Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

To such unhappy persons, in whose miseries I deeply sympathize - - - Have I not groaned under similar horrors, from the hour when I was first shut up (under lock and key, I believe,) to indite a dutiful epistle to an honored aunt? I remember, as if it were yesterday, the moment when she who had enjoined the task entered to inspect the performance, which, by her calculation, should have been fully completed-I remember how sheepishly I hung down my head, when she snatched from before me the paper, (on which I had made no further progress than “My dear ant,"') angrily exclaiming, “What, child! have you been shut up here three hours to call your aunt a pismire?". From that hour of humiliation I have too often groaned under the endurance of similar penance, and I have learnt from my own sufferings to compassionate those of my dear sisters in affliction. To such unhappy persons, then, I would fain offer a few hints, (the fruit of long experience, which, if they have not already been suggested by their own observation, may prove serviceable in the hour of emergency.

Let them --- or suppose I address myself to one particular sufferer—there is something more confidential in that manner of communicating one's ideas—As Moore says, “ Heart speaks to heart”-I say, then, take always special care to write by candlelight, for not only is the appārently unimportant operation of snuffing the candle in itself a momentary relief to the depressing consciousness of mental vacuum, but not unfrequently that trifling act, or the brightening flame of the taper, elicits, as it were, from the dull embers of fancy, a sympathetic spark of fortunate conception—When such a one occurs, seize it quickly and dexterously, but, at the same time, with such cautious prudence, as not to huddle up and contract in one short, paltry sentence, that which, if ingeniously handled, may be wire-drawn, so as to undulate gracefully and smoothly over a whole page.

For the more ready practice of this invaluable art of dilating, it will be expedient to stock your memory with a large assortment of those precious words of many syllables, that 311 whole lines at once ; “incomprehensibly, amazingly, deidedly, solicitously, inconceivably, incontrovertibly." An 'pportunity of using these, is, to a distressed spinner, as deightful as a copy all m's and n’s to a child. " Command rou may, your mind from play.” They run on with such elicious smoothness!

[ocr errors]

I have known a judicious selection of such, cunningly arrānged, and neatly linked together, with a few monosyllables, interjections, and well chosen epithets, (which may be liberally inserted with good general effect,) so worked up, as to form altogether a very respectable and even elegant composition, such as amongst the best judges of that peculiar style is pronounced to be “a charming letter!" Then the pause—the break-has altogether a picturesque effect. Long tailed letters are not only beautiful in themselves, but the use of them necessarily creates such a space between the lines, as helps one honorably and expeditiously over the ground to be filled up. The tails of your g's and y's in particular, may be boldly flourished with a "down-sweeping" curve, so as beautifully to obscure the line underneath, without rendering it wholly illegible. This last, however, is but a minor grace, a mere illumination of the manuscript, on which I have touched rather by accident than design.

I

pass on to remarks of greater moment.

LESSON CLV.

Ginevra.—ROGERS.

If ever you should come to Mòdena,
(Where among other relics you may see
Tassoni's bucket-but 'tis not the true one)
Stop at a palace near the Reggio-gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Donati.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
Will long detain you—but, before you go,
Enter the house--forget it not, I pray you-
And look awhile upon a picture there.

'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
The last of that illustrious family;
Done by Zampieri—but by whom I care not.
He, who observes it-'ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up when far away.

She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half open, and her finger up,
As though she said, “ Beware!” her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers and clasped from head to foot,
An emerald stone in every golden clasp;
And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls.

But then her face,
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart-
It haunts me still, though many a year has filed
Like some wild melody!

Alone it hangs
Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion,
An oaken chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
With scripture-stories from the life of Christ;
A chest that came from Venice, and had held
The dūcal robes of some old ancestors-
That by the way—it may be true or falsem
But don't forget the picture ; and

you
When you have heard the tale they told me there.

She was an only child-her name Ginevra, The joy, the pride of an indulgenc father ; And in her fifteenth

year

became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.

Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gayety,
Her pranks the favorite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour ;.
Now, frowning, smiling for the hundreth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decoʻrum ;
And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.

Great was the joy ; but at the nuptial feast,
When all sate down, the bride herself was wanting.
Nor was she to be found! Her father cried,
" 'Tis but to make a trial of our love !"
And filled his glass to all ; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.

will not,

'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Laughing and looking back and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas, she was not to be found ;
Nor from that hour could any thing be guessed,
But that she was not !

Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and embarking,
Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Donati lived—and long might you have seen
An old man wandering as in quest of something,
Something he could not find-he knew not what.
When he was gone, the house remained awhile
Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.

Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
When on an idle day, a day of search
Mid the old lumber in the gallery,
That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said
By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra,
Why not remove it from

its lurking-place ?"
'Twas done as soon as said ; but on the

way
It burst, it fell; and lo! a skeleton
With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone,
A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold.
All else had perished-save a wedding ring,
And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
Engraven with a name, the name of both-
“ Ginevra.”

-There then had she found a grave!
Within that chest had she concealed herself,
Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy;
When a spring-lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fastened her down for ever!

LESSON CLVI. Account of the destruction of Goldau and other villages in

Switzerland ;extracted from a letter, dated Geneva, 26th Sept. 1806.—BUCKMINSTER.

THERE is an event which happened just before our arrival in Switzerland, of which no particular account may have yet reached America, and which I think cannot be uninteresting, especially to those of our friends who have visited this charming country. Indeed, it is too '

disastrous to be related or read with indifference. If you

have a large map of Switzerland, I beg of you to look for a spot in the canton of Schweitz,* situated between the lakes of Zug and Lowertz on two sides, and the mountains of Rigi and Rossberg on the others. Here, but three weeks ago, was one of the most delightfully fertile valleys of all Switzerland; green, and luxuriant, adorned with several little villages, full of secure and happy farmers. Now three of these villages are for ever effaced from the earth; and a broad waste of ruins, burying alive more than fourteen hundred peasants, overspreads the valley of Lowertz.

About five o'clock in the evening of the 3d of September, a large projection of the mountain of Rossberg, on the northeast, gave way, and precipitated itself into this valley; and in less than four minutes completely overwhelmed the three villages of Goldau, Busingen, and Rathlen, with a part of Lowertz and Oberart. The torrent of earth and stones was far more rapid than that of lava, and its effects as resistless and as terrible. The mountain in its descent carried trees, rocks, houses, every thing before it. The mass spread in every direction, so as to bury completely a space of charming country, more than three miles square.

The force of the earth must have been prodigious, since it not only spread over the hollow of the valley, but even ascended far up the opposite side of the Rigi. The quantity of earth, too, is enormous, since it has left à considerable hill in what was before the centre of the vale. A portion of the falling mass rolled into the lake of Lowertz, and it is calculated that a fifth part is filled up.

On a minúte map you will see two little islands marked in this lake, which have been admired for their picturesqueness. One of them is famous for the residence of two hermits, and the other for the remains of an ancient chateau,t once belonging to the house of Hapsburg.

So large a body of water was raised and pushed forward by the falling of such a mass into the lake, that the two islands, and the whole village of Seven, at the southern extremity, were, for a time, completely submerged by the passing of the swell. A large house in this village was lifted off its foundations and carried half a mile beyond its place. The hermits were absent on a pilgrimage to a distant abbey. The disastrous consequences of this event extend further * Pron. Shwites.

Pron. shat-to.

« AnteriorContinuar »