Obrazy na stronie

If music can thus move. But what is he,
Whom we seek here ?"

" of his sad history
I know but this," said Maddalo: "he came
To Venice a dejected man, and fame
Said he was wealthy, or he had been so.
Some thought the loss of fortune wrought him woe,
But he was ever talking in such sort
As you do,-but more sadly :- he seem'd hurt,
Even as a man with his peculiar wrong,
To hear but of the oppression of the strong,
Or those ab deceits (I think with you
In some respects, you know) which carry thro'
The excellent impostors of this earth
When they outface detection. He had worth,
Poor fellow! but a humourist in his way."
" Alas, what drove him mad!"

“I cannot say:
A lady came with him from France, and when
She left him and returned, he wander'd then
About yon lonely isles of desert sand,
Till he grew wild. He had no cash nor land
Remaining :--the police had brought him here
Some fancy took him, and he would not bear
Removal, so I fitted up for him
Those rooms beside the sea, to please his whim;
And sent him busts, and books, and urns for flowers,
Which had adorned his life in happier hours,
And instruments of music. You may guess
A stranger could do little more or less
For one so gentle and unfortunate-
And those are his sweet strains which charm the weiglit
From madmen's chains, and make this hell appear
A heaven of sacred silence, hushed to hear."

" Nay, this was kind of you,- he had no claim, As the world says."

“ None but the very same Which I on all mankind, were I, as he, Fall'n to such deep reverse. Mis melody

Is interrupted now: we hear the din
of madmen, shriek on shriek, again begin:
Let us now visit him : after this strain,
He ever communes with himself again,
And sees and hears not any."

Having said
These words, we called the keeper, and he ied
To an apartment opening on the sea-
There the poor wretch was sitting mournfully
Near a piano, his pale fingers twined
One with the other; and the ooze and wind
Rushed thro' an open casement, and did sway
His hair, and started it with the brackish spray:
His head was leaning on a music-book,
And he was muttering; and his lean limbs shook;
His lips were pressed against a folded leaf,
In hue too beautiful for health, and griel
Smiled in their motions as they lay apart.
As one who wrought from his own fervid heart
The eloquence of passion: soon he raised
His sad meek face, and eyes lustrous and glazed,
And spoke,-sometimes as one who wrote and thought
His words might move some heart that heeded not,
If sent to distant lands; and then as one
Reproaching deeds never to be undone,
With wondering self-compassion; then his speech
Was lost in grief, and then his words came each
Unmodulated and expressionless,-
But that from one jarred accent yon might guess
It was despair made them so uniform :
And all the while the loud and gusty storm
Hissed thro' the window, and we stood behind,
Stealing his accents from the envious wind,
Unseen. 1 yet remember what he said
Distinctly, such impression his words made.

“ Month after month,” he cried, “ to bear this load, And, as a jade urged by the whip and goad, To drag iise on-which like a heavy chain Lengthens behind with many a link of pain, And not to speak my grief-0, not to dare

To give a human voice to my despair ;
But live, and move, and, wretched thing. smile on,
As if I never went aside to groan,
And wear this mask of falsehood even to those
Who are most dear--not for my own repose-
Alas! no scorn, nor pain, nor hate, could be
So heavy as that falsehood is to me
But that I cannot bear more altered faces
Than needs must be, more changed and cold embraces,
More misery, disappointment, and mistrust,
To own me for their father. Would the dust
Were covered in upon my budy now!
'That the life ceased to toil within my brow!
And then these thoughts would at the last be fled :
Let us not fear such pain can vex the dead.

