페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Government was dismayed by the attempted as- murder the Czar with which the world is even sassination of General Trepoff, the chief of that now ringing. Of late, however, the Nihilists Third Section of the Imperial Chancellerie which appear to have changed their tactics to some exhas the control of the gendarmerie of the em- tent, and to have adopted the famous prescrippire. On the 5th of February, 1878, he was shot tion of Hippocrates, according to which, when down in the streets of St. Petersburg by a young medicines and the knife are powerless to heal, woman, formerly a medical student, and named fire should be tried (“ Quod medicamina et ferVera Sassoulitch. In consequence of her ac- rum non sanant, ignis sanat "). Arson has bequaintance with Netchaseff she had been sub- come the order of the day, and conflagrations jected to a constant supervision by the police, have increased to an enormous extent. During and goaded almost to desperation by their perse- the month of last June alone thirty-five hundred cutions. The “Committee” had, therefore, but fires broke out in St. Petersburg, Orenburg, little difficulty in persuading her to avenge a Koslow, Irkutsk, and Uralsk, destroying propflogging which Bogobjuloff, a Nihilist, had been erty to the amount of twelve million rubles; only subjected to for some infraction of prison disci- nine hundred of these fires could be properly pline. It should be added that Bogobjuloff was accounted for, the remaining twenty-six huna perfect stranger to her, and that she had never dred being attributed to Nihilistic incendiaries. even seen him. The Government was advised There is no doubt but that the Committee has not to treat her as a political offender, but rather considerable funds at its disposal. Agencies are as an ordinary criminal, and to have her case maintained at Berlin, Paris, and London, where decided by a jury. Her trial, which took place traveling Nihilists are fraternally received and at St. Petersburg, caused an immense sensation provided with money and the necessaries of life. throughout Russia. Here again the presiding However, when their resources are too heavily judges behaved in a most unaccountable man- taxed, they have no hesitation about levying ner, and allowed the proceedings to be carried on black-mail. Thus, for instance, during the past as if General Trepoff were the accused and Vera summer, two wealthy St. Petersburg merchants Sassoulitch the injured party. The consequence received anonymous letters from the Commitwas, that the jury brought in a verdict acquitting tee requesting sums of twenty thousand and the prisoner of a crime to which she herself had thirty thousand rubles respectively, and threatenpleaded guilty, and the judges directed that she ing them with a violent death in case of refusal. should be set at liberty. The verdict was re- The merchants in question lost no time in comceived with the most frantic applause, not only plying with the demands made upon their purses, by the persons present in the court, but also by and, when blamed for not having sought the proa large crowd of students and others who filled tection of the Government, replied with some the street. One young student present appears justice, “ If the chief of the police is unable to to have completely lost his head on receiving the protect his own person from attacks, how can news. Drawing a revolver from his pocket, he we possibly expect efficient protection ?" suddenly fired a first shot at a policeman, with a The attempt on the Emperor's life in April second he seriously wounded a poor woman who last caused such consternation that the Governwas standing next to him, while with a third he ment thought it necessary to proclaim martial blew his own brains out. Vera Sassoulitch man- law in the greater part of European Russia. aged to escape from the supervision of the police Six military Governor-Generals have been apofficials of the Third Section, and is at the pres- pointed with the fullest powers to suspend, when ent moment living near Geneva.

they think it expedient, any of the ordinary poThe baneful effects of her trial soon became lice and judicial proceedings. Nihilists are now perceptible-political assassinations grew to be tried by courts-martial, which are conducted in quite the fashion. On the 17th of August of the a more dignified and expeditious manner than same year General Menzentsoff, who had suc- the civil tribunals. ceeded General Trepoff as chief of the Third While referring to the latter, we would avail Section, was shot in the streets of St. Petersburg ourselves of the opportunity to offer a word of by a young man who managed to effect his es- explanation concerning the astonishing conduct cape. Baron Heyking, commanding the gen- of the judges, to which we have before referred. darmerie at Kiev, and Prince Krapotkin, the When trial by jury and the West-European Governor of Kharkov, were also murdered in the mode of judicial proceedings were first adopted course of the summer. General Drenteln, who in Russia in the year 1865, great fear was exhad undertaken the direction of the Third Sec- pressed as to the difficulty which there would be tion after the assassination of General Menzent- in obtaining judges sufficiently independent of soff, was shot in the early part of 1879, and mat- any influence on the part of the Government and ters have culminated in the recent attempt to the aristocracy to administer justice equitably.

