Imatges de pÓgina
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up by the poet, and popularized in the was ever before so calculated as ours often quoted lines:

for extensive empire and self-govern"No pent-up Utica contracts your powers,

ment, and insisting upon Canada as a But the whole boundless continent is

yours." *

component part, he calmly says that Such grandeur may justly excite anx- “ this would be, of course, in the first iety rather than pride, for duties are in war." Afterwards, while confessing a corresponding proportion. There is longing for Cuba, “ as the most interoccasion for humility also, as the indi- esting addition that could ever be made vidual considers his own insignificance to our system of States,” he says that in the transcendent mass. The tiny “he is sensible this can never be obpolyp, in its unconscious life, builds the tained, even with her own consent, everlasting coral ; each citizen is little without war.”+ Thus at each stage is more than the industrious insect. The the baptism of blood. In much better result is accomplished by continuous mood the good Bishop recognized emand combined exertion. Millions of cit- pire as moving gently in the pathway izens, working in obedience to nature, of light. All this is much clearer now can accomplish anything. Of course, than when he prophesied. It is easy war is an instrumentality which a true to see that empire obtained by force civilization disowns. Here some of is unrepublican, and offensive to that our prophets have erred. Sir Thomas first principle of our Union according Browne was so much overshadowed by to which all just government stands his own age, that his vision was dark- only on the consent of the governed. ened by “great armies," and even “ hos- Our country needs no such ally as tile and piratical attacks ” on Europe. Its destiny is mightier than It was natural that D'Aranda, schooled war. Through peace it will have evin worldly affairs, should imagine the erything. This is our talisman. Give new-born power ready to seize the

us peace, and population will increase Spanish possessions. Among our own beyond all experience ; resources of countrymen, Jefferson looked to war for all kinds will multiply infinitely; arts the extension of dominion. The Flori- will embellish the land with immortal das, he says on one occasion, "are beauty; the name of Republic will be ours on the first moment of war, and exalted, until every neighbor, yielding until a war they are of no particular to irresistible attraction, will seek a necessity to us.” † Happily they were new life in becoming a part of the acquired in another way. Then again, great whole; and the national example while declaring that no constitution will be more puissant than army or

By Jonathan M. Sewall, in an epilogue to Addi- navy for the conquest of the world. son's tragedy of “ Cato," written in 1778 for the Bow Street Theatre, Portsmouth, N. H.

* Jefferson's Works, Vol. V. p. 444. Jefferson's Works, Vol. V. p. 444.

| Ibid., Vol. VII. p. 316. See also pp. 288, 299.

war.

SUNSHINE AND PETRARCH.

NE

EAR my summer home there is sparkle on the water, such a luminous

a little cove or landing by the freshness on the grass, that it seems, bay, where nothing larger than a boat as is so often the case in early June, can ever anchor. I sit above it now, as if all history were a dream, and the upon the steep bank, knee-deep in but whole earth were but the creation of a tercups, and amid grass so lush and summer's day. green that it seems to ripple and flow If Petrarch still knows and feels the instead of waving. Below lies a tiny · consummate beauty of these earthly beach, strewn with a few bits of drift- things, it may seem to him some repaywood and some purple shells, and so ment for the sorrows of a lifetime that sheltered by projecting walls that its one reader, after all this lapse of years, wavelets plash but lightly. A little should choose his sonnets to match farther out, the sea breaks more roughly this grass, these blossoms, and the soft over submerged rocks, and the waves lapse of these blue waves. Yet any lift themselves, ere breaking, in an in- longer or more continuous poem would describable way, as if each gave a be out of place to-day. I fancy that glimpse through a translucent window, this narrow cove prescribes the proper beyond which all ocean's depths might limits of a sonnet; and when I count be clearly seen. On the right side of the lines of ripple within yonder promy retreat a high wall limits the view, jecting wall

, there proves to be room while on the left the crumbling parapet for just fourteen. Nature meets our of Fort Greene stands out into the fore- whims with such little fitnesses. The ground, its grassy scarp so relieved words which build these delicate structagainst the blue water, that each in- ures are as soft and fine and closeward-bound schooner seems to sail into textured as the sands upon this tiny a cave of grass. In the middle dis- beach, and their monotone, if such it tance is a white lighthouse, and beyond be, is the monotone of the neighboring lie the round tower of old Fort Louis ocean. Is it not possible, by bringing and the soft low hills of Conanicut. such a book into the open air, to sep

