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on his lips, when we heard a laugh-the third laugh that had chilled my blood in twenty-four hours. Somebody's hand was laid on Little Grand's shoulder, and Conran's voice interrupted the whole thing. "Hallo, young ones! what farce is this?"
"Farce, sir!" retorted Little Grand, hotly-"farce? It is no farce. It is an affair of honour, and
"Don't make me laugh, my dear boy," smiled Conran; "it is so much too warm for such an exertion. Pray, why are you and your once sworn friend making popinjays of each other?"
"Mr. Grandison has grossly insulted me," I began, "and I demand satisfaction. I will not stir from the ground without it, and
"You shan't," shouted Little Grand. "Do you dare to pretend I want to funk, you little contemptible"
Though it was too warm, Conran went off into a fit of laughter.
I dare say our sublimity had a comic touch in it of which we never dreamt. "My dear boys, pray don't, it is too fatiguing. Come, Grand, what is it all about?"
"I deny your right to question me, Captain Conran," retorted Little Grand, in a fury. "What have you to do with it? I mean to punish that young owl yonder-who didn't know how to drink anything but milk-and-water, didn't know how to say bo! to a goose, till I taught him-for very abominable impertinence, and I'll—”
"My impertinence! I like that!" I shouted. "It is your unwarrantable, overbearing self-conceit, that makes you the laughing-stock of all the mess, which
"Silence!" said Conran's still stern voice, which subdued us into in
voluntary respect. "No more of this nonsense! Put up those pistols, Ruthven. You are two hot-headed, silly boys, who don't know for what you are quarrelling. Live a few years longer, and you won't be so eager to get into hot water, and put cartridges into your best friends. No, I shall not hear any more about it. If you do not instantly give me your words of honour not to attempt to repeat this folly, as your senior officer, I shall put you under arrest for six weeks."
O Alexandre Dumas! Monte Cristo!-O heroes of yellow paper and pluck invincible! I ask pardon of your shades; I must record the fact, lowering and melancholy as it is, that before our senior officer our heroism melted like glace à la Vanille in the sun, our glories tumbled to the ground like twelfth-cake ornaments under children's fingers, and before the threat of arrest the lions lay down like lambs.
Conran sent us back, humbled, sulky, and crestfallen, to La Valette, and resumed his solitary patrol upon the beach, where, before the sun was fairly up, he was having a shot at curlews. But if he was a little bit stern, he was no less kind-hearted; somehow one felt reliance upon him and security in him, and in the afternoon of that day, while he lay, after his siesta, smoking on his little bed, I unburdened myself to him. He did not laugh at me, though I saw a quizzical smile under his silky black moustaches.
"What is your divinity's name?" he asked, when I had finished. "Eudoxia Adelaida, Marchioness St. Julian."
"The Marchioness St. Julian! Oh!"
"Do you know her ?" I inquired, somewhat perplexed by his tone. He smiled straight out this time.
"I don't know her, but there are a good many Peeresses in Malta and Gibraltar, and along the line of the Pacific, as my brother Ned, in the Belisarius, will tell you. I could count twoscore such of my acquaintance off at this minute."
I wondered what he meant. I dare say he knew all the Peerage (and a precious large one it is growing, with its titled usurers and cottonspinners, electro-plate and Paisley shawl millionnaires, named after villages in whose smallest cottages they first saw light); but that had nothing to do with me, and I thought it strange that all the Duchesses, and Countesses, and Baronesses should quit their country seats and town houses to locate themselves along the line of the Pacific.
"She's a fine woman, you say, St. John ?" he went on, smiling still. "Fine!" I reiterated, bursting into a panegyric, with which I won't bore your ears as I bored him.
"Well, you're going there to-night, you say; take me with you, and we'll see what I think of your Marchioness."
I looked at his fine figure and features, recalled certain tales of his conquests, remembered that he knew French, Italian, German, and Spanish, but, not being very able to refuse, acquiesced with a reluctance I could not entirely conceal. Conran, however, did not perceive it, and after mess took his cap, and went with me to the Casa di Fiori.
HE SPEAKS NOT OF THE OLD TIMES.
BY J. E. CARPENTER.
He wears a look of gladness
And the tears I cannot hide;
He knows we roved together,
In the days when we were young,
His words are kind as ever,
As when first on me he smiled,
BY SIR NATHANIEL.
Is the nightingale's strain, after all, a melancholy one? For age after age the answers were nearly all one way, directly or indirectly in the affirmative. Of late years a negative has been not unfrequently set up, by philosopher as well as poet.
The ancients commonly called her flebilis and querula. “Dulcis variat Philomela querelas." "Flet Philomela nefas incesti Tereos," &c. How could she but be sad, and her every note a wail, whose life had been a tragedy so dismal, such as no metamorphosis could make as though it had not been?
Now the earliest of our popular and true poets, Dan Chaucer to wit, has an epithet for Philomela that sounds, to modern ears at least, the flat reverse of this view of the case. When the goldfinch, after "leaping pretilè fro bough to bough," had done singing,
So passing swetely, that by manifolde
It was more pleasaunt than I could devise,
The nightingale with so mery a note
And ayen, me thought, she songe ever by mine ere.
