« PoprzedniaDalej »
power and his dominion." Having uttered these now unfelt, but never forgotten. It was at once the words, he rose suddenly, and fled over the sands; melancholy of hope and of resignation. and Cain said in his heart, “ The curse of the Lord We had not long been fellow-travellers, ere a sudis on me; but who is the God of the dead ?" and he den tempest of wind and rain forced us to seek proran after the Shape, and the Shape fled shrieking tection in the vaulted door-way of a lone chapelry : over the sands, and the sands rose like white mists and we sate face to face each on the stone bench behind the steps of Cain, but the feet of him that along-side the low, weather-stained wall, and as close was like Abel disturbed not the sands. He greatly as possible to the massy door. outran Cain, and turning short, he wheeled round, After a pause of silence: Even thus, said he, like and came again to the rock where they had been two strangers that have fled to the same shelter from sitting, and where Enos still stood; and the child the same storm, not seldom do Despair and Hope caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and he meet for the first time in the porch of Death! All fell upon the ground. And Cain stopped, and be extremes meet, I answered ; but yours was a strange holding him not, said, “ he has passed into the dark and visionary thought. The better then doth it be woods,” and he walked slowly back to the rocks; seem both the place and me, he replied. From a and when he reached it the child told him that he Visionary wilt thou hear a Vision ? Mark that vivid had caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and flash through this torrent of rain! Fire and water. that the man had fallen upon the ground: and Cain Even here thy adage holds true, and its truth is the once more sate beside him, and said, “ Abel, my bro- moral of my Vision. I entreated him to proceed. ther, I would lament for thee, but that the spirit Sloping his face towards the arch and yet averting within me is withered, and burnt up with extreme his eye from it, he seemed to seek and prepare bir agony. Now, I pray thee, by thy flocks, and by thy words: till listening to the wind that echoed within pastures, and by the quiet rivers which thou lovedst, the hollow edifice, and to the rain without, that thou tell me all that thou knowest. Who is the Which stole on his thoughts with its two-fold sound, God of the dead? where doth he make his dwelling? The clash hard by and the murmur all round, what sacrifices are acceptable unto him? for I have he gradually sunk away, alike from me and from his offered, but have not been received ; I have prayed, own purpose, and amid the gloom of the storm, and and have not been heard; and how can I be afflicted in the duskiness of that place, he sate like an en more than I already am?" The Shape arose and blem on a rich man's sepulchre, or like a mourner answered, “O that thou hadst had pity on me as I on the sodded grave of an only one-an aged mourer, will have pity on thee. Follow me, Son of Adam! who is watching the waned moon and sorroweth mot. and bring thy child with thee!"
Starting at length from his brief trance of abstraeAnd they three passed over the white sands be- tion, with courtesy and an atoning smile he renewed tween the rocks, silent as the shadows.
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 stale, I found myself in & ALLEGORIC VISION.
vast plain, which I immediately knew to be the l'al
ley of Life. It possessed an astonishing diversity of A FEELING of sadness, a peculiar melancholy, is soils : and here was a sunny spot, and there a dark wont to take possession of me alike in Spring and in one, forming just such a mixture of sunshine and Autumn. But in Spring it is the melancholy of shade, as we may have observed on the mountains Hope : in Autumn it is the melancholy of Resigna- side in an April day, when the thin broken clouds tion. As I was journeying on foot through the Apen- are scattered over heaven. Almost in the very en nine, I fell in with a pilgrim in whom the Spring and trance of the valley stood a large and gloomy pile. the Autumn and the Melancholy of both seemed to into which I seenied constrained to enter. Every have combined. In his discourse there were the part of the building was crowded with lawdry om freshness and the colors of April:
ments and fantastic deformity. On every window Qual ramicel a ramo,
was portrayed, in glaring and inelegant colors, some Tal da pensier pensiero
horrible tale, or preternatural incident, so that not 8 In lui germogliava.