Behind me an oriole chirrups in tri- arate it from the grimness of commenumph amid the birch-trees which wave tators, and bring it back to life and around the house of the haunted win- light and Italy? The beautiful earth dow; before me a kingfisher pauses is the same as when this poetry and and waits, and a darting blackbird passion were new; there is the same shows the scarlet on his wings. From sunlight, the same blue water and green the mossy and water-worn stones of the grass; yonder pleasure-boat might bear, fort the bright-eyed rats peep out, or, for aught we know, the friends and emerging, swim along the beach, with a lovers of five centuries ago ; Petrarch motion made graceful, as is all motion, and Laura might be there, with Bocby contact with the water. Sloops and caccio and Fiammetta as comrades, schooners constantly come and go, ca- and with Chaucer as their stranger reening in the wind, and their white guest. It bears, at any rate, if I know sails taking, if remote enough, a vague its voyagers, eyes as lustrous, voices blue mantle from the delicate air. Sail- as sweet. With the world thus young, boats glide in the distance, - each a beauty eternal, fancy free, why should mere white wing of canvas, -or coming these delicious Italian pages exist but nearer, and glancing suddenly into the to be tortured into grammatical examcove, are put as suddenly on the other ples? Is there no reward to be imtack, and almost in an instant seem agined for a delightful book that can far away. There is to-day such a live match Browning's fantastic burial of a

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SONNET 134. basked in sunshine, and been cooled in

"Quando Amor i begli occhi a terra inclina.” pure salt air, when it has bathed in

When Love doth those sweet eyes to earth incline, heaped clover, and been scented, page And weaves those wandering notes into a sigh by page, with melilot, cannot its beauty

Soft as his touch, and leads a minstre sy

Clear-voiced and pure, angelic and divine, once more blossom, and its buried loves

He makes sweet havoc in this heart of mine, revive ?

And to my thoughts brings transformation high, Emboldened by such influences, at

So that I say, “My time has come to die,

If fate so blest a death for me design." least let me translate a sonnet, and

But to my soul thus steeped in joy the sound see if anything is left after the sweet Brings such a wish to keep that present heaven, Italian syllables are gone. Before this It holds my spirit back to earth as well.

And thus I live; and thus is loosed and wound continent was discovered, before Eng

The thread of life which unto me was given lish literature existed, when Chaucer

By this sole Siren who with us doth dwell. was a child, these words were written. Yet they are to-day as fresh and per- As I look across the bay, there is fect as these laburnum-blossoms that seen resting over all the hills, and even droop above my head. And as the va- upon every distant sail, an enchanted riable and uncertain air comes freight- veil of palest blue, that seems woven ed with clover-scent from yonder field, out of the very souls of happy days, so floats through these long centuries, a bridal veil, with which the sunshine a breath of fragrance, the memory of weds this soft landscape in summer. Laura.

Such and so indescribable is the at

mospheric film that hangs over these SONNET 129.

poems of Petrarch's; there is a deli“ Lieti fiori e felici."

cate haze about the words, that van

ishes when you touch them, and reapO joyous, blossoming, ever-blessed flowers ! Mid which my queen her gracious footstep sets ; pears as you recede. How it clings, O plain, that keep'st her words for amulets

for instance, around this sonnet!
And hold'st her memory in thy leafy bowers !
O trees, with earliest green of spring-time hours,

SONNET 191.
And spring-tim... pale and tender violets !
O grove so dar the proud sun only lets

Aura che quelle chiome.His blithe rays

the outskirts of your towers ! O pleasant c....ry-side ! O purest stream,

Sweet air, that circlest round those radiant tresses, That mirrorest her sweet face, her eyes so clear, And floatest, mingled with them, fold on fold, And of their living light can catch the beam!

Deliciously, and scatterest that fine gold, I envy you her haunts so close and dear.

Then twinest it again, my heart's dear jesses, There is no rock so sensele-s but I deem

Thou lingerest on those eyes, whose beauty presses It burns with passion that to mine is near.

