Imatges de pàgina
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Clotaldo (aside).

Alas!
I cannot bear my grief, 'tis heavier
Than could be seen or even be imagined.
Let us then weigh this matter. If thou art
A Muscovite by birth, thy nat'ral lord
Could not insult thee. Hasten to thy country,

And leave this anger, which will ruin thee.
Rosaura. He could insult me, though he was my prince.
Clotaldo. Not if his hand had struck thy face-Oh heav'ns !
Rosaura. My wrong was more than that.
Clotaldo.

Unfold it then,
I can conceive none greater.
Rosaura.

I could tell it;
But yet, with the respect I feel for thee,
With all the love with which I worship thee,
With the esteem with which I wait on thee,
I scarcely dare to tell thee that this garb
Is but a riddle, as it does not suit
The wearer. Judge then, Sir, since I am such
As I seem not, and Astolf comes to wed
Estrella, if he could not injure me.

Now I have told enough. (Exeunt RoSAURA and CLARIN. Clotaldo.

Oh bear me,-stay!
This is a labyrinth most intricate,
Which reason is unable to unravel.
My honour is defiled, my enemy
Is powerful, while I am but a subject,
And she is but a woman. Heav'n direct us,
If it be able ; for in this confusion
Heav'n is a riddle, all the world a wonder !

End Of Act I.

BIOGRAPHICAL RECREATIONS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH

RICHTER.

EARLY SPRING THE TRIPLE ECHO-THE HONEY-VINEGAR OF THE CONTRA

DICTIONS OF LOVE-OUR POVERTY IN AFFECTION.

Lismore had, at Roseneath, an estate, whose neighbourhood an echo renders vocal. Would that all my readers had made a journey thither, and had compelled the echo to answer them antiphonally from the second choir ! I assure them that ever since, through the Evening Hours of Madame Genlis, I became acquainted with it), whenever my brain suffers by the brain-borer of the megrims, I lean back my head and close my eyes, in order, as it were, to place that echo in the flower-garland of my phantasy. It is no ordinary echo, such as may be heard by the dozen in woods; but if, over the lake walled round by mountains, a piece of music be blown by wind instruments, the sounds are thrice repeated, by an invisible, three-voiced choir. The first time they Hoat back, but in a lower key—a second echo then rises, and sings the same song, still one tone lower-lastly, a third echo, lower than either, discourses with the ravished heart; the waves of the breeze are once more still, and the three-fold heaven, having thrice opened, and each time drawn the soul into it, is once more overclouded.

Lismore had only been awaiting the departure of Winter ere he repaired with his Adeline to the domain of the nymph Echo. Contrary to the climate's wont, the 20th of March had, at least, for a few days, put an end to the long Winter, hanging the snow-envelope on the mountain tops, or concealing it in the valleys. During the entire journey, Lismore's heart heaved under something mightier than the Spring--the presentiment of Spring. The poetical precedes the astronomical Spring, which is but a more bloomy, cooler Summer. The warm days of February wake the flies and our hopes out of their dreamless, Winter sleep. Our hampered souls come forth again, like bees clustering on the sunny threshold of their hive, and cast youthful looks on reviving Nature. Every step closes a spring indicated by ranker herbage; and the green life-lines of the foot paths, intersecting the colourless, wrinkled meadows with their early grasses, repay us for the toilsome roads of Winter - the journey through lowering days. And then March— that is my May !-- March dust is as favourable to the poet as to the husbandman-it is poetical flower-dust, its sole ingredient the germs of flowers, or butterfly dust, the invisible feathers of Psyche's pinions. Truly, if in no other months I thought of writing books, in March I could not choose but sit down and write a few.

