Drawne by the youthfull heate and raging spite, Of Agramant their king, that vowd to wreake The death of King Trayana lately slayne Vpon the Romane Emperour Charlemaine. Title pages present but loose no other prelims. The textblock is cracked in many places with some loose pages and segments.
A few pencil annotations within. Inner hinges to front and rear are cracked and so the boards have considerable give. An old tape repair to the front and rear. Heavy rubbing to board edges and surface wear to front and rear. Orlando Furioso is "one of the most influential works in the whole of European literature"  and it remains an inspiration for writers to this day. In fair condition suitable as a study copy. It mixes realism and fantasy, humor and tragedy. Prima edizione First Edition. Prime Book Box for Kids. Bestsellers in Poetry By Individual Poets.
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That lodge there, facing the last rays of the sun, those painted walls, the cattle they picture, and the daylight rising on open country, offered my leisure a thousand delights, while, wherever I was, I had that powerful illusion, speaking with me, at my side. In these old rooms, lit by the snow outside, while the wind whistled round the wide casements, our games and our shouting echoed, at that age when the shameful, bitter mystery of things appears to us full of sweetness: O hope, hope, pleasant illusion of those first years!
Often in speech I return to you: I know that glory and honour are phantoms: Yet, however void my years, dark and arid my mortal state, Fate, I know, robs me of little. And already in the first tumult of youth, of happiness, and anguish, and desire, I often called on death, and sat for a long time beside the water, thinking of ending hope and grief below the surface.
Then when a secret illness placed my life in danger, I wept for my youth, and the flower of my poor days, fading away in time: Who can remember you without sighs, first threshold of youth, O lovely days, impossible to describe, when young girls first began to smile at a rapturous mortal: Vanishing like a gleam of lightning.
And what human being ever remains ignorant of misfortune, once that lovely season is done, when the best of times, his youth, ah youth, has gone? Do I not hear these places speak of you? Could you truly have slipped from my mind? Where have you gone, my sweetest one, that all I find of you are memories? I no longer see you in your native land: Where are you, whose voice I no longer hear as I once did, when every remote sound your lips gave made my face grow pale as it reached me? Your days are gone, my sweet love. To pass through this world is given to others, and to make a home among these fragrant hills.
You vanished so swiftly: Ah Nerina, the ancient love reigns in my heart. Whenever I go to dinners, or celebrations, I often say to myself: With every clear day, every flowered field I see, and every joy I feel, I say: XX I thought the sweet troubles of my first youth were lost, after my fresh springtime: What grief and tears were scattered, in that new life, when the pain first ended in my frozen heart!
Every tremor ended, love faded in me, and the sighs diminished in my icy breast! I wept for life, deadened by me, and earth made barren, locked in eternal cold: Yet the old affection was the source of weeping: Wearied imagination searched for old visions: Soon that last grief was quenched in me, and no strength was left me to mourn any more.
How different I was from him who once nourished such ardour, lovely error, deep in his soul!
The wakeful swallow singing in the dawn light, outside my window, did not move my heart: I saw twilight shine in vain on silent roads, in vain the valley echoed to the sad nightingale. And you, tender eyes, furtive, wandering glances, you, immortal love god of gentle lovers, and you bright, naked hand placed in my hand, you too countered my solid stupor in vain. Robbed of every sweetness, sad: I might have wished for the end of my existence: Like the poor bare remains of a diminished age, so I lived through the April of my years: O my heart, I suffered those ineffable days, that heaven allows us, so brief and so fleeting.
Who has roused me now from my deep forgetful peace? What new power is this, that I feel inside? Sweet tremors, visions, throbbing, blessed error, surely you are denied to my heart forever? Are you really that lone light of my days? The affection I lost in earliest times? In the sky, on green banks, wherever vision gazes, all breathes sadness to me, all gives me delight.
The fields, woods and mountains return to life as I have: Who brings back my tears after such long neglect? And how can the world appear so changed to me? Perhaps, O wretched heart, hope turned to you with laughter? Ah, I shall never see the face of hope again. My sufferings lulled my inborn powers to sleep. But fate and misfortune did not annul or conquer: I know it does not match my wandering fancy: I know Nature is deaf to us, and knows no charity. She is not truly careful of us, only our survival: The wretched man discovers no pity from mankind: And this sad age is free of intellect or virtue: And you, trembling eyes, you, celestial rays, I know you shine in vain, love cannot burn in you.