a

The new judges, who were not chosen from the place who represents the Third Section. It is highest social grades, accordingly imagined that deeply to be regretted that, when the Czar deterit was their duty to give both to the Government mined to institute these municipal district and and to the aristocracy every proof of their inde- provincial assemblies, he did not go one step furpendence, and, in fact, rather overdid the matter. ther and institute a national assemby; a House Whenever the lower classes came into conflict of Representatives chosen by the nation is the with either the aristocracy or the Government, only possible remedy in the present state of the judges invariably decided in favor of the things. By his somewhat too hasty reforms in former, no matter how unjustly. Little by little the early part of his reign, the Emperor gave his they grew accustomed to look upon themselves people a taste of liberty, and allowed them to as the representatives of the people, and as their acquire a taste for self-government, until then protectors against the oppressions of the Govern- unknown in Russia. They now demand that ment. It is, indeed, difficult to understand how this concession should be more fully developed. the Russian Government can ever have hoped There are at the present moment many loyal and that men of real talent and conscience would devoted subjects of the Czar, who would be horconsent to take any part in so half-hearted a rified at the bare idea of becoming Nihilists concern as the new judicial system in Russia. themselves, and who yet regard the proceedings On the one hand we have the open courts of of these destructives with a certain degree of justice with their juries and freedom of discus- complacency, hoping that it will force the Govsion, while on the other we find the notorious ernment to concede that which even the Mikado Third Section of the Imperial Chancellerie with of Japan has granted to his people—namely, a its army of gendarmes, and with its power with- Constitution. A Parliament controlling the naout trial to imprison, and to punish with penaltional expenditure, protecting individual liberty, servitude or exile to Siberia, at its pleasure. The and demanding of the Third Section an account newly instituted judicial system is comparatively of its actions, would not only have the effect of useless, since, even when the judge and jury acquit restoring the financial credit of Russia, but would, an offender, he is liable to be immediately seized by admitting the people to a share of the sovand punished by the Section for state reasons. ereignty, rally to the side of the Government

With the exception of the emancipation of many excellent and liberal-minded men who are the serfs, almost all of the well-intentioned re- increasingly dissatisfied with the present state of forms of Alexander II. have been nullified by the affairs. action of this Third Section, the chief of which Nihilism deprived of the larger portion of its has often been nicknamed the “ Vice-Emperor." raison d'être-namely, stifled discontent-would For instance, the municipal district and provin- quickly lose the most capable of its adherents, cial assemblies are powerless to adopt any mea- and would probably prove as fleeting and unsure until they have obtained not only the ap- stable as are most of the impulses and ideas of proval of the Minister of the Interior and of the the Russian mind. Governor of the province, but also the consent FRITZ CUNLIFFE-OWEN (The Nineteenth of the commandant of the gendarmerie of the Century).

POEMS BY FRANÇOIS COPPÉE.

[Now that De Musset, Gautier, Baudelaire, and selves heard above the confused murmur of the others of the choir of French poets are gone, and general choir. Victor Hugo, the Nestor and primate among them A high, if not the highest, rank among this all, is drawing near the end of his long career, the younger generation of French poets must be asquestion naturally presents itself, Who are to take signed to M. François Coppée, the quality and charthe places which they have left vacant in French acter of whose song will be at least indicated by the literature ? To the worshipers of M. Hugo, the selected poems which these sentences are intended suggestion that any one can fill the “portentous to introduce. M. Coppée (christened Françoisvoid” which his death must create will savor of ir. Edouard-Joachim) was born at Paris in the year reverence; but even to these worshipers at an exclu. 1842, his father being an employee in the office of the sive shrine, however, the idea that the lesser gods Minister of War. He commenced at the Lycée may be replaced will not seem irrational; and one Saint-Louis studies which his feeble health did not turns with interest and hope to those newly-arisen allow him to finish there, but which he completed singers whose notes are beginning to make them- later by the aid of those lyceum lectures which Mat

[ocr errors]

thew Arnold regards as so valuable a part of the Grand Bailiff, and hereditary Margrave French machinery of education. At a very early Of Schlotemsdorff, by water and by land period of his life he devoted himself to the vocation Lord, chief and oldest among Saxon knights, of poetry ; but his first efforts were so unsuccessful And of a proud, despotic race the last, that in a moment of discouragement he threw the Having-despite the rain-storm and his age, whole of them into the fire, and it was not until the For he was ninety-four-been forth to see first volume of his poems appeared, in 1866, that his Three peasants hanged, at the hour of Angelus, choice of a career was vindicated to himself and to the public at large. Some of the poems in this vol- Laid to his lip and his lean hands outspread

