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“ died at Ravenna. There is something inspiring in such an air. *
The following lines will shew the attachment Lord Byron had to the tranquil life he led at Ravenna:
Sweet hour of twilight, in the solitude
Of the pine-forest and the silent shore Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood,
Rooted where once the Adrian wave flow'd o'er To where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,
Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to me,
How have I loved the twilight hour and thee ! The shrill cicalas, people of the pine,
Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, Were the sole echoes save my steed's and mine, And vesper bell's that rose the boughs among.
Don Juan, Canto III. Stanza 105.
“ The people liked me, as much as they “ hated the Government. It is not a little “ to say, I was popular with all the leaders “ of the Constitutional party. They knew “ that I came from a land of liberty, and 56 wished well to their cause. I would have
espoused it too, and assisted them to shake " off their fetters. They knew my character, “ for I had been living two years at Venice, “ where many of the Ravennese have houses. “I did not, however, take part in their in“ trigues, nor join in their political coteries ; “ but I had a magazine of one hundred stand “ of arms in the house, when every thing
was ripe for revolt. A curse on Carignan's
imbecility! I could have pardoned him 6 that too, if he had not impeached his par“ tisans. The proscription was immense in
Romagna, and embraced many of the first “ nobles: almost all my friends, among the “ rest the Gambas, who took no part in the affair, were included in it.
They were “ exiled, and their possessions confiscated.
They knew that this must eventually drive “me out of the country. I did not follow “ them immediately ; I was not to be bullied. “ I had myself fallen under the eye of the “ Government. If they could have got suf“- ficient proof, they would have arrested me: “ but no one betrayed me; indeed there was
nothing to betray. I had received a very
high degree, without passing through the " intermediate ranks. In that corner you see
papers of one of their societies. Shortly “after the plot was discovered, I received “ several anonymous letters, advising me to “ discontinue my forest rides; but I enter“ tained no apprehensions of treachery, and
was more on horseback than ever. I never “ stir out without being well armed, and sleep “ with pistols. They knew that I never “missed my aim; perhaps this saved me. “ An event occurred at this time at Ravenna " that made a deep impression on me: I “ alluded to it in 'Don Juan.' The military “ Commandant of the place, who, though
suspected of being secretly a Carbonaro,
was too powerful a man to be arrested, was “ assassinated opposite to my palace; a spot
perhaps selected by choice for the commis“ sion of the crime. The
which " adopted to screen the murderer prove the “ assassination to have taken place by order of " the police. I had my foot in the stirrup at
my usual hour of exercise, when my horse “ started at the report of a gun. On looking
up I perceived a man throw down a carbine “ and run away at full speed, and another “ stretched upon the pavement, a few yards " from me.
On hastening towards him, I
“ found that it was the unhappy Commandant. “ A crowd was soon collected, but no one ven“ tured to offer the least assistance. I soon “ directed my servant to lift up the bleeding “ body and carry it into my palace; but it was
represented to me that by so doing I should " confirm the suspicion of being of his party, “ and incur the displeasure of the Govern“ ment. However, it was no time to calcu6 late between humanity and danger. I as“ sisted in bearing him into the house, and “putting him on a bed. He was already “ dead from several wounds; he appeared to “ have breathed his last without a struggle. 66 I never saw a countenance so calm. His “ adjutant followed the corpse into the house. " I remember his lamentation over him: "Povero diavolo ! non aveva fatto male,
anchè ad un cane.'