No secret, no intimate affection can burn there: Yet still I feel the old known illusions: In you, my heart, this last spirit, and ardour is born: I know that fate and nature, beauty and the world, fail the noble spirit, the gentle and the pure. On that fatal day, he lay abandoned by his dearest friends, as he had been abandoned for so long: Still, Elvira, famed for divine beauty, was by his side, whom pity had brought to console him in his lonely state, she who was always and solely in his mind: Always overpowering fear had been stronger than deep desire in his soul, since as a boy he had become a slave through excessive love.
But at last death broke the former bonds of speech. Sensing the hour that sets men free, by certain signs, and taking hold of her hand, as she was about to leave him, clasping that whitest of hands tightly, he said: I do not hope to see you again. I render the greatest thanks to you that lips could give, for your care. He who can will reward you, if virtue is rewarded by heaven. And she wished to contradict the dying man, hiding the approach of death. But he prevented her speaking, and spoke again: Ah, I part forever from you. My heart breaks at those words. Never to see those eyes again, or to hear that voice!
Elvira, will you not grant me a kiss before you abandon me to eternity? One kiss alone for a whole existence? A grace requested should not be denied a dying man. Nor will I ever boast about that gift, I, half-dead, whose lips will be closed in a while, eternally, by a strange hand. The loveliest of women remained motionless and thoughtful in aspect, and fixed her gaze, sparkling with a thousand graces, on that of the unhappy man, where a last tear glistened.
Nor had she the heart to scorn his request, and render the last goodbye bitter with denial: And that heavenly face, and that mouth, desired so deeply, for so many years the goal of all his dreams and sighs, gently approaching the suffering face, discoloured by its mortal affliction, pressed kiss after kiss, in utter kindness and from deep pity, on the trembling lips of that anxious, and enraptured lover.
What became of you then, Consalvo? How did life, death and misfortune appear as he was dying? Then I am still on earth: It seems like a dying vision, a dream, a thing incredible. Elvira, how much I owe to death! My love has not been hidden from you for all time, not from you nor others: My actions, my troubled look, my eyes had made it clear to you: The infinite love that governs my heart would still have been silent, forever, if dying had not made me bolder. Now I shall die content with my destiny, and no longer regret that I saw the light of day. Life was not in vain, since its was granted to my mouth to kiss your mouth.
Rather I think my fate has been happy. This world owns two lovely things: Heaven brings me one in the flower of youth: Ah, if you had only, just once, calmed and requited my great love, then earth would have changed to paradise forever to my altered eyes. I would even have suffered old age, abhorrent old age, with a quiet heart, since the memory of one moment would have sufficed to endure it: No one is permitted to love with such joy.
And yet I would have had the power to endure the whips of the executioner, the wheel, the fires, flying to them from your arms: Next is he who sheds his lifeblood for you! It is allowed, allowed to mortals, not just a dream as I long thought, allowed for us to know happiness. I knew it when I first gazed at you. It happened through my dying. And even in such pain I cannot find it in my heart to condemn this fatal day. Now you are blessed, my Elvira, and your face adorns the earth.
No one will love you as I loved you. No such love to equal it will be born. Ah, how often, how often, wretched Consalvo, called out to you, how long he grieved, and wept! But breath and life grow less at the sound of love. My time has passed, and it will not be granted me to recall this day. Your image vanishes from my heart at last, with my vital flame. If this love of mine was not a burden to you, send a sigh towards my tomb, tomorrow, when night falls. Adored so much, you gods, and once so much my delight and torment!
I never scent the fragrance of a flowery bank, or the perfume of blooms in a city street, without seeing you as you were that day, enclosed in your charming apartment, that was full of fresh petals of spring, dressed in the colours of dark violet, your angelic form revealed to me, curving from under gleaming furs, and you surrounded by secret voluptuousness: A new heaven and earth appeared, to my mind, and an almost divine light.
So it was that your arm, with living force, drove that arrow into my defended heart, which, once fixed there, I carried, crying out, till the sun returned twice in its circling. Lady, your beauty seemed to me like a divine light in my mind. Beauty and music have a similar effect: Then the wounded man must live desiring that child of his own mind, that image of love, containing so much of the Olympians in itself: Now indeed he serves and loves the idea, and not the lady whose body he embraces.
