Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

would I have drawn it to my soul; but the hand came away-the Zamiel wind had imparted an appearance of life to the mouldering dead.— But hark ! how heavenly the tones float over the water !

Yet to-morrow, and I shall have forgotten them. Thus does every feeling and every affection deceive us with the image of a false eternity. A jest-a slumber-a lost ounce of blood-alas! one hour destroys affection. Thus, wherever one human breast lies on another, does Time slide them, like slabs of marble, since it cannot tear them, asunder.”

The music ceased.--" Ah, Adeline, I am surely wrong !"_" Surely" (said she, mildly)—“I never could forget.”

The invisible spirit of Nature was now awake and astir behind the mountains, and, resistlessly seizing the perished tones, gave them a second trembling life-and the song that had been wafted over, returned to the lovers in soft tones, disembodied and ethereal. Adeline now covered her right eye with her hand ; for it was always the first to weep. Her pure soul, reposing in the cradle of the echo, beheld the arms of her mother raised over her; and an angel, as though sustained by the waving tones, floated with outspread pinions among the evening clouds, and pointed to the fairer paradise-times when her parents were yet with her-to the bright morning when, in a long embrace, she gave her mother the promise of her first love—to the blissful evening when, amid the tones of a like echo, she fulfilled that promise.—But ah! through how many tearful days did the splendour of those bright hours fall-and how was it thereby broken and smothered !

All was again silent.—Then arose the second echo, darker and deeper, as out of a prostrate breast. --And everything in Adeline's soul seemed to say—“ It is my mother-yes, Adeline, 'tis thy mother speaks to thee"-and now, tear after tear gushed out of the sound, left eye, and she covered the right no longer. She leaned on her beloved-her tears followed the shadow-tones to the ground-the mourning instrument, subdued, and encircled by the veil of night, heaped the weight of every dear grave upon her softened heart, until it bled at every pore .....

Ah! her eyes were full of tears; but her heart was always fuller.--The second dream of tones was over.-Now arose the third echo, deadened and distant, as out of a breast which an earthquake is engulphing .....“ Deep, wailing voice! what thick grave-mound is bearing so heavy upon thee? Bloody tone! why piercest thou the soul with thy viewless sword ?- Woe-worn shadow, painted on the night ! who art thou ?”—“ I am thy beheaded father, and in the tomb I still mourn over myself and thee.'”_

Unhappy daughter !- look up into the blooming firmament !-A gray cloud has thrown itself up, like a grave—and a hundred roses of evening red glow on the dark mound. Thy mother sleeps there, with the rose thou gavest to her, and with the pale head thou wert the last to adorn .... Adeline looked heavenwards, and found consolation ; and the voice of her murdered father ceased ; but her melting heart mingled with her tears, and departed, as it were, from life, drop by drop. And suddenly she turned her swollen, pale-red countenance from the painting clouds and the singing mountains, and raised it, with open eyes and all its tearful looks and features, towards her friend, as she said in measureless grief-“I cannot forget my parents, Leolinmy mother must remain in my heart for ever!-Oh console me gladly, and often ; but let me weep again and again.”

Inconsolable! I would not seek to console thee. What solace, indeed, could I bring to a daughter who has lost the first and last female friend of her sad life, and for whom, now, the brightest destiny bas nothing but male friends ? ---Orphaned ones! can I, in the whole world, find a heart whose love is as fond, as deep, as pure, as enduring as was that of her who now lives in your memory? Oh, have ye buried the never-to-be-forgotten teacher and mediator and guardian angel of your young days ?- then, over the wide world, whom can I find, into whose fondly throbbing heart ye may, amid soft embraces, as securely breathe every secret and every sigh of your own ?-No, I cannot find herAnd oh, if such an orphan be reading me on the death or birth day of her mother, she will not have reached thus far-her eyes will have filled with tears, and she will long since have anticipated me, and said“ No, nothing can console me !"

Lismore, overpowered by the sublime and constant grief of the best of daughters, pressed her drooping head to his breast, that his encircling arms might hide from her the soon returning tones, and said " Angel ! who could worthily bewail thee ?-thy grief is as though thou wert an immortal —Ah, could I but have foreseen this—the echo should have reminded thee of a lovelier, not ha e made thee thus sad."

" You, too, are weeping, dearest !”

