Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.
I behold a ghastly limit to the wondrous existence I have held,—­methinks that, after ages of the Ideal Life, I see my course merge into the most stormy whirlpool of the Real.  Where the stars opened to me their gates, there looms a scaffold,—­thick steams of blood rise as from a shambles.  What is more strange to me, a creature here, a very type of the false ideal of common men,—­body and mind, a hideous mockery of the art that shapes the Beautiful, and the desires that seek the Perfect, ever haunts my vision amidst these perturbed and broken clouds of the fate to be.  By that shadowy scaffold it stands and gibbers at me, with lips dropping slime and gore.  Come, O friend of the far-time; for me, at least, thy wisdom has not purged away thy human affections.  According to the bonds of our solemn order, reduced now to thee and myself, lone survivors of so many haughty and glorious aspirants, thou art pledged, too, to warn the descendant of those whom thy counsels sought to initiate into the great secret in a former age.  The last of that bold Visconti who was once thy pupil is the relentless persecutor of this fair child.  With thoughts of lust and murder, he is digging his own grave; thou mayest yet daunt him from his doom.  And I also mysteriously, by the same bond, am pledged to obey, if he so command, a less guilty descendant of a baffled but nobler student.  If he reject my counsel, and insist upon the pledge, Mejnour, thou wilt have another neophyte.  Beware of another victim!  Come to me!  This will reach thee with all speed.  Answer it by the pressure of one hand that I can dare to clasp!


     Il lupo
     Ferito, credo, mi conobbe e ’ncontro
     Mi venne con la bocca sanguinosa. 
     “Aminta,” At. iv.  Sc. i.

     (The wounded wolf, I think, knew me, and came to meet me with its
     bloody mouth.)

At Naples, the tomb of Virgil, beetling over the cave of Posilipo, is reverenced, not with the feelings that should hallow the memory of the poet, but the awe that wraps the memory of the magician.  To his charms they ascribe the hollowing of that mountain passage; and tradition yet guards his tomb by the spirits he had raised to construct the cavern.  This spot, in the immediate vicinity of Viola’s home, had often attracted her solitary footsteps.  She had loved the dim and solemn fancies that beset her as she looked into the lengthened gloom of the grotto, or, ascending to the tomb, gazed from the rock on the dwarfed figures of the busy crowd that seemed to creep like insects along the windings of the soil below; and now, at noon, she bent thither her thoughtful way.  She threaded the narrow path, she passed the gloomy vineyard that clambers up the rock, and gained the lofty spot, green with moss and luxuriant foliage, where the dust of him who yet soothes and elevates the minds of men is believed to rest.  From afar rose the huge fortress of St. Elmo, frowning

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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