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“ To use an expression of Jeffrey's, 'If she “ has blue stockings, she contrives that her
petticoat shall hide them."
Lord Byron is certainly very much attached to her, without being actually in love. His description of the Giorgione in the Manfrini palace at Venice is meant for the Countess. The beautiful sonnet prefixed to the ‘Prophecy of Dante' was addressed to her ; and I cannot resist copying some stanzas written when he was about to quit Venice to join her at Ravenna, which will describe the state of his feelings at that time.
River* that rollest by the ancient walls
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she Walks by the brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me:
What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed ?
What do I say-a mirror of my heart ?
Are not thy waters sweeping, dark and strong ? Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;
And such as thou art, were my passions long.
Time may have somewhat tamed them, not for
Thou overflow'st thy banks, and not for aye ; Thy bosom overboils, congenial river!
Thy floods subside; and mine have sunk
But left long wrecks behind them, and again
Borne on our old unchanged career, we move; Thou tendest wildly onward to the main,
And I to loving one I should not love.
The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls, and murmur at her feet; Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, unharm'd by summer's heat.
She will look on thee; I have look'd on thee,
Full of that thought, and from that moment ne'er Thy waters could I dream of, name or see,
Without the inseparable sigh for her.
Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream;
Yes, they will meet the wave I gaze on now: Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
That happy wave repass me in its flow.
The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep? Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore ;
I near thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.
But that which keepeth us apart is not
Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth, But the distraction of a various lot,
As various as the climates of our birth.
A stranger loves a lady of the land,
Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood Is all meridian, as if never fann'd
By the bleak wind that chills the polar flood.
My blood is all meridian; were it not,
I had not left my clime;--I shall not be, In spite of tortures ne'er to be forgot,
A slave again of love, at least of thee.
'Tis vain to struggle-let me perish young
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved : To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,
And then at least my heart can ne'er be moved.
Calling on Lord Byron one evening after the
opera, we happened to talk of Cavalieri Serventi, and Italian women ; and he contended that much was to be said in excuse for them, and in defence of the system.
“ We will put out of the question,” said he, “a Cavalier Serventecism; that is only “ another term for prostitution, where the
women get all the money they can, and “ have (as is the case in all such contracts)
no love to give in exchange.-I speak of “ another, and of a different service."
“ Do you know how a girl is brought up “ here?” continued he. Almost from in
fancy she is deprived of the endearments “of home, and shut up in a convent till she “ has attained a marriageable or marketable
age. The father now looks out for a suit“able son-in-law. As a certain portion of his “ fortune is fixed by law for the dower of his