Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

The bitterness of the Prince's jealousy against Alva was raised to the highest pitch on the appointment of that nobleman to the government of the Netherlands. Carlos had looked up to that portion of the Spanish empire as the fittest stage for his first appearance in public life. He hoped that the precedent which had been made in his father, under whose care those countries were placed during the latter part of the life of Charles V., would be followed in his own behalf. Nothing, however, was more discordant with Philip's jealous and suspicious character than these views of his son. The Netherlands had broken into open rebellion against his authority, and he was anxious to send thither a man who, with the most inflexible character, should unite the most blind and implicit obedience to his will and authority. A restless and ambitious youth, but one step removed from the throne, was a very improper instrument of the punishment which Philip had determined to inflict on the revolted Flemings. The military talents, the severity of temper, and loyal attachment of Alva to his sovereign- - some authors add the recommendation of lva, Prince of Evoli, who wished to have the Duke removed to a distance-determined Philip to put him at the head of the army which was to be employed in the subjugation of Flanders. The new viceroy came to take leave of the Prince the day before he was to set off for his government. At the sight of a hated and successful rival, the ungovernable violence of Carlos broke out into the bitterest language, till raised, probably by the haughty and disdainful manner of the Duke, into a fit of rage, the Prince seized him by the middle, and would have thrown him out of the window into the ditch of the palace, but for the interference of some courtiers who came to Alva's assistance.

Carlos was not only disappointed of the objects of his ambition through the influence, as he imagined, of his father's favourites, but often found them meddling with his little plans of domestic amusement. An instance of this kind is mentioned by Cabrera.

Cisneros, an actor of celebrity, enjoyed the favour of the Prince, who, wishing to have a play performed privately in his apartments, ordered the comedian to get it up for a certain day. The King being, as usual, informed of his son's intentions, wished to defeat them by the same dark and crooked policy which he employed in the most important business of state. Philip's prime minister, Cardinal Espinosa, was directed to banish Cisneros out of the court before the day on which he was to play at the palace. Carlos, who seems to have constantly attributed his father's acts to those who were nothing but his blind instruments, fixed all his resentment on the Cardinal. Fortunately for that prelate his profession secured him, in a case of this kind, a mixed feeling of regard for his office and contempt of his person, on the part of every high-minded Spaniard. The Prince took an early opportunity of finding Espinosa alone; when, seizing him by the collar of his robe, “ You scurvy parson,” said he, “how dare you insult me by preventing Cisneros from obeying my orders? By my father's life, I will kill you!" The terrified churchman, falling upon his knees, implored the Prince's forgiveness ; who having no intention of executing the threat, allowed him to retire unhurt.

“ Curilla, vos os atreveis a mi, no dexando venir a servirme Cisneros! Por vida de mi padre que os tengo de matar.-Cabrera, ib.

The system pursued by Philip towards his son, and its effects on the temper of that young Prince, are remarkably illustrated by the comparison of a passage in De Thou's history with another in Cabrera. The latter mentions, that Carlos, being once dissatisfied with his shoemaker for having made him a pair of boots tighter than was then the fashion in Spain, ordered the cook to mince and dress them, and forced the unfortunate tradesman to eat the dish. De Thou, who had the account of Carlos's imprisonment, and the circumstances which led to his mysterious death, from the mouth of De Foin, the architect employed at that time by the King of Spain in building the Escurial, tells us that the young Prince was in the habit of carrying two small pistols concealed in the large boots which were then worn by the Spaniards. Philip, he says, was informed of the fact through Foin himself, who, as it may be inferred from the narrative of the French historian, had orders to employ his mechanical skill in the gratification of this and similar whims of the royal youth, in order to acquaint the King with every thing that could give him a clue to his son's views and designs. The passage is the more curious as the punishment inflicted on the shoemaker is passed unnoticed by De Thou.t

(To be concluded in our next.)

