summoned
 thither by Murat as a member of the Provisional Government. Courses
 of lectures and literary instruction also occupied his time. With the
 restoration of King Ferdinand came the spread of Carbonarism; and
 Rossetti enrolled himself as a member of that society of national
 reformers. The short-lived constitution of 1821 succeeded--to expire
 in nine months; leaving those who, like Rossetti, had hailed its
 advent with enthusiasm, exposed to the rancour of tyrannic reaction.
 His patriotic verses were his crime, and proved his rescue. The wife
 of Admiral Sir Graham Moore had read and admired them: the Admiral was
 then in Naples; and he prevailed on the poet to terminate by flight
 the cruel suspense of three months’ concealment, and to embark on
 board an English vessel in the disguise of a lieutenant. His first
 asylum was Malta, where he enjoyed and appreciated the intimate
 friendship of the Right Honourable J. Hookham Frere; two years
 afterwards he proceeded to England.

 “In this country, occupied in teaching Italian, and holding the
 Professorship at King’s College, he engaged deeply in studies of the
 letter and spirit of Dante’s imperishable works. The first-fruits of
 his labours appeared in the ‘Analytic Comment’ on Dante, of which the
 opening part only, the _Hell_, published in 1826 and 1827, has yet
 seen the light. Rossetti’s leading idea (indicated in this work, and
 enforced in subsequent productions with the fervour of a discoverer,
 vast literary diligence, and indefatigable minuteness of criticism)
 is that Dante, in common with numberless other great authors, wrote
 in a language of secret allegory, which embodies, in the form now of
 love, now of mythology, now of alchemy, now of freemasonry, the most
 daring doctrines in metaphysics and politics. In 1832 was published
 his work ‘On the Anti-Papal Spirit which produced the Reformation,
 and on the secret influence which it exercised over the Literature of
 Europe, and especially of Italy, as is proved by many of her Classics,
 Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, in particular,’ (_Sullo Spirito
 Antipapale_, etc.), a treatise which was translated into English; in
 1840, ‘The Mystery of the Platonic Love of the Middle Ages, derived
 from the Ancient Mysteries,’ (_Il Mistero dell’Amor Platonico_, etc.),
 in five volumes; and in 1842, ‘A Critical Essay on Dante’s Beatrice’
 (_La Beatrice di Dante_), the concluding parts of which remain in
 manuscript, but have recently, we understand, been worked up into a
 Frenchified concoction, issued, or to be issued, under the flaring
 title, _Dante Hérétique, Républicain, et Socialiste_. Rossetti’s
 criticisms have been much criticized. Fraticelli and Schlegel have
 been his unmitigated opponents: Delécluze, in his _Amour du Dante_,
 and the German philosopher Mendelssohn, promulgated, without entirely
 committing themselves to, his views; an Italian writer of credit,
 Vecchioni, has taken them up in labours of his own; and Arthur Hallam,
 immortalized by Tennyson’s _In Memoriam_, has left a respectful though
 adverse essay on the subject. In addition to these works, and others
 of minor account, four poetical volumes attest both the constancy and
 the versatility of Rossetti’s powers,--_Il Tempo_, _Salterio_, _Il
 Veggente in Solitudine_, _Versi_, and _L’Arpa Evangelica_; the last
 published not many months ago. Italy is not unmindful of his name.

 “In private life Rossetti was thoroughly domestic and warm-hearted.
 His family and literature formed his world, whence the talents for
 society of which he possessed an ample share could not withdraw him.
 No political exile leaves a memory more highly above the whisper of
 public or private shame.”

Rossetti lies buried in Highgate Cemetery, with the following
inscription: “To the dear memory of my husband, Gabriele Rossetti; born
at Vasto d’Ammone in the Kingdom of Naples, 28th February 1783; died in
London, 26th April 1854.” “He shall return no more nor see his native
country.”--Jer. xxii. 10. “Now they desire a better country, that is an
heavenly.”--Heb. xi. 16. “Ah Dio ajutami Tu.”

The concluding phrase formed the last emphatic words which Rossetti
pronounced in a loud voice, in the evening of 25th April, after some
hours of approximate loss of speech. The remains of my mother, my
brother’s wife, and my sister Christina, are now interred in the same
grave. Towards 1871 a proposal was pressed upon us for transporting my
father’s remains to Italy, for ceremonial re-interment there; but the
feeling of most members of the family was adverse, and the project was
not carried out.

The tone of the versified Autobiography--which is a very genuine
document of his character and feelings--shows pretty well what manner
of man Gabriele Rossetti was; and in my Memoir of Dante Rossetti I
have given some details as to family-life and personal habits. Here,
therefore, I shall barely touch the fringe of the subject. It is not
for me to spy out every infirmity in my father’s character; and, even
were I to try to do so, I should find nothing worse to allege than a
phase of self-esteem which at times trenched upon self-complacency,
a disregard of externals in point of dress, etc., and an honourable
(and, in the circumstances which affected himself in England and his
family, a truly very requisite) habit of thriftiness which made him
count the cost of every personal indulgence, while nothing expedient
was stinted to his wife and children. I know him to have been
diligent, indefatigable, upright, high-minded, affectionate, grateful,
placable, eminently good-natured, vivacious, cheerful for the most
part, friendly, companionable: whether patriotic I need not say. Our
excellent friend Dr Adolf Heimann (Professor of German in University
College), writing to my brother a letter of condolence on our father’s
death, made the following observations, which I consider just:--“I
have never seen a more devoted man of letters; endowed with some of
the rarest gifts of a literary character, real love for literature,
unworldliness, perseverance, and warmth of interest both in writing and
reading at an advanced time of life. He might indeed have been a model
to all of us. When I look at all the great scholars and men of science
whom I have known, I do not remember one who was so little satisfied
with show as your father, who was so content with a comparatively
humble situation, and so wonderfully patient in times of affliction.”


_From a Photograph_

C. 1855.]

In person Gabriele Rossetti was barely up to middle height, fleshy
and full in contour until his health failed. His eyes were dark and
expressive, and did not alter when his sight was damaged; his brow
fine and well-rounded; his nose, though not specially large, more than
commonly prominent, with wide nostrils. His mouth was pleasant and
nicely moulded, with a winning smile, and on occasion a laugh of the


I HAVE now said as much as I feel to be requisite by way of explaining
and supplementing my father’s versified Autobiography, and shall
proceed to give some further illustrative matter in the form of five

 1. Extracts from six of the domestic letters of Gabriele Rossetti.

 2. Extracts from eight of those which he addressed to Mr Charles Lyell
 on the subject of his Dantesque and other literary researches.

 3. Extracts from three letters of the Barone Kirkup regarding Dante,

 4. Twelve letters from Mazzini--all but one addressed to Rossetti.

 5. Six specimens of Rossetti’s poetry.

Under each of these five headings I add a few explanatory remarks.


I give these letters (translated by me) for what they are worth; not
as being of any singular degree of interest in the topics which they
raise, or in the mode of treating these, but chiefly for the purpose
of showing what was the prevalent and constant tone of Rossetti in his
family-relations. Two of his children, Dante Gabriel and Christina
Georgina, have turned out to be of some moment to the British public,
and some hint of their childish or youthful doings will be here found.
In these letters I leave some gaps: in the great majority of cases this
is only done because the omitted passages are of no importance. Holmer
Green, the locality to which the first five letters are addressed,
is in Buckinghamshire, near Little Missenden and Amersham: Gaetano
Polidori, my maternal grandfather, along with his family, resided there
for several years. The final letter was addressed to Mrs Rossetti at


[Mr Potter, here mentioned, was Mr Cipriani Potter, Principal of the
Royal Academy of Music, a distinguished pianist, and composer of
pianoforte-music. He was my godfather, and his family was the only
British family of which our household saw a goodish deal in these
early years. I infer that “the drama” which my father had written, and
which was to be paid for with £40, was a set of scenes named _Medora e
Corrado_ (after Byron’s _Corsair_),--Mr Potter having been concerned in
composing music to these scenes: such a sum as £40 appears to be ample
remuneration for it. “Mrs Fitch” was our servant at this date: I have
naturally no recollection of Dante Gabriel’s performance which amused
her, nor yet of Signor Barile. Henry and Charlotte, named along with
Barile, were my Uncle and Aunt: also Robert and Eliza.]

  _4th May 1831._


 No doubt you have been indignant at my long silence, full fourteen
 days. Don’t attribute it to want of love, but to my wish to write you
 something which might partly relieve the anxiety which you only too
 much share with me. Know therefore, dear wife, that our affairs are
 proceeding less amiss. At the present date I have seventeen lessons
 a week, and I am expecting others.... Mr Potter, who sends his best
 regards, saw me this morning, and he told me that Mrs Howard also will
 soon resume her lessons; and he expressly added, of his own accord,
 that it seems to be time for him to give me the £40 for the drama. I
 hope to put you, on your return, in possession of some £80 at home;
 and perhaps we shall be getting as much at the end of the season.
 Be in good spirits then, Frances mine, because that God who gives
 nourishment to worms in the earth will not abandon us, with our four
 little children, innocent and in need.

 I have not slackened in trying for King’s College, and many persons
 have interested themselves in my behalf. The Principe di Cimitile, who
 recommended me to some member of the Council of the College, learned
 from him that the election of Professors depends chiefly on the Bishop
 of London; and I quickly procured two letters of introduction to the
 Bishop. Mr Barclay, who is his intimate friend, gave me one, and the
 other came from Sir Gore Ouseley, who has also handed me two others
 for two patrons of the College. I trust that Providence will second my

 The affairs of Italy also resume a better aspect; and it is officially
 notified that the French Government has sent a representative to
 Rome, to dissuade from shedding the blood of the poor patriots, who
 have behaved with admirable moderation. Poland is darting like a
 thunderbolt against Russia.

 Two or three days after your departure I received another letter from
 Mr Lyell, in which he asks me briefly to suspend sending him the MS.
 you wot of, as he was about to start for a different part of England;
 adding that by the end of a month he would come in person to see us
 in London. I fancy that he has gone to present himself as a candidate
 for the new Parliament. People are all in motion for this purpose;
 but it seems that Reform will triumph, and the anti-reformers will
 get more and more into the mire. God forbid that this Bill should
 not pass--there would certainly be a revolution. All say so, and the
 symptoms are manifest....

 I trust that you and our children have always been well: speak of them
 to me one by one when you write. I was so much pleased at what you
 told me about Gabriel in your last; and it made Mrs Fitch laugh so
 that she recounted it to all who came here--Henry, Charlotte, and also
 Signor Barile.... Salute cordially for me Robert and Eliza: God give
 them patience with those four babbykins, and especially with that dear
 impertinent, Gabriel. In your last you told me nothing about either
 William or Christina: make up for your omission. Every syllable you
 write about them is a boon to me....

  Your loving


[Mr Tallent, here mentioned, was the medical adviser of the family
at Holmer Green; Mr MacIntyre (living near Portland Place) was often
consulted towards this time in London. About Maestro Negri and the
drama I have no clear idea: possibly it was _Il Corsaro_, for Rossetti
wrote some “Scene Melodrammatiche” under this title, as well as the
“Cantata Melodrammatica” of _Medora e Corrado_. The person termed “Mr
Charles” was the painter Mr (afterwards Sir) Charles Locke Eastlake:
“my new work,” which he admired, was the _Spirito Antipapale_.]

  _15th May 1832._


 ... I should indeed like to see our skittish Christina, with those
 rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes, so like her grandmother’s, walking all
 alone about the garden, like a little butterfly among the flowers. I
 hope that, thanks to the beneficial change of air, I shall soon see
 her still prettier and still healthier than you describe her to me
 now. To tell you the truth, I think Mr Tallent’s advice is better
 than Mr MacIntyre’s. It is high time to wean her.... You cannot think
 how much pleasure those childish English words which you gathered
 from the lips of Maria and Gabriel gave me. If they are truthful, I
 thank Heaven that they are good children, and that they do not tire
 your mother too much with their noise and their impudence. I mean to
 send them some new little picture-books which will amuse them; and
 also a box of figs, in order that you may at times reward their good
 behaviour and satisfy their small greed. Poor little things! They used
 to await my return home so eagerly, so as to receive the trifles I had
 brought them! And now neither they nor I have that pleasure....

 This evening Casella arrived here quite out of breath to announce that
 the King has again dismissed the Duke of Wellington from the ministry,
 and has recalled Lord Grey with all his ministerial following; thus
 rectifying the error he had committed. And indeed he could not act
 otherwise in order to calm the huge agitation which was on foot
 throughout the country, and principally in this metropolis. The Duke
 of Wellington has had the mortification of being unable to find any
 one who would consent to form the Cabinet with him; Sir Robert Peel
 refused, Lord Aberdeen refused; all refused when they perceived the
 peril in which they would place themselves. A pretty figure they have
 cut--the great Captain and His Majesty,--this latter so changeable
 and deceitful, and the former first deserted and then sent about his
 business! It is a hard task to oppose the will of a whole people.
 It is just 11 o’clock as I write to you, and I hear “_The Courier_,
 fourth edition,” being called out by several voices past the house....

 Let us take heart, Providence will not forsake us. You know, my wife,
 that we have had recent proofs of its assistance; here is another.
 Yesterday the son of the Maestro Negri called on me bringing me the
 answer from those young ladies who, as you know, wished for a drama;
 he showed me a letter from them in which the matter is revived. I
 have had to lower my price, however, and content myself with thirty

 Two days ago, a great Italian littérateur, Professor Orioli, head of
 the Bologna University, and head of the Italian Government during
 last year’s revolution, visited me, and paid me a great compliment on
 my new work. Mr Scrope, with whom I dined last Saturday, also said
 some very laudatory things about it, which he based on the opinion of
 _Mr Charles_, who had read it; the latter afterwards expressed his
 admiration to me in person. Last week I wrote two long letters to
 Malta to thank Mr and Miss Frere for their very opportune generosity,
 which saved us from imminent anxieties.

 The day before yesterday I bought myself a pair of spectacles, which
 I felt badly in need of; and now, if you could see what an imposing
 figure I cut, and what a grave air they give me, it would inspire even
 you with respect. When you return you will certainly take me for a
 president. I will not tell you how much they cost, because you would
 immediately conclude that my spectacles were bad, and yet they serve
 their purpose wonderfully well....

 Hitherto my stupid prophecy has not been at all fulfilled, and this
 letter is witness to the fact: and I pray to God that he may not
 fulfil it till I have been able, with your help, to educate and give
 a start in life to our four dear offshoots, who have rendered life
 extremely dear to me; and I hope to pass it in your sweet company, in
 that reciprocal affection which has hitherto bound us together....

  Your most affectionate husband,


[The “garden” here spoken of is the enclosure of Park Square, Regent’s
Park; I can remember being in it more than once in early childhood.
Sangiovanni, a strange impetuous southern Italian, was now an
artist-modeller in clay. Dr Maroncelli was a brother of the prisoner
who was sent to the Spielberg along with Silvio Pellico, as recorded in
Pellico’s book, once highly celebrated, _Le Mie Prigioni_. “My letter
for the King of Naples” appears to have been a memorial or petition.
Pistrucci (Filippo) had been run down in London streets, and remained
lame (yet still active) up to the close of his life, which terminated
towards 1857.]

  _29th May 1832._


 I would that I had not received your letter this time, although I had
 looked forward to it and desired it so eagerly. Every word you wrote
 pierced like a dagger into my heart. My sweetest Gabriel, then, is
 so ill! My baby Christina suffers with her teeth and has wounded her
 forehead! Oh my poor children! If the distance were less great, I
 would come immediately to see my four treasures, and you, my beloved
 wife, who must be immensely afflicted, as I am myself. And William,
 you tell me nothing about him. You told me in your last letter that
 he had a return of those fevers from which he suffered here: and now,
 how is that going on?--how is he? As you do not speak about it, I will
 hope and trust that he has recovered. Be good enough, dear Frances, to
 write to me at once and tell me all about them; hide from me nothing,
 absolutely nothing. I wish to know the facts, be they better or be
 they worse.... I beg you, I beg you urgently, to return immediately if
 Gabriel’s condition permits. I wish to share with you the care of my
 bantlings. I would never have written you this but for this painful
 circumstance, but would have been content to remain a cheerless hermit
 for another month; but, now that I see that your presence instead of
 improving only aggravates the condition of your honoured mother to
 whom we owe every consideration, now that I see that our children,
 instead of benefiting by the country air, have rather derived harm
 from it (although I ought perhaps to attribute this to other causes),
 I should feel dreadfully anxious if you remained any longer away from
 me. Who knows but what the figs I sent may have done them harm! But
 this constant change of weather has more likely been the cause, first
 hot, then cold, now hot again. This belief is strengthened by your
 telling me that Maria and Christina have sore throats.... I should be
 the most frantic and inconsolable man in the world if I were to lose a
 son, that dearest little Gabriel, the very core of my heart, and lose
 him thus, far from my sight. My eyes are already full of tears whilst
 writing these words, and unless I dry them I cannot continue writing,
 as I do not see the paper. But take heart, my wife, it may turn out to
 be nothing serious.

 Here, meanwhile, is one cause for rejoicing. I have already obtained
 the key of the garden for which you so often wished.... I have already
 been five times for a stroll in the garden, the first time alone, the
 second time with Polidori, the third with him and Sangiovanni, the
 fourth again with him and Doctor Maroncelli, one of those two who
 called on me one evening in company with Lablache. This walk is very
 convenient, and the children will find plenty of space to walk and run
 about here and there....

 I have already written three scenes of that play for the young ladies,
 which I have given to the son of Maestro Negri....

 Count Lucchesi has told me a thing which he had never mentioned to
 me before. When he went with my letter to the King of Naples, about
 which you heard, he found the Minister of Naples reading my last work,
 dedicated to Mr Lyell. The Minister said to him: “What a talented
 man this Rossetti is! You see what persons the government of Naples
 exiles!” It is well, dear Frances, that this diplomatist should not be
 ignorant of what I have written; and, if it is granted me to return
 to my country, before doing so I will send the work to the King
 of Naples, so that he will not be able to say later on that I had
 committed some old faults of which he was unaware. On Friday I dined
 with that painter whom I described to you by the name of Mr Charles....

 I will close this letter begging you again to write to me at once,
 during the course of this week. Remember that until I hear from you
 again I shall be extremely agitated. Don’t conceal anything from me,
 I repeat. If you did so, you would force me to rush off to you like
 a madman, to ascertain with my own eyes the real state of things.
 Besides which it might cause me a somewhat serious ill; since for
 some six days I have felt distressing and strong symptoms of gout,
 which causes me much uneasiness. I needn’t ask you to look after the
 children, because I hold it unnecessary; I know you too well. I doubt
 whether there lives a better mother than you, and a wife more amiable
 and affectionate has yet to be born. And so your husband idolizes you,
 and his sincerest love increases with years, and he considers himself
 fortunate in possessing such a rare woman.

 Goodbye, dearly loved Frances, I am going to bed for it is one
 o’clock. I bless one by one the infant pledges of our love, and invoke
 on them health and prosperity. Kiss them for me, speak about me to
 them, and--along with theirs--preserve your precious health, which is
 my greatest treasure.

 Yesterday poor Pistrucci wrote me a letter which really is fit to make
 one weep. He says he is suffering horrible torments, and it has been
 discovered that his thigh was broken in three parts, so that he is
 crippled. Poor man!