Stings in my heart that all its life exhaust,

Till I go wandering round my treasure lost, Goethe compared translators to car

Like some scared creature whom the night distresses,

I seem to find her now, and now perceive riers, who convey good wine to market, How far away she is; now rise, now fall ; though it gets unaccountably watered Now what I wish, now what is true, believe. by the way. The more one praises a

O happy air ! since joys enrich thee all,

Rest thee; and thou, O stream too bright to grieve! poem, the more absurd becomes one's

Why can I not float with thee at thy call ? position, perhaps, in trying to translate it. If it is so perfect, — is the natural The airiest and most fugitive among inquiry, — why not let it alone? It is a Petrarch's love - poems, so far as I doubtful blessing to the human race, know, - showing least of that desperthat the instinct of translation still pre- ate earnestness which he has somehow vails, stronger than reason; and after imparted to almost all, — is this little one has once yielded to it, then each ode or madrigal. It is interesting to untranslated favorite is like the trees see, from this, that he could be almost round a backwoodsman's clearing, each conventional and courtly in moments of which stands, a silent defiance, until when he held Laura farthest aloof; and he has cut it down. Let us try the axe when it is compared with the depths of again. This is to Laura singing. solemn emotion in his later sonnets, it

seems like the soft glistening of young do not rise from the ground at once, birch-leaves against a background of but, edging themselves closer to the pines.

brink, with a caution almost ludicrous

in such airy things, trust themselves CANZONE XXIII.

upon the breeze with a shy little hop, Nova angeletta sovra l' ale accorta." and at the next moment are securely A new-born angel, with her wings extended,

on the wing Came floating from the skies to this fair shore, How the abundant sunlight inundates Where, fate-controlled, I wandered with my sorrows.

everything! The great clumps of grass She saw me there, alone and unbefriended. She wove a silken net, and threw it o'er

and clover are imbedded in it to the The turf, whose greenness all the pathway borrows. roots; it flows in among their stalks, Then was I captured ; nor could fears arise,

like water; the lilac-bushes bask in it Such sweet seduction glimmered from her eyes.

eagerly; the topmost leaves of the The following, on the other hand, birches are burnished. A vessel sails seems to me one of the Shakes ian by with plash and roar, and all the sonnets; the successive phrases set white spray along her keel is sparkling sail, one by one, like a yacht squadron; with sunlight. Yet there is sorrow in each spreads its graceful wings and the world, and it reached Petrarch even glides away: It is hard to handle this

before Laura died, — when it reached white canvas without soiling. Mac- her. This exquisite sonnet shows it :gregor, in the only version of this sonnet which I have seen, abandons all at

SONNET 123. tempt at rhyme; but to follow the strict

"I'vidi in terra angelici costumi." order of the original in this respect is

I once beheld on earth celestial graces, a part of the pleasant problem which

And heavenly beauties scarce to mortals known, one cannot bear to leave out. And Whose memory lends nor joy nor grief alone, there seems a kind of deity who pre

But all things else bewilders and effaces.

I saw how tears had left their weary traces sides over this union of languages, and

Within those eyes that once like sunbeams shone, who sometimes silently lays the words I heard those lips breathe low and plaintive moan, in order, after all one's own poor at

Whose spell might once have taught the hills their

places. tempts have failed.

Love, wisdom, courage, tenderness, and truth, Made in their mourning strains more high and dear Than ever, wove sweet sounds for mortal car ;

And Heaven seemed listening in such saddest ruth O passi sparsi; o pensier vaghi e pronti.The very leaves upon the boughs to soothe,

Such passionate sweetness filled the atmosphere. O wandering steps ! () vague and busy dreams! O changeless memory ! O fierce desire ! O passion strong! heart weak with its own fire;

These sonnets are in Petrarch's earO eyes of mine ! not eyes, but living streams ; lier manner; but the death of Laura

() laurel boughs ! whose lovely garland seems The sole reward that glory's deeds require ;

brought a change. Look at yonder O haunted life! delusion sweet and dire,

schooner coming down the bay, straight That all my days from slothful rest redeems; toward us ; she is hauled close to the ( beauteous face ! where Love has treasured well

wind, her jib is white in the sunlight, His whip and spur, the sluggish heart to move At his least will; nor can it find relief.

