Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/534

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490
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

in tolerable preservation; and the Scythian slave whetting the knife, is represented exactly in the same position as this celebrated masterpiece. The slave is not naked; but it is easier to get rid of this difficulty than to suppose the knife in the hand of the Florentine statue an instrument for shaving, which it must be, if, as Lanzi supposes, the man is no other than the barber of Julius Cæsar. Winckelmann, illustrating a bas-relief of the same subject, follows the opinion of Leonard Agostini, and his authority might have been thought conclusive, even if the resemblance did not strike the most careless observer.[1] Amongst the bronzes of the same princely collection, is still to be seen the inscribed tablet copied and commented upon by Mr. Gibbon.[2] Our historian found some difficulties, but did not desist from his illustration. He might be vexed to hear that his criticism has been thrown away on an inscription now generally recognised to be a forgery.


15.

In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie.

Stanza liv. line 1.

This name will recall the memory, not only of those whose tombs have raised the Santa Croce into the centre of pilgrimage—the Mecca of Italy—but of her whose eloquence was poured over the illustrious ashes, and whose voice is now as mute as those she sung. Corinna is no more; and with her should expire the fear, the flattery, and the envy, which threw too dazzling or too dark a cloud round the march of genius, and forbad the steady gaze of disinterested criticism. We have her picture embellished or distorted, as friendship or detraction has held the pencil: the impartial portrait was hardly to be expected from a contemporary. The immediate voice of her survivors will, it is probable, be far from affording a just estimate of her singular capacity. The gallantry, the love of wonder, and the hope of associated fame, which blunted the edge of censure, must cease to exist.—The dead have no sex; they can surprise by no new miracles; they can confer no privilege: Corinna has ceased to be a woman—she is only an author; and it may be foreseen that many will repay themselves for former complaisance, by a severity

  1. See Monum. Ant. Ined., 1767, ii. par. i. cap. xvii. sect. iii. p. 50; and Storia delle Arti, etc., lib. xi. cap. i. tom ii. p. 314, note B.
  2. Nomina gentesque Antiquæ Italiæ (Gibbon, Miscell. Works, 1814), p. 204, edit. oct.