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Without the power to fill again
If lopped with care, a strength may give,
By which the rest shall bloom and live
In Frizzi's · History of Ferrara’ is contained the best account extant of this real tragedy, and one, too, which is divested of all the romantic inventions which subsequent writers have thought fit to interpolate. We add an extract from this History, as well on account of the simplicity and beauty of the narration as that it may be seen in what degree Lord Byron has availed himself of the historian's labours.
• This turned out a calamitous year for the people of Ferrara, for there occurred a very tragical event in the court of their sovereign. Our annals, both printed and in manuscript, with the exception of the unpolished and negligent work of Sardi, and one other, have given the following relation of it, from which, however, are rejected many details, and especially the narrative of Bandelli, who wrote a century afterwards, and who does not accord with the contemporary historians.
* By the above-mentioned Stella dell'Assassino, the Marquis, in the year 1405, had a son called Ugo, a beautiful and ingenuous youth. Parisina Malatesta, second wife of Niccolo, like the generality of stepmothers, treated him with little kindness, to the infinite regret of the Marquis, who regarded bim with fond partiality. One day she asked leave of her husband to undertake a certain journey, to which he consented, but upon condition that Ugo should bear her company; for he hoped by these means to induce her, in the end, to lay aside the obstinate aversion which she had conceived against him. And indeed his intent was accomplished but too well, since, during the journey, she not only divested herself of all ber hatred, but fell into the opposite extreme. After their return, the Marquis had no longer any oc. casion to renew his former reproofs. It happened oue day that a servant of the Marquis, named Zoese, or, as some call him, Giorgio, passing before the apartments of Parisina, saw going out from them one of her chambermaids, all terrified and in tears. Asking the reason, she told him that her mistress, for some slight offence, had been beating her; and, giving vent to her rage, she added, that she could easily be revenged, if she chose to make known the criminal familiarity which subsisted between Parisina and her step-son. The servant took note of the words, and related them to his master. He was astounded thereat, but, scarcely believing his ears, he assured himself of the fact, alas ! too clearly, on the 18th of May, by looking through a hole made in the ceiling of his wife's chamber. Iustantly he broke into a furious nage, and arrested both of them, together with Aldobrandino Rangoni, of Modena, her gentleman, and also, as some say, two of the women of her chamber, as abettors of this sinful act. He ordered them to be brought to a hasty trial, desiring the judges to pronounce sentence, in the accustomed forms, upon the culprits. This sentence was death. Some there were that bestirred themselves in favour of the delinquents, and, amongst others, Ugoccion Contrario, who was allpowerful with Niccolo, and also his aged and much-deserving minister. Alberto dal Sale. Both of these, their tears flowing down their cheeks, and upon their knees, implored him for mercy; adducing whatever reasotis they could suggest for sparing the offenders, besides those motives of honour and decency which might persuade him to couceal from the public so scandalous a deed. But his rage inade bim inflexible, and, on the instant, he commanded that the sentence should be put in execution.
• It was, then, in the prisons of the castle, and exactly in those frightful dungeons which are seen at this day beneath the chamber called the Aurora, at the foot of the Lion's Tower, at the top of the street Giovecca, that on the night of the 21st of May were beheaded, first, Ugo, and afterwards Parisina. Zoese, he that accused her, conducted the latter under his arm to the place of punishment. She, all along, fancied that she was to be thrown into a pit, and asked at every step whether she was yet come to the spot. She was told that her punishment was the axe. She inquired what was become of Ugo, and received for auswer that he was already dead; at the which, sighing grieyously, she exclaimed, “Now, then, I wish not myself to live;" and, being come to the block, she stripped herself with her own hands of all her ornaments, and, wrapping a cloth round her head, submitted to the fatal stroke which terminated the cruel scene. The same was done with Rangoni, who, together with the others, according to two calendars in the library of St. Francesco, was buried in the cemetry of that convent. Nothing else is known respecting the women.
· The Marquis kept watch the whole of that dreadful night, and, as he was walking backwards and forwards, inquired of the captain of the castle if Ugo was dead yet; who answered him, Yes. He then gave himself up to the most desperate lamentations, exclaiming, “ Ob ! that I too were dead, since I have been hurried on to resolve thus against my own Ugo !” And then, knawing with his teeth a cane which he had in his hand, he passed the rest of the night in sighs and in tears, calling frequently upon his own dear Ugo. On the following day, calling to mind that it would be necessary to make public his justification, seeing that the transaction could not be kept secret, he ordered the narrative to be drawn out upon paper, and sent it to all the courts of Italy.
