ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Save the chance greetings of some par:ing ships,
And elemental utterances confused.

Oh! never in high Roman basilic, Prime dome of Art, or elder Lateran, Mother of churches ! never at the shrine That sprang the freshest from pure martyr-blood, Or held within its clasp a nation's heart By San Iago or Saint Denys blest-Never in that least earthly place of earth, The Tomb where Death himself lay down and died, The Temple of Man's new JerusalemDescended effluence more indeed divine, More total energy of Faith and Hope, And Charity for wrongs unspeakable, Than on that humble scantling of the flock, That midnight congregation of the Sea.

Rise not, good Sun! hold back unwelcome Light
That shall but veil the nations in new crime !
Or hide thy coming; yet some little while
Prolong the stupor of exhausted sin,
Nor with thy tainted rays disturb this peace,
These bard-won fragmentary hours of peace,
That soon must sink before the warring world !

He hears them not; beneath his splendour fades
That darkness luminous of Love and Joy;
Quickly its aspect of base daily life
The little fleet recovering, plied in haste
Its usual labour, lest suspicious foes
Might catch suspicion in those empty nets ;
But every one there toiling, in his heart
Was likend to those other Fishermen,
Who on their inland waters saw the form
Of Jesus, toward them walking firm and free.

One moment yet, ere the religious Muse Fold up these earnest memories in her breast, Nor leave uputter'd that one Breton name Which is itself a History- Quiberon ! Was it not heinous ? was it not a shame Which goes beyond its actors, that those men, Simply adventuring to redeem their ownTheir ravish'd homes, and shrines, and fathers' graves Meeting that rampant and adulterous power On its own level of brute force, that they, Crush'd by sheer numbers, should be made exempt From each humane and generous privilege, With which the civil use of later times Has smooth'd the bristling fierceness of old war, And perish armless--one by one laid low By the cold sanction’d executioner!

Nor this alone; for fervid love may say,
That death to them, beneath the foulest hood,
Would wear an aureole crown; and martyr palms
Have grown as freely from dry felon dust,
As e'er from field enrich'd with fame and song.
But when they ask'd the only boon brave men
Could from inclement conquerors humbly pray-
To die as men, and not fall blankly down
Into steep death like butcher'd animals,
But to receive from consecrated hands

Those seals and sureties which the Christian soul
Demands as covenants of eternal bliss -
They were encounter'd by contemptuous hate,
And mockery, bitter as the crown of thorns.
Thus pass’d that night, their farewell night to earth,
Grave, even sad,--that should have been so full
Of faith nigh realized, of young and old,
Met hand in hand, indifferent of all time,
On the bright shores of immortality!
Till’mid the throng about their prison-door,
In the grey dawn, a rustic voice convey'd
Some broken message to a captive's ear,
Low, and by cruel gaolers unperceived ;
Which whisper, fitting fast from man to man,
Was like a current of electric joy,
Awakening smiles, and radiant upward looks,
And interchange of symbols spiritual,
Leaving unearthly peace.

So when soon came
The hour of doom, and through the palsied crowd
Pass'd the long file without a word or sound,
The image, gait, and bearing of each man,
In those his bonds, in that his sorry dress,
Defiled with dust and blood, perchance his own,
A squalid shape of famine and unrest,
Was that of some full-sail'd, magnificent ship,
That takes the whole expanse of sea and air
For its own service, dignifying both
As accessories of its single pride.

[ocr errors]

To read the sense and secret of this change,
Look where beside the winding path that leads
These noble warriors to ignoble death,
Rises a knoll of white, grass-tufted sand,
Upon whose top, against the brightening sky,
Stands a mean peasant, tending with one hand
A heifer browsing on that scanty food.
To the slow-moving line below he turns
An indistinct, almost incurious gaze,
While with a long right arm upraised in air
He makes strange gestures, source of ribald mirth
To some, but unregarded by the most.
Yet could a mortal vision penetrate
Each motion of that scene, it might perceive
How every prisoner, filing by that spot,
Bows his bold head, and walks with lighter steps
Onward to rest but once and move no more:
For in that peasant stands the yearned-for Priest,
Periling life by this last act of love,
And in those gestures are the absolving signs
Which send the heroes to their morning graves
Happy as parents' kisses duly speed
Day-weary children to their careless beds.

Such are memorials, and a hundred more,
Which by the pious traveller haply caught,
Falling from lowly lips and lofty hearts,
Regenerate outward nature, and adorn
With blossoms brighter than the Orient rose,
And verdure fresher than an English spring,
The dull sand-hillocks of the Morbihan.

R. M. MILNES, GOETHE'S LIFE AND WORKS.

No. III.

FROM MY LIFE.POETRY AND TRUTH.

