Obrazy na stronie
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power and his dominion.” Having uttered these words, he rose suddenly, and fled over the sands; and Cain said in his heart, “The curse of the Lord is on me; but who is the God of the dead Î" and he ran after the Shape, and the Shape fled shrieking over the sands, and the sands rose like white mists behind the steps of Cain, but the feet of him that was like Abel disturbed not the sands. He greatly outran Cain, and turning short, he wheeled round, and came again to the rock where they had been sitting, and where Enos still stood; and the child caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and he fell upon the ground. And Cain stopped, and beholding him not, said, “he has passed into the dark woods,” and he walked slowly back to the rocks; and when he reached it the child told him that he had caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and that the man had fallen upon the ground: and Cain once more sate beside him, and said, “Abel, my brother, I would lament for thee, but that the spirit within me is withered, and burnt up with extreme agony. Now, I pray thee, by thy flocks, and by thy pastures, and by the quiet rivers which thou lovedst, that thou tell me all that thou knowest. Who is the God of the dead? where doth he make his dwelling 1 what sacrifices are acceptable unto him t for I have offered, but have not been received; I have prayed, and have not been heard; and how can I be afflicted more than I already am?" The Shape arose and answered, “O that thou hadst had pity on me as I will have pity on thee. Follow me, Son of Adam : and bring thy child with thee!” And they three passed over the white sands between the rocks, silent as the shadows.

--

ALLEGORIC VISION.

A FEELING of sadness, a peculiar melancholy, is

wont to take possession of me alike in Spring and in Autumn. But in Spring it is the melancholy of Hope: in Autumn it is the melancholy of Resignation. As I was journeying on foot through the Apennine, I fell in with a pilgrim in whom the Spring and the Autumn and the Melancholy of both seemed to have combined. In his discourse there were the freshness and the colors of April:

Qual ramicel a ramo,

Tal da pensier pensiero

In lui germoghava. But as I gazed on his whole form and figure, I be. thought me of the not unlovely decays, both of age and of the late season, in the stately elm, after the clusters have been plucked from its entwining vines, and the vines are as bands of dried withies around its trunk and branches. Even so there was a memory on his smooth and ample forehead, which blended with the dedication of his steady eyes, that still looked—I know not, whether upward, or far onward, or rather to the line of meeting where the sky rests upon the distance. But how may I express that dimness of abstraction which lay on the lustre of the pilgrim's eyes, like the flitting tarnish from the breath of a sigh on a silver mirror! and which accorded with their slow and reluctant movement, whenever he turned them to any object on the right hand or on the left It seemed, methought, as if there lay upon

the brightness a shadowy presence of disappointments

now unfelt, but never forgotten. It was at once the melancholy of hope and of resignation. We had not long been fellow-travellers, ere a sud. den tempest of wind and rain forced us to seek protection in the vaulted door-way of a lone chapelry: and we sate face to face each on the stone bench along-side the low, weather-stained wall, and as close as possible to the massy door. After a pause of silence: Even thus, said he, like two strangers that have fled to the same shelter from the same storm, not seldom do Despair and Hope meet for the first time in the porch of Death! All extremes meet, I answered; but yours was a strange and visionary thought. The better then doth it be. seem both the place and me, he replied. From a Visionary wilt thou hear a Vision 1 Mark that vivid flash through this torrent of rain! Fire and water. Even here thy adage holds true, and its truth is the moral of my Vision. I entreated him to proceed Sloping his face towards the arch and yet averting his eye from it, he seemed to seek and prepare hu words: till listening to the wind that echoed within the hollow edifice, and to the rain without, Which stole on his thoughts with its two-fold sound, The clash hard by and the murmur all round, he gradually sunk away, alike from me and from his own purpose, and amid the gloom of the storm, and in the duskiness of that place, he sate like an em. blem on a rich man's sepulchre, or like a mounter on the sodded grave of an only one—an aged mounts, who is watching the waned moon and sorrowethmo Starting at length from his brief trance of abstra'. tion, with courtesy and an atoning smile he renewed his discourse, and commenced his parable. During one of those short furloughs from the service of the Body, which the Soul may sometimes obtain even in this, its militant state, I sound myself in vast plain, which I immediately knew to be the Vol. ley of Life. It possessed an astonishing diversity of soils; and here was a sunny spot, and there ado one, forming just such a mixture of sunshine * shade, as we may have observed on the mountain, side in an April day, when the thin broken clouds are scattered over heaven. Almost in the very " trance of the valley stood a large and gloomy pile. into which I seemed constrained to enter to part of the building was crowded with tawdry" ments and fantastic deformity. On every window was portrayed, in glaring and inelegant colors. " horrible tale, or preternatural incident, so that "* ray of light could enter, untinged by the me!" through which it passed. The body of the bio was full of people, some of them dancing. In out, in unintelligible figures, with strange ceremonies and antic merriment, while others seemed conv" with horror, or pining in mad melancholy. Inter mingled with these, I observed a number of ". clothed in ceremonial robes, who appeared." to marshal the various groups and to direct their ". ments, and now, with menacing countenano to drag some reluctant victim to a vast idol, framed iron bars intercrossed, which formed at the * time an immense cage, and the shape of "" Colossus. I stood for a while lost in wonder what these” might mean; when lo! one of the directors came o to me, and with a stern and reproachful wo me uncover my head, for that the place in" whi had entered was the temple of o 2