The day, whose evening an echo was to close, was one of the few eternal ones which fell to Lismore's lot on this earth. The Spring, with its warm breath, the mid-day zephyr, breathed on the green corn, and the verdant growth of Winter stood revealed amid the dissolving snow; the gardens melted, beneath the yet feeble sun, into luxuriant

VOL. XCVI.

joy and rain-drops—and Lismore felt as though he must hang in ecstasy, and with infant arms, on the breast of his returning mother, the Earth. On such resurrection-days of Nature, every dream and vision of his youth returned to his desolate breast, and the yearning after travel, and the hope of an eventful life, and faith in love. He looked on Adeline with emotion, and thought-“Yes, after a silence so long-after a sympathy so patient-on a day like this, whose echo will remind us both of the first echo which made our souls one-yes, I may now take her hand and ask her— Knowest thou, then, no hand to dry thine eyes? Seest thou not into my loving soul? Lovest thou me not unspeakably, as I love thee?'” When the flies (which a cold night will destroy) adhering to the windows, and the meagre halfshade of the skeleton trees, and the sharp, cold-blowing transit of Winter among the woods-when all these threw too long a shade over his internal Spring, he looked up from the muddy earth to the pure blue firmament, which ever regards changeful man with one aspect, in the Summer evening as in the Winter night—and to the carolling lark, which rises out of blooming meadows and soars above us as the witness of our former joyful Spring, as the chorister of by-gone Spring-choirs, singing the eternal birthday of the Earth . .... And then the warm sighing of the southern breeze floated around him, sporting with his hair, and whispering in his ear—" I have flown bither out of blossoms—even now I was playing with the leaves of the myrtle, and the flowers of the citron, and the breast feathers of the nightingale. I have borne the waving locks of a goddess and laid them on the shoulders of her beloved, and am come to hasten the tardy Spring, as she approaches through wood-streams, and over mountains.”

And what said and thought the good Adeline in these brief rapture hours of our life's rapture month, which here has only 28 days, and not, like the thunder months, 31 ? She said to him, “ Do not mind my looks; I have always been very happy, and to-day I shall be yet happier.” On what she thought? The whole way on her mother, without whom and lonely she was entering the first Spring. But the presence of her lover mingled poetic sweetness with her grief. A faithful daughter actually takes filial sorrow for mere anguish over the division of Nature into grave and cradle, upon the wrecks of a by. gone Spring. She stood at mid-day, with Leolin, in the doorway of a peasant's hut, looked towards the south, and thought of the Newyear's wish; and when she could not wipe away a long resisted tear which had fallen on her cheek, she pointed upwards as she hastily departed, and said—“ The roofs drop; but I must always wash my face after one drop”-and did as she had said.

The nearer the day and the journey drew to their close, the higher did a warm source gush up in Lismore's breast—the hitherto sometimes flowing, sometimes dry, hunger-source of tears-running over veins of iron, and filling his whole heart. Ah, did not every onpressing blood-billow, every longing inspiration, every tone of the lark, every wandering breeze-did not all things say to his anxious heart“ Patience, awhile, anguished spirit: the lovely Spring is coming to console thee, and her also. Ah, the Spring is all thou needest!"

Thus does man deceive himself—the shaded figure in a night-pieceand every Winter, he says—“Ah, the Spring is all I need."

Towards evening, arrayed in white by the Sun's splendour, they reached their destination. He wished the swan-song of the echo to take her by surprise, and proposed, under pretext of the lovely evening, to visit the so-called water-house near the lake. This house consisted but of two chambers separated by a glass door-the one looking towards the echo and the west, the other towards the east. He had brought with him a player on the French horn, who, standing on the tongue of land which stretched far into the lake, was to rouse the sleeping echo, as the nightingale is roused, by music. He was not impatient for the sounds; for the whole region was full of echo, and full of mirrors--and in every thought was a threefold echo of the life which had sounded. He looked towards the lake, and opened the window; and upon the waters stood a second lake, with its air-billows, and poured in a warmer, softer tide; and the sun burned on the mountains like fire upon an altar, and the heat raised a golden incense round the waters and the hills. When his silent Adeline entered the column of purple mist, which joined earth and sky, and in which a few drowsy Aies were hovering, visible only as long as they remained within its bright boundaries, and when the sun and the evening-red changed her pale countenance into a blooming countenance of rosy splendour, and when her fingers, with which she covered her dazzled eyes, were translucent and rosy red, like the fingers of Aurora, she seemed to her friend like a seraph, on a great Spring-morning, kneeling on the morning-red and sending up his raptures or his prayers to the sun, his cheeks bright from the reflection of the clouds glowing beneath him, and from that of his own glowing soul. He could not but reflect, how the sun-while one generation after another grows pale before him-ever looks on the world with the same glowing, youthful face; how he warms us (as he warms those flies) out of our Winter sleep, and how, when he returns, he finds us (like them) frozen.

