Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

the dark as to the subject of our dis. same Wallenstein that had coped evencourse.

handed with Gustavus. His purposes Of the three plays, then, in which are not fixed and determinate in prothe whole story of Wallenstein's fall portion to the sense he entertains, and is unfolded, Mr Coleridge has left that justly, of his own genius, deserts, the first quite untouched. Wallen- and capacities. He is tied up, and that stein's Camp,” for so it is entitled, not unconsciously either, by the lurkmay rather, indeed, be considered as a ing superstitions of custom, He is musical prelude to the tragedy of the brave enough to do anything, but he two following plays, than in any other has not the audacity to plan deliberate light. Its purpose is distinctly and treason. But circumstances conspire to solely to prepare us for the coming. It hurry him on the chief officers of his represents the wild life of the camp of army see their own ruin wrapped up camps—the camp of a soldiery that in his—they goad him to the point has been twenty years together, and they tempt him, and he falls. They of a commander who has grown grey then waver when it is too late for him in power and glory-of an army that to turn; they leave him, and nothing thinks of nothing but the general, the remains for Wallenstein but to die. enemy, and the booty-and of a general The shadow of his greatness, however, who feels himself more powerful, than still hovers over him. The noblest of it is good for any subject to be tempted his captains deserts him indeed, but by feeling. A certain rough, wild, rushes to death that he may not surstormy gaiety presides. The clank of vive the degradation of his accustomed wine-cups is heard between the rolling leader. Pure hearts are broken-innoof drums, and the shrill notes of the cent spotless hearts snap beneath the trumpet. In the fore-ground, parties same stroke that severs his; the digof dragoons stroll idly about-pretty nity of a pre-eminent nature asserts itmarket-women and young peasants ex- self in the greatest and in the least of hibit their baskets, and share the jest the circumstances; and, as if on purof licence.- Comely and well-fed priests pose to elevate, even in the moment of move here and there across the bust- consummated ruin, Wallenstein is not ling scene :-“Captains and colonels, executed like a traitor, but assassinated and knights in arms,” lay their heads like a king. The hands that plunge together in the middle-ground, some- daggers into him tremble with the contimes in the glee of revelry, sometimes sciousness of a moral rebellion, and the in the debate of subaltern rivalry and only man in all the camp that is a gainminor ambition ;--and behind and er by his downfall, half curses himself above all, the back-ground exhibits, when he finds that WALLENSTEIN has or we should rather say, is filled up teased to be. The whole action carries by the all-presiding, all-swaying, gi- with it the tumultof ambition, the darkgantic shadow of WALLENSTEIN. ness of conspiracy, the cloud of blood;

Jealousies have sprung up, as why and yet never shall the world witness a should they not, between the Impe- drama of the dark tempestuous pasrial Court and this overgrown Lieu- sions of world-worn men, more beautenant. Whether the Emperor shall tifully, more touchingly, more pathestrike the blow by deposing him from tically interwoven with the sweet play his command, or he by leaguing him- of young affections, and the generous self with the Swede, and setting the march of free innocence, than is here. General against the Prince—this, we The greatness is Wallenstein's, and the at once perceive, is a matter which fall is his; but the true hero of our accident, more than anything else, is hearts is the noble Piccolomini, and to determine. Wallenstein is ambi- the grave of our tears is that where the tious, but his ambition does not volun- daughter of Wallenstein flings her virtarily point the way to treason. Great gin beauty upon the devoted dust of he is great he must continue to be her betrothed. but it is no part of his character to de The greatest art of the poet is sire that his greatness should be sus throughout apparent in everything that tained by disloyalty, after having been relates to this favourite character-that founded and built upon the most me- of Max Piccolomini. The sudden and ritorious of services. He is one of those deep love conceived by him for the men whose true greatness lies only in Princess Thekla, and by her for him, action. Out of the field, he is not the and the openness of devotion with

[ocr errors]

him,

which they conduct themselves towards That can be struck and hammer'd out to each other, form a picture than which

suit nothing can be conceived more admin Another's taste and fancy. He'll not dance rable. The strong affection which Wal- To every tune of every minister. lenstein himself feels for one that has