He is angered at last to realise his error, his mistaken objective, and often, wrongly, blames his lady: She holds no similar concept in her slender brow, and, in the vital flashes of her glances, man is deceived, wrong to hope, wrong to demand deep feelings, strange and more than human, in one who in all her nature is less than man.
Since, just as her limbs are softer and more tender, so her mind is less capable and weaker. So, Aspasia, you were never able to imagine what you inspired for a time in my mind. You never knew what immeasurable love, intense pain, what unspeakable tremors and delirium you stirred in me: In the same way, the musician cannot conceive what he creates, with hand or voice, in his listeners.
That Aspasia, whom I loved, is dead. Once the object of my whole life, she is lost forever: But you live on, not merely beautiful, but lovelier it seems to me than all others. Only the fire born from you is quenched: I adored her for so long: Boast of it now, as you may. Say you were the only one of all your sex to whom I submitted to bow my noble head, to whom I willingly gave my indomitable heart.
The spell broke, and my chains were shattered too, and fell to the ground: I was standing at the window that faces the meadow, gazing at the sky: Just like that, the moon, I say, in the midst of the meadow, quenched itself, darkening, little by little, and all the grass around was smoking. Then gazing at the sky, I saw a sort of gleam was left, a scar or a gaping hole, it might have torn away from: O dear clouds, O sky, O earth, O branches, my lady now departs: O storm, now stir yourself, O rain-clouds now gather yourself to overwhelm me, until the sun bears day to other lands.
Clear sky, the dying winds, on every hand the leaves and grasses rest, the cruel sun dazzles me with light, filled with tears. There the moon spread all its brightness, through every level, and turned the trees to silver, that wreathed the place around. The branches were sighing in the wind, and weeping ever, with the nightingale, a stream within the wood made sweet lament.
The sea shone in the distance, and the land, the forest, and the summits, one by one, of all the mountain-tops were revealed. The lady took her lonely way in silence and felt the breeze filled with fragrance, passing across her face, so gently. Vain to ask if she were happy: O sweet serene moments, how you vanish! What delights us here, except our hopes, never lasts for us, or even lingers.
See the night troubled, and then darken the face of heaven that was so lovely, and all her pleasure turn to fear. A storm cloud, the herald of the cyclone, rose from behind the mountain, deepened, so the moon and stars were hidden. She saw it spread on every side and, gradually, mount through the air, to form a sort of mantle overhead.
The little light there was grew fainter: Every moment the wind grew stronger, till all the birds, awake, in their fear, fluttered about among the leaves. And the gathering cloud descended towards the shore, till one edge touched the mountain, the other edge the sea. The lightning flashed in a fearful manner behind the clouds, making her eyes blink, the earth was gloomy, and the air reddened.
Wretchedly, she felt her body tremble: She paused sometimes, and gazed in terror at the darkened air, and hurried on, her hair and robes streaming out behind her. So she breasted the harsh tempest, that sighed against her face and scattered those icy drops of water through dark air. Like a wild beast thunder assailed her, roaring horribly without ceasing: And it was terrible to see around her, dust and leaves, stones and branches flying, and sounds the heart fears to imagine.
She hid her eyes against the lightning flashes that wearied and strained her sight, and clutching her robes to her, sped faster through the storm. But the lightning still blazed in her face so brightly, that at last she stood motionless in fear, and all her courage ebbed away. Then she turned back. And at that moment the lightning ceased, the night grew dark, the thunder quietened, the wind was still. To Italy I O my country, I see the walls, arches columns, statues, lone towers of our ancestors, but I do not see the glory, I do not see the iron and the laurel in which our forefathers were clasped.
Now, defenceless, you show your naked breast and brow. Ah, how wounded, what blood and bruises! Oh how I see you loveliest of ladies! I ask the sky and the earth: And worse, imprisoned both her arms in chains: Weep, my Italy, with good reason, you, born to outdo nations, in good fortune and in ill. If your eyes were two living fountains your weeping would be unequal to your hurt and your disgrace: Who can speak or write of you, remembering your past glories, and not say: Where is the ancient power, where the weapons, courage, and endurance?
Who lowered your sword? What art or effort or superior force stripped you of your cloak and laurel wreath? How did you fall, and when, from such heights to such depths? Does no one fight for you? Not one of your own defend you? Heaven, grant that my blood might set Italian hearts on fire. Where are your sons? I hear the sound of weapons and the wagons, and the voices, and the drums: I see, oh, around me, the swell of troops and horsemen, smoke, dust, the glitter of swords, like lightning in the mist. Why should the youth of Italy fight in such fields?