  Your most affectionate husband,


[I have no recollection of the Marchesa Marchigiana, nor of Signor
Ferri. The physiognomical estimate of Signor Janer is curious, because
that gentleman, a cultivated Tuscan whom we saw continually in these
years, was regarded as somewhat prone to backbiting; he was always,
however, on good terms with my father and his family, and I should say
that he was really amicable with all of us. Margaret, named towards the
end of the letter, was my mother’s elder sister.]

  _6th September 1836._


 ... At the moment of my writing a very deluge is coming
 down--lightning, thunder, buckets of water. I am sorry for poor
 Gabriel, who is out for a walk with Henry....

 That Marchesa Marchigiana left yesterday morning (Sunday), and in the
 last two days she called on me thrice. On the evening of Saturday she
 came at eight, and left at midnight. She talked for ten. She expressed
 great concern for your illness, and exclaimed several times--“Oh,
 if I had seen her, I would have made her know what a husband she
 possesses!” To hear her, I am the idol of Italy. She knows by heart a
 great quantity of my verses, some of which I had as good as forgotten.
 Suffice it to say that she knows more of them than Curci, and is more
 enthusiastic than Curci about me and my doings. But the greatest
 wonder is that she recites long snatches of my _Analytic Comment on
 the Divina Commedia_. She told me that, being unable to procure it
 in print (as it is prohibited in Italy), she copied it all out from
 one that was lent her in secret. That many other people have done the
 like. That of my _Salterio_ (the _whole_ of which she truly knows by
 heart) she is acquainted with a great number of manuscript copies.
 That in Rome a liberal Monsignore named Muzzarelli has, like herself,
 copied it out, and learned it off. That, were I to return, in passing
 through Romagna, youthful admirers would come about me in shoals, and
 would unharness the horses from my carriage to drag me in triumph.
 Matter for laughter! Sangiovanni, who was present at all this (which
 I can but suppose exaggerated), had to wipe his eyes from time to
 time--the loving friend. In short, dear Frances, without your having
 observed it nor yet myself, you have as husband the greatest man of
 Italy, indeed the idol of Italy! Who would ever have fancied it?

 The best of it is that another gentleman from Lugo has arrived, Conte
 Carducci, who brings me a letter from Comendator Borgia (a descendant
 of that scoundrel Alexander VI.), and both Carducci and Borgia speak
 to me in the same style.... This shows once again that the physical
 optics are the reverse of the imaginary; for, as by physics distant
 objects seem to us small, so by imagination small objects, the further
 off they are, seem the larger. I should be almost afraid of returning,
 even if I could, so that I might not verify that saying, _Minuit
 præsentia famam_.

 The Marchesa gave us a proof of her physiognomic science which made
 me and Sangiovanni laugh a great deal. She saw here Janer, whom she
 knew not in the least, and who showed her a thousand civilities. After
 Janer had left, she, who had treated him distantly, called me aside,
 and said: “Beware of that man, who has the face of a great intriguer
 and a very cunning fellow.” Isn’t this queer?...

 With her came a very handsome young man from Fermo, named Ferri,
 nephew of Cardinal Ferri. He, on hearing the nature of your illness,
 spoke of one of his of the same class, from which he has recovered
 to the most perfect health. He was reduced, as he described it, to
 a truly deplorable condition, from which he rallied by continual
 exercise; and if one sees him now!

  “Di due rivali i pregi in sè compone--
  Marte alla forza, alla bellezza Adone--”[81]

 (old verses of mine). So, my dear Frances, take as much exercise as
 you can....

 Lo and behold, the day is again beautiful, and what a brilliant sun!
 Truly the climate of London is more changeable than a Frenchwoman.
 Gabriel is knocking with that double knock of his like the postman. I
 trust he avoided the rain under some shelter--will go and ask. He has
 returned all drenched, and Margaret will make him change clothes....

 I embrace you, and bless Maria. Repeat to her that her letter gave
 me great pleasure; and tell her that I expect one in Italian, which
 will serve not only to show me how you are, when you don’t want to be
 writing yourself, but also to keep her in the practice of the language
 of “the beautiful land.” Believe me, full of unalterable affection,

  Your Husband,


  _21st October 1836._]


 Ever since you informed us that the day of your longed-for return
 would be the 25th of this October (which will complete two full months
 of your absence) we have never ceased to count, every day, how many
 days remain before reaching the one which is to restore you to us.
 The most steady computer of this sum is Christina. This morning,
 barely just out of bed, she came in great glee into the room where I
 was studying, and the first words she spoke were these--“Not counting
 to-day, only three days remain” (you will understand that the day of
 my writing is Friday evening). And I’m sure that to-morrow morning
 she will come and say, “There are only two remaining.” ... If you
 will tell us at about what hour you will arrive at the Coach-office,
 we will all come to meet you, and will bring you home in triumph,
 outbidding the most pompous ovations of ancient Rome.... Oh that I
 had two arms as long as from here to Holmer Green! you would find
 your neck clasped of a sudden by the warmest marital embrace, and you
 would then be softly seized hold of and deposited in Charlotte Street,
 saving you the trouble of the journey by the road: yours should be
 aërial, to beat those of Mrs Graham and Mr Green.... The true, the
 one treasure of my life is my dear Frances, and to restore her to me
 renewed in health is to restore my existence. Goodbye to the better
 portion of myself. Three days hence you, by God’s help, will be here
 with me, and I will prove to you how much you are loved by

  Your Husband,


[Dante Gabriel had been commissioned by his godfather, Mr Lyell, to
paint an oil-portrait of our father; he was now, after some seeming
neglectfulness, giving full attention to the matter. The portrait,
nearly his first painting, turned out a creditable work; it remains in
the Lyell family, the property of Sir Leonard Lyell, and is reproduced
in this volume.]

  _21st August 1848._


 I have the satisfaction of informing you that this (Monday) morning
 our Gabriel has for an hour and a half been working at my portrait
 in colours, which appears to me to come very like, if I can trust my
 poor eyesight, and the exclamations of our emphatic Maria. Moreover,
 I asked Gabriel whether he would go on to-morrow, and he replied yes.
 If he takes a fancy to it, he will not leave off until he has finished
 the work; you know that character of his better than myself. I am
 fain to hope that all I wrote you in my recent letter was only the
 outcome of the over-much anxiety of a father who gets distressed at
 any appearance of evil in what concerns a beloved son....


 _From a Water-Colour Sketch by Filippo Pistrucci_

 C. 1838]

 I had hoped yesterday to see Pistrucci, whom I supposed likely to
 come to London, to promote the concert for the benefit of the Italian
 School. But I was disappointed. I trust he was not offended at that
 outburst I sent him regarding the demagogues who have contributed to
 the present ruin of Italy. He, as the perfectly sincere patriot whom
 all men recognize, must deplore, or rather detest, whatever can have
 been a cause of the pitiful state to which our country is reduced. But
 let us hope that the disaster is reparable, and I am certain that his
 heart desires this no less fervently than my own. I am aware of the
 glorious event at Bologna, where the Germans got a good lesson. May
 this be the glorious beginning of a still more glorious re-arising!
 I know that France and England have become mediators between Italy
 and Austria in this bloody strife; may they be sincere and effectual
 mediators for the good of both, and may the _reasonable liberty_ of
 our poor country result from their efforts! Not every evil comes to do
 harm--an old adage: let us hope this may be so in our case. Perhaps
 the republican over-zeal will be toned down, after the events which we
 are deploring....

 Now that I can give you better news from home, I remain with a more
 cheerful heart

  Your loving Husband,



[As to Mr Lyell, see p. 72. I give the following extracts, bearing upon
Rossetti’s theories and speculations regarding Dante and a great number
of other writers, not because I suppose him to have been constantly
right in detail, nor even as adopting his views in a broad sense, but
because the allegations which he here puts forward are certainly both
curious and startling; and they formed so intimate a portion of his
thought and life, chiefly between the years 1825 and 1842, that no
true picture of him could be given without taking matters of this kind
into account. The correspondence between Mr Lyell and my father was
frequent, and often lengthy. I used to possess the general bulk of the
letters written by Mr Lyell, and had been authorized by the present
head of the family, Sir Leonard Lyell, to use, in a compilation which
I was undertaking, extracts from many of them. In 1898, however, an
interchange took place between Sir Leonard and myself; and I now own
the letters which my father wrote, in lieu of letters coming from Mr
Lyell. In comparison with the full extent of these Rossetti epistles,
the extracts which I give are a mere trifle. I have selected not
always the most important passages, but such as tend to show the very
wide range along which he applied his theory of a covert, esoteric,
and perilous meaning in the writings of authors of many centuries
and many nations. Copies of Rossetti’s letters to Lyell, one hundred
and twenty-eight in number, are deposited in the Taylor Institution,
Oxford; the copying was done by Signor de Tivoli.

There is another copious correspondence which my father carried on
regarding the like topics--that with Mr Hookham Frere. I possess the
letters of Mr Frere appertaining to this correspondence, and also
(through the courtesy of Mr John Tudor Frere and Miss Festing) those
of Rossetti. I had at one time thought of publishing ample extracts
from this series; but ultimately I found it more suitable to place the
correspondence at the disposal of Miss Festing, who, in her interesting
book named _John Hookham Frere and his Friends_ (1899), has drawn upon
it so far as was consistent with her scheme. She has also quoted the
passage in verse about Hookham Frere (see p. 60 of the present work).
Miss Festing naturally did not publish all the letters _in extenso_,
nor even so much of them as I had at first proposed to extract. Several
passages which Miss Festing did not use seem well worthy of being
printed at some time or another--Mr Hookham Frere’s letters, not to
speak of my father’s, being capital reading; at present, however,
I leave all this aside, chiefly with a view to condensing my whole
account of Gabriele Rossetti into a moderate space.]


  _29th October 1831._


 ... I have by me _decisive_ historical records and documents,
 researches into works in the sect-language,[82] treatises on the use
 of the sect-language; in fine, I have as much as would make all our
 adversaries remain frost-bound and mute. And to me it is a kind of
 enigma to see how matters so multiple, so consentaneous, so palpable,
 which have been going on in a lapse of six centuries (from Frederick
 II. up to our time), have not ever been either discerned or revealed.
 There is not the least doubt that that Emperor projected a change
 of religion, and the destruction of the Roman Church. The Popes had
 no alternative but either to destroy him and his party, or else to
 be themselves destroyed, and their cult with them. That opinion of
 Foscolo, regarded by all as a fantasy, which led him to say that
 _Dante wished to change the religion_, is a certain fact; and his
 fantasy consists only in his having supposed that this was an idea of
 Dante’s own, and not that of a most numerous, most potent, and most
 wide-spread sect, upheld by men of great power....

 Never will I set it down, _never_, that there was a project of
 expelling Jesus Christ from the altars--only that there was a project
 for restoring His worship to its primitive simplicity, and that they
 profaned the Catholic doctrine by a concerted phraseology which
 involved a political scheme. Wherefore scandalize the world by the
 revelation of a daring purpose which may do discredit to illustrious
 authors, and bring down upon myself the ill-will of the sect which
 still exists, and has power and influence in the social world? The
 fact is that the true intention of that secret society, to which
 belonged all the authors whom I am engaged in examining, manifested
 itself plainly in the effects of the French Revolution at the close of
 last century....

 Reghellini says openly that Dante’s poem is a Masonic poem; and,
 before he wrote this, I had already seen it for myself....

 I have also made some examination of English poetry--that of the time
 of Cromwell; I know, however, and know for certain, that Chaucer is in
 the same boat....

  Your highly obliged


  _1st October 1832._


 ... It is impossible to continue without exhibiting the most intimate
 mysteries of the sect, seeing that the entire poem of Dante, all the
 lyrics of Petrarca, almost all the works of Boccaccio, and, in fine,
 all the old writings of that class, are nothing else than _downright
 doctrine and practice of the Freemasons_, in the strictest acceptation
 of the word. Such was the Gay Science, such the Platonic love, such
 the sect of the Templars, and that of the Paulicians. How true this is
 you will find in the published volume,[83] with numberless manuscript
 additions which I have made to it.... There you will see developed
 the God of the Sect--viz. Man in Freedom; there, also, the Sectarian
 Trinity, the Incarnation, Transubstantiation, and other matters....
 But it is dangerous to consign the work to the public, and the chief
 danger is this: The demonstration cannot be _rightly_ founded, so as
 to defy confutation, without citing in confirmation the writings of St
 Paul and those of St John. One might make use of protests, dexterity,
 or even hypocrisy, but none the less one must state the thing which
 is; and, if one will not state this, one is compelled to stop short at
 the effects, and leave the cause unexplained, which makes less visible
 and tangible the reality of the assumption....

 I see with regret that the assertion of many Sectarian writers,
 and among others of Swedenborg, is not without foundation--namely,
 that the religion founded upon the New Testament is, in fact, the
 religion which they profess, of which _we_ practise the letter, and
 _they_ possess the spirit: we are the outer church, and they form the
 hereditary priesthood. Be this true or false, great indeed is the
 illusion which it assails;[84] and to bring this to light would be an
 offence against the human society in which we exist....

 I now comprehend why the _Mysterium Magnum_ was never manifested
 to the world. It is confided to very few persons, of well-approved
 prudence, and at an age of thorough maturity; and to discover it by
 one’s own scrutiny is a work of immense labour, and (I will venture
 to say) of no ordinary talent.... I know that Mr Frere belongs to the
 secret order; and, having perceived what it is that I have already
 discovered by analysis and reasoning, he fears lest I should reveal it
 to the world. I am not so mad as to plan detriment to society, and to

 With regard to the chapter, _Dante personified in Adam_, this, though
 not demonstrated in full, has none the less a great basis of proofs in
 other chapters; and its substance is that Dante was the inventor of
 that simulated religious language. Perhaps, on reading some additions
 which I have made, you will more strongly feel the reality of the

  Your much obliged Servant,


  _15th May 1833._


  “Non io, se cento bocche avessi e cento
  Lingue, con ferrea lena e ferreo petto,”[85]

 not if I were to talk for a hundred years with the eloquence of Cicero
 himself, could I sufficiently thank you for having first mentioned
 and then sent to me the _Donna Immaginaria_ of Magalotti. Oh what a
 precious book for proving to the over-brim my assumption!...

 In these recent days I have made some most important discoveries
 in the _Convito_: of these I will give you a hint, but only a
 hint, as the thing would be lengthy to expound. Being persuaded
 that the _Convito_ is the exposition, in the sect-language, of the
 _Commedia_ and its secrets, I, observing that Dante dwells so much
 upon explaining the cosmographical construction of heaven and earth,
 and confident that he must be speaking of his poem, have been minded
 to follow the track which he indicates; and I have found (_mirabile
 dictu!_) that all corresponds to the poem. Begin reading at p. 153
 (Zatta’s edition), here at the end; “This heaven turns round this
 centre continually,” etc.; all that he says--verily all--expounds the
 arcane structure of his poetic machinery, and discloses its secret

  Your much obliged


  _13th January 1836._


 ... The interpretation of the _Vita Nuova_ depends upon knowing what
 portions of it are to be taken first, and what portions are to be
 taken last. This enigmatic booklet contains thirty-three compositions
 (_vide_ your Index), relating to the thirty-three cantos of each
 section of the _Commedia_. These thirty-three poetic compositions are
 to be divided into three parts, according to those three sections,
 and to the three predominant canzoni of the _Vita Nuova_. The central
 canzone, which is “Donna pietosa,” is the head of the skein, and from
 that point must the interpretation begin; and then one must take,
 on this side and on that, the four lateral sonnets to the left, and
 the four to the right--(the last one to the right has been somewhat
 altered by Dante, with the designation of one stanza of an incomplete
 canzone, but it is in fact a sonnet, as I will prove)--and the one
 set of sonnets will explain the other set; and it will be seen that
 the death of Beatrice’s father, set forth on the left side, and the
 death of Beatrice herself, set forth on the right side, of the central
 canzone, mean one and the same thing. This is the first part of the

 On this side and on that follow the two canzoni, placed
 symmetrically--viz. “Donne che avete intelletto d’amore” on the
 left, and “Gli occhi dolenti per pietà del core” on the right. In
 the former it is decided that Beatrice is to die; in the second,
 Beatrice dead is lamented; and the one canzone explains the other.
 And thus, proceeding from one side to the other, collating the ten
 compositions to the right with the ten to the left, we come finally
 to the first and the last sonnets of the _Vita Nuova_, which contain
 two visions; and the last vision, “Oltre la spera che più larga gira,”
 explains the first vision, “A ciascun’alma presa e gentil core.”
 When the interpretation goes on these lines, this sonnet becomes as
 clear as possible. Dante, assuming his reader to be already cognizant
 of the mystical language, and to be capable of solving by this
 process his work which has the character of a knot, wrote: “The true
 judgment as to the said sonnet was not then seen by any one, but now
 it is manifest to the simplest.”... The central part [of the _Vita
 Nuova_], which constitutes the Beatrice Nine,[86] consists of nine
 compositions--_i.e._ the central canzone, with four sonnets on one
 side and four on the other....

 Recently I have been applying myself to a study of the first Holy
 Fathers of the primitive Church; and they say plainly that they, in
 the inner Sacerdotal School, explained the _mysteries_ of religion,
 protesting at the same time that they could reveal nothing of this
 to the profane. I have passages from St Basil, a light of the Greek
 Church, which show that these personages acted like the gentile

  Your truly devoted and obliged


  _14th January 1836._


 ... The object or system of the secret school, in explaining the
 mysteries, is to show that those whom we take for beings existing
 outside of ourselves, and who are represented to us as such by
 the Christian doctrine, are none other than our internal ideas or
 affections; that is to say, that those supernatural personages who
 are exhibited to men as divine are the human faculties themselves,
 personified by ancient secret art; and that these figurative
 personages merge the one into the other, and interpenetrate and unify
 in one sole being--namely, in Man. The ultimate revelation.

 This is equally the system of Dante, both in the _Divine Comedy_ and
 in the _Vita Nuova_--which latter gives the keys of the former....

 Origen and Tertullian, as well as Synesius, Bishop of Cyrene, give in
 the sect-language the keys to the whole New Testament, and partly to
 the Old:... the selfsame explanation which is given in the mysteries
 of the present still-subsisting sect.

 From the writings of the latter I gather that the secret school of the
 Christian priesthood is continued by Masonry; that one of the heads of
 the school in Constantine’s time, Sylvester, came to an understanding
 with that despot to suppress the secret explanation, and to retain
 merely the formula of the external figures, which understanding
 produced the papacy or priesthood of Rome; but that other chiefs of
 the same school, indignant at his having sold the interests of mankind
 to the secular power, severed themselves from him and persisted in the
 secret teaching,--which went on to the late ages (and here we arrive
 at Dante), and so continued up to our own times.


  _16th December 1836._


 I cannot sufficiently express to you how much pleasure it affords me
 to hear from you, “What you have written[87] has convinced me.”...