ray of light could enter, untinged by the medium But as I gazed on his whole form and figure, I be through which it passed. The body of the building thought me of the not unlovely decays, both of age was full of people, some of them dancing, in and and of the late season, in the stately' elm, after the out, in unintelligible figures, with strange ceremonies clusters have been plucked from its entwining vines, and antic merriment, while others seemed convulsed and the vines are as bands of dried withies around with horror, or pining in mad melancholy. Inter its trunk and branches. Even so there was a memo- mingled with these, i observed a number of men, ry on his smooth and ample forehead, which blended clothed in ceremonial robes, who appeared, now b with the dedication of his steady eyes
, that still marshal the various groups and to direct their moves looked--I know not, whether upward, or far onward, ments, and now, with menacing countenances
, or rather to the line of meeting where the sky rests drag some reluctant victim to a vast idol
, framed of upon the distance. But how may I express that iron bars intercrossed, which formed at the sale dimness of abstraction which lay on the lustre of the time an immense cage, and the shape of a human pilgrim's eyes, like the fitting tarnish from the breath Colossus. of a sigh on a silver mirror! and which accorded I stood for a while lost in wonder what these things with their slow and reluctant movement, whenever might mean; when lo! one of the directors came up the left ? It seemed, methought
, as if there lay upan me uncover my head, for that the place into which the brightness a shadowy presence of disappointments had entered was the temple of the only true Reli
gion, in the holier recess of which the great Goddess assisted without contradicting our natural visi«ın, and personally resided. Himself too he bade me reverence, enabled us to see far beyond the limits of the Valley as the consecrated minister of her rites. Awe-struck of Life: though our eye even thus assisted permitted by the name of Religion, I bowed before the priest, us only to behold a light and a glory, but what we and humbly and earnestly entreated him to conduct could not descry, save only that it was, and that it me into her presence. He assented. Offerings he took was most glorious. from me, with mystic sprinklings of water and with And now, with the rapid transition of a dream, I salt he purified, and with strange sufflations he ex. had overtaken and rejoined the more numerous party, orcised me; and then led me through many a dark who had abruptly left us, indignant the very name and winding alley, the dew-damps of which chilled of religion. They journeyed on, goading each other my flesh, and the hollow echoes under my feet, with remembrances of past oppressions, and never mingled, methought, with moanings, affrighted me. looking back, till in the eagerness to recede from the Ai length we entered a large hall, without window, Temple of Superstition, they had rounded the whole or spiracle, or lamp. The asylum and dormitory it circle of the valley. And lo! there faced us the seemed of perennial night-only that the walls were mouth of a vast cavern, at the base of a lofty and brought to the eye by a number of self-luminous almost perpendicular rock, the interior side of which, ilescriptions in letters of a pale pulchral light, that unknown to them, and unsuspected, formed the exheld strange neutrality with the darkness, on the treme and backward wall of the Temple. An imverge of which it kept its rayless vigil. I could read patient crowd, we entered the vast and dusky cave, them, methought; but though each one of the words which was the only perforation of the precipice. taken separately I seemed to understand, yet when I At the mouth of the cave sate two figures; the first, took them in sentences, they were riddles and in- by her dress and gestures, I knew to be SENSUALITY; comprehensible. As I stood meditating on these hard the second form, from the fierceness of his demeanor, sayings, my guide thus addressed me-Read and be. and the brutal scornfulness of his looks, declared lieve: these are mysteries ! - At the extremity of the himself to be the monster BLASPHEMY. He uttered vast hall the Goddess was placed. Her features, blend- big words, and yet ever and anon I observed that he ed with darkness, rose out to my view, terrible, yet turned pale at his own courage. We entered. Some Facant i prostrated myself before her, and then remained in the opening of the cave, with the one or retired with my guide, soul-withered, and wondering, the other of its guardians. The rest, and I among and dissatisfied.
them, pressed on, till we reached an ample chamber, As I re-entered the body of the temple, I heard a that seemed the centre of the rock. The climate of deep buzz as of discontent. A few whose eyes were the place was unnaturally cold. bright
, and either piercing or steady, and whose In the furthest distance of the chamber sate an ample foreheads, with the weighty bar, ridge-like, old dim-eyed man, poring with a microscope over above the eyebrows, bespoke observation followed the Torso of a statue which had neither basis, nor by meditative thought ; and a much larger number, feet
, nor head; but on its breast was carved NATURE! wbo were enraged by the severity and insolence of To this he continually applied his glass, and seemed the priests in exacting their offerings, had collected enraptured with the various inequalities which it in
one tumultuous group, and with a confused outcry rendered visible on the seemingly polished surface of “ this is the Temple of Superstition!” after much of the marble.—Yet evermore was this delight and contumely, and turmoil, and cruel maltreatment on triumph followed by expressions of hatred, and veall sides, rushed out of the pile: and I, methought, hement railings against a Being, who yet, he assured joined them.