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gion, in the holier recess of which the great Goddess personally resided. Himself too he bade me reverence, as the consecrated minister of her rites. Awe-struck by the name of Religion, I bowed before the priest, and humbly and earnestly entreated him to conduct me into her presence. He assented. Offerings he took from me, with mystic sprinklings of water and with salt he purified, and with strange sufflations he exorcised me; and then led me through many a dark and winding alley, the dew-damps of which chilled my flesh, and the hollow echoes under my feet, mingled, methought, with moanings, affrighted me. At length we entered a large hall, without window, or spiracle, or lamp. The asylum and dormitory it seemed of perennial night—only that the walls were brought to the eye by a number of self-luminous inscriptions in letters of a pale pulchral light, that held strange neutrality with the darkness, on the verge of which it kept its rayless vigil. I could read them, methought; but though each one of the words taken separately I seemed to understand, yet when I took them in sentences, they were riddles and incomprehensible. As I stood meditating on these hard sayings, my guide thus addressed me—Read and believe: these are mysteries!—At the extremity of the vasthall the Goddess was placed. Her features, blended with darkness, rose out to my view, terrible, yet vacant I prostrated myself before her, and then retired with my guide, soul-withered, and wondering, and dissatisfied. As l re-entered the body of the temple, I heard a deep buzz as of discontent. A few whose eyes were bright, and either piercing or steady, and whose ample foreheads, with the weighty bar, ridge-like, above the eyebrows, bespoke observation followed by meditative thought ; and a much larger number, who were enraged by the severity and insolence of the priests in exacting their offerings, had collected in one tumultuous group, and with a confused outcry of “this is the Temple of Superstition" after much ontumely, and turmoil, and cruel maltreatment on all sides, rushed out of the pile; and I, methought, joined them. We speeded from the Temple with hasty steps, and had now nearly gone round half the valley, when we were addressed by a woman, tall beyond the slature of mortals, and with a something more "an human in her countenance and mien, which yet ould by mortals be only felt, not conveyed by words * intelligibly distinguished. Deep reflection, ani*ated by ardent feelings, was displayed in them: * hope, without its uncertainty, and a something more than all these, which I understood not, but which yet seemed to blend all these into a divine "uly of expression. Her garments were white and *tronly, and of the simplest texture. We inquired name. My name, she replied, is Religion. more numerous part of our company, affrighted by the very sound, and sore from recent impostures **rceries, hurried onwards and examined no far* A few of us, struck by the manifest opposition * her form and manners to those of the living ** whom we had so recently abjured, agreed to follow her, though with cautious circumspection. *led us to an eminence in the midst of the valley, * the top of which we could command the whole *in, and observe the relation of the different parts of each to the other, and of each to the whole, and * all to each. She then gave us an optic glass which

