Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Galileo. I am well acquainted with the Scriptures; but as I do not suppose they were meant to instruct mankind in astronomy, I think there is no sacrilege in attempting to discover more of the nature of the universe than what is revealed in them.

Monk. So you believe yourself capable of succeeding in the attempt?

Galileo. Perhaps I do.

Monk. Would not your time be better employed, my son, in perusing some rational book of devotion? Do not allow yourself to be led away by the idle suggestions of self-conceit. What is there to be seen about you, which should enable you to penetrate farther into the secrets of the universe than me or the rest of mankind? I do not ask this question with a view to wound your pride, but with a sincere wish for your good.

Galileo. Upon my word, you are too kind to me. Pray, father, is there any book of devotion which you would recommend in particular?

Monk. Recommend in particular!— There is a book which it would not become me to but no——recotn* mend in particular!—Hum—I know not.

Galileo. Something trembles at your tongue's end. Have you yourself written any book of devotion?

Monk. Far be it from me to speak of my own writings. Of all books of devotion, my own was the remotest from my thoughts. But since you desire to see it

Galileo. What are the subjects treated of in it?

Monk. Life, death, and immortality. There is also a treatise upon the habitations of good men after death, and the delights to be found there.

Galileo. Your notions concerning these subjects must be in a great measure fanciful.

Monk. By no means. Good reasons are given for every tittle that is advanced.

Galileo. And where do you suppose the habitations of good men to be?

Monk. Why, in heaven, to be sure.

Galileo. Is it not possible that their abode may be situated in some of the constellations? When gazing, as I was wont to do, at midnight, upon Arcturus, or the brilliant orbs of Orion, I have sometimes thought, that in the blue depths there might exist worlds

suitable for the habitation of an immortal spirit

Monk. My son, my son, beware of futile conjectures! You know not upon what ground you are treading.

Galileo. Does not the galaxy shed forth a glorious light? How gorgeous is its throng of constellations!—To me it seems like a procession of innumerable worlds, passing in review before their Creator.

Monk. If the galaxy moves, why may not the sun?

Galileo. My judgment is, that they may both move, for aught I know, although at a very slow pace.

Monk. Now you speak sense. I knew I should bring you round; for, to say the truth (and I say it between you and me), if it had not been for my enemies, whom Heaven pardon, I should have been wearing a red hat before now. Good night: and I shall immediately bring the book, which will help to put your thoughts in a proper train again.

No III.
Rembrandt's Work-shop.

Rembrandt solo. Too much light here still. I must deepen the shadows even more, until the figures begin to shine out as they ought. And now for Pharoah's Baker, whose dream is not yet interpreted; so that he looks up earnestly in the face of Joseph, and receives a strong gleam through the iron bars, so-- and again—so. Now for the shadows again. To talk to me of Guido, with his shallow, gray, and trivial open-lights! Ah ha! 'tis I who am Rembrandt—and there is no other. (a knock at the door. J Heaven send a purchaser! Come in.

Dutch Trader. Good morrow, friend. I wish to have a picture of yours to leave to my wife, before I go to sail the salt seas again.

Rem. Would you have your own face painted?

Trader. My face has seen both fair and foul, in its time, and belike it may not do for a canvass, for I am no fresh water pippin-cheek.

Rem. Bear a good heart Your face is of the kind I like. There is no room for tricks of the pencil upon too smooth a skin.

Trader, By this hand, I know no thing of these things; but my wife shall have a picture.

Item. A large hat would serve to shadow your eyes; and there should be no light till we come down to the point of your nose, which would be the only sharp in the picture. Nothing but brownness and darkness every where else. Pray you, sit down here, and try on this great hat.

Trader. Nay, by your leave, I will look at these pictures on the wall first. What is this?

Rem. It is a Turk whom I have seen in the streets of Amsterdam. I like to paint a good beard; and you see how angrily this man's beard is twisted.

Trader. A stout Pagan, and a good fighter, I warrant you. I feel as if I could fetch him a cut over the crown; &r my ship was once near being run down by an Algerine.

Rem. Look at the next. "Tis the inside of a farmer's kitchen.

Trader. Nay, I could have told you that myself; for these pails of milk might be dnink, and there is an old grandam twirling her spindle. When next I go to live at my brother Lucas's firm, I shall persuade him to buy this picture. It shews the fat and plenteous life which he lives, when I am sailing the salt seas.

Rem. Here is a sea-piece.

Trader. Why, that is good also; but this sail should have been lashed to the binnacle; for, d'ye see, when a vessel is spooning against a swell, sate pitches, and it is necessary to

Rem. You are right; I must have it altered. How does this landscape please you?

