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That of the two, Giovanni was the graver,
Some tastes there were indeed, that would prefer Giovanni's countenance as the martialler; And 'twas a soldier's truly, if an eye Ardent and cool at once, drawn-back and high, An eagle's nose and a determined lip, Were the best marks of manly soldiership. Paulo's was fashioned in a different mould, And surely the more fine : for though 'twas bold, When boldness was required, and could put on A glowing frown as if an angel shone, Yet there was nothing in it one might call A stamp exclusive or professional, No courtier's face, and yet its smile was ready, No scholar's, yet its look was deep and steady, No soldier's, for its power was all of mind, Too true for violence, and too refined. The very nose, lightly yet firmly wrought, Shewed taste; the forehead a clear-spirited thought; Wisdom looked sweet and inward from his eye; And round his mouth was sensibility : It was a face, in short, seemed made to shew How far the genuine flesh and blood could go ;A morning glass of unaffected nature, Something, that baffled looks of loftier feature, The visage of a glorious human creature.
If any points there were, at which they came Nearer together, 'twas in knightly fame, And all accomplishments that art may know, Hunting, and princely hawking, and the bow, The rush together in the bright-eyed list, Fore-thoughted chess, the riddle rarely missed, And the decision of still knottier points, With knife in hand, of boar and peacock joints, Things, that might shake the fame that Tristan got, And bring a doubt on perfect Launcelot.* But leave we knighthood to the former part; The tale I tell is of the human heart.
The worst of Prince Giovanni, as his bride Too quickly found, was an ill-temper'd pride. Bold, handsome, able (if he chose) to please, Punctual and right in common offices, He lost the sight of conduct's only worth, The scattering smiles on this uneasy earth, And on the strength of virtues of small weight, Claimed tow'rds himself the exercise of great. He kept no reckoning with his sweets and sours; He'd hold a sullen countenance for hours,
* The two famous knights of the Round Table, great huntsmen, and of course great carvers. Boars and peacocks, served up whole, the latter with the feathers on, were eminent dishes with the knights of old, and must have called forth all the exercise of this accomplishment.
And then, if pleased to cheer himself a space,
him in some eyes a dignity,
From this complexion in the reigning brother
younger birth perhaps had saved the other.
Found this the wisdom and the sovereign good, -
The lovely stranger could not fail to see Too soon this difference, more especially As her consent, too lightly now, she thought, With hopes far different had been strangely bought; And many a time the pain of that neglect Would strike in blushes o'er her self-respect :
But since the ill was cureless, she applied