 Despite every effort, the nature of the argument wells forth of
 itself, and almost overflows the dykes which I labour to erect and
 strengthen. And I regret to tell you (far from rejoicing at it) that
 in the successive chapters the evidence increases to such a point
 as to belie all my words, which heal, assuage, and soften down the
 nature of the thing. Oh how much have I done to disguise it, but all
 in vain! I confess to you my misdeed: in that which you have read,
 or which you will be reading, I have suppressed all those passages
 of the authorities that I quote which exhibit the secret overtly.
 I have quoted in a maimed form Petrarca, Boccaccio, and especially
 Swedenborg.... For example, this Swede writes that the entire Bible,
 both the Old Testament and the New, is written in that selfsame
 language in which he writes, and that his is none other than a
 prolongation of that. He says that the Prophets saw God no otherwise
 than he saw him; that there is no other future life than that which
 he describes, in which one dies a man, and revives as an angel to a
 new life; that there are not any other heavens nor another God than
 those to which he ascended, and that with whom he spoke; and other
 similar things: all of them expunged by me, even in the thick of the
 citation which I make. These utterances of his may have illuded the
 world, before it was understood, by giving the keys, what heaven is,
 and what the angels and God are; but, the keys having been given, the
 propositions become horrible and scandalous....

  Your very affectionate and oblige


  _21st July 1840._


 ... I could send you a hundred things of the sixteenth and seventeenth
 centuries which I have amassed in my extracts. I will limit myself to
 two sonnets of the famous Raphael of Urbino; and judge you whether he
 was not of the sect--like his contemporary, Michelangelo Buonarroti,
 and very many others who were in the environment of the Pope.

  “Un pensier dolce è _rimembrare_, e godo.”[88]

 Raphael’s second sonnet. He, having descended from the _third heaven_
 (like St Paul), writes thus:

  “Come non potè dir d’arcana Dei
    Paolo come disceso fù dal cielo,
    Così il mio cor d’un amoroso velo
  Ha ricoperto tutt’i pensier miei.
  Però che quanto io vidi e quanto fei (in the third heaven)
    Per gaudio taccio che nel petto celo;
    E prima cangerò nel fronte il pelo
  Che mai l’obbligo volger pensier rei.”[89]

 ... Pico della Mirandola, Molza, and other contemporaries, speak of
 this third heaven in the same mysterious manner, and agree with what
 St Bernard, Swedenborg, Cecco d’Ascoli, Dante, etc., say of it....

 Oh how much can be gathered from the Latin writings of Poliziano! Far
 more than even from those of Tasso....

  Your greatly obliged and obedient


  _1st February 1842._


 ... Have you ever read _Le Livre Mystique_ of De Balzac, a living
 French author--a book published in 1836? Read it, for it is truly
 curious. It is divided into three parts, and expounds mysticism in
 mystic language, somewhat less obscure than in the ancient works
 of like kind. In the first part he introduces a certain Louis
 Lambert as expounder of mysticism; in the second he introduces
 Dante at the school of Sigier in Paris, “al Vico degli Strami,
 Sillogizzando invidiosi veri”:[90] in the third he introduces a
 nephew of Swedenborg, _female and male_, a fantastic and changeful
 being, Seraphita-Seraphitus; and she-and-he expresses herself in
 terms fit to set the soundest head in a whirl,--and says among other
 things: “L’union qui se fait d’un _esprit d’amour_ et d’un _esprit de
 sagesse_ met la créature à l’état _divin_, pendant que son âme est
 _femme_ et que son corps est _homme_; dernière expression humaine où
 l’esprit l’emporte sur la forme, et la forme se débat encore contre
 l’esprit divin.... Ainsi _le naturel_ (état dans lequel sont les êtres
 non régénérés), _le spirituel_ (état dans lequel sont les esprits
 angéliques), et _le divin_ (état dans lequel demeure l’ange avant
 de briser son enveloppe), sont _les trois degrés_ de l’exister par
 lesquels l’homme parvient au ciel.” (Vol. II. p. 102.) And so on to
 a large extent. What seems to me most noticeable is to see Dante and
 Swedenborg put on the same footing. And Reghellini says plainly that
 Dante was a Freemason (_vide_ Vol. III. pp. 48, 49). And Ragon affirms
 the same (pp. 290-332)....

  Your most attached


[Mr Seymour Kirkup, an English painter and man of letters established
in Florence, became an enthusiastic adherent to Rossetti’s scheme of
Dantesque interpretation, from reading his Comment on the _Inferno_
and his _Spirito Antipapale_. In his later years he was made a Barone
of the Italian Kingdom, and he died at a great age towards 1880. The
following extracts relate chiefly to the deeply interesting discovery,
in which he bore a very principal part, of the portrait of Dante by
Giotto in the Chapel of the Podestà, in the Bargello of Florence.]


  FLORENCE, _12th September 1840_.


 Yours of the 22nd July came safe with the Sonnet, “O della mente
 eterna immago e prole.” It is very beautiful. It is capital. Let me
 thank you very sincerely, and let me congratulate you on Germany being
 about to enjoy the benefit of your invaluable discoveries. Every new
 country is a triumph of your cause; and, whilst all Europe will be
 benefiting by your genius and learning, Italy alone remains without
 an Italian edition of the original Italian work on the great luminary
 of Italy and of the world. In Florence there are too many obstacles:
 the priests, and the antiquated routine imbecility of the Crusca. The
 word-mongers are all envious. They are true bran, and well sifted from
 the fior di pensieri. They are old, and find your success a reproach,
 and in this country all hue and cry raised against innovation is
 supported by force. The tone of the court and the police is carried
 into the Academies. Well may you say “L’Italia invidia omai fin la

 I have delayed writing in the hopes of sending you a sketch which will
 interest you, but I have hitherto been disappointed. We have made
 a discovery of an original portrait of Dante in fresco by Giotto!
 Although I was a magna pars in this undertaking, the Jacks in Office
 have not allowed me yet to make a copy. Sono tanto gelosi, most likely
 afraid I should publish it and prevent some friends of their own
 reaping all the profit they hope from that speculation.

 I was the person who first mentioned to Sig. Bezzi, a Piedmontese and
 friend of Carlo Eastlake’s, the existence of the portrait under the
 whitewash of three centuries. We were joined by an American, and we
 three undertook at our expense to employ a restorer to uncover the
 walls of the old chapel in the palace of the Podestà in search of
 the portrait--mentioned by F. Villani, Filelfo, L. Aretino, Vasari,
 Cinelli, etc. Nothing but the constancy and talent of Sig. Bezzi could
 have overcome the numberless obstacles and refusals we met with. He
 wrote and spoke with the persuasions of an advocate, and persevered
 with the obstinacy and activity of an Englishman (which I believe he
 now is). He alone was the cause of success. We should have had no
 chance without him. At last, after uncovering enough of three walls to
 ascertain it was not there, the Government took the task into their
 own hands, on our terms, with the same restorer, and in the fifth wall
 they have succeeded. The number of walls is six, for the chapel has
 been divided in two--(magazines of wine, oil, bread, etc., for the

 The precise date of the painting is not known. The poet looks about
 28--very handsome--un Apollo colle fattezze di Dante. The expression
 and character are worthy of the subject, and much beyond what I
 expected from Giotto. Raphael might own it with honour. Add to which
 it is not the mask of a corpse of 56--a ruin--but a fine, noble image
 of the Hero of Campaldino, the Lover of Beatrice. The costume very
 interesting--no beard or even a lock of hair.

 A white cap, over which a white capuccio, lined with dark red showing
 the edge turned back. A parchment book under his arm--perhaps the Vita

 It is in a group of many others--one seems Charles II. of Naples.
 Brunetto Latini and Corso Donati are mentioned by the old authors.

 I send herewith a pamphlet by Prof. Nannucci--very curious and very
 interesting respecting Dante--and a dose for the Crusca.

 I wrote to you by Mr Craufurd, who took charge of the medal, and sent
 two pamphlets by him, one for Mr Taylor--and two letters of thanks,
 one to him and one to Mr Lyell; but I fear by what you say in your
 last letter you have never received them. Mr C[raufurd] is a friend
 of Eastlake’s, who can perhaps get them for you. I liked Mr Taylor’s
 book[91] very much indeed, and am very grateful to you and him.

  Yours most sincerely,


  FLORENCE, _14th September 1841_.


 By the time you receive this, I hope that the portrait of Dante, for
 you, will be in London.

 The gentleman who has taken charge of it was in such haste to leave
 the country (from the consequences of a fatal duel) that I had not an
 opportunity for writing.

 You will receive, in fact, three portraits. They are as follows:--

 No. 1. A drawing in chalk, on light-brown paper, of the face as large
 as the original. I had intended to write a memorandum on it, but in my
 hurry it was forgotten. Perhaps you would have the kindness to add it,
 if you think it worth while--viz.

 “Drawn by S. K., and traced with talc, on the original fresco by
 Giotto; discovered in the Chapel of the Palazzo del Podestà, Florence,
 on the 21st July 1840, before it was retouched.”

No. 2. A small sketch in water-colours, giving the colours of the
dress, and the heads supposed to be of Corso Donati and Brunetto Latini.

No. 3. A Lithography by the painter and restorer Marini, who uncovered
the painting. This is made on a tracing by himself.

I thought it useful to send you these in order to give you a better
idea of this very interesting discovery--Dante, under 30 years of
age. With respect to No. 1, it is fixed with glue-water, and will
not rub out with common usage. The only thing it is liable to is the
cracking or bending of the paper, which sometimes in a face alters the

Since I drew it, I have had the mortification to see the original
retouched, and its beauty destroyed. You will perceive that the eye is
wanting. A deep hole in the wall was found exactly on that spot, as if
done on purpose. It was necessary to fill it that it might not extend
further: not content, they ordered Sig. Marini to paint the eye on
it, and he has daubed over the face in many parts, to the ruin of its
expression and character. It is now 15 years older, a mean, pinched
expression, and an effeminate character, compared to what it was. It
is not quite so bad as the lithography I send you, but not far from
it. When I saw what was done, I asked a young man, his assistant, if
it was done with colours in tempera, and he assured me, with a boast,
that it was in bon fresco. If so, Dante is gone for good. But I have
still hopes that he spoke only of the eye, and many of my friends
think it can only be accomplished on the old and hard painting by some
distemper-colour of glue, size, or egg; and, if so, a damp cloth fixed
on it for half-an-hour will bring it all away without injuring the
original fresco. I mean to take my time, and perhaps some day I may
restore Dante to himself a second time. I had the principal part in the
late discovery.

The lithography I send you is exceedingly unlike and incorrect,
although a tracing. In shading and finishing he has totally lost
and changed the outline, if he ever had it. It is vulgar, old, and
effeminate--the contrary in every respect to the original. The
Florentines of to-day cannot draw, nor even trace. Think of what such a
hand would do, if allowed to paint over it! and that has been the case.
It is a misfortune when the direction of the fine arts is in the hands
of an ignorant man, chosen only for his _Nobility_! Our Direttore with
his cleaners has been the ruin of paintings in the Galleries, since I
have been here, to the value of £60,000 or £80,000 sterling--and the
money is the least part of the loss. When I mentioned to you that my
drawing was a secret, I only meant that, if known here that I obtained
access to make a tracing by bribery, it would compromise those who had
assisted me. You are welcome to show it to whom you please, and _do
whatever you wish with it_. But I recommend you not to give it away,
for it is the _only_ copy that has been made to my knowledge before the
fresco was retouched, except the miserable lithography which I send;
and, if so bad a copy was produced by the help of tracing, and from
the original in its pure state, nothing very good is to be expected in
future. The eye in the said lithography was, of course, added by the
copier. You will perceive by my drawing that the outline (the eyelash)
remained, which was fortunate, as it gives the exact situation of the

We are in daily expectation of the arrival of The Book of Mystery.[92]
I am doubly anxious, from the distinguished honour you have conferred
on me. The Marquis and the Professor are full of gratitude to you, but
the Frenchman (_entre nous_) seemed to confer a favour rather than
receive one. And so great a one! _Gente francesca!_

The scientific meeting of Florence commences to-morrow, and ends on
the 8th Oct. It opens with a grand Mass of Spontini, in the Church
of S. Croce. Galileo’s shrine will be the favourite of the four
great Tuscans--besides whom, there is a host of secondary stars: F.
Barberini, C. Marsuppini, Leonardo Aretino, Lami, Mascagni, Alfieri,
Rinuccini, Alberti, etc., etc., etc.

Do you know the Improvisatore Regaldi? and his _Carme a
Firenze_--written about three years ago. There are some lines on the
subject of S. Croce.

God bless you, my dear friend, and allow me once more to thank you for
all your kindness, and to subscribe myself

  Most sincerely yours,

Best remembrances to Sig. Carlo (Eastlake, his name in Rome).

       *       *       *       *       *

The name of the bearer of the portrait is Plowden. He is a banker of
Florence, and may be heard of at Messrs Harris & Farquhar, Bankers, of
London. He will send it you, I hope, or leave it himself.


  FLORENCE, _5th February 1843_.


 Let me add my thanks to the rest of the world for the mental enjoyment
 afforded by your _Beatrice_. My share is the greater for the handsome
 and honourable mention you make of me. I am proud of your approbation
 and good opinion, and am doubly grateful for the rank in your esteem
 which you have so generously bestowed on me. The book has met with
 unusual success here. It has converted many. Whether the name has
 attracted the public, or the compactness has excited the idle, or the
 cheapness the economic, or all together, I know not, but it has been
 much read and admired. Italians and Tramontani are all full of it. I
 think in general they are grateful for the light; although it destroys
 a romantic illusion, which has been much cherished, especially on this
 spot, but which they cannot now entertain, except at the expense of
 adhering to an absurdity, or rather many absurdities. Some, however,
 are too far committed, and have too much vanity to acknowledge
 themselves wrong--the vulgar and the selfish in particular.

 For my own part, I have found the Ragionamento in part a renewal and
 condensation of what I had already learned from your former works,
 divided and spread through them. In this first Ragionamento you have
 not given the demonstration (I suppose it will follow in a succeeding
 one) of Boccaccio’s fault respecting May-Day, which is so complete and
 curious in the _Misteri Platonici_....

 The most important of your decisions is confirmed and strengthened in
 this volume: I mean your identification of Beatrice and Filosofia.
 Your three reasons at the top of p. 20 are new and unanswerable. How
 completely Dante blindfolds the superficial reader (which I was, till
 you taught me to fathom him) by making one believe that the lady at
 the window was _mundane philosophy_, and that Beatrice, or _Divine
 Science_, reproaches Dante in Purgatory for having yielded to her
 attractions for a short time....

 I am so engrossed by your work that I am carried away and not
 answering your very kind and most friendly letter. A thousand thanks
 for it. I know how your time is filled, and have always wondered how
 you can get through all. I fear even writing you, but you desired
 me to send you all I think of _Beatrice_. My letter would be long
 indeed if I touched on all its beauties: I should copy the book.
 There are many additional discoveries in the weaving of this mystic
 web which the book is rich in. You still surprise those whom you have
 already convinced. You are certainly an extraordinary Unraveller--a
 Disentangler--and I will say that, notwithstanding the dry task of
 unpicking knots, tight-drawn on purpose to resist skill and force, you
 have performed it with a skill and elegance that render it exciting
 and delightful to follow.

 You desire all my “opposizioni.” Lord help me! Can I find an error or
 two of the press?...

 I am longing for the next Ragionamento; I don’t know if others want
 much more to convince them, but in general the first part seems to
 have had that effect.

 Mr Lyell judges me, as you do, too partially. All I have learned I owe
 to you; and I confess to you that I have often found it difficult,
 even with your powerful help, to remove the substantial screen which
 Dante has built up _purposely_ to conceal and protect his secret. But,
 when I think of you, who have, alone and single-handed, knocked over
 so many formidable barriers, and shown us the gardens and roses, the
 groves, the apples, the laurels, the olives, the flowers, the stags,
 and all the magic machinery of secret romance, I am lost in thinking
 how you found your way in such a labyrinth, and what immense and
 curious courses of reading you must have gone through, turning all you
 obtained to the accomplishing your will and determination to penetrate
 an untrod region, without a track or vestige to guide you. I wish I
 had the ability to write a description of your _Misteri_. Perhaps I
 could be of use in lending a hand merely, as I have studied them much;
 but _my_ tools are paint-brushes, and I am not practised in the art
 of writing. My education has been too defective for me ever to have
 ventured in print. A weak defender is more dangerous than a strong
 opponent, and all I could hope would be perhaps to hit on some thought
 that might have escaped others; but without some help from the third
 heaven (which a good friend of mine knows of) I should not be able to
 clothe it so as to render it decent.

 I observe what you say on the subject of necessary reserve on certain
 subjects. You are quite right. You cannot be too careful in your
 situation and with your family. From your letter I see that your
 opinions are nearer mine than I supposed. But, as I am living out of
 the world and am perfectly free from it, I can safely be as explicit
 as I please. I have no reserve, and, if ever _the_ cause require a
 word beyond the customary and necessary limits, call upon me to say
 it, or say anything for me against priestcraft and kingcraft. That is
 my religion.

 I don’t wonder at Mr Lyell’s exultation at your _Beatrice_. There are
 some master-touches amongst the new proofs, both in matter and manner,
 both close reasoning and light....

 The three pomegranates in Giotto’s fresco are so uncertain in their
 appearance, from injury and time, that I was doubtful about them, but
 a word from you decides the question in my mind. They are chipped and
 much obliterated; and, from their seeming a sort of double outline,
 and no shade or colour but the yellow drapery on which they are
 painted, I took them for an embroidery on the breast of the Barone.
 Some remains of fingers and stalk, however, had led the Florentines
 to consider them as melograni, and they were puzzling their brains to
 find a meaning....

 Your whole-length portrait of yourself is full of nature and
 character, and therefore it must be very like: I thank you for it.
 And here is mine:--a little thin old man, 54, formerly dark, now very
 grey. Fond of fun, but not often tempted to indulge in it, and seldom
 depressed. Living alone in an old tower with two dogs only--a servant
 coming daily for a few hours. Disliking much to go into company, and
 especially to dress in cold weather, being slovenly even in my younger
 days. I live very temperately and never take wine. I am very active,
 more from lightness than strength, for I feel the effects of years and
 illness. Just now I boast, for I have had extraordinary health this
 autumn and winter. I paint a little, and read a good deal. I ought to
 do more in both, with opportunities and perfect liberty, but I am slow
 and stupid. My memory, too, is weaker than it was.

 Lord Vernon has twice desired me to present his best compliments and
 remembrances to you. He hopes you have received his book (through
 Molini). There is an outline in it from my tracing of Dante’s head,
 and, though it is not very correct, it is the best yet done....

 When will your new edition of _Iddio e l’Uomo_ come out? I admired
 it much in its former state. Forgive the length of this letter, and
 remember me to Eastlake and Keightley.

