The present Florence is not the Florence of other days. It can never be the same to those who loved it as much for Mrs. Browning’s sake as for its own. Her reflection remains and must ever remain; for,
“while she rests, her songs in troops
Walk up and down our earthly slopes,
Companioned by diviner hopes.”
The Italians have shown much feeling at the loss which they, too, have sustained,—more than might have been expected, when it is considered that few of them are conversant with the English language, and that to those few English poetry (Byron excepted) is unknown.
A battalion of the National Guard was to have followed Mrs. Browning’s remains to the grave, had not a misunderstanding as to time frustrated this testimonial of respect. The Florentines have expressed great interest in the young boy, Tuscan-born, and have even requested that he should be educated as an Italian, when any career in the new Italy should be open to him. Though this offer will not be accepted, it was most kindly meant, and shows with what reverence Florence regards the name of Browning. Mrs. Browning’s friends are anxious that a tablet to her memory should be placed in the Florentine Pantheon, the Church of Santa Croce. It is true she was not a Romanist, neither was she an Italian,—yet she was Catholic, and more than an Italian. Her genius and what she has done for Italy entitle her to companionship with Galileo, Michel Angelo, Dante, and Alfieri. The friars who have given their permission for the erection of a monument to Cavour in Santa Croce ought willingly to make room for a tablet on which should be inscribed,
SHE SANG THE SONG OF ITALY.
SHE WROTE “AURORA LEIGH.”
Edwin of Deira. By ALEXANDER SMITH. London: Macmillan & Co. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.
A third volume of verse by Alexander Smith certainly claims a share of public attention. We should not be at all surprised, if this, his latest venture, turn out his most approved one. The volcanic lines in his earlier pieces drew upon him the wrath of Captain Stab and many younger officers of justice, till then innocent of ink-shed. The old weapons will, no doubt, be drawn upon him profusely enough now. Suffice it for us, this month, if we send to the printer a taste of Alexander’s last feast and ask him to “hand it round.”
* * * * *
“So, in the very depth of pleasant
When every hedge was milky white, the lark
A speck against a cape of sunny cloud,
Yet heard o’er all the fields, and when his heart
Made all the world as happy as itself,—
Prince Edwin, with a score of lusty knights,
Rode forth a bridegroom to bring home his bride.
Brave sight it was to see them on their way,
Their long white mantles ruffling in the