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comes the question ; What does his reason know of death ? Then, last of all, the little word if, swelling to a fearful size, and standing at the outlet of his theories, like a relentless giant, ready to demolish his conclusions.
“But Maldura's sufferings were now to be suspended, for the report of Rosalia's recovery at last reached him. This unlooked-for intelligence was followed by a spasm of joy scarcely to have been exceeded had he been suddenly reprieved from an ignominious death. He felt like one emerging from the hopeless darkness of a dungeon to the light and free air of day ; and though the hope which had once sustained him was gone for ever, and he had nothing to look to, he yet began to fancy, and even to feel, without stopping to ask why, that his former relish of life was now returning. But his respite was short. It was natural that release from a great, though only imagined, evil should render him for a time less sensible to such as were minor and actual ; but they were light only from comparison, and no sooner did the weight of the former begin to pass from his memory, than the pressure of the latter became more perceptible, till at last, in spite of every effort to resist them, they became the subjects of his daily and hourly contemplation.
“ Amongst these, the sorest, and that which time rather added to than diminished, was the destruction of Monaldi's peace, perhaps of his life ; for Monaldi had never been heard of since the fatal night, and whither he had gone, or what had become of him, was still uncertain." — pp. 205 – 207.
The description of Rosalia's arrival at the wretched retreat of her husband, whom she had hoped to find restored to his reason, but whose intellect had been a second time overthrown, by the confessions of Maldura, is this.
“ If it be hard to part with the dead, and to see one borne to the grave with whom we have been accustomed to associate all our wishes and schemes of happiness, and without whom nothing in life seems capable of imparting enjoyment, there is yet a consolation in the thought that our grief is only for our own suffering, since it cannot reach one to whom our loss is a gain. What then inust it be to feel this entire avulsion from the living ; to know that the object with whom our very soul was mixed, and who is thus parted from our common being, still walks the same earth, breathes the same air, and wears the same form ; yet lives, as to us, as if dead, — closed, sealed up from all our thoughts and sympathies, like to a statue of adamant. What must it be to know too, that this second self, though callous and impenetrable from without, is yet within all sense ? The partial palsy-death of the body is but a faint image of this half-death of the twin-being wife and husband. And Rosalia soon felt it in all its agony.
" The alarm occasioned by this last scene was so sudden, that neither father nor daughter thought more of first making known their arrival, but, following the landlady, entered Monaldi's chamber. He was sitting on the bed, his hands clenched on his knees, and his eyes fixed on vacancy. Rosalia sprang forward, but at the sight of his countenance she shrunk back and stood gazing on him in silence. And next to madness was the dreadful conviction within her. She would have folded him in her arms ; but the thought of the touch of the benumbed, vacant being before her sickened her, and she sunk back in her father's arms. But she had not fainted : the energy of hope that he might again recover, came like a ministering spirit, and nerved her for the occasion. wiYou must go with me,' said Landi.
". No,' replied Rosalia, in a low, but firm, voice ; 'I am his even in madness. Do not fear for me ; the shock is now over. But speak to him.' Landi then advancing spoke to him by name; but, Monaldi making no answer, he drew nearer and took his hand. For a moment Monaldi turned to look at him, then withdrawing his eyes as if with terror, - Away, away!' he cried. Why come you again ? thou liest, — Maldura did not do it, - 't was I murdered her. Look, – look at her, 't was I, – she was my wife, — she 'll confess it herself. But no, she cannot, – she's dead.'
56. No, she lives, — she is still yours !’cried Rosalia, going to him.
"Ha! there are two !' cried the maniac with a frightful shriek. "Take them away, — I did not murder both.'
“ The father and daughter stood silent and motionless; their very breath seemed suspended ; and for several minutes not a sound was heard but the quick, low panting of the affrighted maniac. Landi, alarmed for the reason of his daughter, drew her into another room, when she fell on his neck and wept. But we close the scene ; for we cannot describe that which no tears relieved, - even that blessed dew, which, in most other cases, softens agony.” — pp. 239 – 241.
We close these extracts with a passage from the beginning of the book, describing the picture, painted by the artist in his madness, and embodying the treachery of Maldura.
