of these Cantos of Dante’s poem. The Romans, whose writings I adored, were free; a Greek who once visited us, had related to us what treasures of poetry and wisdom existed in his language, and these were the productions of freemen: the mental history of the rest of the world who are slaves, was a blank, and thus I was irresistibly forced to connect wisdom and liberty together; and, as I worshipped wisdom as the pure emanation of the Deity, the divine light of the world, so did I adore liberty as its parent, its sister, the half of its being. Florence was free, and Dante was a Florentine; none but a freeman could have poured forth the poetry and eloquence to which I listened: what though he were banished from his native city, and had espoused a party that seemed to support tyranny; the essence of freedom is that clash and struggle which awaken the energies of our nature, and that operation of the elements of our mind, which as it were gives us the force and power that hinder us from degenerating, as they say all things earthly do when not regenerated by change.

‘What is man without wisdom? And what would not this world become, if every man might learn from its institutions the true principles of life, and become as the few which have as yet shone as stars amidst the night of ages? If time had not shaken the light of poetry and of genius from his wings, all the past would be dark and trackless: now we have a track—the glorious foot-marks of the children of liberty; let us imitate them, and like them we may serve as marks in the desart, to attract future passengers to the fountains of life. Already we have begun to do so; and Dante is the pledge of a glorious race, which tells us that, in clinging to the freedom which gave birth to his genius, we may awake the fallen hopes of the world. These sentiments, nurtured and directed by my father, have caused the growth of an enthusiasm in my soul, which can only die when I die.

‘I was at this time but sixteen; and at that age, unless I had been guided by the lessons of my father, my meditations would have been sufficiently fruitless. But he, whether he taught me to consider the world and the community of man, or to study the little universe of my own mind, was wisdom’s self, pouring out accents that commanded attention and obedience At first I believed, that my heart was good, and that by following its dictates I should not do wrong; I was proud, and loved not to constrain my will, though I myself were the mistress; but he told me, that either my judgement or passions must rule me, and that my future happiness and usefulness depended on the choice I made between these two laws. I learned from him to look upon events as being of consequence only through the feelings which they excited, and to believe that content of mind, love, and benevolent feeling ought to be the elements of our existence; while those accidents of fortune or fame, which to the majority make up the sum of their existence, were as the dust of the balance.

‘Well; these were the lessons of my father, a honey of wisdom on which I fed until I attained my eighteenth year; and then he died. What I felt, my grief and despair, I will not relate; few sorrows surpass that of a child, who loses a beloved parent before she has formed new ties which have weakened the first and the most religious.

‘Do you remember my mother? She was a lady with a kind heart, and a humanity and equanimity of temper few could surpass. She was a Guelph, a violent partizan, and, heart and soul, was taken up with treaties of peace, acquisitions in war, the conduct of allies, and the fortune of her enemies: while she talked to you, you would have thought that the whole globe of the earth was merely an appendage to the county of Valperga. She was acquainted with all the magistrates of Florence, the probabilities of elections, the state of the troops, the receipt of imposts, and every circumstance of the republic. She was interested in the most lively manner in the fall of Corso Donati1, the war with Pistoia, the taking of that town, and the deaths and elections of the various Popes. She was present at every court held by the Guelph lords of Lombardy; and her poor subjects were sometimes rather hardly taxed, that we might appear with suitable dignity on these occasions. The marriage of her children was her next care; but she could never come to a decisive resolve as to which alliance would be the most advantageous to her family, and at the same time most promote the cause of the Guelphs in Italy.

‘When my father died, she sent for my eldest brother from Naples; and for several months her mind was occupied by his accession, and the dignity that the houses of Adimari and Valperga would acquire by

  By PanEris using Melati.

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