But merry, in Chaucer's time, as Leigh Hunt† has remarked, did not mean solely what it does now; but any kind of hasty or strenuous prevalence, as merry men," meaning men in their heartiest and manliest condition. "He speaks even of the 'merry organ,' meaning the church organ-the 'merry organ of the mass.'" So that the Chaucer passage will not go for so much as it might seem to promise, against the melancholy party in these polemics.
Shakspeare makes his exiled Sir Valentine sit alone in "shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,"
And to the nightingale's complaining notes,
There is an interchange of sympathy and sorrow. No doubt has this banished gentleman, in his own dejection, of the character of the songster's strain. None but a melancholy one could he brook; but to him the melancholy of the nightingale's burden is so self-evident, and so profound, that he haunts with delight the woodland solitude she frequents. The voice of any other bird would be as of one that singeth songs to a heavy heart—and we all know what the Wise Man says of that.
*The Flower and the Leaf.
Here, again, is another testimony from Shakspeare to the same effect: By this, lamenting Philomel had ended
The well-tuned warble of her nightly sorrow ;*
and, a few stanzas later, Lucrece, in her great agony, and as day dawns, beseeches all other birds to hold their peace, and this one alone to sing on the accustomed lament. The little birds that tune their morning's joy, make her moans mad with their sweet melody:
You mocking-birds, quoth she, your tunes entomb
Relish your nimble notes to pleasing ears;
Come, Philomel, that sing'st of ravishment,
For burden-wise I'll hum on Tarquin still,
And whiles against a thorn thou bear'st thy part,
In the Sonnets, again, the same character, without the same excitement and therefore exaggeration on the speaker's part, is attributed to her strain:
As Philomel in summer's front doth sing,
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night, &c.†
So, too, one of Shakspeare's contemporaries, fellow-dramatists, and fellow-comedians, Robert Greene, in his hexameters on Rosamond's lament for Alexis, makes the bereaved one exclaim,
Let not a bird record her tunes, nor chant any sweet notes,
But Philomel, let her bewail the loss of her amours,
And fill all the wood with doleful tunes to bemoan her.‡
In Milton we have "silent Night with this her solemn bird"§-the solemnity being repeated once and again-and "the love-lorn nightingale" who nightly to echo "her sad song mourneth well"-and then we come to the famous passage to which the proverbial repute of this bird as a 66 most melancholy" one owes its origin:
And the mute Silence hist along,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night.
Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!
Thee, chauntress, oft, the woods among,
*The Rape of Lucrece.
† Shakspeare's Sonnets, 102.
Pourquoi, plaintive Philomèle, begins one of Jean-Baptiste Rousseau's Odes, songer encore à vos malheurs? Is not the earth green and smiling to greet her return? Do not the Dryads lend her their shades? Do not other birds upon the bough hush their pretty warbling choir to listen to her?
Cependant votre âme, attendrie
The other (why not simply say, The) Rousseau-whom men commonly call Jean-Jacques, just as they call Richter, Jean-Paul-describes
De Philomèle en pleurs les languissants ramages.†
Indeed, Philomèle, in French, is a very languishing creature-from Saint-Amant with his "Philomèle, au chant langoureux," downwards. Our most melancholy, if not most musical, of Doctors, Edward Young of the Complaint, all whose divisional Books even are Nights, thus discourses in Night the First:
Grief's sharpest thorn hard pressing on my breast,
I strive, with wakeful melody, to cheer
The sullen gloom, sweet Philomel! like thee,
Thomson draws to the curtain of night, and
Then Philomel her mournful lay repeats,
And through her throat breathes melancholy sweets, §
a vile line, that last, and fitter for a bullfrog with extra hoarseness, than for a bird like her. But Thomson's taste was not formed when he wrote those ugly lines of his on Beauty. Later in life, he approached Philomel on a more equal footing. Among his songs is one, of four stanzas, addressed To the Nightingale, "best poet of the grove," and begging a loan of her "plaintive strain"-a namby-pamby affair on the whole. But we have seen in a previous paper that he could and did write worthier lines, in the Seasons, on the bird whose warblings formed one of his Richmond-hill luxuries. In the Castle of Indolence, again, we are told how, "now and then, sweet Philomel would wail"—and it is with her (alleged) wailing turn of mind we have now to do. Armstrong (didactic doctor) records how "the sweet poet of the vernal groves Melts all the night in strains of amorous woe."||
Warton talks of the rapturous joy it is, to bend
The uncertain step along the midnight mead,
Shenstone's sixth elegy is addressed to a Lady, on the language of birds -and it expounds the nightingale's at full length, and from the dolorous point of view-construing out of her "mellifluent strain" the tragic
* Odes de J.-B. Rousseau, livre ii. 11. The Complaint, Night I.
Art of Preserving Health, b. iii.
† Le Verger des Charmettes. § On Beauty.
The Pleasures of Melancholy.