« AnteriorContinua »
burghers of these towns we owe the art of printing,—the revival of painting, the discovery of the mariner's compass, with all its attendant train of benefits,-a New World, and the passage, by sea, to the East. These we owe to the traders of Flanders, and of the Italian cities.
For what are we to thank the feudal barons of France and England? Ignorance, craft, cruelty, and superstition, were all the seed they sowed; and the crop was proportionably barren. They produced, however, a great number of very respectable 'robbers and pyllers,' fellows whose merit consisted in the bullying bravery of highwaymen, combined with something less than the honesty of a modern pickpocket. Ignorant and barbarous themselves, they seized routes of mules,' laden with the produce of other people's skill and industry; and these are the sort of men whom we are told to admire, duly despising the race who did no more for humanity than to confer on it all that we at this day consider as giving to it value, and refinement, and beauty. It is not too much to say that we owe all these to the merchants of Bruges and Venice, of Ghent and of Genoa, of Brussels and of Florence. As for the knights and barons, they could neither read nor write; they could only give and receive dry blows, and foul language.
EXERCISE XLV.—ANIMAL HAPPINESS.-Cowper.
[Description, interspersed with reflection, requires-as in the following example,-attention to change of tone, the reader passes from the one to the other; the former marked by the moderate force, middle pitch, and lively rate,—the latter, by softer, but graver, and slower utterance.]
Here,* unmolested,-through whatever sign
* Referring to a shady walk, a favourite resort of the poet.
Scarce shuns me; and the stockdove, unalarm'd,
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
Nor feels their happiness augment his own.
When none pursues,-through mere delight of heart,
The horse, as wanton and almost as fleet,
EXERCISE XLVI.-DIALOGUE FROM THE
'TRIUMPH OF LUCCA.'
Scene,-the Senate-house: Speakers,—Gonsalvi, Castruccio,* Nobles, Attendants; the Senators in session: to them enters Gonsalvi.
[See remarks introductory to EXERCISE XXX.]
Noble. Our treasury's low, my lord.
And so is ours,
The goldsmiths round our market-place are rich:
As more obedient,-right that they should pay
I leave you till to-morrow, when I bring
And will receive your homage and your oaths. [Exit.]
To day must fix his fate. What is his doom? Several Nobles. Death!
Noble. The noise approaches! look ye to your swords,
[While yet speaking, Castruccio enters armed and attended,— having been rescued by the people.]
*Pronounced Castroocho :-ch as in church.
The Senate of Lucca, actuated by envy of the patriot chief Castruccio, had imprisoned him, and proposed submission to the sway of the Florentines, their enemies.
Not yet, not by your hand! Thanks, gentlemen, For an indifferent lodging. I have learned That prisons tenanted with thoughts of death, Are not a punishment to order lightly; Therefore ye shall not fill my vacant place. Noble. The game is yours.-I, for one, ask not mercy. Cas. And therefore worthier to have unasked. Ye do mistake me, signors: all my thoughts To you are grateful ones. But for your rash And ill-advised attempt, I had not known How true the love on which my power is built, How strong the cause the people trust with me! Gon. [Re-entering.]
must demand some escort; for the streets
Cas. Ready to give the Count Gonsalvi* audience,
And ask, what are the terms he brings from Florence? Gon. With these, the representatives of Lucca,† I have arranged our treaty.
On what terms?
Gon. That ye submit yourselves, and pledge your faith,
Gon. These are her chiefs;-in their consent she yields.
You see that they are silent.-By my voice
To terms like these, she has but one reply-defiance.
Gon. Florence will teach you better in the field!
This to your conqueror? not three weeks have passed
*Pronounced Gonzalvee. † Pronounced Lookka.
Gon. 'Twas an unlucky chance of war.
Not so, my
Ye were aggressors, and ye fought like such,
Cas. War or submission! sad such choice and stern:
Gon. Have ye no other answer?
Gon. I take your answer.-War, then, to the death!-[Exit.] Voble. Are ye not rash in this? how weak our state, Compared with Florence!
None;-Cesario is your escort to the gates.
Twice have we met them in the open field,