O powers, that Italians should fight for another country. And you, O narrow pass, honoured and glorious for ever, where Persia and fate were not strong enough for a few brave and generous spirits! I think your grass and stone and waves and mountains, tell the passer-by with indistinct voices how the unconquered ranks of corpses sacrificed for Greece covered all that shore.
Then Xerxes, cruel and cowardly, fled over the Hellespont to be mocked to the last generation: And both cheeks wet with tears, with beating heart, and stumbling feet, he took his lyre in his hand: How, sons, could you find such joy, in that last moment, when smiling you rushed to the harsh, sad pass? Each of you seemed like one who goes to dance not die, or goes to a glorious feast: But not without deep hurt to the Persians, and eternal anguish. Like a lion in a herd of bulls that leaps on the back of one, and tears its back with its teeth, and bites its flanks or thighs, so the anger and courage of Greek hearts raged amongst the Persian ranks.
See the horses and riders levelled, see where the shattered tents and wagons block the flight of the defeated, and the tyrant, pale, escaping, runs with the leaders: Oh live, live, you blessed ones, while the world can speak and write.
The stars stripped from the sky, falling to the sea, will sooner be drowned, hissing, in the deep, than our love for you be past and done. See how I bend, O blessed ones, to the soil, and kiss the turf and stones, that will be praised, famous for ever, from pole to pole. Ah if only I were with you, below, and the kind earth was moistened by my blood.
Turn, and gaze, O my homeland, at that vast crowd of immortals, and weep, and be scornful of yourself, since grief without scorn is foolish now. Turn, and be ashamed, and rouse yourself, and spur yourself on by thinking of our ancestors, our children. The eager visitor, foreign in looks and understanding and speech, would indeed search the soil of Tuscany to find where that poet lies through whose verse Homer is not unique. And he would learn, ah shame, not only that his ashes and naked bone are still exiled, after their burial, in foreign earth, but there is not a stone to him, for whose virtues all the world honours you, Florence, within your walls.
Oh you compassionate ones, through whom such sad and base dishonour will be erased! Oh, my sons, may pity, grief and anger at the pain that bathes her cheeks and veil, give you courage and crown your efforts. What verses can I send you that might have the power to kindle fresh light in your heart and burning spirit?
The great subject will inspire you, a blade to prick and pierce your breast. Who could describe the tide and storm of your fury or your deep emotions? Who could paint your dazed expression, the lightning of your eyes? How could a mortal voice capture the measure of divine things?
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Oh Italy, what tears have been denied a noble monument! How can it die, how or when can your glory be erased by time? O, dear divine arts, ever-living: See, I also want to honour our grieving mother: I bring what I can joining my song to your work, seated where your chisel gives life to marble. O glorious father of Tuscan verse, if news of things on earth, of her you raised so high, ever reaches your shores, I know you feel no joy for yourself, since bronze and marble are less enduring than wax and sand, compared with the fame you left among us: But you will be happy, not for yourself, but for your poor country, if ever the example of her ancestors rouses her sick and slumbering sons with such virtue that they raise their heads a moment.
Ah, what long torment you see afflicting her, who was so troubled at saying farewell to you when you rose again to Paradise! She must seem so abased to you today who was a fortunate and royal lady then.
Blessed are you, fated not to live through such horrors, who have not seen Italian women in the arms of barbarous soldiers: Who did not grieve? What did not suffer? What was left untouched by those felons? What temple, or altar, or crime? Why were such perverse times ours? Why were we destined to be born, or why were we not destined to die first, bitter fate?
Ah, dear one, we have not given our blood, our life for you: There is anger and pity in our hearts: Dante, if you do not feel scorn, you must have altered from what you were on earth. Ah, worthy of a better death, Italians lay dying on the foul Russian plains, and air, sky, men and beasts made fierce war on them. They fell, squadron after squadron, half-clothed, bloodstained, exhausted, the ice the only sheet for their bodies.
