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his “Discourse” to Scipio Gonzaga. Here he says, “I do not refuse to suffer this punishment, but it hurts me that an unwonted severity is used towards me, and that a new method of castigation is invented for me;" and after those last dreadful words follows a blank filled up with asterisks. The same thing occurs again and again in the course of this "Discorso,” and the reason is that Sandelli, who first published it, deemed it prudent to suppress certain phrases and statements which would have furnished too tremendous an indictment against the “magnanimous” Alfonso d'Este, and others of his house. The vriginal MS. from which Sandelli printed his version of the Discourse has eluded the most zealous search, and in all probability was purposely destroyed.

A cell, lighted only by one small grated window, has for generations been shown to visitors in the hospital of Santa Anna as the place of Tasso's imprisonment. A gloomy and terrible place indeed for such a man to pass seven years of his life in! Of late it has become the fashion to deny the authenticity of “ Tasso's prison,” as the cell is called. You are told that the poet never lived there; that he had excellent light and airy rooms in another part of the hospital—what part is not known-and that the compassion excited by the view of the cell is quite superfluous. Even the guardian who now shows it to the stranger (I revisited Ferrara in the late autumn of 1876), although he clings to the statement that Tasso was veritably confined within those narrow massive walls, declares that in the poet's time there was a larger window looking on the courtyard, and plenty of light and air. Now, for my own part, I see no reason whatever to doubt that tradition is in this, as in so many similar cases, a trustworthy guide. The aspect of the cell agrees perfectly with that which Tasso himself says of his prison. It does not agree with that which courtly gentlemen writing within the times, and by no means beyond reach of the influence of the house of Este, have said of it. The reader is at liberty to choose between these conflicting statements.

Here, then, sighed and wept, and perhaps raved, in the bitter des spair and indignation of his soul, Torquato Tasso, an honourable gen. tleman, a faithful friend, and incomparably the greatest poet of his day. To punish him for the crime of loving his sister, Duke Alfonso gave him obloquy in exchange for glory, solitude for the brilliant soci. ety of a court, and instead of the sound of lutes and harmonious voices, the clanking of chains and the howls of maniacs. I cannot presume to decide whether or not there were some morbid strain in Tasso's intellect before he entered St. Anna, but that he did not become a frenzied lunatic before he left it seems to me to indicate a most amazing force of mind.

It is a sickening task to con over the numerous appeals which the wretched prisoner made to the outside world for help. He petitioned the princesses, the Duke of Urbino, the Duke and Duchess of Mantua, various persons at the court of the Emperor Rudolph and at that of Pope Gregory XIII., the Dukes of Savoy and Tuscany, and the supreme council of the city of his ancestors, Bergamo, to intercede with his princely gaoler. The good citizens of Bergamo did in truth accede to his prayer. His petition (a very touching one) was read in the council amidst tears of pity. They sent a special ambassador to Alfonso to beg him to release Tasso, and the duke received the ambassador very graciously, and promised to fulfil his request, and the poor prisoner was so elated with hope at the report of this princely promise (strange that he should have believed it even then!) as to be in hourly expectation of release for several days! And then and then he was plunged back again into the gloom of despair, and months and years passed by and found him still in his dungeon.

At length he left it, with spirits shattered and body enfeebled. The chief instrument of his release was the Abbate Angelo Grillo, whose name should be known and honoured for this good work. The abbate importuned the Emperor and the Pope, and all the great ones of the earth whom he thought likely to assist his object. And finally, in the year of our Lord 1586, and the forty-second of his age, he was allowed to quit the scene of so much misery and degradation. Ferrara was holding high festival on the occasion of the nuptials of Cesare d'Este with Virginia de Medici; amongst the guests gathered there was young Vincenzo Gonzago, Prince of Mantua, the son and heir of Guglielmo Bernardo Tasso's old patron. This youth, induced by the zealous representations of the Abbate Grillo, begged and obtained from Alfonso the permission to carry Tasso with him to Mantua, on condition, however, of keeping him there under strict supervision. After a time this was relaxed, and he was free to go whither he would, except back to Ferrara.