assisted without contradicting our natural vision, and enabled us to see far beyond the limits of the Valley of Life: though our eye even thus assisted permitted us only to behold a light and a glory, but what we could not descry, save only that it was, and that it was most glorious. And now, with the rapid transition of a dream, I had overtaken and rejoined the more numerous party, who had abruptly left us, indignant at the very name of religion. They journeyed on, goading each other with remembrances of past oppressions, and never looking back, till in the eagerness to recede from the Temple of Superstition, they had rounded the whole circle of the valley. And lo! there faced us the mouth of a vast cavern, at the base of a lofty and almost perpendicular rock, the interior side of which, unknown to them, and unsuspected, formed the extreme and backward wall of the Temple. An impatient crowd, we entered the vast and dusky cave, which was the only perforation of the precipice. At the mouth of the cave sate two figures; the first, by her dress and gestures, I knew to be SENsu Ality; the second form, from the sierceness of his demeanor, and the brutal scornfulness of his looks, declared himself to be the monster BLAsphexy. He uttered big words, and yet ever and anon I observed that he turned pale at his own courage. We entered. Some remained in the opening of the cave, with the one or the other of its guardians. The rest, and I among them, pressed on, till we reached an ample chamber, that seemed the centre of the rock. The climate of the place was unnaturally cold. In the furthest distance of the chamber sate an old dim-eyed man, poring with a microscope over the Torso of a statue which had neither basis, nor feet, nor head; but on its breast was carved NATURE! To this he continually applied his glass, and seemed enraptured with the various inequalities which it rendered visible on the seemingly polished surface of the marble.—Yet evermore was this delight and triumph followed by expressions of hatred, and vehement railings against a Being, who yet, he assured us, had no existence. This mystery suddenly recalled to me what I had read in the Holiest Recess of the temple of Superstition. The old man spoke in divers tongues, and continued to utter other and most strange mysteries. Among the rest he talked much and vehemently concerning an infinite series of causes and effects, which he explained to be—a string of blind men, the last of whom caught hold of the skirt of the one before him, he of the next, and so on till they were all out of sight: and that they all walked infallibly straight, without making one false step, though all were alike blind. Methought I borrowed courage from surprise, and asked him, Who then is at the head to guide them He looked at me with ineffable contempt, not unmixed with an angry suspicion, and then replied, “No one. The string of blind men went on for ever without any beginning: for although one blind man could not move without stumbling, yet infinite blindness supplied the want of sight.” I burst into laughter, which instantly turned to terror—for as he started forward in rage, I caught a glance of him from behind; and lo! I beheld a monster biform and Janus-headed, in the hinder face and shape of which I instantly recognized the dread countenance of SUPERstition—and in the terror I

awoke. 231

THE IMPROVISATORE; OR “JOHN ANDERSON, MY JO, JOHN.”

ScFNE:—A spacious drawing-room, with music-room
adjoining.
CAtherine.
What are the words :
ELIZA.
Ask our friend, the Improvisatore; here he comes:
Kate has a favor to ask of you, Sir ; it is that you
will repeat the ballad that Mr. sung so sweetly.

FRIEND. It is in Moore's Irish Melodies; but I do not recollect the words distinctly. The moral of them, however, I take to be this— Love would remain the same if true, When we were neither young nor new : Yea, and in all within the will that came, By the same proofs would show itself the same.

ELIZA. What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont and Fletcher, which my brother admired so much It begins with something about two vines so close that their tendrils intermingle.

Frip, ND. You mean Charles' speech to Angelina, in “the Elder Brother.” We'll live together, like our two neighbor vines, Circling our souls and loves in one another' We'll spring together, and we’ll bear one fruit; One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn! One age go with us, and one hour of death Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy. CATHERINE. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile one to old age—this love, if true! But is there any such true love 7 FRIEND. I hope so. CATHER INE. But do you believe it? ELIZA (eagerly). I am sure he does. friend. From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, expects a less consident answer.

CATHER INE. A more sincere one, perhaps.