After his supper, calmly, with the host ume (which was entitled “Le Reliquaire ") were afterward published in “Le Parnasse Contemporain," Upon the crucifix, gave up the ghost, and their author was very cordially praised for the At his stronghold of Ruhn upon the Elbe. freshness of the inspiration which they exhibited, for

Seeing the black flag, the whole country their spirit, vivacity, and good taste, and for “the

breathed; delicate and engaging character of that note of truth For civil war raged. Drunken Wenceslas and sincerity which is perceptible in them.” M. Bartered his towns for gold. The rulers ruled, Coppée now began to contribute freely to various Each as he listed. Law and rights were none. periodicals, and in 1867 his “ Hymn to Peace” was Grasping and cruel ever had he been, sent to the Lyceum and obtained the prize. His The wellnigh centenarian lying there works and his name, however, still remained known All pale, his outlined form beneath the sheet to only a small literary coterie, when one of his Drawn to its full length. He had reimposed poems, “The Benediction,” published in “ L'Ar. All the old imposts on the vintage, tax; tiste," obtained an immense success. It was publicly Tax on the harvest; tax on mills, fish, game; recited with great applause by Anatole Lionnet, and

Poll-tax on pilgrims even. Halberdiers, also by Mlle. Agar, of the Odéon. For this latter artist he wrote a comedy in one act and in verse

Demons of violence, with blows enforced (“ Le Passant ") which was played at the second

Reluctant dues. Death was the penalty

Paid for refusal. Various in its form Théâtre Français, on January 14, 1869. The press unanimously praised it for its freshness, elegance, pas

Was the grim Margrave's vengeance. Clad, sion, wit, and those other qualities which the French

gloved, visored, are so quick to admire in compositions of this kind. In iron all, he came upon the spot In this same year, 1869, he published another collec- Girt with his pikemen, waved his hand, and tion of verse, entitled “ Modern Poems," which con. straight tained his masterpiece, “ The Angelus” (a poem of The barren gibbets budded. Vassals died a thousand lines), and other shorter pieces; and in By steel, or cord, or rod. Youth donned perMarch he was awarded the Lambert Prize by the

force French Academy. His most recent volume, “Récits His archers' harness; for the old and weak et Elégies,” was published in 1878. One of these There was naught left, save in their leprous rags later poems, “The Night-Watch," narrates an inci.

Wearily, after vespers, to besiege dent of the Franco-German war, and is nearly as remarkable as “The Benediction” for dramatic situ- of hard black bread. Along the broad high

The convent-doors and clamor for a crust ation and intensity of feeling. These qualities, it will be observed, are found in an eminent degree in

way each of the poems that we have selected ; and it Beggars in troops laid bare their hideous sores. will also be observed that M. Coppée disdains to

Burying their coin in the earth, the citizens woo that meretricious muse which has inspired so Thought, at the outset, to protest. They chose much of the contemporary verse of his countrymen. One of their number, gray-haired and discreet,

The spirited translations of these poems are re- Sending him secretly to Trèves, to plead produced from a little volume entitled “Gottlob et Their cause with the Archbishop and set forth Cetera,” by William Young, whose connection with Their grievances; but Gottlob, having wind the “ New York Albion,” though it terminated long Of their intention, in advance dispatched since, has rendered his name familiar to a numerous To the Elector-Primate two fine mules circle of readers in this country.]

With golden pyxes and with velvet copes

Heavily charged. The saint-like Patriarch, GOTTLOB.

Zealous in serving God, received the gifts,

And hanged the townsmen's delegate. No more
LE JUSTICIER."