  Believe me, with sincere affection,
  Your faithful friend,


The following are the only letters from Mazzini that remain among my
father’s papers--except some other three or four, too trifling to be
printed. The originals are naturally in Italian; the translation is
mine. Letters A. and B. relate to a certain Galassi and Vantini, whom
I do not remember, but the letters explain themselves well enough.
Mention is also made of a “little book” by my father, which was _Rome
towards the Middle of the Nineteenth Century_. Letters C, D, and E,
refer to a school which was got up in London, by some leading resident
Italians interested in the lot of their fellow-countrymen, for the
instruction of the poorer and hitherto much neglected members of
the colony--organ-grinders, plaster-cast vendors, models, waiters,
journeymen, etc. The ice-cream purveyor did not exist at that remote
date. This school, held in the Hatton Garden quarter, went on for
some few years, dignified by the countenance of Mazzini, and greatly
indebted to the practical work of (among others) Filippo Pistrucci,
who was a painter, teacher, writer, and improvisatore, brother of
the celebrated medallist. Rossetti of course concurred, but without
taking any very active part. Letters F, G, and H, refer mainly to a
MS. which my father wished to send to Paris--being, I take it, the
selection of his poems, many of them youthful, which were published
at Lausanne, under the title _Versi_. There is also some mention of
the Conte Giuseppe Ricciardi, named on p. 91 of the present book.
He belonged to the Mazzinian sect, but sometimes kicked against the
traces, and one can see in the correspondence that the great chief
found him on occasion a little exacting and tenacious. Letter I has
reference to a _fête_ which Signor Giovanni Antonio Delavo, who had
erected a villa on the site of the Battle of Marengo, got up on the
anniversary of the conflict. He had induced my father to write a poem
for that commemoration; and Mazzini, it seems, was invited to obtain
the insertion, in some English newspaper, of the poem, or of some
other writing connected with the occurrence. In this letter, and in
the following one (J), the observations about political events deserve
notice. The final letter (K) seems to belong to a late date in 1848,
and to imply that various Italians, including Mazzini himself, had
addressed the Swiss Diet in consequence of some complications arising
out of the Italian military reverses, in conflict with the Austrians,
towards the close of that memorable year of unmeasured hopes and cruel

A few notes of my own on minor points are appended to the

Besides the eleven letters to my father, I give one letter, of far
larger purport, which is quite unconnected with my family. It was
lately purchased by a daughter of mine, simply as an autograph. On the
purport of this document I need not enlarge, as it speaks for itself.
It stands numbered at the close “15” in Mazzini’s handwriting, and
would seem therefore to be one missive in a sustained correspondence.
The recipient (or some one) has written upon it in Italian, “Letter
from Giuseppe Mazzini”; moreover, the peculiar handwriting is quite
unmistakable. It bears no date, and, for reasons readily surmisable, no
postmark. In the course of the letter the addressee is spoken of as “My
Corso”: I presume, therefore, that his surname may have been Corso, but
this _might_ also be a Christian name, or might merely mean “Corsican.”
A name is written by Mazzini on the back of the letter; it has been
partly inked over, and looks to me more like “Mr Clare” than anything

The letter shows that the addressee had some relations with Vincenzo
Gioberti, the celebrated Churchman and Minister of State, whose leading
work, _Il Primato d’Italia_, was published in 1845. Perhaps 1846 or
thereabouts may be the date of the letter. It mentions Tommaseo, a
multifarious man of letters, whom English people may remember as having
written the inscription on Casa Guidi, Florence, for Mrs Browning;
Buonarroti, a member of the house of the great Michelangelo; and
Bozzelli, the Liberal politician in Naples, who came to precarious
power in 1848. My father has mentioned him on p. 98. Libri appears to
be the Librarian of that name, settled in Paris, who succumbed under
a charge of serious frauds. The names of Malmusi and Bianco are not
recognized by me.


  _28th March 1841._


 You warmly recommended to Vantini one of our brother exiles, Galassi.
 You recommended him for some employment, and that is well. But to
 discover an employment is a lengthy affair, and Galassi has not a
 halfpenny in the world, and I, for the last month and a half, have
 been assisting him so far as my means allow--or indeed _don’t_ allow.
 However, an expedient has offered, equally acceptable to Galassi and
 to us--that of sending him to Spain. What between the friends that he
 has there, and others whom we could obtain for him, and his knowledge
 of the language, and other points, he would not find it difficult
 to procure occupation; here, not understanding, nor perhaps making
 himself understood, he would not succeed in a hundred years. Also a
 ship has been found which would convey him to Bilbao or Santander for
 a sum of £5; so that, with some few other pounds to get along with
 at the first start, Galassi might have a chance of better fortune.
 Now the ship will leave on the 30th of this month, and I can and will
 do my share--not the whole. Therefore I appeal to you and to other
 good Italians. And from you, as being better than many others, I
 wish for two things instead of one; I would like that, if you _can_,
 you would inscribe your name for some shillings on the accompanying
 subscription-list--and that, if you _will_, you would write off to
 Vantini, informing him that your client is preparing to depart, and
 does not need to be assisted save this one time, and you would send on
 the list to him. Vantini is indeed one of the best-hearted of them,
 and this I know by experience. I would myself write to him, but have
 recommended so many to him that I dare no more. Besides, it seems to
 me better, since _you_ made the beginning, that you should bring this
 good work to a close. None the less, I shall be grateful to you, as if
 you undertook it now, and solely for my sake.

 Meanwhile I am greatly obliged to you for the little book you sent me;
 good and useful. We perhaps do not wholly agree as to the remedies to
 be applied to our Italy; but certainly we do agree as to her wounds,
 and you do a beneficial work in laying bare unremittingly one of the
 most pernicious. For the rest, I trust in God that one day we shall
 understand each other, and that you will be unwilling to hold aloof
 from our National Association, now re-organized in all quarters, and
 on the way to power.

  Believe meantime in the affectionate esteem of your


  ? 1841.


 I have managed with Vantini through a different method; anyhow, I
 thank you for the intention, and for what you did for my client.

 If you will send an order to Rolandi to deliver, to some one on my
 behalf, a certain number of copies of your booklet, I will send them,
 four days hence, by an opportunity to Spain. At present I have no
 opportunity as to Switzerland, but I have correspondents there; and,
 were the chance to present itself to you sooner than to me, address
 to Signor Fanciola, Postmaster at Locarno (Ticino) for “Signor Pietro
 Ol----”; and the copies will be distributed in accordance with your

 I have promised to send to a friend in New York the copy of the Papal
 Excommunication of Carbonarism--launched, I think, in 1820. Do you
 happen to know where I could find it?

 I am aware of your circumstances;[93] but what is requested of you
 would be no more than the influence of your name among the Italians
 who know you. The object is to have you as our brother in our
 Association, so that to any inquirer one could say--“All those who
 truly love the cause of their country have comprehended that unity
 of country cannot be founded without unity of association.” There
 would be a slight monthly contribution fixed by yourself; there
 would be (and this is the most serious condition, but, as you will
 see, inevitable) the certainty that, in writing about our country,
 you would leave off recommending monarchic constitutionalism, and
 repeat with us: “May God and the People be the salvation of Italy!”
 And these, for us who are abroad, are about the only conditions of
 the Association. For the rest, I believe that a copy of our _General
 Instruction_, given to you by Pistrucci, has remained in your hands.
 The whole of our thought is there expressed; and, if one day you feel
 able to say “I accept it and make it mine,” you will be received by us
 with joy and sincere brotherliness.

  Meanwhile good-bye, and believe me


 If you like, you should place at my disposal a certain number of
 copies for Marseilles, and for Italy in that direction; I will provide
 for their reaching.


  ? _November 1844._


 I transcribe verbatim a letter that I have received.

 “To Signori Rossetti, Pepoli,[94] and Mazzini. A Special Committee
 chosen by the Italian Working-men begs you to come together on
 Sunday 4th December 1844, at the hour and place most convenient to
 yourselves, to receive a communication of high importance; and, in the
 confidence that you will grant us this favour, we thank you meanwhile.
 The members of the aforesaid Committee--Odoardo Villani, G. B. Soldi,
 A. Berni, Giuseppe Gandolfini.”

 I don’t know anything about the object of the meeting. I know the four
 signatories, and they are good worthy Italians. In the impossibility,
 for lack of time, of corresponding as to hour and place, I take
 the liberty of fixing for the meeting my house, between 1 and 2
 P.M. I am notifying to Pepoli and to them. Try and come if
 you can; or, if perchance you cannot, write so as to relieve me of

  Believe me always


  ? _May 1845._


 We have decided to have on an early day in June a concert for the
 benefit of the school; Pistrucci, I suppose, will give you all the
 particulars of the project, or I will give them myself. You will then
 see how far and in what way you may be able to aid towards a good
 result. But meanwhile I have to beg you urgently for one thing. I have
 a letter of introduction to Miss Kemble,[95] and I want to request
 her to sing: singing for a school is quite a different thing from
 singing in a theatre. I know that she at one time asked Giannone[96]
 for a letter to you, and that you saw her. I don’t know on what terms
 you have remained with her, but, knowing _you_, I presume good terms.
 Could you add a letter to the one which I hold? or could you join me
 in a visit? or, if nothing else, write to her on your own part?--and,
 in this last case, on Monday or Tuesday. Thus assailed at one moment
 from two sides, she would perhaps surrender.

 Whatever you decide, please oblige me with a couple of words in reply,
 and with the lady’s present address,[97] if you can give this.

  Wish me well, and believe me
  Your very affectionate


  _31st October 1845._


 Pistrucci told me that he would undertake to beg you to allow your
 voice to be heard, in one way or other, at the Anniversary of our
 School, 10th November.[98] Still, I will join to his my poor request.
 The fact of the School is an Italian fact; and it ought, even with a
 view to the English, to have the moral support of all Italians who,
 like yourself, do honour to the name of our common country.

 Confiding in your willingness to hearken to our request, believe, dear
 Signor Rossetti, in the full friendly esteem of



  [? _January 1847_].


 An opportunity has arisen. Will you give the MS. to the bearer? He
 will be leaving to-morrow, or at latest on Tuesday.

 I thank you for your good wishes for the year now commenced; but I
 have no hope of joy, save one alone--that of bearing witness in death,
 as I have endeavoured to do in life, to my Italian faith. Pray that
 this may occur within this year, and believe me always

  Your much attached


  [? _January 1847_].


 The Manuscript has gone off--not anything else. Ricciardi, Janer,
 Pistrucci, will have patience, and await other opportunities which I
 shall have towards the end of the month. We cannot, for exhortations
 and sonnets, be guilty of an indiscretion towards English travellers,
 who consider they have stretched a point if they accept letters,
 and are quite capable of throwing in your face a “Why not employ a
 bookseller?”--which I should not like. However, I undertake, for
 love of you, to get all the things off, but distributing them among
 various travellers. A slight delay will not spoil matters; nor will
 the exhortations to return to Paris accelerate to any great extent the
 progress of French civilization.

 I was unable to charge my traveller--an Englishman, young, and
 an officer--with the eight shillings, for he would probably have
 forgotten them. But I have written that you had given them to me, to
 be paid to Ricciardi--and probably they will be paid one of these days.

  Believe me, with all esteem,
  Your much attached


  _8th February_ [1847].


 To your MS. has happened what often happens to our Italian affairs:
 in trying to do good, one does harm. If we had waited patiently for
 that Italian traveller of mine of the 24th January, the MS. would at
 this date be in Paris. But, urged on by my own wishes, and also by the
 strong pressure, I seized the opportunity of an Englishman, Captain
 Boulton, and consigned the volume to him. He, as he said, was to leave
 on the following day. And, knowing nothing to the contrary, I supposed
 him to have departed, in fact; until, five or six days ago, becoming
 suspicious from the silence of my correspondents, and making active
 quest for the officer, I found that owing to some family incident or
 other he had deferred his departure, and had indeed gone off to the
 country--whence he writes that he will be leaving in seven days!!

 You should, therefore, be under no alarm for the MS. Like yourself, I
 regret the delay, but it is not my fault. If, earlier than the seven
 days, I get an opportunity, I will see that the MS. goes off before
 the officer; if not, not.

 I felt anxious to reply to you about the MS., as the matter of most
 importance. As to Ricciardi’s eight copies, please inform Ricciardi
 that one can’t tell a tourist, “Take with you a boxful of things”;
 that it is a miracle if I found some one to convey the eight; that,
 sooner or later, I shall find some one to convey the others; and that
 moreover I would not have undertaken, except for wishing to do a
 service to you whom I greatly esteem, to send off either the eight or
 the sixteen. Neither would I set going from Paris to London, and then
 from London to Paris, copies of my own performances, but would order
 them to be burned or given away.

  And believe me ever
  Your much attached and affectionate


  ? _ May 1847._


 I cannot succeed in the endeavour. Among the leading newspapers, I
 had no hope save in the _Morning Chronicle_, and this one declines.
 The quantity of matter, electoral movements, literary articles
 already promised, etc., form the pretext. The true reason, I think,
 is that the apotheosis of Napoleon has no grateful sound to English
 reminiscences. Besides, a short paragraph upon the celebration of the
 6th[99] had already received insertion in several journals when your
 letter arrived, and they are not fond of repetitions.

 For myself, I, as you know, do not believe in King nor in Pope: I
 believe in God and in ourselves. They may do what they choose, and
 try to compromise Charles Albert[100] in the face of Austria by every
 means: the rabbit will not be changed into a lion. I say rabbit, and
 might say fox. To celebrate Marengo, a battle won by an Italian but in
 the name and under the banner of the French nation, while we have the
 Austrians our masters two paces off, savours to me of bragging rather
 than of patriotism. I see these demonstrations with pleasure, because
 they furnish an occasion for impressing on the people, who know not,
 the name of Italy, and that of her oppressors; but, as an individual,
 I feel inclined to smile with a trifle of bitterness. In Piedmont the
 rabbit is now in the vein of reaction; and not only the suppression
 of the subscription,[101] but that of the Family-readings conceded to
 the Jesuits, and other recent acts, speak clearly enough. However, we
 shall see.

 I keep the letter for another two days, for a final endeavour;
 afterwards, I shall return it to you. Meanwhile believe me always

  Your much attached and affectionate


[The reference to Ricciardi’s book follows on more or less from what
appears in two previous letters. The book may possibly have been a
predictive _History of Italy from 1850 to 1900_, which was published in
1842. This letter, written in the great year of European revolutions,
1848, belongs, I suppose, to a very early date in that year; perhaps
prior to the insurrection in Paris, which began on 23rd February. There
had been some disturbances in Milan on 3rd January, and a rising in
Messina from 6th January. On 22nd February martial law was proclaimed
in Lombardy by the Austrians.]

  ? _February 1848._


 I send you by Parcels Delivery Company ten copies of Ricciardi’s book,
 admiring our friend’s tenacity of memory, especially in this time
 of events. These are the only copies that I find in my possession.
 If I _had_ a larger number, the Italian friends who during the long
 interval have been frequenting my house must have appropriated them
 with no great ceremony, much as they appropriate my own books. None
 the less, if ever Ricciardi were to complain, I declare myself ready
 to pay the expense of the copies deficient. I ought to have been on
 the watch, but that is not my habit.

 The affairs of Italy are going and will go on their right course--that
 is, to the expulsion of the Austrians from the Lombardo-Venetian
 territory. The Sicilian insurrection has done more for the Italian
 cause, in a few days of popular action, than two years of petitioning.

  Believe me always
  Your much attached


  ? _November 1848._


 Here is the Address which we sent to the Swiss Diet. I will add that
 a discussion on military capitulations was in consequence started in
 the Diet by the Ticino and the Bas-Valais; a discussion which, as
 befalls everything important in that Central (not Government but)
 mis-Government, was not settled, but held over (as they say) _ad

 Make any use of me that I can manage, and believe me always

  Your much attached




 I have received yours of the 8th. That I should write to you at much
 length on the subject of your letter is not possible. You, however,
 will certainly not suppose that I evade the discussion, nor that I
 do not set a right value on your convictions, or do not care about
 them. No indeed; and you are mistaken in fancying that your frankness
 of speech could ever offend me. If you but knew how the religion
 of truth is the religion for me! and how much any real conviction
 inspires me with respect, if not assent! But this is not a question
 to be disposed of in a few letters; nor have I time, beset as I am by
 a thousand distractions through my dream of Italian initiative, to
 enter on a discussion. And, if I ever have time, I shall compose, I
 confess to you, a whole volume--but I shall never publish it, unless
 a Republican revolution should have broken out. For the present, I
 understand this latest reaction in favour of Christianity, and I see
 it to be necessary, and acknowledge it as useful. A true knowledge of
 Christianity--its nature, its mission--will follow from this study.
 Just as, in my view, _reform_ must naturally precede the securing
 of independence, liberty, and equality, in political dogma, so do I
 believe that the political synthesis, or at any rate a glimpse of this
 synthesis, must, in the new epoch, precede in renovated Europe the
 manifestation of the religious synthesis of the epoch. Rights were of
 yore individual; and it was natural that first the _individual_ should
 be emancipated, that the _instrument_ should be formed to acquire
 an application of those rights in the political department. At the
 present time the reverse is the case. The question is that of the
 _social_ synthesis. The _instrument_ is no longer the _individual_,
 but the people. Therefore the people, which is to secure the religious
 formula, requires to be _constituted_: therefore a political
 revolution before the religious one.

 Only, you know what I have always said: like advanced scouts, secret
 sentinels of human nature, _intelligences_ must begin to proclaim that
 they descry the _new lands_ and the new law. And therefore I should
 have supposed you to be among them; and I still believe that you will
 be among them later on. Meanwhile, as you think that my efforts (and
 be it observed that I am doing nothing) are to subserve the triumph
 of Christianity, so do I think that yours are to subserve the triumph
 of the new synthesis, the _social_ synthesis, philosophy merged into
 religion: because--I do not deny it--my “harmonized dualism” is
 precisely this harmonizing of philosophy with religion--two things
 which hitherto have been at odds, and which will end by coalescing.
 Yours is, without your perceiving it, an eclecticism and no more. Your
 _quid tertium_, neither _catholic_ nor _primitive_ (two distinctions
 as to which I should have much to say), is an Utopia, or rather a
 chimera. You don’t perceive that that which you call _primitive_ is at
 bottom nothing except Christianity in the soul, not any social form;
 that the second epoch--_i.e._ Catholicism--is rightly the application
 of Christianity to society; and that the Reformation--a cynical
 movement, whatever you may say about it--came, in fact, to say of
 Christianity: “You are not susceptible of any social application, of
 any national unity, because you are an individualistic formula and no
 more: stay you in your proper sphere.”

 You and I, I perceive, regard the Reformation, and all things, from
 different points of view.

 And now see what is the outcome of the idea, “Christianity is an
 _eternal_ religion, an unique religious synthesis.” And what of
 mankind prior to Christianity? Oh in what sense do you understand God,
 if you admit that He gave the unique eternal synthesis some thousands
 of years after the race had been created? And the unity of the mind
 of God? A progressive law at the beginning, and an eternal synthesis
 later on? But no more of this; you go too far. Believing as I do, with
 yourself, in continuous progression, there ought to be between us
 only a question of time, but never a denial of a new synthesis when
 the time comes. _Christianity asserts its perfection and eternity as
 a fundamental principle: therefore you cannot, without destroying it,
 say that it is not the whole of truth._ But once again, no more of
 this. Christianity had to profess itself perfect and eternal, and I
 even admit that. But when did Christianity ever affect to be a social
 religion? _That_ is the question. Christianity is the formula of the
 individual, and as such is eternal and perfect to my thinking--for
 that formula is what no one can nullify. It means liberty and
 equality; and who can ever henceforth exclude those two bases of
 progress from the progress of the future? Christianity therefore will
 endure. Only, behind that formula one seeks for another--the social.
 Where is the contradiction?