Trader. Why, it is a good flat country; but exhibits none of those great rocks which I have seen in foreign parts. I have seen burning mountains, which would have made the brush drop from your hand. I have sailed round the world, and seen the waves rising to the height of Haerlem steeple, and nothing but cannibals on shore to make signals to.

Rem. Well—and which of the pictures will you have? you shall have your choice of them for forty ducats.

Trader. Nay, now you are joking. Who will give you forty ducats? When at dinner with the burgo-mast'.r lately, I heard a collector putting prices on your works. He said, if we would wait, your market would cer

tainly fall, for you had too many on hand.

Rem. My market shall not fall. I will see this collector at the bottom of the ocean first. But come now, let us be reasonable together. I will paint your portrait for thirty. Take your seat.

Trader. Not so fast. My wife must be conferred with, and, if she approves, perhaps I may come back. Mean* while, good morning. (Exit.)

Rem. A curse on these picturedealing babblers. How shall I be revenged on them? My pictures are as good as the oldest extant, and, if I were dead, every piece would sell for as much gold as would cover it. But I see what must be done. Come hither, wife, and receive a commission. Go straight to the joiners, and order him to prepare for my funeral.

Rembrandt's Wife. What is the meaning of this? Are your wits turned?

Rem. My wits are turned towards money-making. I must counterfeit myself dead, to raise the price of my works, which will be valued as jewels, when there is no expectation of any more.

Wife. Now I perceive your drift. Was there ever such a contrivance! You mean to conceal yourself, and have a mock funeral ? *

Revi. Yes; and when my walls are unloaded I shall appear again. So that after the picture dealers have been brought to canonize me for it dead painter, and when they have fairly ventured out their praise and their money, they shall see me come and lay my hands upon both.

Wife. How will it be possible for me to cry sufficiently, when there is no real death?

Rem. Make good use of the present occasion to perfect yourself in your part, for you may one day have to repeat it.

ON THE DEATH OT THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.

"A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament." Milton.

1.

MAHKEDyemcmingUngoftheCity'sthrong, Each mien, each glance, with expectation bright ?—

* This was it fact. See Rembrandt's Life. Prepare the pageant and the choral song. The pealing chimes, the blaze of festal light! And hark! what rumour's gathering sound

is nigh * Is it the voice of joy, that murmur deep ?— Away, be hushed, ye sounds of revelry! Back to your homes ye multitudes, to weep! Weep! for the storm hath o'er us darkly past, And England's Royal Flower is broken by the blast!

2. Was it a dream! so sudden and so dread That awful fiat o'er our senses came! So loved, so blest, is that young spirit fled, Whose bright aspirings promised years of

fame? Oh! when hath life possessed, or death destroyed, More lovely hopes, more cloudlessly that

smiled? When hath the spoiler left so dark a void? For all is lost—the mother and her child! Our morning-star hath vanished, and the tomb Throws its deep-lengthened shade o'er distant years to come.

a

And she is gone—the royal and the young!
In soul commanding, and in heart benign;
Who, from a race of kings and heroes sprung,
Glowed with a spirit lofty as her line.
Now may the voice she loved on earth so well,
Breathe forth her name unheeded and in vai n;
Nor can those eyes, on which her own would

dwell.
Wake from that breast one sympathy again:
The ardent heart, the towering mind are fled,
Yet shall undying love still linger with the

dead.

4. Oh! many a bright existence we have seen Quenched in the glow and fullness of its prime; And many a cherished flower, ere now, hath

been Croptereitsleaveswerebreath'd upon by time. We have lost heroes in their noon of pride, Whose fields of triumph gave them but a bier; And we have wept when soaring genius died, Check'd in the glory of his mid career! But here our hopes were centered—all is o'er, All thought in this absorbed—she was, and

is no more!

We watched her childhood from its earliest

hour, From every word and look bright omens

caught, While that young mind developed all its

power, And rose to energies of loftiest thought! On her was fixed the Patriot's ardent eye, One hope still bloomed—one vista still was

fair; And when the tempest swept the troubled sky, She was our day-spring—all was cloudless

there! And oh, how lovely broke on England's gaze. Even through the mist and storm, the light

of distant days

Nowhath one moment darkened future years, And changed the track of ages yet to be !— Yet, mortal! midst the bitterness of tears, Kneel, and adore th' inscrutable decree! Oh! while the clear perspective smiled in light. Wisdom should them have tempered hopes

excess; And, lost One! when we saw thy lot so bright. We might have trembled at its loveliness! Joy is no earthly flower—nor framed to bear, In its exotic bloom, life's cold ungenial air.