It goes against his nature_he can't do it. always been to him (to use a fine ex

He is possess'd by a commanding spirit,

And his too is the station of command. pression of Schiller's, which, had Cole

And well for us it is so ! There exist ridge been a Scotchman, he would not

Few fit to rule themselves, but few that use have shrunk from translating) “ the Their intellects intelligently. Then child of the house," tends perhaps more Well for the whole, if there be found a man, than any other trait in the great Gene Who makes himself what nature destin'd ral's character to make us feel for hiin and his misfortunes. The deep pater The pause, the central point of thousand nal affection of old Octavio Piccolomini

thousands softens, in like manner, our aversion Stands fix'd and stately, like a firm-built for his craftiness of character, and the

column, unworthy manner of his defalcation

Where all may press with joy and confi. from Wallenstein; and, above all, Max

dence. is exalted by the homage which is paid

Now such a man is Wallenstein ; and if

Another better suits the court no other to him by the whole knot of conspiring But such a one as he can serve the army. captains, when they devise their double

Quest. The army? Doubtless ! bond, only because they know that Octa. (To Quest.) Hush ! Suppress it, nothing will persuade him even to the

friend! semblance of dishonour. His rushing Unless some end were answer'd by the utto death on the right side the moment

terance. he knows that Wallenstein has irre Of him there you'll make nothing. deemably bound himself to the wrong

Max. (continuing.) In their distress -his rushing thus, too, in obedience

They call a spirit up, and when he comes,

Straight their flesh creeps and quivers, and to the hard-wrung prayer of her who feels that her own death depends upon,

they dread him

More than the ills for which they call'd and is inseparable from his,-all this

him up. is in the very highest rank of tragic Th' uncommon, the sublime, must seem excellence; and the whole of this beau

and be tiful story, which is meant to be, but Like things of every day.-But in the field, which will not let itself be, an episode, Ay, there the Présent' Being makes itself is told with such simplicity, developed

felt. with such native grace of grandeur, The personal must command, the actual eye and adorned with such a luxury of

Examine. If to be the chieftain asks poetry, that it is indeed necessary to

All that is great in nature, let it be think of SHAKESPEARE when we would

Likewise his privilege to move and act seek for anything superior either to the

In all the correspondencies of greatness.

The oracle within him, that which lives, conception or the execution of it. But

He must invoke and question--not dead we must leave very much to the ima

books, gination of the reader, and proceed Not ordinances, not mould-rotted papers. to our extracts.

Octa. My son ! of those old narrow or. Max Piccolomini has been absent dinances from the camp, escorting thither, from Let us not hold too lightly. They are a distant nunnery, the daughter of

weights Wallenstein. He arrives at the mo. Of priceless value, which oppress'd man. ment when his father Octavio, and

kind Questenberg, the envoy of the Em

Tied to the volatile will of their oppressors. peror, are conversing concerning the

For always formidable was the league means of displacing (for as yet there is

And partnership of free power with free will.

The way of ancient ordinance, though it no intention of killing) the too power.

winds, ful General. Max hates Questenberg, Is yet no devious way. Straight forwards as a soldier hates a courtier, and lis

goes tens with coldness to the hints which The lightning's path, and straight the fear. the two seniors throw out-for hints

ful path are all they venture on to him. Hear of the cannon-ball. Direct it flies and rahow nobly he defends his old Captain.

pid, “ Mar. Heaven never meant him for Shatt'ring that it may reach, and shatt'ring that passive thing,

what it reaches.

My son ! the road, the human being travels, which we have ne'er experienc'd. We That, on which BLESSING comes and goes,

have been i doth follow

But voyaging along its barren coasts, The river's course, the valley's playful Like some poor ever-roaming horde of piwindings,

rates, Curves round the corn-field and the hill of That, crowded in the rank and narrow ship, vines,

House on the wild sea with wild usages, Honouring the holy bounds of property! Nor know aught of the main land, but the And thus secure, though late, leads to its bays end.

Where safeliest they may venture a thieves' Quest. O hear your father, noble youth ! landing. hear him,

Whate'er in th' inland dales the land conWho is at once the hero and the man.

ceals Octa. My son, the nursling of the camp of fair and exquisite, o ! nothing, nothing, spoke in thee!

Do we behold of that in our rude voyage. A war of fifteen years

Octa. (Attentive, with an appearance of Hath been thy education and thy school.

uneasiness.) Peace hast thou never witness'd! There „ And so your journey has reveal'd this exists

to you? An higher than the warrior's excellence. Mar. "Twas the first leisure of my life. In war itself war is no ultimate purpose.

O tell me, The vast and sudden deeds of violence, What is the meed and purpose of the toil, Adventures wild, and wonders of the mo. The painful toil, which robb'd me of my ment,

youth, These are not they, my son, that generate Left me an heart unsoul'd and solitary, The Calm, the Blissful, and th' enduring A spirit uninform’d, unornamented, Mighty !