“ Yes—for thee, and for thine angelic heart—and for thy good mother, who lost so good a daughter.”—“Ah, dearest," said she warmly, “ you and I have lost more than she has-ah, you knew your friend but half." Here, with an eloquent and meaning look, she raised her lovely face to the dear companion of her sighs—to the friend of her mother. What she meant was, that mild maternal persuasion which, on the day when the echo of Genetay bound her heart to another's, discovered or implanted in her every hidden sentiment favourable to Lismore. He pressed her, with feverish ardour, for the completion of her disclosure-by the grave of her mother he conjured her to do honour to the parent she mourned, by revealing a secret which would twine a new garland round her memory—until at length, his beloved, in the tumult of her grief, uncovered before him her heart, carried along as it was by a new flood of the echo, and revealed the secret of the maternal interest in her love. But in her maiden mouth, it sounded as though, for the evening surrender of her heart, he was chiefly indebted to the morning conversation .....

Here his burning heart suddenly curdled, as though racked by cold poison.--" Did I not long since suspect it ?" said a voice within him“ she loves me not, and, in giving me her hand, only obeys her departed mother.” But the waves of his late love and rapture, as though driven by a contrary wind, rushed against the waves of this second storm ; and full of unspeakable love, he gazed on the lovely, suffering form, and thought-" This day, at least, I will preserve the illusion;" and sublime, like a god in misfortune, with closed eyes, speechless and tearful, he sank, as though expiring, on her whom he feared to lose ; for he sought to overpower his doubts of her love by the excess of his own. . Lovely Adeline ! couldst thou but have known why he flooded

thy cheeks with his tears !-couldst thou but have known that it was because, in the sad embrace, he said to himself,—“Is this then my beloved ? Do I indeed repose on the heart I have so long sought?-Oh, angelic being, if thou be not here, whose I am, then, if ever my lacerated heart shall heal up on thine, will I say to thee- It was on thee I thought that day.'-Ah, poor Adeline, even if thou love me not, I do thee wrong."-And he tore himself from her, as a blooming soul tears itself from life-he tlırew himself before her, looked up in her terrified countenance, and said, in trembling and smothered accents“ Adeline, love me without measure as I love thee !-Give me a sign if thou love me for thy mother's sake alone!" But he laid his head on her lap, that he might not see the sign, and she spread her hands softly beneath his moist, burning, shrouded face. Slowly he raised it once more, looked up like a dying angel, and faltered—“ See how I love thee.--I should now die, wert thou to give me the sign." Like a broken lily, her head fell towards his, her tears fell upon his lips, and her flowing tresses concealed the hot and grief-fraught kiss.

After a silent minute full of sadness and of rapture, they left the theatre of grief and illusion. All was hushed, save the rippling of a few waves on the shore-music, the phenix-ashes of our joys, was wafted away, and the echo no longer collected the scattered tones—the evening sky, like Adeline, had grown pale, for the spring did not yet inlay the rim of night with pale gold-and the moon still slumbered beneath the silver portal of her rising ;- they returned in silence-they roused a lark from its slumbers, but it rose without singing—and when they separated for the night, they looked on one another through their tears—but did not kiss .....

How lonely are men !-like corpses ranged side by side in a churchyard-each by itself, and quite cold! They close their hands—none stretching forth his, to grasp a neighbour's. Their very bodies cannot endure the warm yearning after affection—but only hate; like the plants of northern regions, they survive the intensest frost, but perish when exposed to heat. What ! think you I speak of the millions of dull, low-minded, hungry mortals, who crawl back into their graves content, not only without enjoying, but without wishing to enjoy, friendship and love?-I speak not of them. They run their grovelling, miry course, and no soul feels their attraction. Those men only are magnetic, who, like lightning conductors, look heavenwards.-But these I speak of-men like Lismore.—Alas, that the best should love leastthat, hard as it is for them to find, it should be yet harder for them to preserve—that they should need a decade to conclude an alliance, but only a minute to break it off ! And then the bereaved grows old without his kindred heart-years form a stony crust around his best heart's blood, as around old wine-he cures the enthusiastic affection of his intellect and the consuming fever of his heart, as physicians cure head and breast, by pieces of ice ; and when he enters the other world, he will surely say—“ Eternal God! why gavest thou me a glowing heart upon the earth? I bring it back cold as death—it has neither loved nor been beloved.” Ah, if this earth be a go-cart for our infant steps, its rim is not cushioned soft enough-it cuts too deep into our breasts.--Yet are not all thus forlorn ; and he who here reads me not with longing merely, but with grief-lie has, at least, been har