 Tell me, my Corso, with your hand on your heart. To the arguments
 which I scatter in my letters, hurried, unconnected, and almost
 sportive, the true fruit of profound convictions, and which you
 (permit me to say) shirk a little in your replies, have you anything
 to oppose? Do not some of the things which I say, if you think them
 over seriously, cast some doubts on your mind?

 As to what you cite to me, regarding miracles, and the resurrection
 of Christ, etc., I will not discuss to-day; but I confess to you, it
 seems to me strange that you should regard those as being irrevocably
 proved in history.

 I say it seriously, some one will come to furbish up my ideas, without
 knowing that I advocated them. I am more than likely to die without
 doing this, because I am conscious of my mission, and I know the
 duration of it--and I know that it is not I who will wage the war.
 Truth means to run her course, and she will do it; but I shall not
 lay the foundation-stone of the edifice--I have no future. I have
 discerned, but it is not given to me to do more; therefore I still
 devote these my days to a work very inferior to that which my longings
 would have sought for--the actual production of the instrument. I am
 neither more nor less than a political revolutionist, and to this I
 resign myself. Would that I may at least be that, and wrench this
 Italy that I love out of the mire in which she lies, set her freed
 face to face with her destinies, and say to her, “Now make them yours.”

 As you see, I am writing to Gioberti. Writing thus to all and sundry
 begins to weigh upon me. I have moments of _spleen_, of individualism
 which rebels; and at those moments I seem to myself to be playing
 the prostitute, and making Italian liberty play the like part. For
 if you but knew how many letters, and these to intellects so-called,
 and all useless! But these are moments of irritation, arising out of
 what I have myself been suffering these three years, and this is more
 than you suppose, and you know it not, and never will know it. Then
 I return to myself; and, where I can see any little advantage, any
 symptom of duty, I submit and write.

 Hand also the enclosed lines to Tommaseo, who, like others, does not
 understand me, and does not understand the situation in which we are.

 Have you seen Libri? You will tell me that I am pertinacious; this is
 true. But all those who desert me, without any fault of mine against
 them, and without my being even able to guess the reason, cause me
 real pain.

 If you know Malmusi, or can get at any one who knows him, don’t forget
 to tell him that for the love of God he should reassure me concerning
 the arrival of certain letters of mine: his silence troubles me.

 Of politics I say nothing, as I do not mean to speak about them until
 the first half of the month of October; then I shall have data from
 which to speak. Meanwhile I repeat to you what I told you.

 Did you ever see Buonarroti? Do you know where Bianco is? Of him
 I know nothing of late, and I am anxious to write to him. Do they
 ever write to you from Turin? What Italians are you acquainted with?

  Wish well to your

 Put an envelope on the letter to Gioberti. Write to me what reception
 he gives it. Pray excuse.[102]


[I give here six specimens of my father’s powers as a poet. Setting
aside _San Paolo in Malta_, which is only an improvise, it may be said
that in all these instances the verses rank among his choice things;
though many others could be quoted not inferior. The dates which I give
may be regarded as correct, unless as to the final sonnet, regarding
which I am uncertain.

The lyric, _Aurora del 21 Luglio del 1820_, was, as I have before
said, extremely celebrated in its time; and the _Addio alla Patria_
has always been an admired piece. The _San Paolo in Malta_ is
referred to at p. 61, and testifies to Rossetti’s uncommon power
as an Improvisatore; being as it is in _terza rima_, each rhyme is
triplicated, and thus the improvising effort was all the more arduous.

I leave these poems to the perusal of such readers as are acquainted
with Italian. To try to translate them would be little else than to
scheme deliberately to spoil them.]



  Alato bambino,
    Tiranno de’ cuori,
    Ch’io segua il cammino
    Che innanzi m’infiori?
    Unendomi teco
    Ch’io veggio sì cieco,
    Oh quanto sarei
    Più cieco di te!
  Pur troppo gemei,
    Fanciullo inumano!
    Ma i lacci funesti
    Che al piè mi cingesti
    Del Tempo la mano
    Mi sciolse dal piè.

  A credulo cuore
    Tu scaltro dispensi
    Contento ed ardore
    Che inebbriano i sensi:
    Ma in mezzo al contento
    Prepari il tormento;
    L’ardor ti precede,
    Ti segue il languor.
  Nè l’alma si avvede
    Del passo imprudente
    Che quando a fuggire
    Le manca l’ardire,
    Che quando si sente
    Già vinta dal cuor.

  Quel dì che sul mondo
    Vagisti bambino,
    Un cenno iracondo
    Del sordo Destino
    Di face ferale
    La destra immortale
    Di penne funeste
    Il dorso ti armò.
  Le penne son queste,
    O nume fallace,
    Che a Pari infedele
    Gonfiaron le vele,
    E questa è la face
    Che Troia bruciò.

  Tu godi, o tiranno,
    Di sparger la terra
    Di gioia, d’affanno,
    Di pace, di guerra;
    Ma finta è la pace,
    La guerra è verace,
    L’affanno rimane,
    La gioia sen va.
  Insidie sì strane
    Ci ordisci, ci tendi,
    Che a render prigione
    L’augusta Ragione,
    Tuoi complici rendi
    Ingegno e Beltà.

  Chi crede a’ tuoi detti
    Ne attenda la fine;
    Le rose prometti
    Per dargli le spine:
    Ben sento che giova
    Saperlo per prova;
    Ma troppo al mio cuore
    Tal prova costò.
  La via del dolore
    Io teco calcava;
    Ma in mezzo del corso
    Intesi il Rimorso
    Che _ferma_, gridava,
    Ma tardi gridò.

  Quel giorno che il velo
    Mi cadde dal ciglio,
    Rimasi di gelo
    Scorgendo il periglio:
    Sul velo squarciato,
    Sul laccio spezzato,
    Il canto innalzai
    Di mia libertà.
  Ah libero omai
    Dal giogo abborrito,
    Sull’ara tua stessa
    Crollata, depressa,
    Innalzo pentito
    L’altar d’Amistà.




  Dal tuo leggiadro viso
    Il mio destin dipende:
    D’ugual desio mi accende
      Il tuo desio.
    Dal labbro tuo soltanto
  Ha questo labbro il riso:
    Ha dal tuo ciglio il pianto
      Il ciglio mio.




    Sei pur bella cogli astri sul crine
  Che scintillan quai vivi zaffiri,
  È pur dolce quel fiato che spiri,
  Porporina foriera del dì.
    Col sorriso del pago desio
  Tu ci annunzii dal balzo vicino
  Che d’Italia nell’almo giardino
  Il servaggio per sempre finì.

    Il rampollo d’Enrico e di Carlo,
  Ei ch’ad ambo cotanto somiglia,
  Oggi estese la propria famiglia,
  E non servi ma figli bramò.
    Volontario distese la mano
  Sul volume de’ patti segnati;
  E il volume de’ patti giurati
  Della patria sull’ara posò.

    Una selva di lance si scosse
  All’invito del bellico squillo,
  Ed all’ombra del sacro vessillo
  Un sol voto discorde non fù.
    E fratelli si strinser le mani,
  Dauno, Irpino, Lucano, Sannita;
  Non estinta ma solo sopita
  Era in essi l’antica virtù.

    Ma qual suono di trombe festive!
  Chi s’avanza fra cento coorti?
  Ecco il forte che riede tra i forti,[103]
  Che la patria congiunse col re!
    Oh qual pompa! Le armate falangi
  Sembran fiumi che inondin le strade!
  Ma su tante migliaia di spade
  Una macchia di sangue non v’è.

    Lieta scena! Chi plaude, chi piange,
  Chi diffonde vïole e giacinti,
  Vincitori confusi coi vinti
  Avvicendano il bacio d’amor!
    Dalla reggia passando al tugurio
  Non più finta la gioia festeggia;
  Dal tugurio tornando alla reggia
  Quella gioia si rende maggior.

    Genitrici de’ forti campioni
  Convocati dal sacro stendardo,
  Che cercate col pavido sguardo?
  Non temete, chè tutti son quì.
    Non ritornan da terra nemica,
  Istrumenti di regio misfatto,
  Ma dal campo del vostro riscatto,
  Dove il ramo di pace fiorì.

    O beata fra tante donzelle,
  O beata la ninfa che vede
  Fra que’ prodi l’amante che riede
  Tutto sparso di nobil sudor!
    Il segreto dell’alma pudica
  Le si affaccia sul volto rosato,
  Ed il premio finora negato
  La bellezza prepara al valor.

    Cittadini, posiamo sicuri
  Sotto l’ombra de’ lauri mietuti,
  Ma coi pugni sui brandi temuti
  Stiamo in guardia del patrio terren.
    Nella pace prepara la guerra
  Chi da saggio previene lo stolto:
  Ci sorrida la pace sul volto,
  Ma ci frema la guerra nel sen.

    Che guardate, gelosi stranieri?
  Non uscite dai vostri burroni,
  Chè la stirpe dei prischi leoni
  Più nel sonno languente non è.
    Adorate le vostre catene;
  Chi v’invidia cotanto tesoro?
  Ma lasciate tranquilli coloro
  Che disdegnan sentirsele al piè.

    Se verrete, le vostre consorti,
  Imprecando ai vessilli funesti,
  Si preparin le funebri vesti,
  Chè speranza per esse non v’ha.
    Sazierete la fame de’ corvi,
  Mercenarie falangi di schiavi;
  In chi pugna pe’ dritti degli avi
  Divien cruda la stessa pietà.

    Una spada di libera mano
  È saetta di Giove tonante,
  Ma nel pugno di servo tremante
  Come canna vacilla l’acciar.
    Fia trionfo la morte per noi,
  Fia ruggito l’estremo sospiro;
  Le migliaia di Persia fuggiro,
  I trecento di Sparta restâr!

    E restaron coi brandi ne’ pugni
  Sopra mucchi di corpi svenati,
  E que’ pugni, quantunque gelati,
  Rassembravan disposti a ferir.
    Quello sdegno passava nel figlio
  Cui fù culla lo scudo del padre,
  Ed al figlio diceva la madre,
  “Quest’esempio tu devi seguir.”

    O tutrice dei dritti dell’uomo,
  Che sorridi sul giogo spezzato,
  È pur giunto quel giorno beato
  Che un monarca t’innalza l’altar!
    Tu sul Tebro fumante di sangue
  Passeggiavi qual nembo fremente,
  Ma serena qual’alba ridente
  Sul Sebeto t’assidi a regnar.

    Una larva col santo tuo nome
  Quì sen venne con alta promessa;
  Noi, credendo che fossi tu stessa,
  Adorammo la larva di te:
    Ma, nel mentre fra gl’inni usurpati
  Sfavillava di luce fallace,
  Ella sparve qual sogno fugace,
  Le catene lasciandoci al piè.

    Alla fine tu stessa venisti
  Non ombrata da minimo velo,
  Ed un raggio disceso dal cielo
  Sulla fronte ti veggio brillar.
    Coronata di gigli perenni,
  Alla terra servendo d’esempio,
  Tu scegliesti la reggia per tempio,
  Ove il trono ti serve d’altar.




  Nella notte più serena
  Era in ciel la luna piena:
  Neve il dorso e fiamma il crin
  Riflettea dal mar vicin
  Il Vesèvo che grandeggia
  Come reggia--di Vulcan:
  D’arme grave--anglica nave
  Trascorrea l’equoreo pian.

  Quando il profugo cantore,
  La cui colpa è il patrio amore,
  Atteggiato di martir,
  Schiuse il labbro ad un sospir
  E qual flebile usignuolo,
  Il suo duolo--a disfogar,
  Dal naviglio--volse il ciglio
  La sua terra a salutar.

  O Partenope, egli dice,
  O Partenope infelice,
  Di tua gloria il chiaro dì
  Quasi al nascere morì!
  Ah dal cor t’indrizzo i carmi
  Nel sottrarmi--a reo poter,
  E nel bando--miserando
  Sarai sempre il mio pensier!

  Rè fellon che ci tradisti,
  Tu rapisci e non racquisti:
  Maledetto, o rè fellon,
  Sii dall’austro all’aquilon!
  Maledetto ogni malnato
  Che ha tramato--insiem con te!
  Maledetto--ogni soggetto
  Che ti lambe il sozzo piè!

  Ti sien contro in ogni loco
  Cielo e terra, mare e foco,
  Nè dien tregua a un infedel
  Foco e mare, terra e ciel!
  Sì, ti faccian sempre guerra
  Cielo e terra--foco e mar!
  Ti stia scritto--il tuo delitto
  Sulla mensa e sull’altar!

  Traditor, da quel momento
  Che infrangesti il giuramento,
  Cento stili, o traditor,
  Tendon’ avidi al tuo cor...
  Deh frenate il santo sdegno,
  Non n’è degno--un cor brutal,
  E saetta--di vendetta
  Tenga il luogo del pugnal!

  Che pel fulmine di Dio
  De’ suoi falli ei paghi il fio,
  Ma di Bruto il sacro stil
  Onorar non dee quel vil!
  No, non abbia il vil la gloria
  Che la storia--dica un dì:
  Il nefando--Ferdinando
  Come Cesare perì!

  Mesta Italia, io ti saluto:
  Qual momento hai tu perduto!
  Quel momento, o Dio, chi sà
  Se mai più ritornerà?
  Già sorgea ringiovanita
  L’impigrita--tua virtù...
  Come mai--tornar potrai
  Al languor di servitù?

  Deh perchè non farla, o Sorte,
  O men bella, o almen più forte?
  L’astringesti ad invocar
  Lo straniero infido acciar,
  Onde o vinta o vincitrice
  L’infelice--ognor servì,
  E impugnando--estraneo brando
  Sè medesma ognor ferì.

  Ah crudel, se a questa terra
  Far volevi eterna guerra,
  Perchè darle poi, crudel,
  Questo suolo e questo ciel?
  Quì le vergini di Giove
  Tutte e nove--apriro il vol,
  Quì sfavilla--la scintilla
  Che Prometeo tolse al sol.

  Surse quì la face aurata
  Sull’Europa ottenebrata,
  E l’Europa a quel fulgor
  Si scotea dal suo torpor.
  Cento doti, Italia bella,
  Lieta stella--a te largì;
  Ahi t’invola--quella sola
  Che ti fea regina un dì!

  Libertà, tu fuggi? Ed io...
  Io ti seguo; Italia, addio!
  Libertà, non mai da te,
  Mai non fia ch’io torca il piè!
  Oh se un dì farai ritorno,
  In quel giorno--anch’io verrò;
  Ma infelice--il cor mi dice
  Che mai più non tornerò!

  Sì dicea; ma l’igneo monte
  Decrescea nell’orizzonte,
  E la luna in mezzo al ciel
  S’era ascosa in grigio vel.
  Par che stia con veste oscura
  La Natura--a dolorar,
  Par lamento--il flebil vento,
  Par singulto il rotto mar.

  Addio, terra sventurata!...
  Ma la terra era celata.
  Ei nel duol che l’aggravò
  Chinò ’l capo e singhiozzò.
  Ahi l’amor della sua terra,
  Ahi qual guerra--in sen gli fà!
  Infelice!--il cor gli dice
  Che mai più non tornerà!

  _24 Giugno 1821._


SAN PAOLO IN MALTA--_Canto Improvvisato_

    Poichè l’onda varcai non mai tranquilla
  Ove spiran talor venti insoavi,
  Fra cui Cariddi freme e latra Scilla,
    Scilla e Cariddi che le intere navi
  Ingoian nelle viscere petrose,
  E ne vomitan poi le rotte travi,
    Oltre l’etnee voragini fumose,
  A cui perpetuo april le balze infiora,
  Solcai dell’afro mar le strade ondose.
    In porpora augural sorgea l’aurora,
  Quando un’isola apparve al punto istesso
  A me che meditava in su la prora;
    Isola che in offrir facile accesso
  L’Africa con l’Europa in sè marita,
  A due parti del mondo uscita e ingresso;
    Isola che bilingue e tripartita
  Il passeggier nel suo cammin navale
  Con quattro porti a riposarsi invita.
    Già vi scendea del mio desir sull’ale,
  Quando dall’alto udii voce tonante:
  “Scrivi quel che vedrai, scrivi, o mortale!”
    Levai sorpreso il pallido sembiante,
  E scender vidi nuvola d’argento
  Che agli occhi mi vibrò balen fiammante:
    E dopo un giro vorticoso e lento
  Un cittadin del ciel mi dischiudea,
  E tal che ancor lo veggio, ancor lo sento.
    Gran parte delle sfere onde scendea
  Avea nel volto, e lunga fluttuando
  Sfioccata barba al petto suo pendea.
    Un pallio sinuoso e venerando
  Lo panneggiava, e avea tra fiero e pio
  Un libro in una man, nell’altra un brando.
    All’inspirato suo decor natio
  Riconobbi il maestro delle genti,
  Vaso d’elezïon, lingua di Dio,
    Colui che or con ragioni, or con portenti,
  Apostolo e filosofo, fu vago
  Ne’ varj climi illuminar le menti.
    E poichè offrì la venerata imago
  Del Verbo Eterno in Efeso e Corinto,
  Mostrò l’ignoto Dio nell’Areopago;
    Ed in Damasco dalla grazia vinto,
  Da nemico di Dio fattone messo,
  Ancor vivente al terzo ciel fu spinto.
    Nel ravvisarlo al vivido riflesso,
  Di riverenza l’anima ripiena,
  Mutolo al piè gli caddi e genuflesso.
    L’accerchiata di rai fronte serena
  Paolo abbassando allor: “Sorgi,” mi disse,
  “O figliuol dell’armonica sirena,
    Sorgi e respira. Io so quanto soffrisse
  Di tempeste il tuo cor che un porto chiede,
  E un porto il fausto ciel già ti prefisse.
    Quell’isola gentil che là si vede
  Curvar flavo e petroso il fianco aprico,
  Cui basso il mar lambe amoroso il piede,
    Al tuo vagar fia di ricetto amico.
  Bella ospitalità pronta ai soccorsi
  Colà si annida, ed io per prova il dico;
    Chè poichè Saulo caddi e Paolo sorsi,
  E la spada in gettar presi la penna,
  Vangelizzando l’Orïente io corsi,
    E quella Fè ch’anche gli stolti assenna,
  Fuggendo la tirannide feroce,
  Meco salì sulla velata antenna;
    E ovunque alzando l’inspirata voce,
  In faccia alla fremente Idolatria,
  Rovesciò l’are e vi piantò la croce.
    Or mentre trascorrea l’equorea via,
  E ministra al vagante apostolato
  Pellegrina la Fè meco venia,
    Lo spirto delle tenebre sdegnato
  Contro il mio pin che questo mar fendea
  L’onde rimescolò col freddo fiato,
    E dal nembo mugghiante in cui fremea
  Stese il braccio nemico, e con furore
  Negli scogli spezzò la prora achea.
    Ma quel che impera ai venti alto Signore
  Mi guidò fra quei semplici isolani
  A dissipar le nebbie dell’errore.
    E i varj ne fugai sogni profani,
  Onde impresse vi avean larghe vestigia
  Fenici, Greci, Punici, e Romani:
    E la potenza eterea, equorea, e stigia,
  Dei falsi dei, figli di reo consiglio,
  Per me disparve da Melita e Ogigia.
    Nè sol Giove, Nettun, Pluto, in esiglio
  Mandai dall’are, ma Calipso istessa
  Onde accolti quì furo Ulisse e il figlio.
    E fin d’Ercole Tirio al suol depressa
  Cadde l’imago, cara al volgo insano,
  Che nei numismi ancor si vede impressa.
    Quivi rettile reo mi morse invano,
  Che dai sarmenti accesi in cui soffiava
  Sbucò fischiando e m’addentò la mano;
    E mentre a gonfio collo raddoppiava
  Il morso in questa man, da me sospinto,
  Spense nel foco la maligna bava.
    Ciascun credea che di pallor dipinto,
  Quasi iniquo omicida a Dio rubello,
  Per quel velen cader dovessi estinto.
    Ma sopra i giorni miei vegliava quello
  Che salvi trasse i tre dalla fornace,
  E dai leoni il giovin Danïello.
    Ei volle questo suolo asil di pace,
  Onde fe’ che per me restasse illeso
  Dal tosco d’ogni rettile mordace.
    Del portento insperato ognun sorpreso
  Mi cadde al piè con supplicanti rai,
  Come s’io fossi un dio dal ciel disceso.
    E bene al guardo altrui tal mi mostrai,
  Chè dalle genti estenuate e grame
  Cento pallidi morbi allor fugai.
    Di Publio udii le filïali brame,
  Sì che a suo padre, in preda a morbo ingordo,
  Dell’egra vita rannodai lo stame.
    Tolsi a Morte l’acciar di sangue lordo,
  Sordi e muti guarii, con tal portento
  Che il muto lo narrò, l’intese il sordo.
    Corser d’allor ben cento lustri e cento
  E sempre questi resi almi confini
  Asili dell’industria e del contento.
    E vigilando ognor sui lor destini
  Nel successivo imperversar degli anni
  Scacciai Goti, Normanni, e Saracini.
    Farne una rocca contro agli Ottomanni
  Disegnai poscia, ne parlai nel cielo,
  E mi fe’ plauso il precursor Giovanni.
    Ei che a vittoria del divin vangelo
  Proteggeva un equestre ordin d’onore
  Che pria regnò fra il Libano e il Carmelo,
    Per rinnovarne il pristino splendore
  Meco discese per le vie del tuono
  Del Quinto Carlo a favellarne al core.
    E Carlo allor dal riverito trono
  Per compenso di Rodi (ahi Rodi tristo!)
  Ai campioni di Dio ne fece un dono.
    Ed essi intenti a glorïoso acquisto
  Spinser nautiche flotte all’uopo accolte,
  Il gran sepolcro a liberar di Cristo:
    Tal che in fronte alle turbe infide e stolte,
  Che sparsa avean di sè tremenda fama,
  L’Ordrisia Luna s’ecclissò più volte;
    E sì troncata fu l’iniqua trama
  Che la città che le scacciò con l’armi
  ‘Città Vittoriosa’ ancor si chiama.
    Io resi degni di perpetui carmi
  Que’ Duci ch’al più Sant’Ordine ascritti
  Augusti templi ornar di bronzi e marmi,
    E a render più sicuri i patrii dritti
  Formar nell’arduo inespugnabil sito
  Muniti porti e baluardi invitti.
    Io resi industre il popolo imperito,
  Tal che per lui nel freddo e nell’ardenza
  Lo steril sasso ancor divien fiorito;
    E sì lo prosperai di mia presenza
  Che, mentre Europa avea miseria e guerra,
  Quì fiorivan la pace e l’opulenza.
    Io fei cenno da lungi all’Inghilterra,
  E commisine il freno a quella destra
  Che lo scettro de’ mari in pugno serra.
    Ed or che il vizio infetta ogni terreno
  Melita che virtù non mai discaccia
  La virtù sventurata accoglie in seno.
    Tu vi discendi: io ti farò la traccia:
  Vedrai, figlio, vedrai come a te inerme
  Amorosa accoglienza apra le braccia.
    Nè l’aspe infausto e il velenoso verme
  Temer del vizio all’altrui danno intesi,
  Ch’io là distrussi d’ogni serpe il germe.”
    Disse, e su me vibrò più lampi accesi
  Che in sen mi ravvivâr gli spirti oppressi;
  Nella nube ei si chiuse, a terra io scesi,
    E sull’ospite sponda un bacio impressi.

