University of Virginia Library



Herein, if Jack Gentian, ever reputed a man of veracity, is to be credited, so thin a thing as a wafer made of a little flour and water, and so forth, the same being viewless, or carefully covered from view, proves of far more efficacy in bringing a semi-insurgent populace to their knees than all the bombs, bayonets, and fusilades of the despot of Naples.

The younker faded, voice and all—
He faded, and his carol died,
Forgot anon in shifted scene;
For, hark, what slender chimes are these


On zephyr borne? And, look, the folk
In one consent of strange accord,
Part, and in expectation stand;
Yet scarce as men who mirth await—
More like to crowds that wait eclipse,
So gravely sobering seems to fall
Those light lilt chimes now floating near,
In harbinger of—what behind?
It comes; a corpulent form erect,
And holds what looks a Titan stem
Of lily-of-the-vale, the buds
A congregation of small bells—
Small, silver, and of dulcet tone,
Drooping from willowy light wires;
Behind, in square, four boys in albs
Whose staves uphold a canopy,
And, under this, a shining priest
Who to some death-bed bears the host
In mystic state before him veiled.
A hush falls; and the people drop
Stilly and instantaneous all
As plumps the apple ripe from twig
And cushions motionless in sod.
My charioteer reins short—transfixed;
The very mountebanks, they kneel;
And idlers, all along and far,
Bow over as the host moves on—
Bow over, and for time remain
Like to Pompeiian masquers caught
With fluttering garb in act of flight,
For ages glued in deadly drift.


But, look, the Rose, brave Rose, is where?
Last petals falling, and its soul
Of musk dissolved in empty air!
And here this draught at hazard drawn,
Like squares of fresco newly dashed,
Cools, hardens, nor will more receive,
Scarce even the touch that mends a slip:
The plaster sets; quietus—bide.
Let bide; nor all the piece esteem
A medley mad of each extreme;
Since, in those days, gyved Naples, stung
By tickling tantalising pain,
Like tried St. Anthony giddy hung
Betwixt the tittering hussies twain:
She sobbed, she laughed, she rattled her chain;
Till the Red Shirt proved signal apt
Of danger ahead to Bomba's son,
And presently freedom's thunder clapt,
And lo, he fell from toppling throne—
Fell down, like Dagon on his face,
And ah, the unfeeling populace!
But Garibaldi—Naples' host
Uncovers to her deliverer's ghost,
While down time's aisle, mid clarions clear
Pale glory walks by valor's bier.