Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

6. Passages from E. L. Bulwer's Works. A Fatalist's Soliloquy. - It was now night. The Heavens broadened') round him in all the loving yet august tranquility of the season and the hour; the stars bathed the living at ere with a solemn light: and above about around

« The holy time was quiet as a nun

Breathless with adoration.» He looked forth upon the deep and ineffable 2) stillness of the night, and indulged the reflections that it suggested.

«Ye mystic lights,» said he soliloquizing: «worlds upon worlds infinite - incalculable — Bright defiers) of rest and change, rolling for ever above our petty sea of mortality, as, wave after wave, we fret forth 4) our little life, and sink into the black abyss; can we look upon you, note your appointed order, and your unvarying course, and not feel that we are indeed the poorest puppets) of an all pervading and resistless destiny? Shall we see throughout creation each marvel fulfilling its pre-ordered fate no wandering from its orbit 6) no variation in its seasons and yet imagine that the Arch - ordainer 7) will hold back the tides, He has sent from their unseen source, at our miserable bidding? Shall we think that our prayers can avert a doom woven with the skein of events: To change a particle of our fate, might change the destiny of millions! Shall the link forsake the chain, and yet the chain be unbroken? Away, then, with our vague repinings, and our blind demands. All must walk onward to their goal 8), be he the wisest who looks not one step behind. The colours of our existence were doomed before our birth our sorrows and our crimes; millions of ages back, when this hoary earth was peopled by other kinds, yea! ere ils atoms had formed one layer 9) of its present soil, the Eternal and the all seeing Ruler of the Universe, Destiny, or God, had here fixed the moment of our birth and the limits of our career. What then is crime? Fate! What life ? - Submission. A Summer Scene. It was waxing towards eve

an hour especially lovely in the month of June, and not without reason favoured by the angler. W. sauntered across the rich and fragrant fields, and came soon into a sheltered valley, through which the brooklet wound its shadowy way. Along the margin the grass sprung up, long and matted, and profuse with a thousand weeds and flowers the children of the teeming '9) June. Here the ivy leaved bell-flower, and not far from it the common enchanter's night shade, the silver weed11), and the water-aven 12); and by the hedges that now and then neared the water, the guelder-rose 13), and the white briony 14) overrunning the thicket with its emerald leaves and luxuriant flowers. And here and there, silvering the bushes, the elder offered its snowy tribute to the summer. All the insect youth were abroad, with their bright wings and glancing motion, and from the lower depths of the bushes the blackbird darted across, or higher and unseen the first cuckoo of the eve began its continuous 15) and mellow note. All this cheeriness and gloss of life, which enamour us with the bright days of the English summer, make the poetry in an angler's life, and convert every idler at heart into a moralist, and not a gloomy one, for the time.

1) Sich erweitern. 2) inaudipredilich. 3) Troßbietende. 4) Wegzehren. 3) Wicht. 6) Bahn. 7 $auptanordner. 9) Ziel. 9) Schicht. 10) Fruchtbar. !!) Der wilde Rainfarn, Silberkraut. 12) Wasserbenediktenfraut. 13) Wasserholunder. 14) Zaunrübe. 15) Ununterbrochen.

Sleep the blessing of the young. W. opened the lattice ?) of his room, and looked forth on the night. The broad harvest-moon was in the heavens, and filled the air as with a softer and holier day. At a distance its light gave the dark outline of A-'s house, and beneath the window it lay bright and steady on the green still church - yard that adjoined the house. The air and the light allayed the fitfulness 2) at the young man's heart, but served to solemnize the project and desire with which it beat. Still leaning from the casement, with his eyes fixed upon the tranquil scene below, he poured forth ) a prayer, that to his hands might the discovery of his lost sire be granted. The prayer seemed to lift the oppression from his breast; he felt *) cheerful and relieved, and flinging himself on his bed, soon fell into the sound and healthful sleep of youth. And oh! let Youth cherish ) that happiest of earthly boons, while yet it is at its command for there cometh the day to all, when «neither the voice of the lute or the birds » shall bring back the sweet slumbers that fell on their young eyes, as unbidden as the dews. It is a dark epoch in a man's life when Sleep forsakes him; when he tosses to and fro, and Thought will not be silenced; when the drug and draught ©) are the courters of stupefaction, not sleep; when the down pillow is as a knotted log; when the eyelids close but with an effort, and there is a drag and a weight?), and a dizziness in the eyes at morn. Desire and Grief, and Love, these are the young man's torments; but they are the creatures of Time; Time removes them as it brings, and the vigils we keep, «while the evil days come not,» if weary, are brief and few. But Memory, and Care, and Ambition, and Avarice, these are the demongods that defy the Time that fathered 8) them. The worldlier passions are the growth of mature years, and their grave is dug but in our own. As the dark Spirits in the Northern tale, that watch against the coming of one of a brighter and holier race, lest if he seize them unawares, he bind them prisoners in his chain, they keep ward at night er the entrance of that deep cave the human heart and scare away the angel Sleepl