For the camp's stir and crowd and cease. Lo there ! the soldier, rapid architect !

less larum, Builds his light town of canvass, and at The neighing war-horse, the air-shatt'ring once

trumpet, The whole scene moves and bustles mo. The unvaried, still-returning hour of duty, mently,

Word of command, and exercise of arms With arms, and neighing steeds, and mirth There's nothing here, there's nothing in all and quarrel!

this The motley market fills ; the roads, the To satisfy the heart, the gasping heart ! streams,

Mere bustling nothingness, where the soul Are crowded with new freights, trade stirs is notand hurries !

This cannot be the sole felicity, But on some morrow morn, all suddenly, These cannot be man's best and only pleaThe tents drop down, the horde renews its

sures ! march.

Octa. Much hast thou learnt, my son, in Dreary, and solitary as a church-yard,

this short journey.. The meadow and down-trodden seed-plot Max. 0! day thrice lovely! when at

length the soldier And the year's harvest is gone utterly Returns home into life ; when he becomes Max. O let the Emperor make peace, A fellow-man among his fellow-men. my father!

The colours are unfurl'd, the cavalcade Most gladly would I give the blood-stain'd Marshals, and now the buz is hush'd, and laurel

bark ! For the first violet of the leafless spring, Now the soft peace-march beats, home, Pluck'd in those quiet fields where I have brothers, home! journey'd.

The caps and helmets are all garlanded Octa. What ails thee? What so moves With green boughs, the last plund'ring of thee all at once ?

the fields. Max. Peace have I ne'er beheld ? I The city gates fly open of themselves, have beheld it.

They need no longer the petard to tear them. From thence am I come hither : 0! that The ramparts are all fillid with men and sight,

women, It glimmers still before me, like some land. With peaceful men and women, that send scape

onwards Left in the distance, some delicious land. Kisses and welcomings upon the air, scape!

Which they make breezy with affectionate My road conducted me through countries gestures. where

From all the towers rings out the merry The war has not yet reach'd. Life, life, peal, my father

The joyous vespers of a bloody day. My venerable father, life has charms O happy man, o fortunato ! for whom

lie,

veids.

hers;

self;

The well-known door, the faithful arms are To-day I must take leave of my good foropen,

tune. The faithful tender arms with mute embra. A few hours more, and you will find a facing.

ther, Quest. (Apparently much affected.) O! Will see yourself surrounded by new that you should speak

friends, Of such a distant, distant time, and not And I henceforth shall be but as a stranger, Of the to-morrow, not of this to-day. Lost in the many— Speak with my aunt Mar. (Turning round to him quick and

Tertsky!' vehement.)

With hurrying voice she interrupted me. Where lies the fault but on you in Vienna ? She falter'd. I belield a glowing red I will deal openly with you, Questenberg. Possess her beautiful cheeks, and from the Just now, as first I saw you standing here,

ground (I'll own it to you freely,) indignation Rais'd slowly up her eye met mine-no Crowded and prest my inmost soul together.

longer 'Tis ye that hinder peace, ye !_and the Did I control myself. warrior,

(The Princess Thekla appears at the It is the warrior that must force it from you.

door, and remains standing, obserYe fret the General's life out, blacken him,

ved by the Countess, but not by PicHold him up as a rebel, and Heaven knows

colomini.) What else still worse, because he spares

With instant boldness the Saxons,

I caught her in my arms, my mouth touch'd And tries to awaken confidence in th' enemy;

There was a rustling in the room close by ; Which yet's the only way to peace; for if It parted us_'Twas you. What since has War intermit not during war, how then

happened, And whence can peace come ? - Your own You know. plagues fall on you!

Count. (After a pause, with a stolen Even as I love what's virtuous, hate I you.

glance at Thekla.) And here make I this vow, here pledge my And is it your excess of modesty ;

Or are you so incurious, that you do not My blood shall spurt out for this Wallen. Ask me too of my secret ? stein,

Mar. Of your secret ? And my heart drain off, drop by drop, ere ye C ount. Why, yes! When in the instant Shall revel and dance jubilee o'er his ruin,"

after you We have said that Max had escort

I stepp'd into the room, and found my

niece there, ed Thekla, and that their love began What she in this first moment of the heart upon that journey. The aunt of Thek- Ta'en with surprisela, and Wallenstein's sister, the Coun- Mar. (With eagerness.) Well ? tess of Tertsky, is already in so far Thek. (To the Countess.) Spare yourself acquainted with the affair, and indeed

the trouble. knows more than she pretends ; but That hears he better from myself. Max is asked by her in her chamber Max. (Stepping backward.) My Prin. if he has revealed his passion to her

cess! niece and how beautifully the youth What have you let her hear me say, aunt answers !

Tertsky!

Thek. (To the Countcss.) Has he been “ Mar. This morning did I hazard the here long? first word.