  _12 Agosto 1821._



  Mira, Ocean, quel principe son io
  Temuto in guerra qual fragor del tuono,
  Che, a sua voglia togliendo e dando il trono,
  Turba d’imbelli rè spinse all’obblio.
  Un trono io m’ebbi; e non mel diede in dono
  La sognata dai rè grazia di Dio;
  A un nume de’ miei pari, al brando mio,
  Terror dell’orbe, debitor ne sono.
  Il Destin quì mi trasse, e non l’Ispano,
  Il Prusso, il gel di Scizia, o i rè tremanti,
  Nè il fulmine temprato in Vaticano.
  Ma quì pur grande. E dov’è mai chi vanti
  Per sua prigione aver l’ampio Oceano,
  E per custodi suoi tutt’i regnanti?




  Abatemarchi, 75

  Aberdeen, Lord, 121

  Abruzzo Citeriore, 6, 90

  Adriatic Sea, 6

  Albany Street, 166, London, 109

  Alberic, Friar, 40

  Alberti, 150

  Alexander VI., Pope, 127

  Alfieri, 18, 47, 85, 150

  Amalfi, 47

  Amantea, Bruno d’, 29

  America, 15, 81, 82

  Amersham, 117

  Antrodoco, 51

  Arcadi, Academy of the, 36

  Ardenti, Academy of the, 36

  Arditi, Cavalier, 19, 20

  Aretino, Leonardo, 145-50

  Ariosto, 73

  Aroux, E., 68

  ---- Dante Hérétique, etc., by, 68, 112

  Ascoli, Duke of, 26

  Athenæum, The, 89

  Attica, 49

  Austria, 1, 23, 41, 48, 131-66

  Avalloni, Baron Giovanni, 15


  Balzac, Honoré de, 143

  ---- Le Livre Mystique, by, 143

  Barberini, Francesco, 150

  Barclay, 118

  Bargello, The, Florence, 144-7

  Barile, 117-9

  Bas-Valais, 168

  Basil, St, 139

  Berio, Marchese, 35

  Bernard, St, 143

  Berni, A., 161

  Berri, Duc de, 80

  Bezzi, Aubrey, 145-6

  Bianchi, 39

  Bianco, 157-73

  Bilbao, 158

  Biondi, 36

  Blake, William, 5

  Boccaccio, 135-41-51

  Boccanera, 17

  Bologna, 131

  ---- University, 121

  Bonaparte, Lucian, 15

  ---- Pierre, 15

  ---- Princess Charlotte, 15

  Borgia, Comendator, 127

  Borrelli, 98

  Boulton, Captain, 164-5

  Bozzelli, 98, 173

  Brighton, 117

  Browning, Mrs, 157

  Buonarroti, Michelangelo, 12, 142, 157

  ---- Signor, 157-73

  Byron, Lord, 117

  ---- The Corsair, by, 117


  Caccavon, 39

  Cagliari, Archbishop of, 104

  Cagnazzi, Archdeacon, 91

  Calderari, The, 40

  Campi, Don Giuseppe, 20

  Campochiaro, Duca di, 35

  Canosa, Principe di, 40

  Capecelatro, Colonel F., 75

  ---- Monsignor, 18

  Capobianco, 42

  Carbonari, The, 40, 41, 42, 44, 48

  Carducci, Conte, 127

  Caroline, Queen (Bonaparte), 3

  Carrascosa, General, 75

  Casa Guidi, Florence, 157

  Casella, 120

  Cassero, Principe di, 35

  Castelcicala, Principe di, 74

  Castlereagh, Lord, 74, 75

  Cecco d’Ascoli, 143

  Cerbara, 69

  Charles, King of Naples (Bourbon), 1, 178

  Charles II., King of Naples, 146

  Charles IV., King of Spain, 19 to 22

  Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, 94, 95, 96, 166

  Charlotte Street, Portland Place, London, 129

  Chaucer, 134

  Chiabrera, 73

  Christian VIII., King of Denmark, 30, 31

  Cicero, 47, 136

  Ciciloni, Ferdinando, 52, 53

  Cimitile, Principe di, 118

  Cinelli, 145

  Clarges Street, 40, London, 162

  Coleridge, S. T., 66

  Colletta, General, 40

  ---- Storia di Napoli, by, 40, 43

  Colonna, Vittoria, 12

  Concordia, Naples, 56

  Constantine the Great, 140

  Corsica, 14

  Corso, 156

  Corunna, 54

  Cosenza, 42

  Costanza, Dr, 50

  Courier, The, 121

  Craufurd, 146

  Cromwell, Oliver, 134

  Crusca, La, 145-6

  Curci, Dr, 39, 126

  Cyrene, 140


  Dante, 10, 40, 65, 82, 84, 99, 110-1-2-31-3-4-6-40-3-4-52-4

  ---- Convito, by, 137

  ---- Divina Commedia, by, 63, 65, 66, 73, 135-7-9-43

  ---- Vita Nuova, by, 137-8-9-46-51

  D’Avalos, 12

  De Luca, Pier, 75

  De Tivoli, 132

  Delavo, Giovanni A., 156-66

  Delécluze, 112

  ---- Amour du Dante, by, 112

  Della Guardia, 7

  Denmark, Princess of, 30

  Disraeli, Isaac, 66

  Donati, Corso, 146-7

  Durso, 39


  Eastlake, Sir C. L., 120-1-5-45, 146-50-4

  Eco (L’) di Savonarola, 100

  Elizabeth, Queen of Spain (Farnese), 1

  England, ix, 5, 44, 62, 65, 66, 68, 81, 82, 90, 105-11-4-31

  Erroll, Countess of, 62, 64

  Escurial, The, 21


  Fanciola, 159

  Fardella, General, 56, 57, 76

  Ferdinand I. (Naples), 2, 3, 12, 13, 19, 21, 22, 24 to 28, 30, 37, 38,
                         40, 41, 42, 47, 48, 51, 54, 75 to 81, 90, 98,

  Ferdinand II. (Naples), 13, 98, 122-4-5

  Ferdinand VII. (Spain), 21

  Fermo, 128

  Ferretti, 36

  Ferri, Cardinal, 128

  ---- Signor, 126-8

  Festing, Miss, ix, 132

  ---- J. H. Frere and his Friends, by, ix, 132-3

  Filelfo, 145

  Finati, Giovanni, 22

  Fitch, Mrs, 117-9

  Florence, 73, 144-5-50

  Florio, 75

  Foggia, 42

  Foscolo, Ugo, 133

  Fouarre, Rue de, Paris, 143

  France, 2, 13, 15, 42, 44, 82, 94, 95, 104-31

  Francis, Emperor, 2

  Fraticelli, 112

  Frederick II., Emperor, 133

  Frentani, 6

  Frere, J. Hookham, 60, 62, 63, 64, 68, 72, 82, 111-22-32-3-6

  ---- J. Tudor, 132

  ---- Susan, 62, 64, 122

  Frome-Selwood, 108


  Gaetani, Padre Vincenzo, 10

  Galassi, 155-7-8

  Galileo, 150

  Gallo, Agostino, 25, 26, 28, 29

  Gandolfini, Giuseppe, 161

  Garibaldi, 92

  Garnett, Richard, vii

  ---- History of Italian Literature, by, ix

  Gatti, 38

  Gazzola, 91

  Gerard Street, 37, London, 76

  Gerardi, 73 to 76

  Germ, The, 89

  Germany, 14, 145

  Giannone, 162

  Gioberti, Vincenzo, 157-72-3

  ---- Primato d’Italia, by, 157

  Giotto, 144-5

  ---- Portrait of Dante by, 144-48-53

  Giovine Italia, La, 93, 159-60

  Gomez-Paloma, Marchesina Luisa, 29

  Graham, Mrs, 129

  Green, 129

  Grey, Lord, 121


  Hallam, Arthur, 66, 112

  Harris and Farquhar, 150

  Hatton Garden, London, 155

  Heimann, Dr Adolf, 114

  Henri IV., 178

  Herculaneum, 111

  Highgate Cemetery, 113

  Holmer Green, Bucks, 117-9-29

  Homer, 37

  Howard, Mrs, 118


  Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 67

  Inland Revenue Office, 108

  Inni e Cantici Cristiani, 70, 73

  Italy, ix, 5, 6, 12, 44, 46, 65, 66, 69, 83, 91, 93, 96, 99,
             102-3-6-9, 113-8-26-7-31-45-58-60-6-72-84-5

  ---- Kingdom of, 3, 144-61

  Ithome, 49


  Janer, 126-7-63

  Jannelli, General, 42

  Jesus Christ, 70, 71, 134-71

  Joachim, King of Naples, 3, 15, 20, 22, 24, 29, 36, 37, 42, 52, 111

  John, St, 135

  Jorio, Canon, 20

  Joseph, King of Naples and Spain, 3, 14, 15, 20, 21

  Jubar, Baron, 30


  Keightley, Thomas, 154

  Kemble, Adelaide (_see_ Sartoris)

  King’s College, London, 72, 83, 107-11-8

  Kirkup, Seymour (Barone), 116-44-9

  Kotzebue, 80


  Lablache, 124

  Labrador (Minister), 22

  Lami, 150

  Latini, Brunetto, 146-7

  Lausanne, 69

  Leopardi, Giacomo, 161

  ---- Epistle to Pepoli, by, 161

  Libri, 157-72

  Little Missenden, 117

  Locarno, 159

  Lombardo-Venetia, 168

  Lombardy, 98, 167

  London, 15, 32, 36, 39, 67, 71, 72, 74, 76, 85, 92, 98, 108-9-10-2-9,

  ---- Bishop of (Blomfield), 118

  ---- University, 83

  Louis Philippe, King, 44, 94

  Louvel, 80

  Lucchesi, Count, 124

  Lugo, 127

  Lusciano, Duke of (Mollo), 78, 79

  Lyell, Charles, 68, 72, 82, 83, 116, 119-24-30-1-2-40-6-52-3

  ---- Sir Leonard, 130-2

  Lyons, 37


  MacIntyre, 119-20

  Magalotti, 136

  ---- La Donna Immaginaria, by, 136

  Malmusi, 157-73

  Malpica, Cesare, 39

  Malta, 5, 50, 56, 60, 62, 67, 73, 75, 76, 111-22-88

  Mamiani, Terenzio, 91

  Marchigiana, Marchesa, 126-7

  Marengo, 155-66

  Maria Caroline, Queen, 2, 3, 13, 24

  Maria Theresa, 2

  Marie Antoinette, 2

  Marini, 147-8

  Maroncelli, Dr, 122-4

  ---- Pietro, 122

  Marseilles, 160

  Marsuppini, C., 150

  Mascagni, 150

  Mazzini, 92, 93, 94, 116-55-6-7

  Mediterranean Sea, 58

  Mendelssohn, Joseph, 66

  ---- Lectures on Rossetti, by, 66, 112

  Messina, 75, 94, 167

  Metastasio, 10, 18

  Milan, 167

  Minasi, 74, 98

  Minichini, Abate, 45

  Mirandola, Pico della, 142

  Molini, 154

  Molza, 142

  Monte Citorio, Rome, 36

  Montecassino, 51

  Monteforte, 45

  Moore, Lady, 54, 55, 57, 58, 76, 77, 111

  ---- Sir Graham, 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 76, 77, 111

  ---- Sir John, 54

  Morelli, 44

  Morning Chronicle, 165-6

  Museo Borbonico, Naples, 18, 19, 22, 27, 55, 111

  Muzzarelli, Monsignor, 91, 127


  Nannucci, Professor, 146

  Naples, 2, 3, 10, 12, 15, 19, 22, 24, 28, 31, 35, 36, 38, 39, 45, 52,
          54, 57, 66, 73, 80, 91, 98, 110-1-57, 182

  ---- Kingdom of, 1, 13, 16, 40, 41, 44, 75, 98

  ---- University, 38

  Napoleon I., 3, 13, 14, 15, 21 to 24, 95, 166-91

  Napoleon III., 15, 95, 105

  Naselli, General, 27, 28, 30

  National British Gallery, 90

  Negri, Maestro, 120-1-4

  Nelson, Lord, 2

  New Testament, 87, 135-40-1

  New York, 159

  Nile, Battle of, 2

  Noja, 25

  Nola, 45

  Norway, 30


  Old Testament, 140-1

  Oliva, 38

  Opinione, L’, 109

  Orezia Academy, 37

  Origen, 140

  Orioli, Professor, 121

  Ouseley, Sir Gore, 118

  Ovid, 6


  Paisiello, Giovanni, 29

  Palermo, 28

  Panizzi, Sir Antonio, 66, 83, 99

  Paolelli, 97

  Papal States, 166

  Paris, 143-55-7-62-4-5-7

  Park Square, Regent’s Park, 122-4

  Parma, 11, 34

  Parthenopean Republic, 2

  Paul, St, 135-42-86

  Peel, Sir Robert, 121

  Pellico, Silvio, 122

  ---- Le Mie Prigioni, by, 122

  Pepe, General Guglielmo, 43, 46, 91, 92, 98, 178

  ---- Memoirs of, 43

  Pepoli, Conte Carlo, 161

  Petrarca, 73, 105-35-41

  Philip V. (Spain), 1

  Pietrocola-Rossetti, Teodorico, ix, 72

  ---- Memoir of Rossetti, by, ix

  Pistrucci, Filippo, 122-5-30-1-55-60 to 163

  Pius VII., 36, 111

  Pius IX., 96, 101-5-7

  Plowden, 150

  Poerio, Major, 75

  Poland, 119

  Polidori, Charlotte, 57, 117-9

  ---- Eliza, 117-9

  ---- Gaetano, 85, 86, 87, 117-24

  ---- Margaret, 126-8

  ---- Mrs, 87, 120

  ---- P. Robert, 117-9

  Poliziano, 143

  Polydore, Henry, 117-9-26

  Pompeii, 111

  Pontanian Society, Naples, 37

  Portinari, Beatrice, 99, 138

  Portinari, Folco, 138

  Porto-Cannone, 42

  Potter, Cipriani, 117-8


  Quattromani, Luigi, 31, 33, 34


  Ragon, 144

  Raphael, 142-6

  Raphael, Sonnets by, 142

  Regaldi, 150

  ---- Carme a Firenze, by, 150

  Reghellini, 134-44

  Ricciardi, Conte Giuseppe, 91, 109, 155-63-4-5-7

  ---- History of Italy, 1850-1900, by, 167

  Rieti, 51, 53, 56

  Rinuccini, 150

  Rochfort, The (Ship), 58

  Rolandi, 159

  Romagna, 127

  Rome, 6, 28, 36, 38, 92, 98, 104, 111-8-27-50

  Rossaroll, General, 75

  Rossetti, Angiola Maria, 6

  Rossetti, Antonio, 6

  Rossetti, Canon Andrea, 6, 7, 9

  Rossetti, Christina G., ix, 15, 88, 89, 108-9-13-7-9-20-3-4-9

  ---- Verses (1847), by, 89

  Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, ix, 7, 88, 89, 90, 106-8-14-7-9-20-3-4-6-8,