But in this Russian ice-palace, the earth, where the very statues and stoves are of ice, let us now mutually give hands, and resolve to forgive oftener than heretofore-to remember oftener how few, out of so many thousand thousands, we hold to our impoverished hearts,-how the first ten years of life, and perhaps the last ten, banish affection from our fleeting existence, and how much we have forgotten-how many glowing hours, how many warm protestations-and how much more we have lost.- And if we are not the better for all this, let us go to the graves of our departed friends, and say without a blush—“ We love them,” while we forget the living.—Ah, on those mounds, we learn affection as well as greatness,

TWO EVENINGS OF A LIFE.

J. EVE OF BETROTHMENT—MAY.
My heart is like a bird, mother, my heart is like a bird

That in a wild wild wood at morn its mate's low voice has heard !
My blood is dancing so, mother, my brain is throbbing fast-
For Henry, indeed, mother, has told his love at last !
The stars look down serene, mother, from out the evening sky,
And seem to speak to me, mother, as doth my Henry's eye.
Life wears another aspect now than ever it did wear
Before I heard that thrilling voice its thrilling passion swear!
My heart is like a bird, mother, and reels about for joy-
Fluttering round its happiness which nothing can destroy!
My brain and heart throb so, mother, I shall not sleep to-night;
So I'll sit up and watch the stars, they are so very bright.
And when he comes to-morrow morn he will not find me pale,
For I shall blush such greetings that my cheek will tell no tale.
My heart doth flutter so, mother, I shall not sleep to-night;
So I'll sit up and watch the stars, they are so very bright.

II. EVE OF DEATH-AUGUST.
Open the window, mother,-let the breeze
Waft its cool freshness on my heated brow.
Once more let me view the embrowned trees;
They wear a strange mysterious aspect now!
And strange and holy is the deep blue sky!
I ever loved its answerless repose.
But now methinks it were less hard to die
While all things emblem how life ebbs and flows.
E'en that soft sky draws gently to its breast
The bright, the beautiful, but dying Day;
Methinks like it I seek a deathless rest,
From restless dark existence far away.

How still! How sweet! the low soft hum of Eve!
Nay, dearest Love ! gaze not so sadly still-
I do not bid thee not for me to grieve
When I'm released from all this pain and ill.
Let thy tears flow, they will relieve thy heart;
And I will whisper tidings from Above.
(For think not, sweet, that we are now to part,-
No: I shall hover ever round my Love !)
I do not bid thee not to grieve for me,
But grieve not now-let this our last-last night
Be passed, as every hour used to be
When I was strong-a dream of soft delight !
I am not sad-look deep into mine eyes
As you were wont-is not all quiet there?
Yet think-could I wish even Paradise,
If I saw you were struggling with despair ?
That sob !-O God support me!-Lay your head
Upon this lap and weep-or learn to brave
All that you must endure when I am dead, -
And let me pass with courage to my grave.
Mother, you turn away—is it to weep?
Alas! my strength will fail me if I see
You both afflicted !- Look at yon blue Deep-
There all is love and all serenity!
To you I looked for fortitude to die-
Yet see ! I am your Teacher-is this well?
Henry, look up at that calm, mystic sky-
Is there not Hope there, for your Isabel?

G. H. L.

ON YOUNG PEOPLE, AND MY LOVE OF THEM.

BY THE AUTHOR OF “JERNINGHAM, OR THE INCONSISTENT MAN;"

DOVETON, OR THE MAN OF MANY IMPULSES," &c.

I think that of all the ancient worthies, though he be not one of the nine, I honour Agesilaus the most. I do more than honour, I love him ; for I have just been re-perusing for the hundredth time a little anecdote that is told of him by Plutarch, concerning his riding upon a stick among his children. What wonder, after this, if we read that the same kind-hearted warrior was mulcted by the Ephori for engrossing to himself the hearts and affections of his people. John Bodinus, according to Montaigne, disbelieveth this latter story. Did he marvel that a king should have been so loved by his subjects, or that the Ephori--hard task-masters--should have taxed the amiability

« AnteriorContinua »