SONG.
I saw that eye when it was bright
With feelings pure and sparkling ray,
Nor thought, alas ! how soon that light,
Of heavenly beam, would fade away.
I saw that smile when it was warm
With life and hope and glowing joy,
Nor dreamı'd how quick its silent charm
The hour of suffering might destroy.
I heard that eloquence of heart,
The music of that gentle tone,
Forgot, alas ! we were to part,
And deem'd its sweetness all my own.
That eye is dim—that smile is cold,
That heart's bright gaze for ever chill'd;
I sit and muse on days of old,
On many a prospect unfulfill'a.
The vigils of worn hearts are mine:
I seek not, ask not, for relief,
But bending low at Memory's shrine
I pour a gush of living grief.
Vain grief! I gaze upon the tomb
Where all thy early virtues sleep,
Then muse upon thy heavenly home,
And envy thee, and cease to weep.

R. C.

+ NE et scloppetulos binos, summa arte fabricatos, caligis, quæ amplissimæ de more gentis in usu sunt, eum gestare solitum resciverat (rex) ex Ludovico Foxio, Parisiensi.-Thuanus, lib. xliii. c. viii.

THE SILENT RIVER :

A DRAMATIC SKETCH.

Luke (the natural and deserted son of Lord RAYLAND) having been reduced to

the low occupation of a fisherman for the support of his wife, and failing in this
last attempt, is driven to the commission of robbery : the dread of detection
hurries him from this to the commission of suicide. In the following scene he is
taking his wife to the protection of a friend, preparatory to the last act.
Luke and Mary in a boat. The scene varying according to the dialogue.
Mary. Be cautious, Luke; I do not love this dark

And sluggish river, which divides its banks
With such unequal treachery of depth
And horrid silence. Often as I've cross'd
The old worm-eaten bridge of tottering planks,
Which we just see against the deep blue distance,
I've thought of thee and thy adventurous toil,
And then how stilly it would hush the cry,
And hide the secret, unresisting corse !
Oh, it is fearful, and (but it is fancy)
All things seem fearful here!

E'en thou, dear Luke,
Look'st gloomily and speechless. Pray thee talk;
I cannot bear this silence, only broken
By thy dull plash, and the dead, heavy plunge

Of water vermin in the oozing slime.
Luke. Thou 'rt new to it—but I have breathed too long

These muddy vapours for our daily morsel
To heed the stillness of the summer dawn
Or storm of wintry midnight. My poor Mary,
Thou 'st paid the penalty of thoughtless love
Dearer than most. Well dost thou know the tone
Of the chill blasts, when they howl round the cabin
And find the inmate lonely and desponding !
Well dost thou know the tear of bitterness,
When he whose absence thou hast sat lamenting
Returns o’erpower'd with fasting and fatigue,
Drench'd with the rain, or shivering with the icicles
Which cling to him with rattling misery:
And well, well, my Mary! hast thou felt
The
pang,

when he to whom thou'st rush'd for comfort
With harsh despair repelld thee from his arms,
To mutter sternly of successless toil

And present famine!
Mary.

Why recall such times?
Dear Luke, I never murmur'd for myself,
Neither must thou; for when I see thee smile,
Our wants seem trifling payments for such bliss,
And I have thank'd the Heavens which granted it,
And pray'd that if a richer change of fortune

Would change thy love, we still might live in want.
Luke. Yes, thou hast pray'd—'tis good—thou hast pray'd much-

I've watch'd thee in thy sleep, when thy white temples
Press’d the coarse pillow with as patient innocence
As if 'twere made for themI've watch'd thee then,
With thy small fingers clasp'd upon thy breast,
And moving lips which shew'd thou dream’dst of prayer,
And thought that I, too, once was used to pray,
But fortune only grew more merciless,
And so I ceased.

Mary.

O, say not-say not so!
My greatest comfort was to think that Heaven
Guarded the perils which were enforced by love,
For then the storm about thy houseless head

Lost half its fury.
Luke.

It will rage no more.
At least I shall not hear it, Mary.
Mary.

No.
For thou hast promised ne'er to leave thy rest

At such dire seasons.
Luke.

I have promised thee,
My tender, gentle, most beloved Mary.
Mary.

