페이지 이미지
[blocks in formation]




[ocr errors]




What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont and

I'll have my revenge! I know what I will say ! Fletcher, which my brother admired so much? It be

Off! off! Now, dear sir,-Love, you were sayinggins with something about two vines so close that their

FRIEND. tendrils in termingle.

Hush! Preaching, you mean,


ELIZA (impatiently).
You mean Charles' speech to Angelina, in « the Elder

We'll live together, like two neighbour vines,

Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is it-
Circling our souls and loves iu one anotber!

self not the most common thing in the world : and We'll spring together, and we 'll bear one fruit ; One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn !

mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal One age go with us, and one bour of death

attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet Shall close our eyes, and one gravo make us happy.

melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the well

known ballad, « John Anderson my jo, John,, in adA precious boon, that would go far to reconcile one

dition to a depth and constancy of character of no to old age—this love, if true! But is there any such every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar sensibility true love ?

and tenderness of nature; a constitutional communi

cativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a delight I hope so.

in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible

signs of the sacrament within-to count, as it were, the But do you believe it?

pulses of the life of love. But above all, it supposes a ELIZA (eagerly.)

soul wbich, even in the pride and summer-ride of life I am sure he does.

-even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt

oftenest and prized highest that which age cannot take From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, away, and which, in all our lovings, is the Love; -expects a less confident answer.

There is something here (pointing to her heart) that A more sincere one, perhaps,

seems to understand but wants the word that would

make it understand itself. Even though he should have obtained the nick-name

I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and extem

feeling for us. pore verses at Christmas times ?

-I mean that willing sense of the insufficingness Nay, but be serious.

of the self for itself, which predisposes a generous na

ture to see, in the total being of another, the suppleSerious? Doubtless. A grave personage of my years ment and completion of its own-that quiet perpetual giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, cannot well seeking which the presence of the beloved object mobe otherwise. The difficulty, 1 suspect, would be fordulates, not suspends, where the heart momently finds, them to remain so. It will be asked whether I am not and, finding, again seeks on- Jastly, when life's changethe elderly gentleman » who sale « despairing beside a

ful orb has pass'd the full,, a co zfirmed faith in the clear stream," with a willow for his wig-block.

nobleness of humanity, thus brought home and pressed,

as it were, to the very bosom of hourly experience : it Say another word, and we will call it downright af- supposes, I say, a heart -felt reverence for worth, not the fectation.

less deep because divested of its solemnity by babit, by










[ocr errors]









familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling less other infinitesimals of pleasureable thought and of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when genial feeling. they are conscious of possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own characters. In short, Well, Sir; you have said quite enough to make me there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful despair of finding a • John Anderson, my jo, John,, to and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right totter down the bill of life with. of love appropriates it, can call Goodness its Playfellow; and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while, in Not so! Good men are not, I trust, so much scarcer the person of a thousand-foldly endeared partner, we than good women, but that what another would find in feel for aged VIRTUE the caressing foodness that belongs you, you may hope to find in another. But well, however, to the INNOCENCE of childhood, and repeat the same at may that boon be rare, the possession of which would tentions and tender courtesies as had been dictated by be more than an adequate reward for the rarest virtue. the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.

Surely, he who has described it so beautifully, must

have possessed it? What a soothing-what an elevating idea!

If he were worthy to have possessed it, and had beIf it be not only an idea.

lievingly anticipated and not found it, how bitter the

disappointment! At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How

(Then, after a pause of a few minutes). much more rare must it be, that two such individuals

ANSWER (ex improviso). should meet together in this wide world under circumstances that admit of their union as Husband and Wife. He had, or fancied that he had ;

Yes, yes! that boon, life's richest treat, A person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as neighbour, friend, housemate-in short, in Say, 't was but in his own conceitall the concentric circles of attachment, save only the

The fancy made him glad! last and iomost; and yet from how many causes be

Crown of Iris cup, and garnish of his dish!