Count. Yes; and soon must go. Count. This morning the first time in Where have you stay'd so long? twenty days?

Thek.

Alas! my mother Max. 'Twas at that hunting-castle, be. Wept so again ! and I-I see her suffer, twixt here

Yet cannot keep myself from being happy. And Nepomuck, where you had join'd us, Max. Now once again I have courage and

to look on you. That was the last relay of the whole jour. To-day at noon I could not. ney!

The dazzle of the jewels that play'd round In a balcony we were standing mute,

you And gazing out upon the dreary field : Hid the beloved from me. Before us the dragoons were riding onward, Thek.

Then you saw me The safe-guard which the Duke had sent With your eye only and not with your us-heavy

'heart The inquietude of parting lay upon me, Max. This morning, when I found you And trembling ventur'd I at length these

in the circle words:

Of all your kindred, in your father's arms, This all reminds me, noble maiden, that Beheld myself an alien in this circle, VOL. XIV.

3 C

. bann

May lo colendout monarchs

ney

0! what an impulse felt I in that moment And yet they all must give place to the To fall upon his neck, to call him father!

wonder But his stern eye o'erpower'd the swelling Which this mysterious castle guards. passion

Count. (Recollecting.) And what It dar'd not but be silent. And those bril. Can this be then ? Methought I was ac liants,

quainted That like a crown of stars en wreath'd your With all the dusky corners of this house. brows,

Thek. (Smiling:) Ay, but the road thereThey scar'd me too! 0, wherefore, where

to is watch'd by spirits; fore should he

Two griffins still stand sentry at the door. At the first meeting spread as 'twere the Count. (Laughs.) The astrological tower!

-How happens it Of excommunication round you, wherefore That this same sanctuary, whose access Dress up the angel as for sacrifice,

Is to all others so impracticable, And cast upon the light and joyous heart Opens before you e'en at your approach ? Tho mournful burthen of his station ? Fitly T hek. A dwarfish old man, with a friend. May love dare woo for love ; but such a ly face

And snow-white hairs, whose gracious serMight none but monarchs venture to ap

vices proach.

Were mine at first sight, open'd me the Thek. Hush ! not a word more of this

doors. mummcry.

Max. That is the Duke's astrologer, old You see how soon the burtben is thrown off.

Seni. (To the Countess.' He is not in spirits. Thek. He question'd me on many Wherefore is he not?

points ; for instance, 'Tis you, aunt, that have made him all so When I was born, what month, and on gloomy!

what day, He had quite another nature on the jour. Whether by day or in the night.

Count.

He wisha So calm, so bright, so joyous eloquent. To erect a figure for your horoscope. (To Max.) It was my wish to see you Thek. My hand too he examined, shook always so,

his head And never otherwise !

With much sad meaning, and the lines, Mar. You find yourself

methought, In your great father's arms, beloved lady! Did not square over truly with his wishes. All in a new world, which does homage to Count. Well, Princess, and what found you,

you in this tower ? And which, were't only by its novelty, My highest privilege has been to snatch Delights your eye.

A side-glance, and away! Thek. Yes; I confess to you: Thek.

It was a strange That many things delight me here: this Sensation that came o'er me, when at first camp,

From the broad sunshine I stepp'd in ; and This motley stage of warriors, which re

now . news

The narrowing line of day-light, that ran So manifold the image of my fancy,

after And binds to life, binds to reality,

The closing door, was gone ; and all about What hitherto had but been present to me

me As a sweet dream!

"Twas pale and dusky night, with many Max. Alas! not so to me.

shadows It makes a dream of my reality.

Fantastically cast. Here six or seven Upon some island in the etherial heights Colossal statues, and all kings, stood round I've lived for these last days. This mass

me of men

In a half-circle. Each one in his hand Forces me down to earth. It is a bridge, A sceptre bore, and on his head a star ; That, reconducting to my former life, And in the tower no other light was there Divides me and my heaven.

But from these stars; all seem'd to come Thek. The game of life

from them. Looks cheerful, when one carries in one's "These are the planets,' said that low old heart

man: The unalienable treasure. 'Tis a game, They govern worldly fates, and for that Which having once review'd, I turn more

cause joyous

Are imaged here as kings. He farthest Back to my deeper and appropriate bliss.

from you, (Breaking off, and in a sportive tonc.) Spiteful and cold, an old man melancholy, In this short time that I've been present With bent and yellow forehead, he is SAhere,

TURN. What new unheard of things have I not He opposite, the king with the red light, seen ?

An arm'd man for the battle, that is Mars:

« PoprzedniaDalej »