FRIEND. Even though he should have obtained the nickname of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and extempore verses at Christmas times 2 ELIZA. Nay, but be serious. Friend. Serious? Doubtless. A grave personage of my years giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, cannot well be otherwise. The difficulty, I suspect, would be for them to remain so. It will be asked whether I am not the “elderly gentleman" who sate “despairing beside a clear stream,” with a willow for his wig-block. Eliza. Say another word, and we will call it downright affectation.

CAthen in E. No! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask pardon for our presumption in expecting that Mr.— would waste his sense on two insignificant girls. FRIEND. Well, well, I will be serious. Hem! Now then commences the discourse; Mr. Moore's song being the text. Love, as distinguished from Friendship, on the one hand, and from the passion that too often usurps its name, on the other— Lucius. (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a whisper to the Friend). But is not Love the union of both } FRIEND (aside to Lucius). He never loved who thinks so. ELIZA. Brother, we don't want you. There ! Mrs. H. can. not arrange the flower-vase without you. Thank you, Mrs. Hartman. Lucius. I'll have my revenge! I know what I will say! ELIZA. Off! off! Now dear sir-Love, you were sayingFriend. Hush! Preaching, you mean, Eliza. Eliza (impatiently). Pshaw! Friend. Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such is itself not the most common thing in the world; and mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the well-known ballad, “John Anderson, my jo, John." in addition to a depth and constancy of character of no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar setsk bility and tenderness of nature; a constitutional took municativeness and utterancy of heart and soul: , delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible signs of the sacrament within—to count, as il were, the pulses of the life of love. But above all." supposes a soul which, even in the pride and sum: mer-tide of life—even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest tial which age cannot take away, and which, in all our lovings, is the Love;

Ei.nz.A.

There is something here (pointing to her heart to seems to understand you, but wants the word ** would make it understand itself.

CAtherine.

I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret”

feeling for us. FRIEND.

—I mean that willing sense of the insufficio ness of the self for itself, which predisposes a geno ous nature to see, in the total being of another.” supplement and completion of its own—that "" perpetual seeking which the presence of the beloved object modulates, not suspends, where the hear!” mently finds, and, finding, again seeks on-lo": when “life's changeful orb has pass'd the full. " confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity." brought home and pressed, as it were, to the * bosom of hourly experience: it supposes, o” heart-felt reverence for worth, not the less deep he

cause divested of its solemnity by habit, by famo

ity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call Goodness its Playfellow, and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while, in the person of a thousand-soldly endeared partner, we feel for aged VIRTUE the caressing fondness that belongs to the INNocence of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies as had been dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.

Eliza. What a soothing—what an elevating idea!

catherine. If it be not only an idea.

FRIEND.

At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it be, that two such individuals should meet together in this wide world under circumstances that admit of their union as Husband and Wife! A person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as neighbor, friend, housemate—in short, in all the concentric circles of attachment, save only the last and inmost; and yet trum how many causes be estranged from the highest Perfection in this! Pride, coldness or fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or ambitious dis. Position, a passion for display, a sullen temper—one of the other—too often proves “the dead fly in the onpost of spices,” and any one is enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction. For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine vanity, that keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self. importance. And as this high sense, or rather sensa. tion of their own value is, for the most part, ground*don negative qualities, so they have no better means of preserving the same but by negatives—that is, by * doing or saying anything, that might be put down for fond, silly, or nonsensical,—or (to use their own Phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most worthless object they could be employed in remembering.

Eliza (in answer to a whisper from CATIn-RINE).

To a hair! He must have sate for it himself. Save one from such folks! But they are out of the question.

Friend. True! but the same effect is produced in thousands the too general insensibility to a very important truth; this, namely, that the Misery of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the * by certain intervals. One year, the death of a * years after, a failure in trade; after another *t or shorter interval, a daughter may have *ned unhappily –in all but the singularly un*inate, the integral parts that compose the sum *l of the unhappiness of a man's life, are easily oned, and distinctly remembered. The happiness **, on the contrary, is made up of minute frac. *—the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss, a ** kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the dis.

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Telling her dreams to jealous Fear!