“Sorrowing daughter,” (such were his thoughts,)“ turn not thy pale countenance from the evening sun—thy fleeting brightness fades, and thou becomest the pale one whom thou hast so long mourned !"But the sun went down, and Adeline became pale—the paler from the journey—and when she turned to Lismore because she could now look upon him undazzled, and when he, who believed not in a second life, reflected with pity how that she had scarce enjoyed a first; all his thoughts centred in a vow not to wound her this day with any accusing sounds-silently to bear with every wish and every dream of this good heart, and still thus to admonish himself," See, how she suffers, and how she has suffered-repay her exceeding affection for one who can love no more, not with rancour, but with love still more exceeding. Ah, does not the future rest, like a black cloud, on her coming existence ? and, before the cloud is withdrawn, canst thou know what it conceals-whether pleasure gardens, or churchyards and cells of torture?"

His soul always slid so vehemently and so rapidly down a chain of resolutions, that the hand which grasped the chain burned and bled, and that (moreover) the latter part of his determination was often the contrary of the former. Thus, in the present instance, his resolve to spare her ended in a passionate overflowing of his compassion directly at variance with that resolve. He said to her, while a lark, soaring in the evening-red, poured forth its song to the Spring, -" Rejoice more, dearest, I entreat thee! Do but see how quick our scanty life dries up, ere we have scarcely quaffed two happy days, two cups of joy! Every autumn, every evening, does not the skeleton of delayed Nature seem, like an Egyptian mummy, to warn us delaying mortals to a quicker grasping of a life which vanishes so soon?-Do as 1-an eclipse of the sun disturbs me not- no more do the winds and earthquakes of life. But for one thing nothing would console me—the want of thy love."-" Dearest Leolin, say not so, if you would have me happy still.”-“Ah, thou art happier than 1,-everything I find on the earth-even truth and joy-but friendship! Ah, once, in the dreams of youth, I saw her glittering temple, as David in his sleep saw Solomon's; and I have traversed the earth, carrying the baseless air-castle in my breast, and seeking her shrine amongst men !--Ah, Adeline, give me thine hand, and lead me in; or, at least, say something that may console me.”

She could say nothing—and her eye, turned upon him, and beaming with love, was not enough. Whenever, like the glorious dittany flower, he at the same time bloomed and burned the first with his imagination, the second with his heart,-Adeline, carried along by, and immersed in his overflowings, could not utter the words he so eagerly looked for-his eloquence was the cause of her silence. Ah, there were times when he thought that her tender heart was unmoved, because he could not see the trembling of its delicate strings. Yes, every tear, every sound with which she answered him, fell like a tributary stream into the stream of his emotions; and his rapture, thus increased, longed to be exceeded by another's rapture; hence it was impossible to answer his heart. Seldom, indeed, could he draw her modest soul over the bounds of silent bliss. Like a high-priest, he rehearsed the morning service in the temple of Nature; and she repeated it after him, but only in her heart, and with bowed head.

The many coloured parasol of heaven, full of evening red, was now unfurled in the twilight, and nothing lay on the earth but rosy hues and night. The music began to sound, and the tones floated in waves over the red-gleaming lake and over the hills, on which, as on pegs, the trembling strings were stretched.

But Lismore, either forgetting, or excited by the music, continued yet more vehemently—“Yes, how much intervenes between two souls which open their arms to one another-how many years, how many human beings, sometimes a coffin, and always two bodies ! We appear behind clouds-call one another by name—and ere we meet, we die. And even should we meet, can the few glowing words-can the brief embrace repay our trouble-deserve the name of love ?- In the morning red of youth, the iceberg of friendship shines on us with deceitful glow; but when we approach, it either freezes us, or melts beneath our warmth.- Ah, how often, grasping the hand of a loved one,

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