7. Byron's Study.

(By Bulwer.) «The morning after my arrival at the inn, which is placed (a little distance from Geneva) on the margin of the lake, I crossed to the house which Byron inhabited, and which is almost exactly opposite. The day was calm but gloomy, the waters almost without a ripple. Arrived at the opposite shore, you ascend, by a somewhat rude and steep ascent, to a small village, winding ) round which, you come upon the gates of a house. On the right - hand side of the road, as you thus enter, is a vineyard, in which, at that time, the grapes hung ripe and clustering. Within the gates are some 10) three or four trees, ranged in an avenue. Descending a few steps, you see, in a small court before the door, a rude fountain; it was then dried up the waters had ceased to play. On either side is a small garden branching from the court, and by the door are rough stone seats. You enter a small hall, and, thence, an apartment containing

three rooms. The principal one is charming, long, and of an oval shape, with carved wainscotting - the windows on three sides of the room command the most beautiful views of Geneva, the Lake, and its opposite shores. They open upon a terrace

1) Fenstergitter. 2) Unruhe. 3) Sich ergießen. 4) (222). 5) Werth halten. 6) Vermischte Getränke, Schlaftrunk. 2) Hemmschuh und Gewicht. 8) Erzeugen 9 (231). 19 (141).

room.

paved with stone; on that terrace how often he must have «watched with wistful eyes the setting sun!» It was here that he was in the ripest maturity of his genius in the most interesting epoch of his life. He had passed the bridge that severed him from his country, but the bridge was not yet broken down. He had not yet been enervated by the soft south. His luxuries were still of the intellect — his sensualism was yet of nature his mind had not faded from its youthfulness and vigour his ?) was yet the season of hope rather than of performance, and the world dreamt more of what he would be than what he had been. His works (the Paris edition) were on the table. Himself was every where! Near to this room is a smaller cabinet, very simply and rudely furnished. On one side, in a recess, is a bed, on the other, a door communicates with a dressing

Here, I was told, he was chiefly accustomed to write. And what works ? «Manfred,» and the most beautiful stanzas of the third Canto of «Childe Harold,» rush at once upon our memory. You now ascend the stairs, and pass a passage, at the end of which is a window, commanding a superb view of the Lake. The passage is hung with some curious but wretched portraits. Francis I., Diana of Poitiers, and Julius Scaliger, among the rest. You now enter his bed-room. Nothing can be more homely than the furniture; the bed is in a recess, and in one corner an old walnut - tree bureau, where you may still see written over some of the compartments, «Letters of Lady B-.» His imaginary life vanishes before this simple label, and all the weariness, and all the disappointment of his real domestic life come sadly upon you. You recall the nine executions in one year the annoyance, and the bickering, and the estrangement, and the gossip scandal of the world, and the «Broken Household Gods.) Men may moralise as they will, but misfortunes cause error, and atone for it.

8. The Bull-fight.

(By B. D’Israeli.) A Spanish bull-fight taught me fully to comprehend the rapturous exclamation of «Panem et Circenses!» The amusement apart, there is something magnificent in the assembled thousands of an amphitheatre. It is the trait in modern manners, which most effectually recalls the nobility of antique pastimes.

The poetry of a bull-fight is very much destroyed by the appearance of the cavaliers. Instead of gay, gallant knights, bounding on caracolling steeds, three or four shapeless, unwieldy beings, cased in armour of stuffed leather, and looking more like Dutch burgomasters than Spanish chivalry, enter the lists on limping rips 2). The bull is, in fact, the executioner for the dogs, and an approaching bull-fight is a respite 3) for any doomed steed throughout all Seville.

The Tauridors, in their varying, fanciful, costly, and splendid dresses, compensate, in a great measure, for your disappointment. It is difficult to conceive a more brilliant band. These are ten or a dozen footmen, who engage the bull unarmed, distract him, as he rushes at one of the cavaliers, by unfolding and dashing before his eyes a glittering scarf, and saving themselves from an occasional chase by practised agility, which elicits great applause. The performance of these Tauridors is, without doubt, the most graceful, the most exciting, and the most surprising portion of the entertainment.

1) (152). 2) Lahme Schindmähre. 3) Galgenfrist.

The ample theatre is nearly full. Be careful to sit on the shady side, There is the suspense experienced at all public entertaioments, only here upon a great scale. Men are gliding about selling fans and refreshments. The Governor and his suite enter their box. A trumpet sounds! all is silent.

The knights advance, poising their spears, and for a moment trying to look graceful. The Tauridors walk behind them, two by two. They proceed around and across the lists. They bow to the vice - regal party, and commend themselves to the Virgin, whose portrait is suspended above.

Another trumpet! A second, and a third blast. The Governor throws the signal. The den opens and the bull bounds in. That first spring is very fine. The animal stands for a moment still, staring, stupified. Gradually his hoof moves; he paws the ground; he dashes about the sand. The knights face him with their extended lances at due distance. The Tauridors are all still. One flies across him and waves his scarf. The enraged bull makes at the nearest horseman. He is frustrated in his attack. Again he plants himself, lashes his tail, and rolls about his eye.

