I found this peoms in McGuffey's Fourth Reader.... It is so incredibly heart-wrenching. I love this poem, because the tragedy, the grief, and the story are all so original and classic... Very well written, and so... tragic! (Just the type of thing I like!) Oh, and I know it's kind of long, but it is so worth it!
Ginevra- by Rogers
If ever you should come to Modena,
Stop at a palace near the Reggio-gate
Dwelt in of old by one of the Donati.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
Will long detain you—but, before you go,
Enter the house—forget it not, I pray you—
And look awhile upon a picture there.
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
The last of that illustrious family;
Done by Zampieri—but whom I care not.
He, who observes it—ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up when far away.
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half open, and her finger up,
As though she said, "Beware!" Her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers and clasped from head to foot
An emerald stone in every golden clasp;
And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls.
But then her face,
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart—
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody!
Alone it hangs
Over a mouldering heirloom; its companion,
An oaken chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
With scripture-stories from the life of Christ;
A chest that came from Venice, and had held
The ducal robes of some old ancestors—
That by the way—it may be true or false—
But don't forget the picture; and you will not,
When you have heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child—her name Ginevra,
The joy, the pride of an indulgent father;
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her palymate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there, in her bridal dress,
She was, all gentleness, all gayety,
Her pranks the favorite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
Now, frowning, smiling for the hundredth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached deco'rum
And, in the luster of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joyl but at the nuptial feast,
When all sat down, the bride herself was wanting.
Nor was she to be found! Her father cried,
"'Tis but to make a trial of our love!"
And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
'Twas but that instant that she had left Francesco,
Laughing and looking back and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas! she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
But taht she was not!
Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and embarking,
Flung it away in a battle with the Turk.
Donati lived—and long might you have seen
An old man wandering as in quest of something,
Something he could not find—he knew not what.
When he was gone, the house remained awhile
Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
When on an idle day, a day of search
Mid the old lumber in the gallery,
That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said
By one as young, and thoughtless as Ginevra,
"Why not remove it form its lurking-place?"
'Twas done as soon as said; but on the way
It burst, it fell; and lo! a skeleton
With here and there a pearl, and emerald-stone,
A golden clasp, clasping clasping a shred of gold.
All else had perished—save a wedding ring,
And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
Engraven with a name, the name of both—"Ginevra."
—There then had she found a grave!
Within that chest had she concealed herself,
Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy;
When a spring lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fastened her down forever!