Book III.

over

At that time, New-Year's-Day Day he blew incessantly, which was a greatly enlivened the city by the gen- sign that large bodies were in moveeral interchange of personal felicita. ment on different sides ; and in fact, tions. He who otherwise hardly left they passed on this day in greater the house, now hurried on his best masses through the city. The crowd clothes, that for a moment he might ran to look on. In general, people be friendly and courteous to his well. had been used to see them enter only wishers and friends. For us chil- in small parties. These, however, dren, the solemnity in our grand- gradually swelled, and there was neifather's house, on this day, was a ther power nor inclination to stop the much-desired pleasure. At early dawn increase. In fine, on the 2d January, the grandchildren were already col- after a column had come through lected there, to hear the drums, eboes, Sachsenhausen, the Bridge, and clarionets, the trumpets and cor- through the Fahrgasse as far as the nets, played by the soldiers, the city gunner's guard, they halted, overmusicians, and others. The new-year's powered the small party which accomgifts, sealed and superscribed, were panied them, took possession of that divided by us children among the in- guard, and then marched down the ferior congratulants; and as the day ad- Zeile, till after a slight resistance the vanced, the numbers of the more dis- main guard was also obliged to yield. tinguished increased. First appeared Instantly the peaceful streets were the intimates and the relatives, then changed into a place of arms, where the lower officials; the gentlemen of the troops established themselves, and the Council themselves did not fail to bivouacked until their quarters were wait on their chief magistrate; and a provided by regular billeting. select party were entertained in the This unexpected, for many years unevening in rooms which, except now, heard-of, burden pressed severely on the were hardly opened through the comfortable citizens. It could be more

The tarts, biscuits, annoying to no one than to my father, march pane, and sweet wine, had the who had to receive strange military greatest charm for the children. inhabitants into his hardly finished And besides this, the chief magistrate house, to open for them his well and the two burgomasters received adorned and neatly closed receptionannually, from certain foundations, rooms, and to abandon to the wantonsome articles of silver ware, which ness of others all that he had been were then bestowed in due gradation used to arrange and preserve so accuamong the grand and godchildren. rately. He, moreover, who took the This festival, in fine, had in small what- Prussian side, had now to see himself ever usually dignifies the greatest. besieged by the French even in his

The New Year's-Day of 1759 ap. own chambers. It was the greatest proached-desired and delightful for grief which, with his mode of thinking, us children, like those before it; but could possibly have befallen him. Yet full for older persons of anxiety and had it been possible for him to take foreboding. The passage of French the thing more easily, as he spoke troops had indeed become a matter French well, and could in the interof custom, and happened often, but course of life comport himself with yet oftenest in the last days of the dignity and grace, he might have bygone year. According to the saved us and himself from many un. ancient usage of the imperial city, the pleasant hours. For it was the King's watchman on the chief tower blew lieutenant who was quartered on us, his trumpet whenever troops ap- and he, although a military person, yet proached ; and on this New-Year's. had only to arrange the civil ou ur

whole year.

our.

[ocr errors]

rences, the disputes between soldiers a citizen of Frankfurt, and spoke good and citizens, and questions of debts French, could adapt hiinself to every and of quarrels. He was the Count thing, and only marle a jest of many Thorane, a native of Grasse in Pro- small annoyances. Through him my vence, not far from Antibes, along, thin, mother had sent a representation to grave figure, with a face much di:fi- the Count, of the situation she was gured by small pox, black fiery eyes, placed in owing to her husband's and a dignified, composed demear. temper. He had so judiciously ex

His very first entrance was fa- plained the matter, laying before him vourable for the family. There was the new house, not even completely some talk of the different rooms, which arranged, the natural reserve of the were, some of them to be given up to owner, his employment in the educahim, some to remain for our use; and, tion of his children, and whatever else as the Count heard a picture-room could be thought of to the same purspoken of, he immediately proposed, port, that the Count, who in his that although it was already night, he official post took the highest pride in should at least hastily look at the pic. the utmost justice, disinterestedness, tures by candlelight. He took extreme and honourable conduct, resolved also pleasure in these things, behaved to play an exemplary part with refermost obligingly to my father, who ac- ence to those on whom he was quarcompanied him ; and when he heard tered; and in fact did so without fail. that most of the artists were still living, ure, during the varying circumstances and in Frankfort or its neighbourhood of the years in which he remained he said that he wished for nothing with us. more eagerly than to see them as soon My mother had some knowledge as possible, and give them employ- of Italian, a language not altogether ment.

strange to any of the family. She But even this sympathy as to art therefore determined to learn French could not change my father's feelings, also, as soon as possible, for which nor bend his character. He let happen purpose she employed the interpreter. what he could not prevent, but kept She had lately, in the midst of himself in inactivity at a distance; and these stormy events, stood godmother the extraordinary state of things about for a child of his, and this conhim was, even in the smallest trifle, nexion doubled his regard for us; intolerable to him.

