Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/547

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
CANTO IV.]
503
CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE.

incapable race of mortals, who, whatever they either like not, or know not, or cannot do, are sure to reprehend in others; and on those occasions only put on a show of learning and eloquence, but otherwise are entirely dumb."[1]

It is satisfactory to find that all the priesthood do not resemble those of Certaldo, and that one of them who did not possess the bones of Boccaccio would not lose the opportunity of raising a cenotaph to his memory. Bevius, canon of Padua, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, erected at Arquà, opposite to the tomb of the Laureate, a tablet, in which he associated Boccaccio to the equal honours of Dante and of Petrarch.


22.

What is her Pyramid of precious stones?

Stanza lx. line 1.

Our veneration for the Medici begins with Cosmo and expires with his grandson; that stream is pure only at the source; and it is in search of some memorial of the virtuous republicans of the family that we visit the church of St. Lorenzo at Florence. The tawdry, glaring, unfinished chapel in that church, designed for the mausoleum of the Dukes of Tuscany, set round with crowns and coffins, gives birth to no emotions but those of contempt for the lavish vanity of a race of despots, whilst the pavement slab, simply inscribed to the Father of his Country, reconciles us to the name of Medici.[2] It was very natural for Corinna[3] to suppose that the statue raised to the Duke of Urbino in the capella de' depositi was intended for his great namesake; but the magnificent Lorenzo is only the sharer of a coffin half hidden in a niche of the sacristy. The decay of Tuscany dates from the sovereignty of the Medici. Of the sepulchral peace which succeeded to the establishment of the reigning families in Italy, our own Sidney has given us a glowing, but a faithful picture. "Notwithstanding all the seditions of Florence, and other cities of Tuscany, the horrid factions of Guelphs and Ghibelins, Neri and Bianchi, nobles and commons, they continued populous, strong, and exceeding rich; but in the space of less than a hundred and fifty years, the peaceable reign of the Medices is thought to have destroyed nine parts in ten of the people

  1. Opera, i. 540, edit. Basil, 1581.
  2. Cosmus Medices, Decreto Publico, Pater Patriæ.
  3. Corinne, 1819, liv. xviii. chap. iii. vol. iii. p. 218.