7. All smiled around thee—youth, and love,

and praise; Hearts all devotion and all truth were thine! On thee was rivetted a nation's gaze, As on some radiant and unsullied shrine. Heiress of Empires ! thou art passed away Like some fair vision, that arose to throw, Bright o'er one hour of life a fleeting ray, Then leave the rest to solitude and wo! Oh! whoshalldaretowoosuchdreamsagain? Who hath not wept to know that tears for

thee were vain?

8.

Yet there is one who loved thee—and whose soul.

With mild affections nature formed to melt;

Hismind hath bowedbeneath the stern control

Of many a grief—but this shall be unfelt!

Years have gone by—and given his honoured head

A diadem of snow—his eye is dim—

Around him Heaven a solemn cloud hath spread—

The past, the future, are a dream to him!

Yet, in the darkness of his fate, alone

He dwells on earth, while Thou, in life's full pride, art gone!

9.

The Chastcner's hand is on us—we may weep, But not repine—for many a storm hath past, And, pillowed on her own majestic deep. Hath England slept unshaken by the blast! And war hath raged o'er many a distant plain, Trampling the vine and olive in his path; , While she, that regal daughter of the main, Smiled in serene defiance of his wrath! Assome proud summit, mingling with the sky. Hears calmly, far below, the thunders roll and die

10.

Her voice hath been th' awakener, and her

name The gathering word of nations, in her might, And all the awful beauty of her fame, Apart she dwelt in solitary light! High on her cliffs alone and firm she stood, Fixing the torch upon her beacon tower; That torch, whose flame, far streaming o'er

the flood, Hatli guided Europe thro' her darkest hour. —Away, vain dreams of glory—in the dust Be humbled. Ocean Queen! and own thy

sentence just!

11.

Hark! 'twas the death-bell's note! which,

full and deep, Unmix'd with aught of less majestic tone, While all the murmurs of existence sleep, Swells on the stillness of the air alone! Silent the throngs that fill the darkened street, Silent the slumbering Thames, the lonely

mart; And all is still, where countless thousands

meet. Save the full throbbing of the awe-struck heart! All deeply, strangely, fearfully serene, As in each ravaged home th' avenging one

had been.

12. The sun goes down in beauty—his farewell, Unlike the world he leaves, is calmly bright; And his last mellowed rays around us dwell, Lingering, as if on scenes of young delight. They smile and fade—but, when the day is

o'er, What slow procession moves, with measured

tread?— Lo! those who weep with her who weeps

no more, A solemn train! the mourners and the dead! While bright on high the moon's untroubled

ray Looks down, as earthly hopes are passing

thus away.

13. But other light is in that holy pile. Where, in the house of silence, kings repose; There, thro'the dim arcade and pi] lured aisles. The funeral torch its deep-red radiance

throws. There pall, and canopy, and sacred strain, And all around, the stamp of wo may bear; But grief, to whose full heart those forms

are vjin.— Grief unexpressed, unsoothed by them,—is

there. So darker hour hath fate for him who mourns, Than when the all he loved, as dust to dust

returns.

14. We mourn—but not thy fate, departed One! We pity but the living, not the dead; A cloud hangs o'er us,—" the bright day

is done,—"• And with a father's hopes, a nation's fled. And he, the chosen of thy youthful breast, Whose soul with thine had mingled every

thought; He with thine early fond affections blest, Lord of a mind with all things lovely fraught, What but a desert to his eye that earth, Which but retains of thee the memory of

thy worth.

15. Oh! there are griefs for nature too intense, Whose first rude shock but stupifies the soul, Nor hath the fragile and o'erlaboured sense Strength e'en to feet, at once, their dread

control.

* "The bright day is done.

And we are for the dark." SuAK.

But when 'tis past, that still and speechless hour.

Of the sealed bosom, and the tearless eye,

Then the roused mind awakes with tenfold power,

To grasp the fulness of its agony!

Its death-like torpor vanished-—and its doom.

To cast its own dark hues o'er life and nature's bloom.

16.

And such hit lot, whom thou hast loved and left,

Spirit! thus early to thy home recalled!

So sinks the heart, of hope and thee bereft,

A warrior's heart! which danger ne'er appalled!

Years may pass on—and as they roll along.

Mellow those pangswhich now his bosom rend;

And he once more, with life's unheeding throng.

May, tho' alone in soul, in seeming blend :.

Yet still, the guardian-angel of his mind,

Shall thy loved image dwell, in memory's temple shrined.