Then, drawing their last breath, remembering their longed-for mother, said: See, we are far from you, when time should be smiling sweetly on us, ignored by everyone, dying for those who are destroying you. The northern wastes, the hissing woods, were witness to their sorrows. They reached such a pass the abandoned corpses, unburied, on the dread ocean of snow, were torn apart by wild creatures, and the names of the noble and the brave, will always be lost among those of the cowardly and base. Dear spirits, rest in peace, though your misfortune is eternal: Sleep in the clasp of your immense affliction, o true sons of her whose supreme hurt only your hurt can equal.
Your country does not complain of you, but those who sent you to war against her, so that she weeps most bitterly and confounds her tears with yours. O glorious spirit, say: Will our wreaths be scattered on the earth? Will no one ever rise to equal you at all? Are we lost forever? Is our shame without limits? This seedbed, this school of great spirits is no place for such decayed morals: Of bringing them to speak to this dead age overcast with such clouds of boredom?
Why do they come to our ears so strongly now, so often, those ancient voices of ours, mute for so long? Why so many resurrections? In a fecund lightning-flash their pages come: What courage, zealous Italian, does fate inspire in you? Or perhaps fate fights with mortal courage in vain? The heavens are still faithful to Italy: O glorious one, do you still nourish hopes of us?
Are we not wholly ruined? I am distraught, with no refuge from grief, what will be is hidden from me, and what I see is such that it makes hope seem a folly and a dream. Noble spirits, a foul, dishonourable crew succeed to your place: Noblest of minds, now no one else cares about our high ancestry, it falls to you, on whom fate breathes kindly, to you, to offer up with both hands those former times, when the ancients raised their heads out of dark oblivion, with the buried arts, those godlike ancestors to whom nature spoke without unveiling, in whom was enclosed the generous calm of Rome and Athens.
Your sacred ashes were still warm, Dante, unconquered enemy of fortune, to whose grief and scorn Hell was friendlier than earth. And the sweet strings still trembled, Petrarch, unhappy lover, from the touch of your hand. Ah, Italian poetry was born in sadness. Yet the ills that grieve us are lighter and hurt less than the boredom that drowns us. Oh you, blessed ones, to whom life was tears! Irritation binds our swaddling bands: While all your life, Colombus, ardent son of Liguria, was with stars and sea, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and lands where men thought they heard the waves hiss as they quenched the sun, committed to the infinite swell, you found the rays of fallen Sol once more, and the daylight born again there, as ours merged with the deep: Ah, but the world does not grow greater by being known, it grows less, and the sounding air, the kindly earth, the sea seem vaster to the child than the learned man.
You, Ariosto, meanwhile, were born to sweet dreams, and the primal sun, shone on your face, carefree singer of love and arms, who filled life with happy illusions, in an age less sad than ours: O chambers, O towers, O ladies, O cavaliers, O gardens, O palaces, thinking of you, my mind is lost in a thousand empty pleasures. Vanities, lovely follies, and strange thoughts, filled human life: Only the certainty of seeing all is empty, except sadness.
O Tasso, Tasso, then heaven prepared your excellent mind for us: The sweet song could not solace you, or melt the ice your soul possessed, once warm but chilled by hatred, fouled by the envy of tyrant and citizen. Love, Amor, abandoned you, that last deception of our life. Nothingness seemed real, a solid shade to you, and the world an empty wasteland. Your eyes were not raised to tardy honours: He who knows our ills asks for death and not a laurel wreath.
If you wish for anguish, return, return to us, rise from the mute and melancholy tomb, O sad example of misfortune. Our life grows worse than that which seemed so wicked and so dark to you. O dear one, who will sympathise with you when no one cares for any but himself? Who, today, would not call your mortal anguish foolish, now everything great and rare is called madness: O who when measure rather than poetry reigns, would offer you the laurel wreath once more?
O unfortunate spirit, from your time until now only one Italian with a famous name has risen above his shameful and cowardly age, Alfieri, the fierce Piedmontese, to whom heaven, not this waste and arid land of mine, gave a heart of manly courage: He was the first to enter that arena, and no one followed, since now neglect and brutish silence have wholly crushed us. He passed his entire life, immaculate, angry and disdainful, and death saw him escape the worst.
Vittorio, this was not the place or time for you. Other ages, other regions are needed for noble minds. Now we live content with inaction, led by mediocrity: O famous explorer, go on: Provide strong examples to your offspring. Cruel fate denies helpful breezes to human virtue, nor can a pure soul live in a frail breast. You will have wretched or cowardly sons. Corrupted custom sets a vast gulf between fate and worth. Ah, the child born today, in the twilight of mankind, acquires its life and senses too late.