so that he willingly devoted to his Meanwhile the conduct of Count child's godmother every leisure mo. Thorane was exemplary. He would ment-for he lived just oppositenot even have his maps nailed on the and, above all, he taught her those walls, for fear of spoiling the new phrases which she would herself have room. papers. His people were dex- to use to the Count. This answered terous, quiet, and orderly; but, in truth, perfectly. The Count was flattered as all day long, and part of the night, by the pains which, at her years, the there was no quiet near him-one com- mistress of the house took ; and as he plainant following another, accused had a vein of cheerful pleasantry in persons brought in and led out, and all his character, and even liked to display officers and adjutants admitted ; and a certain dry gallantry, there arose the as, morover, the Count had every day most friendly relation between the an open dinner-table-thus in the two; and the godmother and father moderate-sized house, planned only who had contrived it, could gain for a family, and having but one open whatever they wanted from staircase running from top to bottom- guest. there was a perpetual movement and Had it been possible, as I said buzz as if in a beehive, though all was before, to conciliate my father, this temperately, gravely, and severely altered state of things would have had managed.

little inconvenience. The Count prac. As mediator between a master tised the severest disinterestedness. He of the house, daily more and more even refused presents which belonged a prey to melancholy self-torment, properly to his situation. Any thing, and a friendly but very grave and however trifling, that could have borne precise military guest, there the appearance of a bribe was rejected. happily a smooth interpreter, a hand- with anger, even with punishment. some, corpulent, cheerful man, who was Hispeople were most severely forbidden

our

was

to put the landlord of the house to the hardly a day in which the interpreter smallest expense. On the other hand, did not relate some anecdote or other we children were sumptuously sup

of the kind to entertain us and my plied from the dessert. On this oppor- mother. This lively man had made tunity, I may give a notion of the for himself a little collection of such simplicity of those times, by mention- Solomonian decisions. But I rememing that my mother one day distressed ber only the general impression, and us extremely, by throwing away the cannot recall any one case in particuices which had been sent us from the lar. table, because she fancied it impos- Time made the strange character of sible that the stomach should bear a the Count more and more intelligible. real ice however sweetened.

This man had the clearest conscious. Besides these dainties, which we ness of himself and his own peculiarigradually learned to enjoy and digest ties; and as there were certain times extremely well, it also seemed to us when a kind of ill-humour, hypochon. children a great pleasure to be in a dria, or whatever may be the name of measure released from fixed hours of the evil demon, seized him, therefore lessons, and from severe discipline. at such hours, which often prolonged My father's ill-humour increased; he themselves to days, he retired into his could not resign himself to the inevi. chamber, saw no one but his servant, table. How did he torment himself, my and even in urgent cases could not be mother, and her friend the interpreter, prevailed on to receive any one. But the counsellors, and all his friends, as soon as the evil spirit had left him, only to get rid of the Count! In vain he appeared, as before, mild, cheerful, was it represented to him that the and active. From the talk of his serpresence of such a man in the house, vant, Saint Jean, a small, lean man, under the actual circumstances, was a of lively good.nature, it might be inreal benefit; that a perpetual suc

ferred that, in earlier' years, when cession either of officers or privates overpowered by this temper, he had would follow on the removal of the caused some great misfortune ; and Count. None of these arguments that, therefore, in so important a post would hit him. The present seemed as his, and exposed to the eyes of all to him so intolerable, that his vexa- the world, he was rigidly determined tion prevented him conceiving any in avoiding the like errors. thing worse which might follow. In the very first days of the Count's

In this way was his activity re- residence, all the Frankfort artists, as strained which he had been used to Hirt, Schütz, Trautmann, Nothnagel, employ on us. The tasks which he set Junker, were sent for to him. They us he now no longer required with his showed him the pictures they had former exactness, and we tried in all ready, and the Count purchased what possible ways to gratify our curiosity was for sale. for military and other public proceed- My pretty light end-room in the ings, not only at home but also in the attic was given up to him, and was streets, which was easily accomplished, immediately turned into a cabinet and as the house-door, open day and painting-room; for he designed to night, was guarded by sentries who employ, for a considerable time, all the did not trouble themselves about the artists, but especially Seekaz ot Darmrunning in and out of restless chil. stadt, whose pencil highly delighted dren.

him by its natural and simple repreThe many

affairs which were set- sentations. He therefore had an tled before the tribunal of the King's account sent from Grasse, where his lieutenant, gained a special charm elder brother had a handsome house, from his peculiar care to accompany

of the dimensions of all the rooms and his decisions with some witty, sharp, cabinets, considered with the artists and pleasant turn. What he decreed the proper divisions of the walls, and was severely just; his mode of express- determined accordingly, the sizes of ing it was whimsical and poignant. He the large oil-pictures, which were not seemed to have taken the Duke of to be placed in frames, but to be fixed Ossuna* as his model. There passed on the walls, like the pieces of room

* See St Réal-Conspiration de Venise. - Tr. XO, CCXCI, VOL, XLVII,

« 前へ次へ »