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whilst the damsels who were about her knew neither what heart it was, nor what those her words imported ; but being moved with pity, they joined with her, begging to know the cause of her grief, and endeavouring all they could to comfort her, After she had lamented as much as she thought proper, she raised up her head, and wiping her eyes, said, “ Thou beart, most dearly beloved ! all my duty is now performed towards thee; nothing more remains, but for my soul to accompany thine." Upon this she bade them reach the vessel of water, which she had prepared the day before, and pouring it into the cup with the heart, which she had sufficiently washed with her tears, she drank it all off without the least dread or apprehension; and then threw herself upon the bed with the cup in her hand, composing her body as decently as she could, and pressing her lover's heart to her's, she lay without uttering a word more, expecting death. The maids, when they saw this, though they knew not what it was she had drunk, sent to acquaint Tancred; who fearing what had really happened, came into the room soon after she had laid herself down, and finding it was too late, began to lament most grievously. She then said to him, “ Sir, save those tears against worse fortune that may happen, for I want them not. Who but yourself would mourn for a thing of your own doing? But if any part of that love now remains in you, which you once had for me,

the last request I shall make is, that as you would not suffer us to be happy together whilst living, that our two bodies (wherever you have disposed of his) may be publicly interred together when dead.” Extreme grief would suffer him to make no reply; when, finding herself drawing near her end, she strained the heart strongly to her breast, saying, “ Receive us, heaven; I die !" Then closing her eyes, all sense forsook her, and she departed this miserable life. Such an end had the amours of Guiscard and Ghismond, as you have now heard; whilst the prince, repenting of his cruelty when it was too late, had them buried in one grave, in the most public manner, to the general grief of all the people of Salerno.


Boccacio, who, according to Benvenuto da Imola, was a cu. rious investigator of all delectable histories, is said to have taken this goblin tale from the Chronicle of Helinandus, a French monk, who flourished in the reign of Philip Augustus, * and composed a history of the world from its creation, as was the fashion of monkish historians. The Florentine novelist, however, altered the place of action, and disguised the names of the persons, whom he calls Nastagio and Traversari, the designations of two noble families in Ravenna. So good a subject for a ballad did not escape our English makers, by one of whom the novel of Boccacio was turned into the ballad stanza. t Dryden, however, converted that into a poem, which, in the hands of the old rhymer, was only a tale, and has given us a proof how exquisitely his powers were adapted for the management of the machinery, or supernatural agency of an epic poem, had his situation suffered him to undertake the task he so long meditated. Nothing can be more highly painted than the circumstances preliminary of the apparition ;-the deepening gloom, the falling wind, the commencement of an earthquake; above all, the indescribable sensation of horror with which Theodore is affected, even ere he sees the actors in the supernatural tragedy. The appearance of the female, of the gaunt mastiffs by which she is pursued, and of the infernal huntsman, are all in the highest tone of poetry, and could only be imitated by the pencil of Salvator. There is also a masterly description of Theodore's struggles between his native courage, prompted by chivalrous education, and that terror which the presence of supernatural beings imposes upon the living. It is by the account of the impression, which such a sight makes upon the supposed spectator, more even than by a laboured de

* Manni Della Illustrazione del Boccacio, p. 355.

+ There is a copy in the late Duke John of Roxburghe's library, under the title of “ Nastagio and Traversari.” VOL. XI.

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scription of the vision itself, that the narrator of such a tale must hope to excite the sympathetic awe of his audience. Thus, in the vision so sublimely described in the book of Job, chap. iv. no external cause of terror is even sketched in outline, and our feel. ings of dread are only excited by the fear which came upon the spectator, and the trembling which made all his bones to shake. But the fable of Dryden combines a most impressive description of the vision, with a detailed account of its effect upon Theodore, and both united make the most admirable poem of the kind that ever was written. It is somewhat derogatory from the dignity of the apparition, that Theodore, having once witnessed its terrors, should coolly lay a scheme for converting them to his own advantage; but this is an original fault in the story, for which Dryden is not answerable. The second apparition of the infernal hunter to the assembled guests, is as striking as the first ; a circumstance well worthy of notice, when we consider the difficulty and hazard of telling such a story twice. But in the second narration, the poet artfully hurries over the particulars of the lady's punishment, which were formerly given in detail, and turns the reader's attention upon the novel effect produced by it upon the assembled guests, which is admirably described, as “ a mute scene of sorrow mixed with fear.” The interrupted banquet, the appalled gallants, and the terrified women, grouped with the felon knight, his meagre mastiffs, and mangled victim, display the hand of the master poet. The conclusion of the story is defective from the cause already hinted at. The machinery is too powerful for the effect produced by it; a lady's hard heart might have been melted without so terrible an example of the punishment of obduracy.

It is scarcely worth while to mention, that Dryden has changed the Italian names into others better adapted to English heroic



Of all the cities in Romanian lands,
The chief, and most renown'd, Ravenna stands;
Adorn'd in ancient times with arms and arts,
And rich inhabitants, with generous hearts.
But Theodore the brave, above the rest,
With gifts of fortune and of nature blest,
The foremost place for wealth and honour held,
And all in feats of chivalry excell'd.

This noble youth to madness loved a dame,
Of high degree, Honoria was her name;
Fair as the fairest, but of haughty mind,
And fiercer than became so soft a kind :
Proud of her birth, (for equal she had none ;)
The rest she scorn'd, but hated him alone.
His gifts, his constant courtship, nothing gain'd;
For she, the more he loved, the more disdain'd.
He lived with all the pomp he could devise,
At tilts and tournaments obtain’d the prize,
But found no favour in his lady's eyes :
Relentless as a rock, the lofty maid
Turn'd all to poison that he did or said :

Nor prayers, nor tears, nor offer'd vows, could

move; The work went backward ; and the more he strove To advance his suit, the farther from her love.

Wearied at length, and wanting remedy, He doubted oft, and oft resolved to die. But pride stood ready to prevent the blow, For who would die to gratify a foe? His generous mind disdain'd so mean a fate; That pass'd, his next endeavour was to hate. But vainer that relief than all the rest ; The less he hoped, with more desire possess'd ; Love stood the siege, and would not yield his

breast. Change was the next, but change deceived his

care; He sought a fairer, but found none so fair. He would have worn her out by slow degrees, As men by fasting starve the untamed disease ; But present love required a present ease. Looking, he feeds alone his famish'd eyes, Feeds lingering death ; but, looking not, he dies. Yet still he chose the longest way to fate, Wasting at once his life, and his estate.

His friends beheld, and pitied him in vain, For what advice can ease a lover's pain ! Absence, the best expedient they could find, Might save the fortune, if not cure the mind : This means they long proposed, but little gain'd, Yet after much parsuit, at length obtain'd.

* Hard you may think it was to give consent, But, struggling with his own desires, he went; With large expence, and with a pompous train, Provided as to visit France or Spain, Or for some distant voyage o'er the main. But love had clipp'd his wings, and cut him short, Confined within the purlieus of his court. 1


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