" Aster waiting some time for my conductor's return, and finding little worth looking at besides the Lanfranc, I turned to leave the chapel by the way I had entered ; but, taking a wrong door, I came into a dark passage, leading, as I supposed, to an inner court. This being my first visit to a convent, a natural curiosity tempted me to proceed, when, instead of a court, I found myself in a large apartment. The light (which descended from above) was so powerful, that for nearly a minute I could distinguish nothing, and I rested on a form attached to the wainscoting. I then put up my hand to shade my eyes, when, - the fearful vision is even now before me, - I seemed to be standing before an abyss in space, boundless and black. In the midst of this permeable pitch stood a colossal mass of gold, in shape like an altar, and girdled about by a huge serpent, gorgeous and terrible ; his body flecked with diamonds, and his head an enormous carbuncle, floating like a meteor on the air above. Such was the Throne. But no words can describe the gigantic Being that sat thereon, — the grace, the majesty, its transcendant form ; and yet I shuddered as I looked, for its superhuman countenance seemed, as it were, to radiate falsehood ; every feature was a contradiction, the eye, the mouth, even to the nostril, — whilst the expression of the whole was of that unnatural softness which can only be conceived of malignant blandishment. It was the appalling beauty of the King of Hell. The frightful discord vibrated through my whole frame, and I turned for relief to the figure below ; for at his feet knelt one who appeared to belong to our race of earth. But I had turned from the first only to witness in this second object its withering fascination. It was a man apparently in the prime of life, but pale and emaciated, as if prematurely wasted by his unholy devotion, yet still devoted, — with outstretched hands, and eyes upraised to their idol, fixed with a vehemence that seemed almost to start them from their sockets. The agony of his eye, contrasting with the prostrate, reckless worship of his attitude, but too well told his tale : I beheld the mortal conflict between the conscience and the will, — the visible struggle of a soul in the toils of sin. I could look no longer.” — pp. 14 – 16.
We think Mr. Allston has managed his story with good judgment in not restoring Monaldi to his wife, as we at first hoped he would. The man who has once aimed the dagger at the heart of the woman he loves, however strong and damning the circumstances that frenzied him to the deadly deed, and however thoroughly he may afterwards deplore and repent his suspicions, and however firmly he may be convinced of her innocence, can never be to her what he was before. The idea of settling down from such storms of the passions, in which life has been attempted and blood has been shed, into another domestic calm, is shocking and preposterous. Better, far better, the Christian deathbed, and the lucid interval of rational affection and gentle resignation, with which this affecting story is brought to an appropriate close.
ART. VII. — Ancient Spanish Ballads, Historical and Ro
mantic, translated, with Notes, by J. G. LOCKHART, Esquire. A new Edition, revised, with an Introductory Essay on the Origin, Antiquity, Character, and Influence of the Ancient Ballads of Spain ; and an Analytical Account, with Specimens, of the Romance of the Cid. New York. Wiley & Putnam. 8vo. pp. 272.
A COLLECTION of Spanish popular poetry opens to the lover of romance a region comparatively little explored, and one where a most fertile soil promises a rich harvest. The glory of no other nation is so intimately interwoven with poetry and song; and the most splendid deeds of her heroes are embalmed in romance.
" Teems not each ditty with the glorious tale ?
Ah, such, alas ! the hero's amplest fate!
wrong?"* And why should it be humiliating to the pride of fame, to live longer in the songs of the multitude, than in the records of history written comparatively for a few ? Have not the praises of the bard ever been regarded as the hero's best reward ? And would not the immortal Cid, had one of the Moorish magicians, who, no doubt, were numbered in the trains of the captive kings, permitted him to see in a magic
* Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto I.
glass the picture of futurity, — would he not rather have renounced the fame secured to him in the dead leaves of dry chronicles, than the conviction, that, after seven or eight centuries, the rocks of Asturia would still resound with the echo of his name, called forth by "a peasant's plaint” ?
Who of our readers has not heard of the rich treasure of Spanish Romances, and is not, in a certain measure, familiar with their lofty spirit and national dignity ? Nevertheless, comparatively speaking, only a very small number have ever been translated into English ; and among these how very few are the versions which are not to be considered as paraphrases rather than translations ! The extreme simplicity of these romances, the peculiar character of the Spanish language, with its melodiously protracted words, its pompously sonorous sounds, and its harmonious diffuseness, all renders it exceedingly difficult to translate Spanish poetry without encountering the danger of making constant additions ; especially when rendering it into a language with so many monosyllabic words, and so philosophically condensed, as is the English. The most skilful translator may, therefore, find it hard to avoid the insertion of epithets ; in which poetical ornament, indeed, English poetry abounds as much as Spanish poetry is deficient.
Percy, who first unveiled to his countrymen the rich treasures of their own popular poetry, had also the merit of being the first to point out to them those of Spain. But the claims, which we, at the present day, feel ourselves entitled to make on a translator, are very different from those current in Percy's time. Correctness and fidelity are now considered as necessary requisites in a good translation ; just as antiquarian exactness is expected in the publication of an old manuscript. No one, in the present state of criticism, would ever think of calling Percy's “ Gentle River ” a translation ; although the Bishop assures us, that the version was rendered as literal as the nature of the two languages would permit.” Our readers may judge for themselves. Rio verde, rio verde,
“Gentle river, gentle river, Green river, green river, Quanto cuerpo en ti se baña Lo, thy streams are stained Many corpses are bathed in with gore,