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Ladies, our country expects much from you: The wise and strong act and think according to your judgement: I ask you the reason for this age of ours. Is it your hands that quenched the sacred fire of our youth? Our nature thinned and broken by you? The mind sleeping, the will ignoble, our native courage lacking in muscle and sinew: Love, if we think truly, is the spur to noble actions, and beauty the teacher of deep affections. O brides, O virgins, I think that he who flinches from danger, unworthy of our country, and sets his heart his common affections on base things, moves you to hatred and scorn: May you hate to be known as mothers of a cowardly race.
May your children grow used to bearing the pain and grief of virtue, and scorning and condemning all that this shameful age prizes and adores, live for their country, learning its noble deeds, and what this land owes to their ancestors. Just as the sons of Sparta grew to honour Greece, among the memories and fame of ancient heroes: Virginia, your soft cheek touched by the all-powerful hand of beauty, and your noble disdain, troubled the foolish Lord of Rome.
And if Rome gains life and strength from my blood, let me expire. See how the Roman people, alight with a new anger, gather round your remains.
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To A Winner In The Games V Blessed youth, know the face of glory and the joyful voices, and how a hard-won virtue surpasses effeminate idleness. The arena, and the stadium echo for you, and tremble as popular applause calls you to glory.
Today, our beloved country prepares to renew the ancient exemplars in you, resplendent in your youthfulness. Such as perhaps had washed the dusty flanks and manes of his conquering team in the Alpheus, and now led Greek standards and Greek spears against the pale swarms of weary fleeing Persians: Is it vanity that rouses and frees the rekindled spark of natural virtue? And revives the sunken fervour of vital spirits, dulled in the sick breast? Since Phoebus first turned his sad wheels, has human effort ever been other than a game? And is truth less a vanity than the lie?
Nature gave happy illusions, felicitous shadows, to console us: Perhaps a time will come when indifferent herds will browse the ruins of Italy, and the Seven Hills will feel the plough: O worthy son, grieve that you survive of our unhappy country. When she bore the palm, which she has lost through our fatal error, you would have brought her fame. That age is gone: Only to be despised: Brutus, panting, wet with fraternal blood, in the dark night in a lonely place, ready now to die, cursed hell and the inexorable gods, stirring the drowsy air in vain with his angry call.
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The unhappy crowd are a mockery and derision to you, gods of marble if there are gods, by Phlegethon or among the clouds , a race you look to for temples, and insult mortally with your fraudulent rule. Does earthly piety serve only to stir divine hatred? Do you sit there, Jupiter, aiding the impious? And when the storm flies through the air, and you hurl your swift lightning, is it against the pious you brandish the sacred fire? Unconquerable fate, and iron necessity, crush the weak slave of death: Are ills less cruel that have no redress? Does one devoid of hope feel no pain?
O ignoble fate, the noble man, unused to yielding, wages eternal mortal war on you: Those who enter Tartarus by violence displease the gods. Such courage is absent from mild eternal hearts. Perhaps the gods created our troubles, our bitter fortune, and unhappy affections, as an amusing spectacle for their idleness?
Nature, once queen and goddess ordained not misery and guilt for us but a free and pure life in the forest. Now impious customs have beaten her sacred kingdom to the earth, and encumbered our lives with alien laws, does kindly Nature rise up, when the strong reject their unhappy times, and accuse the arrow that is not hers? The wild creatures, happy, ignorant of guilt, and their own misfortune, are led by old age serenely to their unrecognised end. But if pain led them to strike their brows against harsh trees, or hurl their bodies headlong to the wind, from stony mountains, O shadowy intelligence, no arcane law would oppose their wretched wish.
Only you, of all the many species heaven creates, Sons of Prometheus, regret life: The victor tramples on kindred hearts, the hills tremble, ancient Rome sinks from highest glory to disaster: See how the birds, the wild creatures, hearts filled with their habitual lives, among the naked rocks, the green branches, ignore the great disaster, the altered fate of the world: We are an abject part of things: I do not call on the deaf kings of Cocytus or Olympus, or shameful earth, or moribund night: Can tears assuage a scornful end, or words or gifts from the base crowd adorn it?