Where was it then, the sociable sprite
That crown'd the Poet's cup and deck'd his dish:
Poor shadow cast from an unsteady wish,
Itself a substance by no other right
But that it intercepted Reason's light;
It dimm'd his eye, it darken'd on his brow,
A peevish mood, a tedious time, I trow !
Thank Heaven! 'tis not so now.

Obliss of blissful hours!
The boon of Heaven's decreeing,
While yet in Eden's bowers
Dwelt the First Husband and his sinless Mate!
The one sweet plant which, piteous Heaven agreeing,
They bore with them through Eden's closing gate!
Of life's gay summer-tide the sovran Rose!
Late autumn's Amaranth, that more fragrant blows
When Passion's flowers all fall or fade ;
If this were ever his, in outward being,
Or but his own true love's projected shade,
Now, that at length by certain proof he knows,
That whether real or magic show,
Whate'er it was, it is no longer so;
Though heart be lonesome, Hope laid low,
Yet, Lady! deem him not unblest:
The certainty that struck Hope dead,
Hath left Contentment in her stead :
And that is next to best!

THE GARDEN OF BOCCACCIO.

Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
When life seems emptied of all genial powers,
A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;
And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Call'd on the past for thought of glee or gries.
In vain! berest alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacancy!
And as I watch'd the dull continuous ache,
Which, all else slumb'ring, seem'd alone to wake;
O Friend! long wont to notice yet conceal,
And soothe by silence what words cannot heal,
I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Place on my desk this exquisite design,
Boccaccio's Garden and its faëry,
The love, the joyaunce, and the gallantry!
An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm,
Framed in the silent poesy of form.
Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep
Emerging from a mist: or like a stream
Of music soft that not dispels the sleep,
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream,
Gazed by an idle eye with silent might
The picture stole upon my inward sight.
A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest,
As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast.
And one by one (I know not whence) were brought
All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my thought.
In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost
Of wonder, and in its own sancies lost;
Or charm'd my youth, that kindled from above,
Loved ere it loved, and sought a sorm for love;

Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan
Of manhood, musing what and whence is man!
Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea-worn caves
Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds and waves
Or fateful hymn of those prophetic maids,
That call'd on Hertha in deep forest glades;
Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's feast;
Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and priest,
Judge, mayor, and many a guild in long array,
To high-church pacing on the great saint's day.
And many a verse which to myself I sang,
That woke the tear, yet stole away the pang,
Of hopes which in lamenting I renew'd.
And last, a matron now, of sober mien,
Yet radiant still and with no earthly sheen,
Whom as a faëry child my childhood wood
Even in my dawn of thought—Philosophy.
Though then unconscious of herself, pardie,
She bore no other name than Poesy;
And, like a gift from heaven, in lifeful glee,
That had but newly left a mother's knee,
Prattled and play'd with bird and flower, and stone,
As if with elfin playfellows well known,
And life reveal'd to innocence alone.

Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry
Thy fair creation with a mastering eye,
And all awake! And now in fix’d gaze stand,
Now wander through the Eden of thy hand;
Praise the green arches, on the fountain clear
See fragment shadows of the crossing deer,
And with that serviceable nymph I stoop,
The crystal from its restless pool to scoop.
I see no longer! I myself am there,
Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.
"Tis I, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings:
Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells
From the high tower, and think that there she dwells
With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest,
And breathe an air like life, that swells my chest

The brightness of the world, O thou once free,
And always fair, rare land of courtesy!
O, Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills'
And famous Arno fed with all their rills;
Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy!
Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine,
The golden corn, the olive, and the vine.
Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old,
And forests, where beside his leafy hold
The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn,
And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn;
Palladian palace with its storied halls;
Fountains, where Love lies listening to their falls
Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span,
And Nature makes her happy home with man;
Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed
With its own rill, on its own spangled bed,
And wreathes the marble umor leans its head,
A mimic mourner, that with veil withdrawn
Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn,
Thine all delights, and every muse is thine:
And more than all, the embrace and intertwin”
Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance'
"Mid gods of Greece and warriors ". *

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