On receiving this advice, the Doge of Venice, Francesco Foscari, gave orders, but without publishing his reasons, that stop should be put to the preparations for a tournament, which, under the auspices of the Marquis and at the expense of the city of Padua, was about to take place, in the square of St. Mark, in order to celebrate his advancement to the ducal chair.
• The Marquis, in addition to what he had already done, from some unaccountable burst of vengeance, commanded that as many of the married women as were well known to him to be faithless, like his Parisina, should, like her, be beheaded. Amongst others, Barberina, or, as some call her, Laodamia Romei, wife of the court judge, underwent this sentence at the usual place of execution : that is to say, in the quarter of St. Giacomo, opposite the present fortress, beyond St. Paul's. It cannot be told how strange appeared this proceeding in a prince, who, considering his own disposition, should, as it seemed, have been in such cases most indulgent. Some, however, there were, who did not fail to commend hiin.'
While Lord Byron was thus adding to his poetical reputation his domestic affairs became gradually more embroiled. From little dissensions complaints and altercations arose; and, withoot ventoring to say whether the fault was on the one side or on the other or, as is more probable, because it is more common in the disputes of marned folks—that the blame should be equally divided between both parties, cerlain it is that a very considerable share of discord prevailed.
The intervention of friends was talked of, but it was aot resorted to. The quarrels were sometimes made up, and sometimes they contioued for longer or shorter periods, until Lady Byron's accouchement, which took place at the close of the year in which they were married.
Lord Byron had vecome concerned in the management of the Drury Lane theatre during the time that a committee of noblemen aud gelltlemen thought they would be able to conduct it. This was very much as if they had set up the trade of making shoes, and they probably knew as much of the one as the other : some of them (for Mr. Peter Moore was among the number) might have been even better qualified for the lalter than for that task which he so rashly undertook. Every body knows that a short period sufficed to dissipate the money of the 10lueky subscribers, and to inake the committee themselves ashamed of their folly. Lord Byron was among the first to get tired, and renounce the honorable post he had assumed; but not before he had done to his own happiness a wrong far less likely to be repaired than the bankruptcy which he and his wise co-mates had brought upon the affairs of the theatre. A playhouse, like misery, acquaints a man with strange bedfellows;' and no man cau hauut the green-rooms and the coulisses without falling into very bad company. Lord Byron made some acquaintances at Drury Lane, whom, in a moment of indiscretion, he was thoughtless enough to iu vite to bis own house. It is true that this invitation was given and accepted just at the period whea Lady Byron was confined to her chamber : it was of course impossible that she could have come in contact with her husband's guests; aud, rash and inexcusable as his conduct was, it is quite certain that he never meant she should be acquainted with the circumstance. It was, however, repeated to her with a great many exaggerations. A mere frolic-no doubt a very foolish one, and conceived in the worst possible taste-was magnified into a premeditated outrage on the decency and decorum of Lady Byron's home. It was represented to her that her lord, not content with iudulging his taste for certain companions of a very questionable character, brought them, as it were, insultingly under his lady's nose ; and, in short, all that malice and falsehood could invent were brought in to the aid of persons, who, for some reason or other, were assiduously employed to effeet a breach between Lord and Lady Вуготі. .
These attempts, unfortunately for the noble pair, succeeded too well. Lady Byron would not forgive the last affront, which she was made to believe had been studiously offered to her; but she was too proud to complain of it. The pecuniary difficulties continued, and it was agreed that ber ladyship should go into the country to her father's seat, on her recovery from her confinement, and pass there a short time until some arrangements for the payment of his lordship’s debts, which were then in progress, should be completed. This agreement was carried into effect without either of the parties, or at all events, without Lord Byron's expecting that their parting on the occasion was to be for any long period still less that it was to be, as it turned out, for ever.
Her ladyship went to her father's house with her infant. On the road she wrote to Lord Byron one of those letters which the occasion commanded; and which was quite cordial, if not very passionately fond, and was, perhaps, therefore, at once the more sincere and the more sensible. Soon after her arrival, however, at the place of her destination, a very different impression seemed to have been made on her. A formal complaint was made of his lordship’s conduct : all his faults and errors, and follies, were drawn out in regular catalogue, and laid before some friends of the family (damned good-natured friends,' Sir Fretful Plagiary calls them) to advise upon.
It can answer no good purpose' at this tiine to penetrate further into the progress of this painful affair, in which the conduct of neither party seems to have been very wise. The final result was a proposal for a separation, which Lord Byron acceded to. Deeds were drawn up to specify the terms upon which this married pair should for the future live asunder, and they parted never to meet again.
Lord Byron believed—and he continued in that belief to the end of his life—that, although his lady had been more unforgiving than he had expected to find her, and than perhaps his faults, even in the worst shape that was imputed to them, had deserved, yet she was induced to continue in this uncharitable temper in consequence of the