William Wordsworth

Epitaphs Translated From Chiabrera

I WEEP not, beloved Friends! nor let the air For me with sighs be troubled. Not from life Have I been taken; this is genuine life And this alone--the life which now I live In peace eternal; where desire and joy Together move in fellowship without end.-- Francesco Ceni willed that, after death, His tombstone thus should speak for him. And surely Small cause there is for that fond wish of ours Long to continue in this world; a world That keeps not faith, nor yet can point a hope To good, whereof itself is destitute. II PERHAPS some needful service of the State Drew TITUS from the depth of studious bowers, And doomed him to contend in faithless courts, Where gold determines between right and wrong. Yet did at length his loyalty of heart, And his pure native genius, lead him back To wait upon the bright and gracious Muses, Whom he had early loved. And not in vain Such course he held! Bologna's learned schools Were gladdened by the Sage's voice, and hung With fondness on those sweet Nestorian strains. There pleasure crowned his days; and all his thoughts A roseate fragrance breathed.--O human life, That never art secure from dolorous change! Behold a high injunction suddenly To Arno's side hath brought him, and he charmed A Tuscan audience: but full soon was called To the perpetual silence of the grave. Mourn, Italy, the loss of him who stood A Champion stedfast and invincible, To quell the rage of literary War! III O THOU who movest onward with a mind Intent upon thy way, pause, though in haste! 'Twill be no fruitless moment. I was born Within Savona's walls, of gentle blood. On Tiber's banks my youth was dedicate To sacred studies; and the Roman Shepherd Gave to my charge Urbino's numerous flock. Well did I watch, much laboured, nor had power To escape from many and strange indignities; Was smitten by the great ones of the world, But did not fall; for Virtue braves all shocks, Upon herself resting immoveably. Me did a kindlier fortune then invite To serve the glorious Henry, King of France, And in his hands I saw a high reward Stretched out for my acceptance,--but Death came. Now, Reader, learn from this my fate, how false, How treacherous to her promise, is the world; And trust in God--to whose eternal doom Must bend the sceptred Potentates of earth. IV THERE never breathed a man who, when his life Was closing, might not of that life relate Toils long and hard.--The warrior will report Of wounds, and bright swords flashing in the field, And blast of trumpets. He who hath been doomed To bow his forehead in the courts of kings, Will tell of fraud and never-ceasing hate, Envy and heart-inquietude, derived From intricate cabals of treacherous friends. I, who on shipboard lived from earliest youth, Could represent the countenance horrible Of the vexed waters, and the indignant rage Of Auster and Bootes. Fifty years Over the well-steered galleys did I rule:-- From huge Pelorus to the Atlantic pillars, Rises no mountain to mine eyes unknown; And the broad gulfs I traversed oft and oft: Of every cloud which in the heavens might stir I knew the force; and hence the rough sea's pride Availed not to my Vessel's overthrow. What noble pomp and frequent have not I On regal decks beheld! yet in the end I learned that one poor moment can suffice To equalise the lofty and the low. We sail the sea of life--a 'Calm' One finds, And One a 'Tempest'--and, the voyage o'er, Death is the quiet haven of us all. If more of my condition ye would know, Savona was my birth-place, and I sprang Of noble parents; seventy years and three Lived I--then yielded to a slow disease. V TRUE is it that Ambrosio Salinero With an untoward fate was long involved In odious litigation; and full long, Fate harder still! had he to endure assaults Of racking malady. And true it is That not the less a frank courageous heart And buoyant spirit triumphed over pain; And he was strong to follow in the steps Of the fair Muses. Not a covert path Leads to the dear Parnassian forest's shade, That might from him be hidden; not a track Mounts to pellucid Hippocrene, but he Had traced its windings.--This Savona knows, Yet no sepulchral honours to her Son She paid, for in our age the heart is ruled Only by gold. And now a simple stone Inscribed with this memorial here is raised By his bereft, his lonely, Chiabrera. Think not, O Passenger! who read'st the lines, That an exceeding love hath dazzled me; No--he was One whose memory ought to spread Where'er Permessus bears an honoured name, And live as long as its pure stream shall flow. VI DESTINED to war from very infancy Was I, Roberto Dati, and I took In Malta the white symbol of the Cross: Nor in life's vigorous season did I shun Hazard or toil; among the sands was seen Of Libya; and not seldom, on the banks Of wide Hungarian Danube, 'twas my lot To hear the sanguinary trumpet sounded. So lived I, and repined not at such fate: This only grieves me, for it seems a wrong, That stripped of arms I to my end am brought On the soft down of my paternal home. Yet haply Arno shall be spared all cause To blush for me. Thou, loiter not nor halt In thy appointed way, and bear in mind How fleeting and how frail is human life! VII O FLOWER of all that springs from gentle blood, And all that generous nurture breeds to make Youth amiable; O friend so true of soul To fair Aglaia; by what envy moved, Lelius! has death cut short thy brilliant day In its sweet opening? and what dire mishap Has from Savona torn her best delight? For thee she mourns, nor e'er will cease to mourn; And, should the out-pourings of her eyes suffice not For her heart's grief, she will entreat Sebeto Not to withhold his bounteous aid, Sebeto Who saw thee, on his margin, yield to death, In the chaste arms of thy beloved Love! What profit riches? what does youth avail? Dust are our hopes;--I, weeping bitterly, Penned these sad lines, nor can forbear to pray That every gentle Spirit hither led May read them, not without some bitter tears. VIII NOT without heavy grief of heart did He On whom the duty fell (for at that time The father sojourned in a distant land) Deposit in the hollow of this tomb A brother's Child, most tenderly beloved! FRANCESCO was the name the Youth had borne, POZZOBONNELLI his illustrious house; And, when beneath this stone the Corse was laid, The eyes of all Savona streamed with tears. Alas! the twentieth April of his life Had scarcely flowered: and at this early time, By genuine virtue he inspired a hope That greatly cheered his country: to his kin He promised comfort; and the flattering thoughts His friends had in their fondness entertained, He suffered not to languish or decay. Now is there not good reason to break forth Into a passionate lament?--O Soul! Short while a Pilgrim in our nether world, Do thou enjoy the calm empyreal air; And round this earthly tomb let roses rise, An everlasting spring! in memory Of that delightful fragrance which was once From thy mild manners quietly exhaled. IX PAUSE, courteous Spirit!--Balbi supplicates That Thou, with no reluctant voice, for him Here laid in mortal darkness, wouldst prefer A prayer to the Redeemer of the world. This to the dead by sacred right belongs; All else is nothing.--Did occasion suit To tell his worth, the marble of this tomb Would ill suffice: for Plato's lore sublime, And all the wisdom of the Stagyrite, Enriched and beautified his studious mind: With Archimedes also he conversed As with a chosen friend, nor did he leave Those laureat wreaths ungathered which the Nymphs Twine near their loved Permessus.--Finally, Himself above each lower thought uplifting, His ears he closed to listen to the songs Which Sion's Kings did consecrate of old; And his Permessus found on Lebanon. A blessed Man! who of protracted days Made not, as thousands do, a vulgar sleep; But truly did 'He' live his life. Urbino, Take pride in him!--O Passenger, farewell!

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