  ---- Annunciation, by, 90

  ---- Blessed Damozel, by, 90

  ---- Girlhood of Mary Virgin, by, 90

  ---- Portrait of G. Rossetti, by, 130

  Rossetti, Domenico, 6, 8, 11, 34

  Rossetti, Elizabeth E., 113

  Rossetti, Frances, 86, 87, 88, 106, 108-13-62

  Rossetti, Gabriele, Writings by, ix, 101

  ---- Addio alla Patria, 59, 173

  ---- Alla Difesa, O Cittadini, 48

  ---- Arpa Evangelica, 69, 70, 100, 113

  ---- Aurora del 21 Luglio, 1820, 46, 110-73

  ---- Beatrice di Dante, 68, 69, 83, 84, 101-12-50 to 153

  ---- Birth of Hercules, 17

  Rossetti, Canto Marziale, 110

  ---- Catalogue Raisonné, Museo Borbonico, 22

  ---- Comento Analitico, Dante, 63 to 66, 72, 82, 110-1-2-26-44

  ---- Giulio Sabino, 17, 18

  ---- Hannibal in Capua, 17

  ---- Il Corsaro, 120-1-4

  ---- Marengo, Verses on, 156

  ---- Medora e Corrado, 117-8-20

  ---- Mistero dell’Amor Platonico, 67, 68, 72, 83, 84, 112-40-1-7-9,

  ---- Napoleone a Sant’Elena, 23

  ---- Poems, 1807, 15

  ---- Ricuperata Salute di Ferdinando I., 25, 26, 28

  ---- Roma, Secolo 19, 83, 84, 155, 158-9

  ---- Salterio, 63, 64, 67, 83, 113, 127-54

  ---- San Paolo in Malta, 61, 173-4

  ---- Spirito Antipapale, 66, 67, 72, 83, 112-3-20-4-35-44

  ---- Veggente in Solitudine, 48, 50, 52, 63, 69, 76, 83, 102-13

  ---- Versi, 1847, 29, 31, 69, 100, 155-63-5

  Rossetti, Helen M. M., 156

  Rossetti, Maria Francesca, 88, 89, 108-20-4-8-30

  ---- The Rivulets, by, 89

  Rossetti, Maria Francesca (Pietrocola), 6, 8

  Rossetti, Maria Giuseppe, 6

  Rossetti, Maria Michele, 6, 9

  Rossetti, Mary E. M., 15

  Rossetti, Nicola, 6, 8, 70

  Rossetti, William M., ix, 5, 9, 22, 48, 88, 89, 90, 108-9-19-23

  ---- Memoir of D. G. Rossetti, by, ix, 11, 79, 114-62

  Royal Academy of Music, 117

  Ruffo, Cardinal, 2, 74

  Russia, 23, 119


  Saint Helena, 23

  Saint Mary’s Church, Vasto, 6

  Saliceti, 91

  San Carlo Theatre, Naples, 15, 17, 18, 111

  San Sebastiano, 52, 53

  Sand, 80

  Sangiovanni, Benedetto, 122-4-7

  Santa Croce Church, Florence, 150

  Santa Lucia, Naples, 57

  Santander, 158

  Sardinia, Kingdom of, 64, 104-5-66

  Sartoris, Mrs, 162

  Schlegel, 66, 112

  Scrope, 121

  Sebeto (River), 53

  Shelley, P. B., 45

  ---- Ode to Naples, by, 45

  Sicily, 2, 3, 12, 19, 38, 40

  Sigier, 143

  Silvati, 44

  Società Sebezia, Naples, 29, 30, 36, 37

  Solari, 30

  Soldi, G. B., 161

  Spain, 1, 3, 12, 21, 44, 56, 62, 158-9

  Spectator, The (Newspaper), 108-9

  Spielberg, The, 122

  Spontini, 150

  Stanford, 57

  Strozzi (Mazzini), 173

  Stuart, Lady Dudley, 15

  Suetonius, 20

  Swedenborg, 141-3-4

  Switzerland, 159

  Sylvester, Pope, 140

  Synesius, 140


  Tallent, 119-20

  Tasso, 29, 37, 73, 143

  Taylor Institute, Oxford, 132

  Taylor, J. E., 146

  ---- Michelangelo as a Philosophical Poet, by, 147

  Tennyson, 112

  ---- In Memoriam, by, 112

  Tertullian, 140

  Tiber, The, 35

  Tiberine Academy, 36

  Ticino, Canton of, 168

  Tommaseo, 157-72

  Tommasi, 27

  Trajan, 20, 21

  ---- Statue of, 20

  Turin, 173

  Turin, Archbishop of, 104

  Turkey, 145

  Turrigo, General, 97

  Tuscany, 98

  Two Sicilies, Kingdom of, 1

  Tyrtæus, 49


  University College, London, 83, 114

  Ururi, 42

  Utrecht, 1


  Valletta, 29

  Vantini, 155-7-8-9

  Vardarelli, Brothers, 42

  Vasari, Giorgio, 145

  Vasto, 6 to 9, 65, 110-3

  Vasto, Marchese del, 12, 110

  Vecchioni, 66, 112

  Venice, 91, 92

  Vernon, Lord, 154

  Verona, 21

  Vezzi, Signora, 11

  Villani, Francesco, 145

  Villani, Odoardo, 161

  Virgil, 37


  Wellington, Duke of, 120-1

  William IV., 120-1


  Zatta, 137



[1] Of Nicola Rossetti and Francesca Pietrocola, a respected married
couple, I was born in Vasto, a city in Abruzzo Citeriore, in the
year 1783. My brothers, all senior to me, were Andrea, Antonio,
and Domenico. The first, admired for his pulpit-eloquence, became
a Canon of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, the principal church
in the city. The other two, endowed with much poetical talent, have
left good evidence of this in their compositions. I had also three
sisters--Angiola Maria, Maria Giuseppe, and Maria Michele. The first
died unmarried; the other two married.

[2] I had various masters in the first rudiments of literature;
but none was of so much benefit to me as the one who started me in
“philosophy,” and who also nurtured in me the taste for poetry. He was
a Regular Priest of that province, and he died in Naples at a somewhat
early age. I shall always bless the name of Padre Vincenzo Gaetani.

[3] Now on _my_ hands: one specimen forms our frontispiece. I have
spoken of this matter in my _Memoir of Dante Gabriel Rossetti_, pp.
5 and 6, and I know that my father’s statement concerning it is not
exaggerated. He executed also, towards 1804, a miniature of himself,
of which, writing to his brother Domenico, he speaks in the following
terms:--“A miniature portrait of myself, the work of my own hand when
I exercised myself much in the fine art which imitates visible truths.
I was at that time fresher-looking, and perhaps rather plumper, and
slightly paler; before the sanguine-choleric temperament obtained the
mastery in me with that vigour which it now displays. All who have seen
it aver that it is truly myself.” This miniature used once to be in the
possession of a Signora Vezzi of Parma: I know not where it may now

[4] The Marquis who brought me to Naples was Tommaso, of the famous and
very ancient house of D’Avalos, which was transplanted from Spain to
Italy. [It was the same family as that into which the sixteenth-century
poetess, Vittoria Colonna, beloved by Michelangelo, married.--W.]

[5] Joseph Bonaparte (I need hardly observe) was not strictly a
Frenchman. He was a Corsican, of Corsican or Italian parentage, born
before Corsica had become a French possession. He was thus an Italian,
naturalized as a Frenchman.--W.

[6] My first volume of poems, printed in Naples in 1807, was dedicated
by me to Baron Giovanni Avalloni, who, upon hearing me recite some
of the compositions, voluntarily offered to have the whole of them
printed. That volume, which was never re-issued, must have become very
scarce. [I possess an imperfect copy of it. The poems--some of them
poor, and not any exactly good--deal partly with national events, and
this naturally in a spirit conformable to the Napoleonic _régime_.
There are some strong animadversions on the Bourbon monarchy.--W.] My
dramas, written for the Theatre of San Carlo, were printed at the time;
were they collected together, they would make up a volume.

King Joseph and King Joachim have been depicted by grave historians,
and I will not add anything regarding their public and private
character. But, for truth’s sake, I may say that here in London I was
very well acquainted with Joseph Bonaparte, after he had returned
from America in 1831, and that I found many personal gifts in him to
admire. In his house I saw a good deal not only of him but of his
brother Lucian, his nephew Louis (the present President of the French
Republic), Lucian’s daughter Lady Dudley Stuart, with whom I became
intimately acquainted, and who, at the baptismal font, gave her own
name, Christina, to my younger daughter. I might say that I have known
all the members of that renowned family, either in Naples or in London,
except the great Napoleon, whom I never saw. Joseph was kind-natured
and cultivated in mind; but in Naples, spoiled by courtiers, he was
a bad king. One evening, while I was improvising in his house, his
daughter, Princess Charlotte, made a pencil sketch of me, and she sent
it me framed as a present: I still preserve it. [I also have preserved
it, and have given it to my youngest daughter.--W.] I could here relate
many dialogues which I had with Lucian, his son Pierre, etc., and with
the present French President. But I will only say that Lucian was a
republican, but with many prejudices, and the present President was and
is of a character all puffed up with ambition. Never did I hear from
his lips a single word indicating a liberal spirit.

[7] I possess the printed _Giulio Sabino_, 1809; not the other two

[8] One may suppose it to have been at first a _very_ subordinate post;
for the pay, I find, was only 15 ducats a month, which appears to be
£31, 2s. 6d. a year. Later on it was 28 ducats a month.--W.

[9] Of the very many incidents which occurred to me in the Royal
Museum, and which might furnish matter for anecdote, I will state in
prose the following. In the year 1816 [it must have been in 1819, that
being the year in which Charles IV. died.--W.] there came to Naples
Charles IV., ex-King of Spain, elder brother of Ferdinand, King of
Naples. The latter had also been numbered as fourth; then in Sicily he
became third, and finally, on his return, he was declared first; and in
his island-kingdom this epigram, almost prophetic, had been neatly made
upon him:--

  “Fourth thou wast and now art Third:--
        By subtraction’s rule I’m taught--
  Second--First--may yet be heard,
        Till at last remains a nought.”

When King Charles came to visit the Museum--announced by a formal
dispatch, the beating of drums, and a call to arms by the piquette
stationed at the gate--we presented ourselves to receive him, with
Cavalier Arditi, Director-General of the institution, at our head. The
first section which is ordinarily inspected there is the collection of
statues in marble and bronze, both Latin and Greek--a most important
department on the ground floor, entrusted to my custody. Thus it
became my work to show first those admired treasures to the Spanish
monarch, who spoke Italian very fairly. In the discharge of my office
I pointed out to him the leading objects; and I recollect that in the
first portico I stopped before the statue of Trajan, and I referred to
his rare excellences, saying that he had been the honour of the Roman
Empire and of the Spanish nation. “What, was Trajan a Spaniard?” he
exclaimed with surprise. “Certainly, your majesty, if Suetonius and
other historians did not deceive us.” [_N.B._--“Suetonius” appears to
have been a random shot; he has left us nothing about Trajan.--W.] He
visited the three porticoes and the five galleries, and showed much
pleasure in my explanations. Having gone through the whole, I said
that others would have the honour of showing him the picture-gallery,
the Etruscan vases, the bronze implements, the collection of papyri,
and the immense library, which were kept in the upper apartments. He
said in a determined tone, “Come yourself.” I felt much embarrassed
in obeying, because I knew how jealous were Don Giuseppe Campi, Canon
Jorio, and others, if any one encroached on their departments, and
especially on so solemn an occasion; but I made a bow and obeyed.
He remained on that long visit upwards of four hours, and, highly
satisfied, he left. The following day, towards the same hour, a fresh
beating of drums and a fresh call to arms announced a visitor of
importance. It was again the King of Spain. On his arrival I alone
received him, as neither Cavalier Arditi nor any one else had been
apprised by a dispatch, as on the preceding day, of this unexpected
visit. Entering my small apartment, he asked for a seat, which I at
once gave him. He sat down, and affably added, “Sit down also,” and,
seeing that I hesitated, “Sit down, sit down,” he repeated. He said
that he had returned to re-inspect some of the objects which had most
struck him the previous day, and chiefly the Emperor Trajan--adding:
“Now that I know he was a Spaniard, tell me all you know about him.”
And I failed not to inform him that that Emperor, elected by the
unanimous vote of the Roman Army, was surnamed Optimus; and that after
his death, at the election of every new Cæsar, the senate installed
him in the Empire with the salutation, “Sis bonus ut Trajanus, sis
felix ut Augustus.” That on his accession to the throne he entered
Rome on foot, to denote his disregard of worldly pomp; that, confident
in the love of the entire nation, he abolished the offence of high
treason; that he embraced any persons who came to visit him, and had
his residence inscribed “Public Palace,” in order that all might
enter without the least scruple, as though the house were their own.
In short, I narrated what history sets down about him. On the third
day the King renewed his visit. He remained alone with me, as on the
preceding day, and, assuming a more confidential tone, he enquired
whether I was married. I replied, No. He then told me that a Congress
of Sovereigns was about to assemble in Verona, at which he meant to
claim his throne which had been usurped by his son, with whom he
showed himself very much displeased. “If I return to Spain, of which
I am almost certain,” he added, “you shall come with me, and I will
make you Director of the Escurial.” “But, your sacred Majesty, so many
distinguished Spaniards--” “The one who is there now is my enemy, and
I mean to dismiss him.”--“But I am in employ here, and your august
brother--”--“Oh, I spoke to him about that last evening, and he will
willingly concede you to my wishes.” I bowed, and thanked him for so
much good-will. But a few days passed, and Charles IV. lay a frigid
corpse in his brother’s palace. He was a simple, kindly man, given to
talking, and he held with others the same sort of conversation that
he had held with me. His right was manifest, and his son schemed to
get rid of him by means of his Minister Labrador. This was the rumour
which then ran through Naples. I could relate many other anecdotes
of what happened to me in the Museum, but I leave them alone. I will
only mention that I elucidated those admired monuments in two volumes
entitled _Catalogue Raisonné of the Royal Museum_. In order to give
some credit to a young man whom I liked much--Giovanni Finati, son of
the Controller--I allowed him to have his name on the title-page, with
the condition that the two volumes should be printed at his expense,
while the receipts from the sale should be halved between us. After
my departure he took advantage of my misfortune, and wholly defrauded
me of that labour of mine. The profits became and are entirely his;
whereas he had no share in the work, except only the measuring of the
statues and busts--nothing else. [I possess the book in question.--W.]

[10] This vigorous tirade against the mighty Napoleon, written in
Rossetti’s old age, is no doubt a true expression of his reasoned
opinion, but only of one side of that. It should not be supposed that
he was really blind to the enormous and many-sided genius of the man;
if he condemned, he also most sincerely admired. See the sonnet at p.

[11] This poem by Rossetti forms one in a series bearing the following
title: _Per la Ricuperata Salute di S. M. Ferdinando I., Attestato
di Gioia della Società Sebezia. Napoli, 1819._ Agostino Gallo (named
immediately afterwards) contributed a Sapphic ode. Of course the name
Gallo means “Cock”: Corvo (“Raven,” or bird of ill-omen) is jocularly
proposed as a substitute.--W.

[12] I have read this ode for the express purpose of discovering what
Signor Gallo objected to, and can only see this. There are certain
stanzas in which the overpraise (too truly termed “flatteries” by
the author) takes the form of remonstrance. The King is told that
the nation, in loving him, do in fact love _themselves_; that the
public happiness demands that he should be duly careful of his
invaluable life; and that, at his age, he must not persist in incessant

[13] What I relate of Agostino Gallo, of Palermo, is strictly accurate;
I confirm in prose what I have stated in verse.

[14] This relates to events in the time of King Joachim.--W.

[15] This poem is printed in the _Versi_ of Rossetti (Lausanne, 1847).
It begins, “Tu posi, o giusto, ed io ti seggo al fianco.”--W.

[16] Valletta was a lawyer and a poet. “Fair Paloma” was the Marchesina
Luisa Gomez-Paloma, an associate of the Sebezian Society. The verses
(which begin “Parmi vederti ancor quando animata”) indicate that she
was accomplished both as a vocalist and as a painter.--W.

[17] This is also in the _Versi_. Begins--“Dunque muto per sempre ahi
muto resta.”--W.

[18] Similar remark. Begins--“Sei tu che in questa riva a te natia.”--W.

[19] All that I relate here and in the following Canto is strict
matter of fact. The Prince Royal of Denmark, who was afterwards King
[Christian VIII., who came to the throne in 1839--W.], and is now dead,
was enrolled in the Società Sebezia as an honorary member; and on that
evening when the bust of Torquato Tasso was inaugurated--a fine work
by Signor Solari of Naples,--he was seated, along with all the other
Academicians, beside General Naselli, the honorary President. He was
so impressed by my composition (which formed the close of the stately
proceedings) that he said, embracing me, “May I ask a favour of you?
I should like to have a copy of your poem to present to the Princess,
who, owing to indisposition, was not able to come this evening.”--“I
shall attend to it immediately, and to-morrow you shall receive it.”
That royal couple was held in the highest esteem by all. The Prince,
a man of masculine and imposing presence, had fought with signal
courage against the French, especially in the forests of Norway. The
Princess, a lady of extreme grace and beauty, was universally admired
and praised. Next morning I rose early and copied out the poem; and
hardly had I completed the work (rather a long one, 54 octaves) when
I received a note from Baron Jubar, the Prince’s majordomo, to remind
me of my promise, and invite me to dine with the royal couple the
following day. At table were all the foreign ambassadors, and other
diplomatists. This occurred, so far as I recollect, towards the
beginning of 1820. The Prince invited me various times; and about the
end of that year--when the revolution and the King’s departure had
already occurred--one evening after dinner he called me aside, and
said: “As it is our intention to pass the rest of the winter in several
cities of North Italy, would not you come with us, to instruct the
Princess in your beautiful language?”--“But, your Highness, I am here
employed.”--“I have already spoken to the Minister of the Interior, who
will grant you leave for six months.” A fierce lightning-flash seemed
to strike my mind, and I comprehended that the King was betraying us.
The Prince, cautioned through some diplomatic channel to quit Naples
(as in fact he did), wished to withdraw me from that political danger
in which he perceived me to be greatly entangled. With these sinister
thoughts, I replied thanking him for an offer which highly honoured
me, and saying that I would soon apprise him of my decision. On the
following day I wrote to him that, in the peril to which my country
would soon be exposed, I should be stained with cowardice if I left it;
and that I therefore felt compelled to decline accompanying him in the
proposed tour, an honour which in any other conditions I would gladly
have welcomed. Nor do I repent of what I then did.

[20] The Sapphic ode is likewise in the _Versi_. It begins--“Furon
tristi, O Luigi, i giorni tuoi.”--W.

[21] He died in Parma in July 1816, aged forty-three. The paralysis
which killed him had been going on for about a twelvemonth. My father
had himself more than one stroke of paralysis in his closing years.--W.

[22] Of Biondi I cannot say anything distinct: Ferretti continued
corresponding with Rossetti, in very affectionate terms, after the
latter had settled in London.--W.

[23] I may mention that, besides performing this service under the
Government of King Joachim, Rossetti was enrolled in his National
Guard (or Guard of Internal Security) in Naples. I have a document,
15th December 1814, which shows this. His berth in Rome has been
termed by him elsewhere “a provisional post in the Secretariate of
the Provisional Government, being the post which concerns Public
Instruction and the Fine Arts.”--W.

[24] This occurred in 1817.--W.