Time alters for the worse: Let the dark bird hover over me with its cruel wings: I thought life wretched and empty, and the age that now unfolds the most stupid of all. The language I used seemed, and was, intolerant of this blessed mortal race, if men ought to call themselves mortal, or dare do so. Noble people laughed at me in wonder and scorn from that fragrant Eden they inhabit, and I ought to call myself lonely, unfortunate, incapable of pleasure, and ignorant of it, to believe my own fate universal, and the human species a partner in my ills.
At last there shone, vivid, to my eyes, through the cigar smoke of honour, murmurs of crackling pastries, military cries, commanders of ices and drinks, among the clash of cups, and brandished spoons, the flash of the daily papers. I realised then, I saw public happiness, and the sweetness of mortal destiny. I saw the excellence and the value of earthly things, a human path all flowers, and saw how nothing here can last or displease.
Nor did I fail to see the studies, the mighty works, the sense, virtues, and noble wisdom of my century. Seeing all this and reflecting deeply on the huge spread-out pages, I was ashamed of my grave, long-standing error, and indeed ashamed of myself. Oh, Gino, the thread of the Fates is spinning a golden age today. Every newspaper born of so many languages and columns, promises it to the world from every shore, simultaneously. Universal love, railways, the multiplicity of commerce, steam, the printing press, and cholera unite, the widely scattered peoples and climates: So has the power of alembics and retorts increased, of machines that challenge the heavens, and so it will increase in the ages that follow: But often it will scorn silver and gold, content with paper money.
Nor will the generous race hold back its hand from blood, the blood of its own: Europe indeed, and the far side of the Atlantic the fresh nurse of true community, will be full of strife, whenever this crowd of brothers take the field against each other, for pepper, or cinnamon, or some other fatal spice, or for sugar canes, or anything else they can turn to gold. Courage and virtue, faith and modesty, love of justice, will always, in whatever political system, be wholly and utterly alien, wholly unhappy, oppressed, defeated: Bold impudence, deceit, and mediocrity will always rule, fated to rise to the surface.
Authority and power, concentrated or devolved, however you wish, will be abused by those who have it, in whatever name. Nature and fate engraved this primal law in adamant: The good will always grieve, the bad rejoice in mockery: Slander, envy and hate will pursue true honour: These slight remains and traces of past ages must still impress themselves on this age of gold: Yet human happiness will be found in weightier things, wholesome, not seen before. Our clothes of wool or silk will become softer day by day.
Farmers and craftsmen hastening to throw off rough garments, will hide their coarse skin in cotton, and clothe their backs in beaver-furs. Journeys or rather flights will be swifter than anyone dare imagine, Paris to Calais, and London: The less frequented streets will be lit better than now, yet just as safe, in sovereign cities, and perhaps, in lesser towns, the major roads, sometimes. Such the delights and blessed destiny that heaven ordains for future peoples. How fortunate those the midwife holds mewling in her arms, as I write, whom the vision awaits of the days, sighed-for, when lengthy study will reveal, and every infant will absorb with its milk, what weight of salt, of meat, how many tons of flour, its native town consumes: And so to preserve themselves from this foolish game, whose meaning is eternally hidden, human beings employ their talents a thousand ways with skilful hands: So an infinite, varied family of incurable ills and troubles oppresses the frail mortal, irremediably fated to die: But the greatest minds of my century have discovered a new, almost divine programme: Oh minds, oh judgement, oh superhuman acumen of the age that unfolds!
Oh, Gino, what solid philosophy, what wisdom, in the most sublime and most abstruse subjects, my century and yours will teach the future ages! With what constancy it admires today what it mocked the day before, and will destroy tomorrow, gathering the fragments together, to set them among incense the day after! How we should treasure, what faith it inspires, the harmony of feeling of this century, rather this year, that unfolds! And how far our wisdom has travelled in philosophy when we contrast modern times with ancient!
Dear Gino, a friend of yours, a true master of poetry, learned in all the arts, and sciences and human disciplines, and critic of those minds that have been and are and will be, said to me: Sing the needs of this century, mature hope, memorable sentences! O hail, O signs of salvation, O first lights of the glorious age that rises. And you, begin by greeting your bristly fathers with laughter, O infant race, destined for golden days: Laugh, O tender race: Tell me My thoughts turn to the day when I felt love Solitary bird, you sing Poor frail leaf When as a boy I set myself As on a lonely night Fragrant broom, The storm has gone: Sweetest, powerful Fate gave birth, at the same moment, Lovely girl, where are you going?