us, had no existence. This mystery suddenly recalled We speeded from the Temple with hasty steps, to me what I had read in the Holiest Recess of the and had now nearly gone round half the valley, temple of Superstition. The old man spoke in divers when we were addressed by a woman, tall beyond tongues, and continued to utter other and most strange the stature of mortals, and with a something more mysteries. Among the rest he talked much and vethan human in her countenance and mien, which yet hemently concerning an infinite series of causes and could by mortals be only felt, 'not conveyed by words effects, which he explained to be a string of blind or intelligibly distinguished. Deep reflection, ani- men, the last of whom caught hold of the skirt mated by ardent feelings, was displayed in them : of the one before him, he of the next, and so on till and hope
, without its uncertainty, and a something they were all out of sight: and that they all walked more than all these, which I understood not, but infallibly straight, without making one false step, which yet seemed to blend all these into a divine though all were alike blind. Methought I borrowed unity of expression. Her garments were white and courage from surprise, and asked him, -Who then is matronly, and of the simplest texture. We inquired at the head to guide them? He looked at me with her name. My name, she replied, is Religion. ineffable contempt, not unmixed with an angry sus
The more numerous part of our company, affright- picion, and then replied, “ No one. The string of ed by the very sound, and sore from recent impostures blind men went on for ever without any beginning: or sorceries, hurried onwards and examined no far- for although one blind man could not move without ther
. A few of us, struck by the manifest opposition stumbling, yet infinite blindness supplied the want of of her form and manners to those of the living sight.” I burst into laughter, which instantly turned to Idol
, whom we had so recently abjured, agreed to terror-for as he started forward in rage, I caught follow her
, though with cautious circumspection. a glance of him from behind ; and lo! i beheld a She led us to an eminence in the midst of the valley, monster biform and Janus-headed, in the hinder face from the top of which we could command the whole and shape of which I instantly recognized the dread plain, and observe the relation of the different parts countenance of Superstition—and in the terror I of each to the other, and of each to the whole, and awoke. of all to each. She then gave us an optic glass which
No! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask
pardon for our presumption in expecting that Mr. OR “JOHN ANDERSON, MY JO, JOHN." would waste his sense on two insignificant girls. SCENE:A spacious drawing-room, with music-room adjoining
Well, well, I will be serious. Hem! Now then
commences the discourse ; Mr. Moore's song being CATHERINE.
the text. Love, as distinguished from Friendship, on What are the words?
the one hand, and from the passion that too oflen
usurps its name, on the otherAsk our friend, the Improvisatore; here he comes : Kate has a favor to ask of you, Sir; it is that you (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a will repeat the ballad that Mr. sung so sweetly. whisper to the Friend). But is not Love the union of FRIEND.
both ? It is in Moore's Irish Melodies; but I do not re
FRIEND (aside to LUCIUS). collect the words distinctly. The moral of them, He never loved who thinks so. however, I take to be this — Love would remain the same if true,
Brother, we don't want you. There ! Mrs. H. canWhen we were neither young nor new :
not arrange the flower-vase without you. Thank you, Yea, and in all within the will that came,
I'll have my revenge! I know what I will say!
FRIEND. that their tendrils intermingle.
Hush! Preaching, you mean, Eliza.
Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is Circling our souls and loves in one another !
itself not the most common thing in the world: and We'll spring together, and we'll bear one fruit;
mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn ! One age go with us, and one hour of death
attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy.
melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the
well-known ballad, “ John Anderson, my jo, John," CATHERINE. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile in addition to a depth and constancy of character of one to old age—this love, if true! But is there any bility and tenderness of nature ; a constitutional com
no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar serssuch true love?
municativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a I hope so.
delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and
visible signs of the sacrament within—10 count, as it CATHERINE. But do you believe it?
were, the pulses of the life of love. But above all, it
supposes a soul which, even in the pride and sumELIZA (eagerly).
mer-tide of life-even in the lustihood of health and I am sure he does.
strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest that
which age cannot take away, and which, in all ou From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, lovings, is the Love ;expects a less confident answer.
