Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Virtue defends it ; for a noble soul
Scorns a more faithful guardian than itself.
Cease then, Mirtillo, longer to complain,
Or importune me more, but fy and live,
If thou be wise ; for to abandon life
Through mad excess of grief, is not the mark
Of an heroic, but a timorous soul.
And 'tis the truest virtue to abstain
From what we love, if what we love be wrong,
And virtue's sacred laws forbid the flame.

Mir.-He that has lost his heart, has not the power To save himself from death.

Am.-But he that takes
The shield of virtue conquers every passion.

Mir.--Where love already triumphs, virtue yields.

Am.—But he that cannot what he will, at least
Should do what's in his power.

Mir.-Necessity of loving has no law.
Am.--Distance and time will cure love's deepest

wounds.
Mir.-We Ay in vain what in the heart is lodged.
Am.-A new affection will expel the old.
Mir.Yes; if my heart and soul could be but changed !

Am.-The great destroyer, Time,
Will kill love too at last.

Mir.-But cruel Love
Will kill the life or ere that day arrive.

Am.—Is there no cure then for thy malady?
Mir.—No cure at all save death !
Am.—Death !-hear me therefore now, and be my

words
A law to thee. Although I'm well aware
When lovers speak of dying, it indicates
A custom rather of an amorous tongue,
Than a deliberate and fixed resolve ;
Yet if so strange a frenzy e'er should seize thee,
Know that thou wouldst not alone destroy
Thy life ; but my good name would also die.
Live then, if thou dost love me, and farewell.
Henceforth I'll reckon it a token sure
Of wisdom in thee, if thou tak'st good heed
That we may ne'er hereafter meet again.

.

Mir.-O cruel sentence ! how can I survive Without my life, or end my bitter woes, Unless by death!

Am.-Mirtillo, now 'tis time Thou should'st depart ; I've heard thee much too long ; Go, and console thyself with this at least ; Of hopeless lovers there's a numerous crowd ; There is no love but carries with it pain, Many, as well as thou, of love complain. (Exit Mirtillo.) Mirtillo, O my life, my soul ! If here within thou couldst perceive The secret feelings of the heart Of Amarillis whom thou call'st so cruel, Well do I know that she would find From thee that pity thou implor'st from her! O hapless souls bound by the ties of love ; Mirtillo has my heart, yet what avails My love to him or his dear love to me! Ah! wherefore, cruel destiny, Dost thou divide whom Love has bound ? And wherefore bind'st thou those, Perfidious Love, whom destiny divides? Most sacred virtue ! awful name ! Thou most inviolable deity Of truly noble souls !-this fond desire Which by thy holy rigor I've subdued, I now present a spotless sacrifice Before thy shrine. And thou, my love, Mirtillo, O pardon her that's only cruel Where she is forced from thee to hide All show of mercy! O forgive Her thy fierce foe in looks and words alone, But thy most tender lover in her heart ! Or if revenge be thy desire, What greater vengeance can'st thou take on me, Than thy own grief; for if thou be my heart, As sure thou art in spite of heaven and earth, Whene'er thou sigh'st or sheddest tears, Thy sighs my vital spirits are, Thy tears my blood, and all those pangs, And all those mournful sighs of thine, Are not thy pangs, are not thy sighs, but mine!

GUÉRIN, GEORGES-MAURICE and EUGÉNIE DE, whose Journals and Letters have endeared their names to the masters of criticism, were born of an ancient and noble, but poor, French family at the ancestral château of Le Cayla, in Languedoc -Eugénie in 1805, and her brother on August 5, 1810. Maurice died there July 19, 1839, and was followed to the grave by his sister in 1848. After going to school at Toulouse and studying in Paris, Maurice attached himself to the monastic society that was gathered round the Abbé Lamennais at La Chênaie, in Brittany, in 1832. Having remained there for a year, he returned to Paris, taking little further interest in the monastery after the Abbé's own departure. In Paris he tried to support himself by teaching, and writing for the papers and magazines, employments for which he was singularly unsuited. In 1838 he married a rich Creole, but the seeds of a fatal consumption were already developing, and the next year he went to his home in Languedoc to die. Excepting a short "prose poem,” called the Centaur, he left little behind him that seemed even intended to endure ; but in his journal and letters we find a rare sympathy and intimacy with nature, combined with an almost unequal power in her interpretation.

Eugénie's place in literature has been deter.

mined by the spiritual interest and perfect style of her journal, which remains a permanent record of her love for her brother and the high purity of her Catholicism. The Reliquiæ of Georges-Maurice de Guérin, containing a few poems, his journals, and a number of his letters, edited by his friend M. Trébutien, with a notice of the author by Sainte-Beuve, appeared in 1861; and the Journal et Lettres of Eugénie was published the following year, and was crowned by the Académie Française.

The Edinburgh Review speaks of Eugénie as "an Antigone of France sublimed and ennobled by the Christian faith ;” and of her journal as "the outpouring of one of the purest and most saintly minds that ever existed upon earth.”

THE CENTAUR'S YOUTH.

Wandering at my own will like the rivers, feeling wherever I went the presence of Cybele, whether in the beds of the valleys or on the height of the mountains, I bounded whither I would, like a blind and chainless life. But when Night, filled with the charm of the gods, overtook me on the slope of the mountain, she guided me to the mouth of the caverns, and there tranquillized me as she tranquillizes the billows of the sea. Stretched across the threshold of my retreat, my flanks hidden within the cave and my head under the open sky, I watched the spectacle of the dark. The sea-gods, it is said, quit during the hours of darkness their palaces under the deep; they seat themselves on the promontories, and their eyes wander over the expanse of the waves. Even so I kept watch, having at my feet an expanse of life like the hushed sea. My regards had free range, and travelled in the most distant points. Like sea-beaches which never lose their wetness, the line of mountains to the west retained the imprint of gleams not perfectly wiped out by the shadows. In that quarter still survived, in pale clearness, mountain summits naked and pure. There I beheld at one time the god Pan descend, ever solitary ; at another, the choir of the mystic divinities; or I saw pass some mountain-nymph charm-struck by the night. Sometimes the eagles of Mount Olympus traversed the upper sky, and were lost to view among the far off constellations, or in the shade of the dreaming forests.

Thou pursuest after wisdom, O Melampus, which is the science of the will of the gods; and thou roamest from people to people like a mortal driven by the destinies. In the times when I kept my night watches before the caverns, I have sometimes believed that I was about to surprise the thought of the sleeping Cybele, and that the mother of the gods, betrayed by her dreams, would let fall some of her secrets; but I have never made out more than sounds, which faded away in the murmur of night, or words inarticulate as the bubbling of the rivers.- From the Centaur ; translated by MATTHEW ARNOLD.

WINTER EVENING ON THE COAST OF BRITTANY.

All the sky is covered over with gray clouds just silvered at the edges. The sun, who departed a few moments ago, has left behind him enough light to temper for awhile the black shadows, and to soften down, as it were, the approach of night. The winds are hushed, and the tranquil Ocean sends up to me, when I go out on the doorstep to listen, only a melodious murmur, which dies away in the soul like a beautiful wave on the beach. The birds, the first to obey the nocturnal influence, make their way toward the woods, and you can hear the rustle of their wings in the clouds. The copses which cover the whole hillside of Le Val, which all the day-time are alive with the chirp of the wren, the laughing whistle of the woodpecker, and the different notes of a multitude of birds, have no longer any sound in their paths and thickets, unless it be the prolonged high calls of the blackbirds at play with one another and chasing one another, after all the other birds have their heads

fe under their wings. The noise of man, always the

« AnteriorContinuar »