Was said about the matter.
ON
NE month since Easter, on St. Philip's Day,

Now was woe The fifteenth century being three years old, Redoubled, Gottlob bidding fair to touch The very high and very puissant Gottlob His hundredth year. Apparent was no term Surnamed the Brutal, Count of Schnepfenthal, To all this desolation. Beldames called him Baron of Hilburghausen, of Elbenau

Satan's accomplice. One and all despaired,

FROM

[ocr errors]

O The fif

man

Wailing for mercy. In the end he died. I'll greet my nephews as they gather here,
He was dead, certès. Then, as in a wood Weeping, to take part in my obsequies,
The little nests are resonant of joy

And bid them fly my falcons for their sport. When down the wind fierce squalls have swept Then I'll regale them with a luscious feast the hawk,

Worthy your bishops, and dismiss them all So the poor people this departure hailed Rollicking drunk!" With shouted plaudits. Bonfires were lit up;

Thrice the Monk crossed himselfAnd round about the gallows hand in hand On breast, mouth, forehead. Then he slowly rose, Danced the glad peasants. In the castle-walls And, drawing nearer the depraved old man, The soldiers listened to the festive din

In voice still trembling with emotion, said : Borne on the night wind, or with anxious watch “ List to me, Margrave! Scarce an hour ago, Pried through the loopholes. Fronting the dead I on my knees was praying by your corpse;

Praying, because 'tis terrible to see
A solitary Monk, in leathern chair

One full of years and lord of high estate
Seated, was musing. As the corpse laid out Die, without leisure to repent himself.
Lent to the shroud its profile, fancy showed him For, absolution by the priest conferred
How in the marble of the Margrave's tomb Needs must the awful peradventure bide;
The self-same outlines would be reproduced ; Nor can the Oremus hurriedly intoned,
Or, when the lights flared in the gusty draught, Without contrition, sin's foul ulcer heal.
His eye went wandering to the tapestry, Thus was it that with fervor and apart
Whereon in dim confusion cavaliers

I prayed. We are living in an age, my lord, Swayed to and fro; or, with unconscious stare, Gloomy and harsh. The times are all awry. Traced the receding pillars of the room.

Rulers, alas ! are ignorant of the ills He was alone. At times, in hardy jet,

Endured by those beneath them. · Men-at-arms The bonfires' glow flamed on the window-panes; Have trampled under foot this German soil And louder, clearer, rose upon the air

So long, so deeply, that not any crop The vassals' voices listed in great glee.

Rests on its surface. For the reaper's hand Anon, still motionless and rapt in thought, There is no work. Soon will the smith alone Psalms and the Miserere in low tone

Be called to labor. Piteous 'tis to see Fell from his lips. Sudden, his countenance The corn down-trodden and the rotted rye. Took on a ghostly pallor, and his eyes

Eagles and vultures gather to their feasts, In fear and blank amazement opened wide, They, and they only, feeding now on flesh. And his lank fingers tightly clutched his chair. Beggars around the monasteries throng. Awe-struck he was and petrified, for, lo! Bread is high-priced. Hamlet and town alike The dead man sitting up, veiled, all in white, Hunger; and milk in mothers' breasts is dry! Wrestling, with frantic gestures, from his head Care for all this you know not, nor remorse, To throw the overwrapping sheet—the corpse, You puissant lords. And I, who here below That had been counted on as food for worms, Ought to be chiefly praying for the dead, Alive, and gazing with bewildered look

Pray rather for the mighty and the rich, On Monk, and lights, and ebony crucifix, Seeing around me vassals all in tears, And holy-water vessel! Speech at length Fields all awaste, and swinging in the breeze, The Margrave found :

Pendent from forest-branches, human forms. “ Where am I? Did I dream? Then I remember, Margrave, the decrees Or was I dead ? Monk! have my nephews laid, Of everlasting Justice, and how souls Already laid, rash hands on my demesne, Are in strict balance weighed; and to mine ear Tearing the red fag from the belfry down? Comes the exulting crackle of the fire Am I defunct, or am I master yet

Stirred by the devil with his monstrous fork!” Under mine own roof? Answer me! and then, Peals of loud laughter from the Margrave broke. As my wits wander still, on yonder press Truly your sermon,” said he, is sublime ! Look for my chiseled cup, and pour me out And you conclude A brimming draught of wine!"

“ That, if tenacious death “ Almighty God!" Spares you, the awful menace yet remains, Murmured the Monk, “he has come back to The Almighty's warning; that ere many days life!"

