« 前へ次へ »
times met within the walls. The forest between Pisa and another part of the sea-shore, is extensive and woody.
Pisa is a tranquil, an imposing, and even now a beautiful and stately city. It looks like the residence of an university: many parts of it seem made up of colleges; and we feel as if we ought to “ walk gowned.” It possesses the Campo Santo, rich above earthly treasure; its river is the river of Tuscan poetry, and furnished Michael Angelo with the subject of his cartoon; and it disputes with Florence the birth of Galileo. Here at all events he studied and he taught : here his mind was born, and another great impulse given to the progress of philosophy and Liberal Opinion.
[The following is a translation by Mr. Shelley of the May-day Night scene in the tragedy of Faust. A few passages were not filled up in the manuscript; and one or two others, perhaps of a like nature, have been omitted, not out of an idle squeamishness, but that the true spirit of them might not be mistaken for want of being accompanied by the context of the whole work. The scene is the first specimen, we believe, of a poetical English translation of that extraordinary production, to which no man was better able to do justice than our lamented friend. The poetical reader will feel with what vivacity he has encountered the ghastly bustle of the revellers, —with what apprehensiveness of tact, yet strength of security, he has carried us into the thick of “ the witch element.” These are strong terms of praise for a translation; but Mr. Shelley went to his work in a kindred spirit of genius, and Goëthe has so completely made his work a work of creation, it seems a thing so involuntarily growing out of the world he has got into, like the animated rocks and crags which he speaks of,—that a congenial translator in one's own language seems to step into his place as the abstract observer, and to leave but two images present to one's mind, the work and himself. In other words, he is the true representative of his author. This is the very highest triumph both of poetry and translation.
Webster and Middleton would have liked this scene. Every body will like it, who can feel at all what the poet feels most, the secret analogies that abound in all things,—the sympathies, of which difference and even antipathy cannot get rid. How we pity Faust in this play, who refines and hardens himself out of his faith in things good, and acquires the necessity of inordinate excitement! How we congratulate even the Devil, who, having got a pitch still further, discovers a kind of faith in faithlessness itself, and extracts a good, wretched as it is, out of his laughing at every thing! And how delightful, is it not, to see the blankest scepticism itself thus brought round to poetry and imagination by the very road which seemed to lead
farthest from it, and the misfortune of worldly-mindedness inculcated by the very charities which the poet finds out in its behalf!
We have sometimes thought of attempting a work, in which beasts and birds should speak, not as in Æsop, but as they might be supposed to talk, if they could give us the result of their own actual perceptions and difference of organization. Goëthe would handle such a subject to perfection.] MAY-DAY NIGHT.
SCENE—The Hartz Mountain, a desolate Country.
Meph. Would you not like a broomstick ? As for me
Faust. This knotted staff is help enough for me,
Meph. Nothing of such an influence do I feel.
Would favour us with your bright company?
Ignis-f. With reverence be it spoken, I will try
Meph. Ha, ha! your worship thinks you have to deal
Go strait on, in the Devil's name,
should miss your own, You ought not to be too exact with him (Faust, Mephistopheles, and Ignis-fatuus, in alternate chorus.) The limits of the sphere of dream,
The bounds of true and false, are past.
Lead us onward, far and fast,
But see how swift advance, and shift,
Trees behind trees, row by row,-
Their fawning foreheads as we go.
Through the mossy sods and stones