The boon, prefigured in his earliest wish! estranged from the highest perfection in this ? Pride,

The fair fulfilment of his poesy, coldness or fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an

When his anxious or ambitious disposition, a passion for display,

young heart first yearn'a for sympathy! a sullen temper-one or the other too often proves . the dead fly in the compost of spices,» and any one is But e'en the meteor offspring of the brain

Unnourish'd wane! enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction.

Faith asks her daily bread, For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine

And Fancy must be fed !

Now so it chanced-from wet or dry, vanity, that keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its

It boots not how-J know not whyown self-importance. And as this high sense, or rather

She missed her wonted food: and quickly sensation of their own value is, for the most part, grounded on negative qualities, so they have no better Poor Fancy stagger'd and grew siekly. means of preserving the same but by negatives, that is, His faith was fix'd, his heart all ebb and flow

Then came a restless state, 't wixt yea and nay, by not doing or saying any thing, that might be put down for fond, silly, or nonsensical,—or (to use their or like a bark, in some half-shelter'd bay,

Above its anchor driving to and fro. own phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think

That boon, which but to have possessid the most worthless object they could be employed in re

In a belief, gave live a zestmembering.

Uncertain both what it had been, ELIZA (in answer to a whisper from CATHERINE).

And if by error lost, or luck; To a hair! He must have sate for it himself

. Save me And what it was :-an evergreen from such folks! But they are out of the question,

Which some insidious blight had struck,

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 life is Doubts toss'd him to and fro; made


of large masses, each separated from the other Hope keeping Love, Love Hope alive, by certain intervals. One year, the death of a child; Like babes hewilder'd in a snow, years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or That cling and huddle from the cold shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhap- In hollow tree or ruin'd fold. pily ;-in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of Those sparkling colours, once his boast, a man's life, are easily counted, and distinctly remem- Fading, one by one away, bered. The Happiness of life, on the contrary, is made Thin and bueless as a ghost, up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten cha- Poor Faucy on her siek-bed lay; rities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compli- Ill at distance, worse when near, ment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the count- 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 bis brow,
A peevish mood, a tedious time, I trow!

Thank Heaven! 't is not so now.

O bliss 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 date!
Of life's gay summer-tide the sovran Rose!
Lale 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 a magic show,
Whale'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 !

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 faery child my childhood woord
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 yaze 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 10 scoop.
I see no longer! I myself am there,
Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.
'T is 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


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,
Callid on the past for thought of glee or grief.
In vain! bereft alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacancy!
And as I watched 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 seltless boyhood, on a new world tost Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost; Or charm'd my youth, that, kindled from above, Loved ere it loved, and sought a form for love; Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan Of manhood, musing what and whence is man!

The brightness of the world, O thou once free,
And always fair, rare land of courtesy !
0, Florence! with the Tuscan fields and bills!
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 bold
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 urn, or 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 intertwine
Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance !
'Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance,

See! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees

O all-enjoying and all-blending sage, The new-found roll of old Moonides;'

Long be it mine to con thy mazy page, But from his mantle's fold, and near the heart,

Where, half conceal'd, the

eye of fancy views Peers Ovid's Holy Book of Love's sweet smart! ? Fauns, nymphs, and winged saints, all gracious to thy

muse! Boccaccio claimed for himself the glory of having first introduced the works of llomer to his countrymen.

Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks, "I know few more striking or more interesting proofs of the And see in Dian's vest between the ranks overwhelming influence which the study of the Greek and Roman classies exercised on the judgments, feelings, and imaginations of Of the trim vines, some maid that half believes the literati of Europe at the commencement of the restoration of The vestal fires, of which her lover grieves, literature, than the passage in the Filocopo of Boccaccio: where with that sly satyr peeping through the leaves! the sage instructor, Racheo, as soon as the young prince and the beautiful girl Biancafiore had learned their letters, sets ibem 10 loro, in breve tempo, insegnato a conoscer le lettere, fece legere il study the Holy Book, Ovid's ART or Love. Incominciò Racheo a santo libro d Ovridio, nel quale il sommo poeta mostra, come i santi mettere il suo ofticio in essecuzione wa intera sollecitudine. E fuochi di Venere si debbano ne freddi cuori oecendere..


« 이전계속 »