[25] Dr Curci, who had a passionate attachment to my father, came to
London to see him towards 1836; Durso also I can remember as having
visited him towards 1840. “Cesare Malpica” is a name I often heard him
pronounce; of Caccavon I am not able to say anything.--W.

[26] The statements here made about the Principe di Canosa are not
inventions; they will be found confirmed in Colletta’s _Storia del
Regno di Napoli_, Book viii. Canosa’s scheme amounted (in general
terms) to an attempt to get up in 1816 a massacre of the Carbonari and
their sympathizers, by a hostile sect named the Calderari.--W.

[27] Consigned to eternal infamy by Dante.--W.

[28] Rossetti was a Carbonaro; but (I understand) he was not enrolled
in that secret society until the second half of the year 1820, when,
as the constitution had been already granted by the King, there was
nothing illegal in his being a member. The word Carbonaro means
literally “coalman, charcoal-burner”: hence certain technical terms of
the sect, occurring further on.--W.

[29] Gaetano Vardarelli, with his two brothers, commanded a formidable
band of brigands (who may or may not have been Carbonari): the whole
band was generally called the Vardarelli. In July 1817 the Government
entered into a dishonouring compromise with these brigands; but soon
afterwards, at Ururi, slaughtered the three Vardarelli and others by
treachery, and, later on, others of the disbanded band at Foggia,
and the remainder underwent military execution. A grimly Italian
incident accompanied the massacre of the brothers Vardarelli. One of
the brothers had outraged the sister of a man from Porto-Cannone. This
man dipped his hands repeatedly in the blood gushing from the corpse,
washed his face in it, and cried to the multitude, “L’ho purgata” (I’ve
washed it clean).--W.

[30] For Capobianco’s judicial murder King Joachim (not Ferdinand)
was responsible; it took place in 1813. Capobianco was a Carbonaro,
young, and of very daring spirit. He was invited by General Jannelli
to a public dinner in Cosenza, well feasted, seized at the moment of
departure, and next day condemned to be beheaded.--W.

[31] What I state here is matter of general knowledge; and, relating as
it does to public events of that agitated period, it belongs more to
history than to biography. Those authors should therefore be consulted
who have treated of it; among whom I recommend the valuable Memoirs of
General Guglielmo Pepe, who was greatly concerned in the occurrences,
in preference to the elegant History of General Pietro Colletta, who,
whether through mis-information or through distorting envy, is not
always a veracious narrator. I have been intimately acquainted with
both these writers; but more than either I prize sacred Truth; and
the little which I state in this note is consequent upon most candid

[32] This remark relates mainly, though not exclusively, to the
condition of France, 1830 to 1848, under King Louis Philippe--a
potentate whom Rossetti most heartily abhorred.--W.

[33] These were two sub-lieutenants of cavalry; after the abolition of
the constitution they were both hanged.--W.

[34] I saw Minichini once or twice in my father’s house--probably
towards 1840. His personal appearance was anything but

[35] This pæan may seem misapplied, considering the rapid collapse of
the Neapolitan emancipation of 1820. That movement was, however, the
first awakening of the Italian national sentiment since 1815, and in
1859 (though Gabriele Rossetti did not live to see it) the great cause
had triumphed. Readers may recollect that Shelley’s _Ode to Naples_
celebrates in exalted terms these same events of 1820.--W.

[36] Rossetti refers here to his most celebrated ode, beginning “Sei
pur bella cogli astri sul crine.” I quote it on p. 177.--W.

[37] I wrote several patriotic odes for that great event of the
revolution of Naples, and I will here name two, which are introduced
into my _Veggente in Solitudine_. They begin thus--

  “Sei pur bella cogli astri sul crine”--
  “Fratelli, all’armi, all’armi!”

I also composed more than sixty manifestoes upon various occurrences;
they circulated in print throughout the whole Carboneria, in which
I was a member of the General Assembly; likewise a brochure of some
length entitled _Alla Difesa, O Cittadini_. This inflamed all hearts,
when the treachery of the perfidious Bourbon King came to be known.
[I possess the brochure in question. It was printed towards the end
of 1820, at the time when Ferdinand I. was still professing to adhere
cordially to the Constitution, notwithstanding the threatening attitude
assumed by Austria. Consequently the tone of the author is highly
respectful towards Ferdinand, at the same time that the nation is urged
to prepare energetically for a war--possible, though as yet not exactly
probable--against Austria.--W.]

[38] Sir Graham Moore, brother of the famous General Sir John Moore,
who died in the field in the campaign of Corunna. The brothers might
truly be called _duo fulmina belli_.

[39] The house in which I kept needfully concealed for three months is
in the Concordia quarter. Opposite it was a meagre invalid, who posted
himself all day at the window, to peer at whatever was going on in the
neighbourhood--which prevented me from getting a little fresh air. One
day, from the shadowed inside of my room, I saw that a funeral-car
stopped at his door. I perceived he must be dead, and I was glad of
it--why conceal the fact? My prying bugbear being gone, I felt more at
liberty, and I wrote for him the following epigrammatic epitaph:--

  “Here lies a man of prying peering art,
    Who in other folk’s affairs made endless pother:
  And he from this world did at last depart,
    Merely to fathom what is done in t’other.”

[I may add that on 18th March 1821, midway between the military
disaster at Rieti on 7th March, and the dissolution of the Parliament
on 21st March, Rossetti procured a Neapolitan passport for either
Spain or Malta; but it seems that he never attempted to use it, but
lay _perdu_ instead, until shipped off to Malta by Admiral Sir Graham

[40] It appears that one of these officers was named Stanford. My aunt,
Charlotte Polidori, being in Naples in 1840, knew something of a Mr
Stanford, who (as she wrote) “knew Rossetti well; it was on _his_ arm
that he leaned when, dressed as an English officer, he went on board.
He would have been put to death, had he not left, merely on account
of his political opinions--on no other subject could a word be said
against him.”--W.

[41] I remember that, when I set off in the coach between the two
English officers, as we passed before the royal palace to reach Santa
Lucia where the skiff awaited, a police inspector exclaimed--“By God!
the man in the middle looks to me like Rossetti!” But the coach passed
rapidly on, and a few moments afterwards I found myself in the skiff,
and then in the ship.

[42] The flagship, a first-class man-of-war. [Rossetti Italianizes
the name into Roccaforte, and then proceeds to some _jeux de mots on
Rocca_ (which in Italian means fortress). I have had to take the second
syllable, fort, for a like purpose.--W.]

[43] The allusion is to the justly-admired lyric by Rossetti,
commencing “Nella notte più serena.” See p. 182.--W.

[44] No doubt this is true; the practice of dictation having been
frequently adopted by my father after the sight of one eye had been
lost totally, and of the other partially. However, the copy of the poem
from which I am translating is all in his own handwriting; and very
good handwriting it is, though done with some perceptible effort.--W.

[45] The chief poem thus improvised was _San Paolo in Malta_. See p.

[46] What I indicate regarding the Right Honourable J. Hookham Frere
is far less than the truth. The life of that admirable and exemplary
man ought to be written. [This was done in publications of the years
1871 and 1899.--W.] All Malta was full of his munificences, and still
resounds his praise; and, when in the sequel I quitted that island
for England, I found wide-spread confirmation of his repute as a most
erudite man, and a genuine Christian. After being English Ambassador in
Spain, he settled in Malta, with his sister Susan, to watch over the
health of his invalid wife in a mild climate: there he had the grief of
losing them both. Oh what excellent women those were! Early in 1846 he
himself, struck by apoplexy, closed his beneficent life.

[47] A reference to the progress of constitutional liberty in the
Sardinian kingdom.--W.

[48] The name of Minasi was known to me from boyhood; but I am unable
to say much about him, or to account in detail for the singular burst
of rage and obloquy (here abridged) which my father bestows upon him.
He held in London some official appointment (perhaps consular) from the
Neapolitan Government, and refugees were prone to speaking of him as a
spy--as to which, see p. 98.--W.

[49] Two members of the Ruffo family were conspicuous as Bourbon
devotees from 1799 onwards. The Cardinal was the more important and
celebrated; but I think the Principe di Castelcicala is here meant. He
was an Ambassador, and as such he lived in London for some years during
my father’s sojourn.--W.

[50] General Rossaroll headed, in 1821, a short-lived insurrection in

[51] General Michele Carrascosa took a leading part in the events of
1820-21 in the Kingdom of Naples. His conduct was not wholly approved
by the constitutional party.--W.

[52] I do not distinctly recognize this name, nor those of Florio and
de Luca.--W.

[53] This must be Colonel Francesco Capecelatro, who was excepted from
the amnesty granted by the King in September 1822. Thirteen persons in
all were excepted; Rossetti figured as the thirteenth.--W.

[54] More than one member of the Poerio family suffered in these
Neapolitan turmoils. The one who went to Malta was, I think, a major in
the army.--W.

[55] The _Veggente in Solitudine_. Rossetti, I gather, embarked from
Malta in January 1824, and reached London in April. His first London
residence was No. 37 Gerard Street, Soho.--W.

[56] I, of course, do not know whether this statement regarding
Ferdinand I. is accurate or not. My father, I am sure, believed it: I
more than once heard him recount it by word of mouth.--W.

[57] I know at least five of these. They are neat, and cannot have been
gratifying to the Lord of Lusciano. Here is one:

  “I read that tragedy whereof you wist;
  And wept in pity ... for the dramatist.”--W.

[58] Literally, “will know how to pierce.” Sand (as it may be hardly
requisite to say) was a German student who on political grounds
assassinated the poet Kotzebue; Louvel, a Frenchman who assassinated
the Duc de Berri, heir to the French throne.

[59] Mr Lyell died in 1849.--W.

[60] The London University, consisting of University College and King’s
College. Rossetti competed for the Italian Professorship in the former,
but Panizzi obtained it; afterwards (1831) in the latter, and there he
was elected.--W.

[61] This phrase must designate the _Salterio_, though the term
would almost equally apply to the _Veggente in Solitudine_. The
three prose works mentioned in the sequel are the _Mistero dell’Amor
Platonico_, the _Beatrice di Dante_, and _Roma verso la Metà del Secolo
Decimonono_. This last, though separately published, is in fact a long
note printed in the _Amor Platonico_.--W.

[62] _i.e._ “a new life.”--W.

[63] Not only in writing, but also in conversation, all matters of this
sort were left in oblivion by my father. I, at any rate, never heard
him refer to them, even distantly.--W.

[64] This is perfectly accurate. Mrs Rossetti shrank from being
eulogized in verse which might one day be published, and I have known
her to plead for the omission of some such matter written by my father.
To me, naturally, it is as pleasant to publish these not exaggerated
praises as to her it was unpleasant to conceive them published.--W.

[65] The date of the proposal was 7th December 1825; of the wedding
(Roman Catholic and English Church), 8th and 10th April 1826.--W.

[66] Taken literally, this is of course correct. But my mother had only
an ordinary modicum of musical practice and aptitude, and neither of my
sisters pursued the art with any zest.--W.

[67] The reference to “ethics” must be chiefly based on Maria
Rossetti’s religious allegory named _The Rivulets_, semi-published in
1846. As to Christina, her volume entitled _Verses_ had been privately
printed in 1847, and the poems which she contributed to _The Germ_
(following a brace in _The Athenæum_) appeared in 1850.--W.

[68] These expressions need not count as an exaggeration. By 1850
Dante Gabriel had exhibited two pictures (one of them now in the
National British Gallery); he had published _The Blessed Damozel_ and
other remarkable poems, and had done a multitude of translations from
Italian, and some from German, poets.--W.

[69] I question whether my father was right in supposing me to resemble
him in person; I should say that, of the two, Dante Gabriel resembled
him more. I have suppressed some lines representative of fatherly
fondness more than of myself.--W.

[70] The Conte Giuseppe Ricciardi was a prominent Republican
politician, an attached friend of Rossetti. He exerted himself
incessantly in the Italian cause; his death took place towards 1885.
Terenzio Mamiani was an admired writer in verse and prose; Monsignor
Muzzarelli a very open-minded churchman. Cagnazzi (I presume the same
person) is spoken of by General Guglielmo Pepe as the “venerable
archdeacon Luccado Samuele Cagnazzi, a profound and learned economist,”
who became President of the Neapolitan Parliament in 1848. The other
names, Saliceti and Gazzola, are identified by me less clearly than
probably they ought to be. Pepe, the hero of Venice in 1848-9, was the
same who had been the hero of Naples in 1820.--W.

[71] I cannot elucidate this matter of Paolelli and Turrigo.--W.

[72] Bozzelli became Minister of the Interior in Naples in 1848, when
Ferdinand II. pretended to re-commence a constitutional government;
he was afterwards Prime Minister, conniving in the cause of reaction.
During the brief simulation of constitutionalism, General Pepe had much
influence over the Government, and he advocated the recall of Rossetti
to Naples. My father was nearly on the brink of returning thither, with
his family, when the Liberal movement was quenched in blood. The other
minister here mentioned, Borrelli, belongs to the earlier constitution
of 1820-21; he was Minister of Police, and persuaded the Parliament to
authorize the departure of Ferdinand I. from Naples; an event which
was pretty soon followed by the repeal of the constitution, and the
proscription of its abettors.--W.

[73] This diatribe is directed against Sir Antonio Panizzi, whose name
is in the original, given at the close of it: I reduce it here to a
comparative trifle, but have not thought it desirable to miss it out
entirely. My father considered that, for some reason or none, Panizzi
had from the first been ill-disposed towards him; and this feeling was
strengthened when Panizzi published an article (or articles) opposing,
and partly ridiculing, my father’s theories concerning Dante, etc. I
am not sure that I ever read the articles; probably they were bitter
(for Panizzi was the reverse of mealy-mouthed); but, when a man says
that Beatrice did not exist, and that Dante was a sort of Freemason,
he must expect that people who are of a contrary opinion will express
themselves forcibly.--W.

[74] They might rather be called notebooks than volumes.--W.

[75] This seems to refer to the volume named--_Versi_, 1847; also to
poems contributed to an Italian Protestantizing magazine, _L’Eco di

[76] Pius IX.--W.

[77] My father lost totally, and very suddenly, the sight of one eye.
After that he was in constant danger of losing also the sight of the
other eye, and he often expected that this would soon be lost. He
did, however, to the end of his life, retain a much enfeebled modicum
of eyesight. In the _expectation_ of becoming wholly blind, he often
spoke and wrote of himself as blind--an exaggeration, but a pardonable

[78] The poem _The Seer in Solitude_ (_Il Veggente in Solitudine_) has
been previously mentioned. It is true that some of the ideas presented
in that poem as visions or presages--as to the liberation of Italy,
etc.--were getting “daily verified” even in Rossetti’s lifetime, and
much more conspicuously so a few years afterwards.--W.

[79] Rossetti here, and in some other parts of the Autobiography,
speaks of himself in an _exalté_ tone, as imbued with a spirit of
prophecy, an instrument in the divine hand for combating despotism,
etc. All this would have seemed forced and presumptuous to a reader
of his own day; yet it was not a mere distempered dream. In less than
ten years from the date of his writing, the thunderbolt had fallen,
and Italian despots and Papal temporal dominion were in the agonies of

[80] Rossetti here dilates (at a length which I have much curtailed)
on a matter now perhaps well-nigh forgotten, the exile in 1850 of the
Archbishops of Turin and Cagliari for obstructing certain laws passed
by the Piedmontese Parliament as a check upon the privileges of the

[81] “He unites the advantages of two rivals--Mars in strength, Adonis
in beauty.”

[82] _Gergo._ The word might be translated as “slang” or “jargon”; but
each of these words conveys a rather incongruous idea to an English
mind, so I say (here and elsewhere) “the sect-language.”

[83] Rossetti’s volume _Lo Spirito Antipapale che produsse la Riforma_.

[84] “L’illusione è sì grande che scuote.” I understand the meaning to
be as here rendered; but the phrase is not entirely clear.

[85] “Not I, if I had a hundred mouths and a hundred tongues, with iron
lungs and iron breast.”

[86] This odd-seeming phrase offers no difficulty to the reader of the
_Vita Nuova_. Dante there says that Beatrice had a special analogy with
the number nine, and was (in a sense) a nine, or a three times three,
whereof the root was the Holy Trinity.

[87] Rossetti’s letter, next before the present one, is dated 13th
December 1836. It would seem (looking to dates) that Mr Lyell’s
acknowledgment of being convinced cannot have applied to anything
contained in that letter, but to something in the proofs, then passing
through his hands, of the _Mistero dell’Amor Platonico_.

[88] _i.e._ “To remember is a sweet thought, and I rejoice.” My father
proceeds here to quote the entire sonnet, underlining some words, and
offering brief comments. I question whether the English reader would
thank me for reproducing the whole. As regards the other (second)
sonnet which follows, I give the whole of the octave, with comments.

[89] Translation: “As Paul, when he had descended from heaven, could
not speak of the arcana of God, so my heart has covered all my thoughts
with an amorous veil. Wherefore, for joy which I hide in my heart,
I keep silence as to all that I saw and all that I did; and I shall
change the hair on my brow sooner than guilty thoughts shall ever
reverse the obligation.” I have translated the last line in conformity
with the annotation made by my father, which runs thus: “‘Che mai
pensier rei volger possano in me l’obbligo’ to keep silence, as he has
said.” I feel, however, some considerable doubt whether this is the
true order of the words, which are, as a matter of mere construing,
anything but clear. It might be possible to attempt some conjectural
emendation in the words, but I forbear.

[90] These words come from Dante’s _Paradiso_: “In Rue du Fouarre,
syllogizing invidious truths.”

[91] Mr Taylor was a member of the firm that printed Rossetti’s _Amor
Platonico_. His book was, I think, _Michelangelo considered as a
Philosophic Poet_.

[92] _i.e._ The _Mistero dell’Amor Platonico_--which was dedicated to
Mr Kirkup.

[93] By the phrase “your circumstances” Mazzini, I think, refers not so
much to moderate pecuniary means, but rather to the fact that Rossetti,
maintaining himself and his family by the teaching of Italian in
private families and schools, could not with any prudence put himself
forward as a revolutionary agitator. I am satisfied that he did _not_
join the Association named by Mazzini.

[94] The Conte Carlo Pepoli, a member of an ancient and highly
distinguished Bolognese family, was then a political exile in London.
He ultimately became a Senator of the Italian Kingdom. An epistle
in verse had, in his youth, been addressed to him by the great poet

[95] Adelaide Kemble, afterwards Mrs Sartoris.

[96] He was, I think, a music-master in Paris.

[97] The address (as noted down by my mother on Mazzini’s letter) was
No. 40 Clarges Street.

[98] As I have mentioned in my published Memoir of Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, my father spoke at this Anniversary-meeting, followed by

[99] This must have been a _different_ celebration from that in which
Signor Delavo was concerned. The latter was fixed for 14th May, the
anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.

[100] King Charles Albert, of Piedmont, who had to abdicate in 1849.

[101] Mazzini’s word (indistinctly written) appears to be “raccolta,”
which frequently means “harvest,” but may probably here mean
“subscription.” Perhaps it was a public subscription for reinstating
amnestied emigrants in the Papal States.

[102] The Italian word looks something like “compatisci,” which
corresponds to “excuse”; I am not certain about it.

[103] General Guglielmo Pepe.

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