Come, thou art sad.-Look, how the first faint ray
Of morn hath startled the old querulous owl
Amidst his dull and devious wanderings !
He hath made straight towards the village barn,
'Plaining as if he groan'd at his long journey
Across the marsh, which, seen between the twigs
And leaning trunks of these deserted willows,
Seems boundless in its fat and hazy empire.
And see, the heron, with his broad blue sails,
Wheels downwards to succeed the bird of wisdom.
O, long-neck'd felon! That hoarse shout of his
Is meant to tell thee thou 'rt no fisherman.
Thou 'lt soon be back to try thy skill with him?
Thou said'st to-morrow,-thou'lt not break thy promise ?

(Sings)
“ He bade me adieu, and he vow'd to be here

When swallows came down the green;
But the leaves of the Autumn are scatter'd and sere,

And home he hath never been.”
Oh, and is that the tale! then hear what follows,-

(Sings)
“So under the wave and under the wave,

Beneath the old willow tree.”
Mind-mind, dear Luke, your pole will scarcely touch
The bottom! You were almost overbalanced.

(Sings)
“ With the weeds for my pall, in a deep, deep grave,

Shall my false love find me.”
Why didst thou start?
Luke.

I almost ran upon
Wild Martha's willow-tree, e'en whilst you sang

Of it.
Mary. Was that it, Luke? How horribly

Your words have made it look! I could stay now
And speculate on its fantastic shape
Most learnedly: That broad and gnarled head
Crown'd with its upright, spiky stubs, and frowning
Between two mighty sockets, where the wrens
Have built their nests, hath weigh'd its scathed trunk
Aslant the pool, o'er which two stunted branches,
Curling to claws, complete a ramping lion,
Prepared to plunge on all who dare invade
Wild Martha's secret cell. There is a legend,
How, tangled in the roots, she still remains
And tears the fisher's nets in the vain struggle
To gain her freedom. Poor, distracted Martha!
She must have been sore used to do such crime!

Luke. 'Tis a hard name which thou hast learn'd,

my Mary,
For that which, harming noue, is the sole means
To free the wretch from misery: Methinks
Wild Martha sleeps as soundly in her cave
As those who rot beneath yon fading steeple-
Some for their lives were happier, and some-

For they lack'd courage so to end their griefs.
Mary. Thou never spokest unkindly, and wouldst fain

Excuse what inwardly thou’rt shuddering at.
Dost thou forget how often thou hast told me
How thy stout heart hath quail'd to pass yon tree
At midnight? If thou thought'st the hapless girl
At rest, thou hadst not fear'd. Dost thou remember too
That April Sunday, when the young violets
First peer'd between the moss upon the graves,
How long we saunter'd’mongst the velvet hillocks,
Conning rude epitaphs, and moralizing
In sweetest melancholy? How we linger'd
Upon the humble bed of good old Adam,
The village patriarch, who, from lowliest state,
Had labour'd on to unpretending comfort,
And left it to his children's children? Oh,
How thou didst reverence that place, and hope,
Like him, to struggle with thy days of trial;
Like him to sleep the sleep of those who meet
Those days unmurmuring. (Luke shews much emotion.)

What, Luke! dear Luke!
I've been too heedless in my pensive talk,

And thought not of thy present grief.
Luke.

And still
Forget it, Mary. I was only musing,
If, tempted to the act of her whose bones
When skies are clear may be discern'd far down
In their strange prison playing with the eddy,
I should be left a like un hallow'd empire
Of fear and utter loneliness. Wouldst thou
Ne'er visit the neglected spot which took
The latest of thy husband's living looks?
Wouldst thou refuse to commune with his spirit,
And say thou 'st bought his pardon with thy prayers?
There is no grief, in all the world, could sit
So heavily upon my hour of death
As doubt that thou might'st dread my memory,

And shed no tear o'er him who loved thee so.
Mary.

Thou reveller in woes impossible!
Luke. But tell me truly.
Mary.

I'll not answer thee;
Indeed I will not, Luke: it is not well
To

pay Heaven's bounty with such fearful fancies. Luke (after a pause.) Well, then, suppose me laid beside old Adam,

With decent holiness: what wouldst thou do

To live, my helpless Mary?
Mary.

Oh, I never
Took joy in making misery for thee !
Luke. I'd have thee go directly to the home

From which I bore thee. Tell thy angry friends
That he who tempted thee to thy offence
Toil'd night and day, 'till often his worn sinews
Refused to obey him, for thy maintenance.

« AnteriorContinuar »