her larger sails are touched with the O souls of love and passion ! if ye dwell

same snowy lustre, and all the swelling Yet on this earth, and ye, great Shades of Love !

canvas is rounded into such lines of Linger, and see my passion and my grief.

beauty as nothing else in the world Yonder flies a kingfisher, and pauses, not even the perfect outlines of the fluttering like a butterfly in the air, human form can give. Now she then dives toward a fish, and, failing, comes up into the wind, and goes about perches on the projecting wall. Doves with a strong flapping of the sails, from neighboring dove-cotes alight on which smites our ears at a half-mile's the parapet of the fort, fearless of the distance; and she then glides off on quiet cattle who find there a breezy the other tack, showing us the shadowed pasture. These doves, in taking flight, side of her sails, until she reaches the

SONNET 128.

distant zone of haze. So change the sonnets after Laura's death, growing shadowy as they recede, until the very last seems to merge itself in the blue distance.

SONNET 251.

SONNET 261.

Levommi il mio pensiero." Dreams bore my fancy to that region where She dwells whom here I seek, but cannot see. 'Mid those who in the loftiest heaven be I looked on her, less haughty and more fair. She touched my hand, she said, “Within this

sphere,
If hope deceive not, thou shalt dwell with ine :
I filled thy life with war's wild agony ;
Mine own day closed ere evening could appear.

My bliss no human brain can understand;
I wait for thee alone, and that fair veil
Of beauty thou dost love shall wear again.”

Why was she silent then, why dropped my hand
Ere those delicious tones could quite avail
To bid my mortal soul in heaven remain ?

Gli occhi di ch' io parlai." Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture

rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,

The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lightning of the angelic smile
Which changed this earth to some celestial isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live! Myself I grieve and scorn, Left dark without the light I loved in vain, Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn ;

Dead is the source of all my amorous strain, Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn, And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.

In the next sonnet visions multiply upon visions. Would that one could transfer into English the delicious way in which the sweet Italian rhymes recur and surround and seem to embrace each other, and are woven and unwoven and interwoven, like the heavenly hosts that gathered around Laura !

“And yet I live!” What immeasurable distances of time and thought are implied in the self-recovery of those words. Shakespeare might have taken from them his “Since Cleopatra died,”

the only passage in literature which has in it the same wide spaces of emotion. There is a vastness of transition in each, which, if recited by Fanny Kemble, would take one's breath away.

The next sonnet seems to me the most stately and concentrated of the whole volume. It is the sublimity of all hopelessness, destined to deliverance, but unable to foresee it.

SONNET

302. Gli angeli eletti." The holy angels and the spirits blest, Celestial bands, upon that day serene When first my love went by in heavenly mien, Came thronging, wondering at the gracious guest.

“What light is here, in what new beauty drest ? " They said

among themselves ; “ for none has seen Within this age come wandering such a queen From darkened earth into immortal rest.”

And she, contented with her new-found bliss,
Ranks with the purest in that upper sphere,
Yet ever and anon looks back on this,

To watch for me, as if for me she stayed.
So strive my thoughts, lest that high path I miss:
I hear her call, and must not be delayed.

These odes and sonnets are all but parts of one vast symphony, leading us through a passion strengthened by years and only purified by death, until at last the graceful lay becomes an anthem and a Nunc dimittis. In the closing sonnets he withdraws from the world, and they seem like a voice from a cl er, growing more and more solemn till the door is closed. This is one of the very last ::

SONNET 253.

Solcasi nel mio cor." She ruled in beauty o'er this heart of mine, A noble lady in a humble home, And now her time for heavenly bliss has come, 'T is I am mortal proved, and she divine.

The soul that all its blessings must resign, And love whose light no more on earth finds room Might rend the rocks with pity for their doom, Yet none their sorrow's can in words enshrine ;

They weep within my heart ; and ears are deaf Save mine alone, and I am crushed with care, And naught remains to me save mournful breath.

Assuredly but dust and shade we are, Assuredly desire is blind and brief, Assuredly its hope but ends in death.

;

in the next he has risen to that dreain which is more than earth's realities.

SONNET 309. Dicemi spesso il mio fidato speglio." Oft by my faithful mirror I am told, And by my mind outworn and altered brow, My earthly powers impaired and weakened now,"Deceive thyself no more, for thou art old !”

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