“What Power delights to torture us? I know
That to myself I do not wholly owe
What now I suffer, though in part I may.
Alas! none strewed fresh flowers upon the way
Where, wandering heedlessly, I met pale Pain,
My shadow, which will leave me not again,
If I have erred, there was no joy in error,
But pain, and insult, and unrest, and terror;
I have not, as some do, bought penitence
With pleasure, and a dark yet sweet offence;
For then if love, and tenderness, and truth,
Had overlived Hope's momentary youth,
My creed should have redeemed me from repenting :
But loathed scorn and outrage unrelenting
Met love excited by far other seeming
Until the end was gained :--as one from dreaming
Of sweetest peace, I woke, and found my state
Such as it is,--

O tlou, my spirit's mate!
Who, for thou art compassionate and wise,
Wouldst pity me from thy most gentle eyes
If this sad writing thou shouldsť ever see,
My secret groans must be unheard hy thee,
Thou wouldst weep tears, bitter as blood, to know
Thy lost friend's incommunicable woe.

Ye few by whom my nature has been weighed
In friendship, let me not that name degrade,
By placing on your hearts the secret load
Which crushes mine to dust. There is one road
To peace, and that is truth, which follow ye!
Love sometimes leads astray to misery.
Yet think not, tho'subdued (and I may well
Say that I am subdued)—that the full liell
Within me would infect the untaiated breast
Of sacred nature with its own unrest ;
As some perverted beings think to find
In scorn or hate a medicine for the mind
Which scorn or hate hath wounded. -0, how vain
T'he dagger heals not, but may rend again.
Believe that I am ever still the same
In creed as in resolve ; and what may tame
My heart, must leave the understanding free
Or all would sink under this agony -
Nor dream that I will join the vulgar eye,
Or with my silence sanction tyranny,
Or seek a moment's shelter from my pain
In any madness which the world calls gain;
Ambition, or revenge, or thoughts as stern
As those which make me what I am, or turn
To avarice or misanthrophy or lust.
Heap on me soon, O grave, thy welcome dust!
'Till then the dungeon may demand its prey;
And Poverty and Shame may meet and say,
Halting beside me, in the public way,-
"That love-devoted youth is ours : let's sit
Beside him: he may live some six months yet.'
Or the red scaffold, as our country bends,
May ask some willing victim; or ye, friends,
May fall under some sorrow, which this heart
Or hand may share, or vanquish, or avert :
I am prepared, in truth, with no proud joy,
To do or suffer aught, as when a boy
I did devote to justice, and to love,
My nature, worthless now.

“I must remove A veil from my pent mind. "Tis torn aside !

0! pallid as Death's dedicated bride,
Thou mockery which art sitting by my side.
Am I not wan like thee? At the grave's cail
I haste, invited to thy wedding-ball,
To meet the ghastly paramour, for whom
Thou hast deserted me,-and made the tomb
Thy bridal bed. But I beside thy feet
Will lie, and watch ye from my winding-sheet.
Thus-wide awake tho' dead-Yet stay, 0, stay!
Go not so soon-I know not what I say
Hear but my reasons, I am mad, I fear,
My fancy is o'erwrought-thou art not here.
Pale art thou, 'tis most true but thou art gone
Thy work is finished ; I am left alone.
"Nay, was it I who wooed thee to this breast,
Which like a serpent thou en venomest
As in repayment of the warmth it lent?
Didst thou not seek me for thine own content?
Did not thy love awaken mine? I thought
That thou wert she who said. You kiss me not
Ever; I fear you do not love me now.'
In truth I loved even to my overthrow
Her, who would fain forget these words, but they
Cling to her mind, and cannot pass away.
"You say that I am proud ; that when I speak,
My lip is tortured with the wrongs, which break
The spirit it expresses.- Never one
Humbled himself before, as I have done!
Even the instinctive worm on which we tread
Turns, tho' it wound not-then, with prostrate head,
Sinks in the dust, and writhes like me--and dies :

-No :-wears a living death of agonies !
As the slow shadows of the pointed grass
Mark the eternal periods, its pangs pass,
Slow, ever-moving, making moments be
As mine seem,-each an immortality!

"That you had never seen me! never heard
My voice ! and, more than all, had ne'er endured

« PoprzedniaDalej »