He makes another charge, and, this time, the glance of the spear does not drive him back. He gores 1) the horse, rips up its body; the steed staggers and falls. The bull rushes at the rider, and his armour will not now preserve him, but, just as his awful horn is about to avenge his future fate, a skilful Tauridor skims before him, and flaps his nostris with his scarf. He flies after his new assailant, and immediately finds another. Now you are delighted by all the evolutions of this consummate 2) hand; occasionally they can save themselves only by leaping the barrier. The knight, in the mean time, rises, escapes, and mounts another steed.

The bull now makes a rush at another horseman. The borse dexterously veers 3) aside. The bull rushes on, but the knight wounds him severely in the flank with his lance. The Tauridors now appear armed with darts. They rush with extraordinary swiftness and dexterity at the infuriate animal, plant their galling weapons in different parts of his body, and scud away. To some of their darts are affixed fireworks, which ignite 4) by the pressure of the stab. The animal is then as bewildered as infuriate. The amphitheatre echoes to his roaring, and witnesses the greatest efforts of his rage. He flies at all, staggering and streaming with blood; at length, breathless and exhausted, he stands at bay'), his black swollen tongue hanging out, and his mouth covered with foam.

'Tis horrible. Throughout, a stranger's feeling are for the bull, although this even the fairest Spaniard cannot comprehend. As it is now evident, that the noble victim can only amuse them by his death, there is a universal cry for the Matador, and the Matador, gaily dressed, appears amid a loud cheer. The Matador is a great artist. Strong nerves must combine with great quickness and great experience to form an accomplished Matador. It is a rare character, highly prized. Their fame exists after their death, and different cities pride themselves on producing or possessing the eminent.

The Matador plants himself before the bull, and shakes a red cloak suspended over a drawn sword. This last insult excites the lingering energy of the dying hero. He makes a violent charge: the mantle falls over his face, the sword enters his spine, and he falls amid thundering shouts. The death is instantaneous, without a struggle and without a groan. A car, decorated with flowers and ribbons, and drawn by oxen, now appears, and bears off the body in triumph.

1) Stößt blutig. 2) Boltommen geübt. Sich drehen. 4) Sich entzünden. 5) In Todesängften.

I have seen eighteen horses killed in a bull-fight, and eight bulls. But the sport is not always in proportion to the slaughter. Sometimes the bull is a craven '), and then, if, after recourse has been had to every mode of excitement, he will not charge, he is kicked out of the arena, amid the jeers and hisses of the audience. Every act of skill on the part of the Tauridors elicits applause, nor do the spectators hesitate, if necessary, to mark their temper by a contrary method. On the whole, it is a magnificent but barbarous spectacle; and, however disgusting the principal object, the accessories of the entertainment are so brilliant and interesting, that, whatever may be their abstract disapprobation, those who have witnessed a Spanish bull-fight will not be surprised at the passionate attachment of the Spanish people to their national pastime.

9. An Italian Landscape.

(By Mrs. Ann. Radclisse.) These excursions sometimes led to Puzzuoli, Baia, or the woody cliffs of Pausilippo; and as, on their return, they glided the moonlight 2) bay, the melodies of Italian strains seemed to give enchantment to the scenery of its shore. At this cool hour the voices of the vine - dressers :) frequently heard in trio, as they reposed after the labour of the day on some pleasant promontory under the shade of poplars; or the brisk music of the dance from fishermen on the margin of the waves below. The boatmen rested on their oars, while their company listened to voices modulated by sensibility to finer eloquence than it is in the power of art alone to display; and at others, while they observed the airy natural grace which distinguishes the dance of the fishermen and peasant girls of Naples. Frequently, as they glided round a promontory, whose shaggy masses impended 4) far over the sea, such magic scenes of beauty unfolded“), adorned by these dancing groops on the bay beyond, as no pencil could do justice oj to. The deep clear waters reflected every image of the landscape; the cliffs, branching into wild forms, crowned with groves whose rough foliage often spread down their steeps in picturesque luxuriance; the ruined villa on some bold point peeping through the trees; peasant's cabins hanging on the precipices, and the dancing figures on the strand

all touched with the silvery tint and soft shadows of moonlight. On the other hand, the sea trembling with a long line of radiance, and showing in the clear distance the sails of vessels stealing") in every direction along its surface, presented a prospect as grand as the landscape was beautiful.

[ocr errors]

10. A Cottage.

(By G. P. S. James.) In the reign of that King George, under whose paternal sceptre flourished the English nation in the times whereof I am writing, there was a cottage in that sand-pit, a small lonely house, built of timber, latbs, and mud, containing two or three rooms. The materials, as I have shown, were poor, ease and comfort seemed far from it, yet there was something altogether not unpleasant in the idea of dwelling in that sheltered nook, with the dry sand and the green bushes round, and feeling 8), that let the

1) Gin zaghaftes Thier. 2) Vom Monde beleuchtete. 3) Winzer.

9) Winger. 4) Bart. 5) Imperfett. 6) Podlommen darstellen. 7) Gleitend. 8) In dem Gefühl der Gewißheit.

« AnteriorContinuar »