Rome is fallen, I hear, the gallant Medici taken, Noble Manara slain, and Garibaldi has lost il Moro;-- Rome is fallen; and fallen, or falling, heroical Venice. I, meanwhile, for the loss of a single small chit of a girl, sit Moping and mourning here,--for her, and myself much smaller. Whither depart the souls of the brave that die in the battle, Die in the lost, lost fight, for the cause that perishes with them? Are they upborne from the field on the slumberous pinions of angels Unto a far-off home, where the weary rest from their labour, And the deep wounds are healed, and the bitter and burning moisture Wiped from the generous eyes? or do they linger, unhappy, Pining, and haunting the grave of their by-gone hope and endeavour? All declamation, alas! though I talk, I care not for Rome nor Italy; feebly and faintly, and but with the lips, can lament the Wreck of the Lombard youth, and the victory of the oppressor. Whither depart the brave?--God knows; I certainly do not.
VII. Mary Trevellyn to Miss Roper.
He has not come as yet; and now I must not expect it. You have written, you say, to friends at Florence, to see him, If he perhaps should return;--but that is surely unlikely. Has he not written to you?--he did not know your direction. Oh, how strange never once to have told him where you were going! Yet if he only wrote to Florence, that would have reached you. If what you say he said was true, why has he not done so? Is he gone back to Rome, do you think, to his Vatican marbles?-- O my dear Miss Roper, forgive me! do not be angry!-- You have written to Florence;--your friends would certainly find him. Might you not write to him ?--but yet it is so little likely! I shall expect nothing more.--Ever yours, your affectionate Mary.
I cannot stay at Florence, not even to wait for a letter. Galleries only oppress me. Remembrance of hope I had cherished (Almost more than as hope, when I passed through Florence the first time) Lies like a sword in my soul. I am more a coward than ever, Chicken-hearted, past thought. The caffes and waiters distress me. All is unkind, and, alas! I am ready for anyone's kindness. Oh, I knew it of old, and knew it, I thought, to perfection, If there is any one thing in the world to preclude all kindness It is the need of it,--it is this sad, self-defeating dependence. Why is this, Eustace? Myself, were I stronger, I think I could tell you. But it is odd when it comes. So plumb I the deeps of depression, Daily in deeper, and find no support, no will, no purpose. All my old strengths are gone. And yet I shall have to do something. Ah, the key of our life, that passes all wards, opens all locks, Is not I WILL, but I MUST. I must,--I must,--and I do it.
After all, do I know that I really cared so about her? Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image; For when I close my eyes, I see, very likely, St. Peter's, Or the Pantheon facade, or Michel Angelo's figures, Or, at a wish, when I please, the Alban hills and the Forum,-- But that face, those eyes,--ah, no, never anything like them; Only, try as I will, a sort of featureless outline, And a pale blank orb, which no recollection will add to. After all, perhaps there was something factitious about it; I have had pain, it is true: I have wept; and so have the actors.
At the last moment I have your letter, for which I was waiting; I have taken my place, and see no good in inquiries. Do nothing more, good Eustace, I pray you. It only will vex me. Take no measures. Indeed, should we meet, I could not be certain; All might be changed, you know. Or perhaps there was nothing to be changed. It is a curious history, this; and yet I foresaw it; I could have told it before. The Fates, it is clear, are against us; For it is certain enough I met with the people you mention; They were at Florence the day I returned there, and spoke to me even; Stayed a week, saw me often; departed, and whither I know not. Great is Fate, and is best. I believe in Providence partly. What is ordained is right, and all that happens is ordered. Ah, no, that isn't it. But yet I retain my conclusion. I will go where I am led, and will not dictate to the chances. Do nothing more, I beg. If you love me, forbear interfering.
Shall we come out of it all, some day, as one does from a tunnel? Will it be all at once, without our doing or asking, We shall behold clear day, the trees and meadows about us, And the faces of friends, and the eyes we loved looking at us? Who knows? Who can say? It will not do to suppose it.
X. Claude to Eustace,-from Rome.
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