Your coffin o'er the threshold must be borne ;

And that God grants you, Gottlob, a brief spell “Come back to life! Then was I truly dead ! Meet for repentance !" But by my ancestors I swear, at dawn

“ You perceive," said Gottlob, I'll have the windows all decked out with flags, That I have listened with attentive ear And stepping forth upon the balcony

To your discourse, being merry and well pleased

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

air;

Not to be wearing now, by way of shirt,

Thou hast to-day, it seems, no thought ; but God,
Four oaken boards. But think not to prolong it! Who punisheth them all, the record keeps.
And bear in mind, too, that if so I willed When the sack followed Schnepfenthal's revolt,
Two of my valets might eject you hence, Thou, senseless murderer, at a single blow
Setting my bloodhounds on your flying heels. Didst kill the burgrave as he bent him down
Meantime, I bid you, preacher, pour me out Kissing thy stirrup, and didst have his body
A stoup of wine. Quick! Bring it here!" Hewn into pieces and hung up on hooks

The Monk, Over the portal of thy donjon-keep,
Who had resumed his seat, stood up. His gown As in the market bleeding tripes are hung!
In stately folds enwrapped him. From his Hunting, one day, a poacher was surprised.
sleeves

They ripped his belly open; and therein
Outstretched, his hands went trembling in the Thou thy cold feet didst warm! Thy lances

made While from the overshadowing cowl his eyes Black silence round thee; but whoever sought Peering transfixed the Margrave.

To follow in thy footsteps might have tracked

Oh, repent, Thy course in blood, while peasants clinched
Old man!” he answered; "and, ere going down their fists
Into thy grave, soil thy white hair with ashes! In desolate homesteads! Thou didst doom to
Put on, like us, the hair-cloth and the frock!

death
Bruise thy weak knees upon the altar-steps ! Thy pregnant sister! By thy men-at-arms,
Chant the responses ! kiss the cloister-stones ! Even in the suburbs, was the traveler robbed ;
And in a coffin lay thee down at night!

And, when a citizen held back his tithe, The scourge with knotted points that eat the Thou didst parade him on a hog, astride, flesh,

Facing the tail! I pass by much. At last The

greasy, grimy stairway, the long fast, Thou diest, stained with all these crimes; and Black bread, with water from the pitcher gulped

when These, for a sinner who so tardily

The Almighty, as it were amazed to meet Repents him, are most sweet."

Such monster, deems thee all too black for hell,
Hold !" Gottlob cried, And spurns thee with his foot to earth again,
Preposterous quack! and, in the first place, And grants thee time forgiveness to implore,
know

Proud and defiant, thou dost still rebel !
That one garb only fits me, and that one Now learn the plain truth! Ah, thou holdest
Is my fine coat of mail, forged ring by ring,

cheap
Wherein nor kings nor princes punched a hole, The priest as judge! Look, then, at yonder glow
When with the Duke Rudolph the Third I Flushing the windows! Hark, what shouts of
served,

joy! Holding the lists for the good Emperor Charles, List ! recollecting how, from times remote, I, Gottlob, Lord of Ruhn, with whom you When wolf or bear or any noxious beast speak!

Makes havoc in our woods, but in the end Know furthermore that knights who bear great Is by the boar-spear slain, on the hillsides names,

Bonfires at night are lighted, and around them
And carry on their pennons Latin words Huntsmen and peasants all rejoicing dance.
'Broidered in gold that valor breathe and pride, Thus to this day our Saxon usage holds.
Can not beneath an organ bawl out psalms. Margrave, 'tis thus upon thy dying day!
Their music is the jingle of their spurs,

Thou, too, art rated as some noxious beast!”
The clarion's shrill and spirit-stirring note,
The roll of drum, the joyous clash of sword " Peace! peace !” cried Gottlob, with a fear-
Hammering on brazen armor. Furthermore,

ful laugh.
Know that I hate all priestlings and poltroons Then from his pillow on his hands upheld,
Who in dull cloisters hide themselves away, Livid with scorn and rage, he hissed aloud :
Nor ever wash their hands, save when they dip “Yes, wretches, yes, the wood-piles are alight!
Fingers in holy-water. Thus, good brother, You are burning up my maples and my pines,
Silence; and do my bidding quick!"

Wherewith your gibbets I was wont to frame.

The Monk Had I not waked, to-morrow might, perchance,
Advanced two steps nearer the old man's bed. For the diversion of your rabble rout,
“ Bow down before the God who passeth now, Have seen a Margrave's effigy in straw
But passeth nevermore! Still is there time Amid my gray elms blazing! Ha! in sport
To save thy soul. Margrave, thou hast been vile, You for your fagots cut my old oaks down
Inhuman, infamous ; and of thy crimes That the Goths planted ! Well, well; be it so!

« 이전계속 »