Meanwhile Adelaide has died. Salinguerra, who had joined the Emperor at Naples, is brought back in hot haste by the news that Eccelino has retired to a monastery, has disclaimed the policy of his House; and is sealing his peace with the Guelph princes by the promised marriage of his sons Eccelino and Alberic with the sisters of Este; and of his daughter Palma with Count Richard of San Bonifacio himself. He is coming to Mantua. Sordello must greet him with his best art. But Sordello shrinks from the trial, and escapes back to Goito, whence Palma has just departed. What his Mantuan life has taught him is thus expressed (vol. i. page 130):—
Body, the Machine for Acting Will,
Had been at the commencement proved unfit;
That for Demonstrating, Reflecting it,
Mankind—no fitter: was the Will Itself
He is wiser than he was, but his objects remain the same. The sympathies—the moral sense—the soul—are still asleep.
BOOK THE THIRD.
Sordello buries himself once more in the contemplation of nature; but finds in it only a short-lived peace. The marshy country about Mantua is suddenly converted into water; and with the shock of this catastrophe comes also the feeling: Nature can do and undo; her opportunities are endless. With man
once gone is gone:
Deeds let escape are never to be done.” (vol. i. p. 135.)
He has dreamed of love, of revel, and of adventure; but he has let pass the time when such dreams could be realized; and worst of all, the sacrifice has been useless. He has sacrificed the man in him to the poet; and his poetic existence has been impoverished by the act. He has rejected experience that he might be his fullest self before living it; and only living, in other words, experience, could have made that self complete. His later years have been paving the way for this discovery; it bursts on him all at once. He has been under a long strain. The reaction at length has come. He yearns helplessly for the “blisses strong and soft” which he has known he was passing by, but of which the full meaning never reached him until