Little is to be said here of the remaining years of our poet's life. He revisited Naples, made a brief sojourn in Florence, and finally came to Rome, whither he was invited to receive the laurel crown in the Capitol. But a pale, inexorable hand withheld the wreath from those worn temples. Tasso came to Rome but to die. He took up his abode among the monks of Sant Onofrio, the monastery which stand on the Janiculum and dominates the city and the winding course of the Tiber for many a mile.

In the convent garden an ancient oak-tree stood up to the year 1842, which tradition said had been a favorite haunt of the poet. It was greatly injured by a storm in that year, but something of it still remains. There remain, too, the grand outlines of the Sabine and Alban Hills, on which his eyes must often have rested, looking from that lofty garden terrace on to the superb panorama it commands. The sunset light, too, was not different three hundred years ago. Often he must have sat in its rosy glow whilst the spring was smiling around him, and thought of the fast-coming moment when for him the sunshine and the scent of violets and the song of birds should be no more. He died on April 25, 1595, aged fifty-one years. The symbolic crowning in the Capitol was destined not to be, yet none the less do the voices of fame and posterity award Torquato Tasso a high place among the immortal bards : Dis miscent superis. He was laid to rest in the Monastery of Sant Onofrio, where a tasteless monument has been erected over his tomb, and where his chamber, and a crucifix and other objects used by him, are pointed out to the visitor.

In a corridor upon which this chamber opens there is a fresco on the wall by Lionardo da Vinci, a lovely Madonna and child, with the donor of the picture kneeling bı fore her; and on this fine work, full of the intenso serious sentiment which distinguishes Lionardo, the poet's eyes must often have rested sympathetically. Perhaps those last days, during which his tide of life was ebbing, were not among the saddest he had known. Poor, vexed spirit ! "After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.”

FRANCES ELEANOR TROLLOPE, in Belgravia.

CUPID'S WORKSHOP.

A BALLAD IN THE OLD STYLE.

Deep within my ladye's eyes
Little Cupid's workshop lies ;
There with many subtle arts
Shapeth he his barbed darts-
Darts to suit the young and old,
Darts to suit the shy and bold,
Derts that pierce and wound full sore,
Darts that scratch and nothing more.
None can pass my ladye by
But the god within her eye
Seizes on the fleeting chance,
And, beneath a furtive glance,
Shoots a dart, direct and true,
From those eyes of heaven's blue.
Those who feel the pleasant pain
Linger to be pierced again.
Should the heart be cold and stern,
And the baffled arrow turn,
Cupid still doth persevere,
And distils a pearly tear,
Whose brightest gleam the heart doth melt;
Then the stab is sharply dealt,
and the victim feels the thrall
Which my ladye casts o'er all.”

SOMERVILLE GIBNEY, in Tinsley's Magazine

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PLAIN WORDS ABOUT THE AFGHAN QUESTION

Mandelay, Feb. 10. This strange sequestered capital, which happens at the present writing to be my temporary place of sojourn, is in the outermost ripple of the great world's pool. The news of important events comes to it like a half-dead echo, that dies altogether after a sentence or two of listless comment. Last night I was dining in the society of a little knot of Frenchmen, who have drifted for various causes into this outlandish place, and there came to us by a telegram (in Eurmese) the tidings of Marshal MacMahon's resignation and M. Grévy's election. “ Ah, mon Dieu!” cried, with a flash of faded radiancy, a white-haired captain of cavalry, whose regiment I saw ride out of Metz to lay down its arms before the conquering Germans; "ah, the good time reapproaches! The next President, look you, will be the Prince Imperial; and from President he will blossom into Emperor; and then I will go back to France!” 'O droll visionary,” responded a close-cropped engineer, who had been a communard, while Gam betta lives, how imbecile to prate of Badinguet's brat!” The subject dropped, and the interrupted conversation recommenced about the " King-woon Menghyr's” pooey and the Burmese prima donna, “ Yin-doo-Male.”

