Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/540

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496
[CANTO IV.
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

a question which of the Lords of Verona could boast of having patronised him,[1] and the jealous scepticism of one writer would not allow Ravenna the undoubted possession of his bones. Even the critical Tiraboschi was inclined to believe that the poet had foreseen and foretold one of the discoveries of Galileo.—Like the great originals of other nations, his popularity has not always maintained the same level. The last age seemed inclined to undervalue him as a model and a study: and Bettinelli one day rebuked his pupil Monti, for poring over the harsh and obsolete extravagances of the Commedia. The present generation having recovered from the Gallic idolatries of Cesarotti, has returned to the ancient worship, and the Danteggiare of the northern Italians is thought even indiscreet by the more moderate Tuscans.

There is still much carious information relative to the life and writings of this great poet, which has not as yet been collected even by the Italians; but the celebrated Ugo Foscolo meditates to supply this defect, and it is not to be regretted that this national work has been reserved for one so devoted to his country and the cause of truth.


19.

Like Scipio, buried by the upbraiding shore:
Thy factions, in their worse than civil war,
Proscribed, etc.

Stanza lvii. lines 2, 3, and 4.

The elder Scipio Africanus had a tomb if he was not buried at Liternum, whither he had retired to voluntary banishment. This tomb was near the sea-shore, and the story of an inscription upon it, Ingrata Patria, having given a name to a modern tower, is, if not true, an agreeable fiction. If he was not buried, he certainly lived there.[2]

"In così angusta & solitaria uilla
Era grand' huom che d' Aphrica s' appella,
Perche prima col ferro al uiuo aprilla."[3]

  1. Gio Jacopo Dionisi Canonico di Verona. Serie di Aneddoti, n. 2. See Storia, etc., edit. Venice, 1795, tom. v. lib. i. par. i. p. 24, note.
  2. "Vitam Literni egit sine desiderio urbis." See T. Liv., Hist., lib. xxxviii. cap. liii. Livy reports that some said he was buried at Liternum, others at Rome. Ibid., cap. lv.
  3. Trionfo delta Castilà, Opera Petrarchæ, Basil, 1554, i. s.f.