There is something here (pointing to her hearf
) that A more sincere one, perhaps.
seems to understand you, but wants the word that
would make it understand itself. FRIEND. Even though he should have obtained the nick
CATHERINE. name of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and
I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the extempore verses at Christmas times ?
feeling for us.
-I mean that willing sense of the insufficing.
ness of the self for itself, which predisposes a gener FRIEND.
ous nature to see, in the total being of another, the Serious ? Doubtless. years giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, can- perpetual seeking which the presence of the beloved
A grave personage of my supplement and completion of its own—that quiet not well be otherwise. The difficulty, I suspect, object modulates, not suspends, where the heart mô would be for them to remain so. It will be asked mently finds, and, finding, again seeks on--lastly, whether I am not the “ elderly gentleman" who sate when life's changeful orb has passid the full,"a " despairing beside a clear stream,” with a willow confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus for his wig-block.
brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very
bosom of hourly experience: it supposes, I say, a Say another word, and we will call it downright heart-felt reverence for worth, not the less deep beaffectation.
cause divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiar
ity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of guise of playful raillery, and the countless other modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial they are conscious of possessing the same or the feeling. correspondent excellence in their own characters.
CATHERINE. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels Well, Sir ; you have said quite enough to make me the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its despair of finding a “John Anderson, my jo, John," own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call to totter down the hill of life with. Goodness its Playfellow, and dares make sport of tine and infirmity, while, in the person of a thou
Not so! Good men are not, I trust, so much scarcer sand-foldly endeared partner
, we feel for aged Virtue than good women, but that what another would find the caressing fondness that belongs to the INNOCENCE of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and in you, you may hope to find in another. But well, tender courtesies as had been dictated by the same which would be more than an adequate reward for
however, may that boon be rare, the possession of affection to the same object when attired in feminine
the rarest virtue. loveliness or in manly beauty. What a soothing-what an elevating idea!
Surely, he who has described it so beautifully, must have possessed it?
If it be not only an idea.
If he were worthy to have possessed it, and had
believingly anticipated and not found it, how bitter At all events, these qualities which I have enumer- the disappointment! ated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it be, that two such in
(Then, after a pause of a few minutes). dividuals should meet together in this wide world
ANSWER (ex improviso). under circumstances that admit of their union as Yes, yes! that boon, life's richest treat, Husband and Wife! A person may be highly estima. He had, or fancied that he had ; ble on the whole, nay, amiable as neighbor, friend, Say, 't was but in his own conceithousemate-in short, in all the concentric circles of The fancy made him glad! attachment, save only the last and inmost; and yet Crown of his cup, and garnish of his dish! from how many causes be estranged from the highest The boon, prefigured in his earliest wish! perfection in this! Pride, coldness or fastidiousness The fair fulfilment of his poesy, of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or ambitious dis- When his young heart first year'd for sympathy! position, a passion for display, a sullen temper-one or the other—too often proves“ the dead fly in the But e'en the meteor offspring of the brain compost of spices,” and any one is enough to unfit it
Unnourish'd wane! for the precious balm of unction. For some mighty Faith asks her daily bread, good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ur sine vanity, that Now so it chanced-from wet or dry,
And Fancy must be fed ! keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self. It boots not how-I know not whyimportance. And as this high sense, or rather sensa. She miss'd her wonted food : and quickly tion of their own value is, for the most part, ground. Poor Fancy stagger'd and ed on negative qualities, so they have no better means Then came a restless state, 't wixt yea and nay,
grew sickly. of preserving the same but by negatives—that is, by His faith was fix'd, his heart all ebb and flow; not doing or saying any thing, that might be put down Or like a bark, in some half-shelter'd bay, for fond, silly, or nonsensical,-or (to' use their own Above its anchor driving to and fro. phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most worthless object they could be employed in That boon, which but to have possess 'd remembering.