As for myself, a football of journalism, a shuttlecock of Bellona, who in nine years have made six campaigns and three visits to India, the links between home associations and myself have of necessity but feeble hold. But there is one link that still endures bright and strong—the link that binds me to friendships that I know are reciprocal. By devious tracks and with many delays, the World drifts out to this corner of quaint semi-barbarism, and in its columns I read how its Conductor had mapped out for himself a new enterprise. My acquaintance with him was born in a Vienna attic years ago, and my love for him and his has ever since been part of my life. The impulse was natural, then, which prompted me straightway to sit down and indite an article for the new venture, in the desire that I might testify in the spirit to hearty interest in the birth of Time, and to cordial wishes for its lusty life.

We got such a bellyful of Afghanistan in 1842, that ever since, till Late!y, we have been suffering under the nightmare thereof. When Pollock turned his back on the ugly crags of the Khybur, we closed the page of Afghanistan, and dropped the book into the boundary.. rivulet by Hurri-Singh-Ki-Bourj. It was well to banish the black memory of it, when as yet the Punjaub was under Sikh sway, and while our frontier station was Loodianah. But the condition. radi.

cally altered when we annexed the Punjaub, and our border crossed the Indus and stretched up to the foot of the fore-hills. Then the Afghans became our neighbours; and even if there had been no region and no eventualities on the further side of Afghanistan, it behooved us, as a matter of the merest common sense, to renew relations with them, and to take measures for knowing and maintaining an accurate knowledge of all matters concerning them. What words could be found strong enough to describe her fatuity, if France, as a consequence of the disasters of 1870–1, had raised up a dead wall of demarcation between herself and Germany, utterly refusing to acquire any intelligence of the doings, the ideas, the designs of the latter country, prohibiting her citizens from visiting it—all, in short, but ignoring its existence—while France lay freely open to German inquisition ? And yet our “frontier policy,” from the annexation of the Punjaub till Lord Salisbury became Secretary for India in 1874, was an almost exact parallel of such fatuity as this!

The man who is chiefly responsible for this obstinate and wanton “don't know, won't know, and musn't know” caricature of a policy is Lord Lawrence. To the late Sir John Kaye we owe the erection and worship of a number of sham idols, of whom the biggest and the shammest—to coin a word—is “ John Lawrence of the Punjaub.” Why, if “ John Lawrence” had had his way, and if it had not been for stout-hearted Sydney Cotton, steadfast Herbert Edwardes, and valiant John Nicholson, all the trans-Indus territory would have been abandoned by our troops and people when the great Mutiny broke out. The more one studies the story of that time, the more apparent does it become that Sir John Lawrence was, in the main, the mere formal sanctioner, and that often after the event of his energetic and stubbornsouled subordinates' acts. The men of the Punjaub

” in India's hour of need were such doers and darers as I have named, with Robert Montgomery and Frederick Cooper added to the list. Lawrence was a signer and assenter, not a doer and darer.

The special weakness of Indian officials is a blind worship of the Juggernaut of routine. Very often the man who is the creator of the routine, and who therefore ought to know that it is no god, but his own handiwork, is its most abandoned devotee. In the language of Scripture, he “worshippeth the work of his own hands;" and his faith in it adheres long after it has become untimely, and may, indeed, have become pernicious. As likely as not, the creator of the routine is the creator of a school as well. The cultus of his policy is taken up by his disciples; and because it was the policy of their master, they swear by it and cling to it, walk in its ways, and count an impugner of its wisdom or of its timeliness as a rank heretic and irreverent revolutionary. Lawrence, when he came to the Punjaub, found the flag flying on which was inscribed, No intercourse with Afghanstan. It had been a good motto; but the banner had halliards; Lawrence cut them, and nailed it to the mast of his policy

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