17. Yet must thedays be long, ere time shall steal. Aught from his grief, whose spirit dwells

with thee. Once deeply bruised, the heart at length may

heal. But all it was—oh! never more shall be! The flow'rs, the leaf, o'erwhelmed by winter

snow, Shall spring again, when beams and showers

return; The faded check again with health may glow. And the dim eye with life's warm radiance

burn; But the bright freshness of the mind's young

bloom. Once lost, revives alone in worlds beyond the

tomb.

18. But thou !—thine hour of agony is o'er, And thy brief race in brilliance hath been run; While faith, that bids fond nature grieve no

more. Tells that thy crown—though not on earth

—is won! Thou, of the world so early left, hast known Nought but the bloom of sunshine,—and for

thee, Child of propitious stars! for thee alone, The course of love ran smooth, and brightly

free.' Not long such bliss to mortal could be given, It is enough for earth, to catch one glimpse

of heaven!

10. What though as yet the noon-day of thy fame Rose in its glory, on thine England's eye, The grave's deep shadows o'er thy prospect

came? Ours is that loss—and thou wert blest to die!

* " The course of true love never did run smooth." Sua*.

Thou mightst have lived to dark and evil yea re, To mourn thy people changed, thy skies

o'ercast; But thy spring-mom was all undimmed by

tears, And thou wert lov'dand cherished to the last! And thy young name, ne'er breathed in ruder

tone, Thus dying, thou hast left to love and grief

alone.

20. Daughter of Kings! from that high sphere

look down, Where, still in hope, affection's thoughts

may rise; Wheredimlyshinestothee that mortal crown, Which earth displayed, to claim thee from

the skies. Look down! and if thy spirit yet retain Memory of aught that once was fondly dear; Sooth, though unseen, the hearts that mourn

in vain, And, in their hours of loneliness—be near! Blest was thy lot e'en here—and one faint

sigh, Oh! tell those hearts, hath made that bliss

Eternity!

F. D. H. Brownwhylfi, 93d December 1817.

to understand or develope his language and sentiments. Guided by this clue, I receive the passage which has called forth the communications in two late numbers of your Magazine, verbatim as it stands. To adopt the emendation of your first correspondent, would, in my opinion, be to give a meaning altogether different from that which Shakspeare intended it should convey. In substituting the reading of J. H., I think we weaken the force, without rendering the meaning of the passage more obvious.—The latter emendation certainly is, in my judgment, much the less objectionable; and were there any necessity for exchanging fair for frail, your correspondent is quite right as to the sense in which he proposes to use the word. It is the sense in which Shakspeare again and again uses it. It is the sense in which it is still used. "A frail one" is a phrase, I believe, perfectly well understood by every one at the present day. But I contend, that the passage does not require any alteration to render it intelligible. I see not any difficulty as it now stands:—

ON A Disputed Passace In Othello. A feUow almost damn'd in a fair wife.

"A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife."

MR EDITOR,

I Perfectly agree with your correspondent J. H. that "the commentator of Shakspeare will succeed but indifferently, who cannot identify himself in some measure with the personage whose language and sentiments he would develope j' nor can the correctness of this observation be more apparent than when applied to a character such as Iago,—a knave who was always acting,—a wretch who performed his whole part, to the closing scene of his life, behind the mask of integrity, so successfully, as to be styled, almost proverbially, " honest Iago,"—one who says of himself— For when my outward action doth demonstrate The native act and vigour of my heart, In compliment extern, 'tis not long after, But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve, For daws to peck at:—I am not what I am.

We do not expect a man such as this to speak as he thinks; his words have little to do with his real meaning; and it is only by endeavouring to discover his exciting motive to action, and to trace the crooked associations of his depraved mind, that we are able at all

Let us follow J. H. in his examination of the contest. Iago is relating to Roderigo the causes of complaint against Othello, in order to convince him of his hatred towards him, and therefore of the improbability that he should be privy to his flight with Desdemons. Foremost on the list is the circumstance of Cassio's appointment to the lieutenancy, whilst Iago remained an ancient. Next, the character of the man thus put over him, stings him as an indignity offered to his own superior military courage, skill, and experience. And what was he? "Forsooth, a great arithmetician; one Michael Cassio, a Florentine." This contemptuous account of Cassio's qualifications for the appointment he has obtained, lightsupat onceall logo's hatred towards him as his successful rival. For a moment he forgets his first object, that of convincing Roderigo that he was not privy to Othello's escape with Desdemona, and is hurried away by the impulse of this more newly awakened feeling. After endeavouring to make Cassio appear ridiculous as a soldier, by stating him to be a mere arithmetician, he suddenly recollects the account he has

« AnteriorContinuar »