In a belief, gave life a zest
Uncertain both what it had been,
And if by error lost, or luck;
Or annual flower, which past its blow, True! but the same effect is produced in thousands No vernal spell shall e'er revive; by the too general insensibility to a very important Uncertain, and afraid to know, truth; this, namely, that the misery of human lise is
Doubts toss'd him to and fro; made up of large masses, each separated from the Hope keeping Love, Love Hope alive, other by certain intervals. One year, the death of a Like babes bewilder'd in a snow, child ; years after, a failure in trade; after another That cling and huddle from the cold longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have In hollow tree or ruin'd fold. married unhappily ;-in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum Those sparkling colors, once his boast, total of the unhappiness of a man's life, are easily Fading, one by one away, counted, and distinctly remembered. The HAPPINESS Thin and hueless as a ghost, of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute frac Poor Fancy on her sick-bed lay; tions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a Il at distance, worse when near, smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the dis- | Telling her dreams to jealous Fear!
Where was it then, the sociable sprite
Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan That crown'd the Poet's cup and deck'd his dish! Of manhood, musing what and whence is man! Poor shadow cast from an unsteady wish,
Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea-worn caves Itself a substance by no other right
Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds and water But that it intercepted Reason's light;
Or fateful hymn of those prophetic maida, It dimm'd his eye, it darken'd on his brow, That call'd on Hertha in deep forest glades; A peevish mood, a tedious time, I trow!
Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's feast;
Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and priest,
To high-church pacing on the great saint's day. O bliss of blissful hours !
And many a verse which to myself I sang, The boon of Heaven's decreeing,
That woke the tear, yet stole away the pang, While yet in Eden's bowers
of hopes which in lamenting I renewid. Dwelt the First Husband and his sinless Mate! And last, a matron now, of sober mien, The one sweet plant which, piteous Heaven agreeing, Yet radiant still and with no earthly sheen, They bore with them through Eden's closing gate! Whom as a faëry child my childhood wood Of life's gay summer-tide the sovran Rose! Even in my dawn of thought-Philosophy. Late autumn's Amaranth, that more fragrant blows Though then unconscious of herself, pardie, When Passion's flowers all fall or fade ;
She bore no other name than Poesy; If this were ever his, in outward being,
And, like a gift from heaven, in lifeful glee, Or but his own true love's projected shade, That had but newly left a mother's knee, Now, that at length by certain proof he knows, Prattled and play'd with bird and flower, and stone, That whether real or magic show,
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 fir'd gaze stand,
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. Of late, in one of those most weary hours, "Tis I, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings, When life seems emptied of all genial powers,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings: A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;
From the high tower, and think that there she dwells And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest, Callid on the past for thought of glee or grief. And breathe an air like life, that swells my chest In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee, I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacaney! And as I watch'd the dull continuous ache, The brightness of the world, O thou once free, Which, all else slumb'ring, seem'd alone to wake; And always fair, rare land of courtesy! O Friend! long wont to notice yet conceal, O, Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hill! And soothe by silence what words cannot heal, And famous Arno fed with all their rills; I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy! Place on my desk this exquisite design,
Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine, Boccaccio's Garden and its faëry,
The golden corn, the olive, and the vine. The love, the joyaunce, and the gallantry! Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old, An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm,
And forests, where beside his leafy hold Framed in the silent poesy of form.
The sullen boar bath heard the distant horn, Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep
And whets his tusks against the gnarled thom; Emerging from a mist: or like a stream
Palladian palace with its storied halls; Of music soft that not dispels the sleep,
Fountains, where Love lies listening to their falls But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream, Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span, Gazed by an idle eye with silent might
And Nature makes her happy home with man; The picture stole upon my inward sight.
Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest, With its own rill, on its own spangled bed, As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast. And wreathes the marble urn, or leans its head, And one by one (I know not whence) were brought A mimic moumer, that with veil withdrawn All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my thought. Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawai, In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost
Thine all delights, and every muse is thine : Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost ;
And more than all, the embrace and intertwine Or charm'd my youth, that kindled from above, of all with all in gay and twinkling dance! Loved ere it loved, and sought a forin for love; | 'Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance,