Page images

Thy person, like a tender flower, has now
Disclosed its beauty, but I look in vain

For love's sweet blossom from its bud to burst,
And gaily ripen into golden fruit!

Oh! that must ever grieve me, and betrays
Some sad deficiency in nature's work!
The heart I like not, which, severe and cold,
Expands not in the genial years of youth.


Forbear, good father! do not hurry her.
The love of my Johanna is indeed
A noble, tender fruit, of heavenly growth,
And gradually the costly is matured.
Still she delights to range among the hills,
And fears descending from the wild free heath,
To tarry 'neath the lowly roofs of men,
Where dwell the narrow cares of humble life.
From the deep vale, with silent wonder oft
I've marked her, standing on a lofty hill,
Surrounded by her flock; with noble form
And earnest gaze bent on the world beneath,
Looking, methought, as if from other times
She came foreboding things of import high.


"Tis that precisely which displeases me;
She shuns her sisters' gay companionship,
Seeks out the wildest mountains, leaves her couch
Before the crowing of the morning cock,
And in the dreaded hour when men are wont
Confidingly to seek their fellow men,
She, like the solitary bird, creeps forth,
And in the fearful spirit-realm of night
To yon crossway repairs, and there alone

Holds secret commune with the mountain wind,
Why does she always choose that lonely place?
Why ever there precisely drive her herd?
For hours together, I have seen her sit
In dreamy musing 'neath the Druid tree,
Which every happy creature shuns with awe;
For 'tis not holy there; an evil spirit
Hath since the fearful pagan days of old
Beneath its branches fix'd its dread abode.
The oldest of our villagers relate

Strange tales of horror of the Druid tree:
"Tis said that from its dark mysterious shade
Unearthly voices often meet the ear;

And once, when in the gloomy twilight hour
My pathway led me past it, I myself

Beheld a female spectre sitting there,

Which slowly from its long and ample robe
Stretch'd forth its wither'd hand, and beckon'd me;
But on I went with speed, nor look'd behind,
And to the care of God consign'd my soul.

RAIMOND (pointing to an image of the virgin).
Not evil spirits lead thy daughter there,
But yonder image, whose blest influence sheds
The peace of Heaven through all the neighbouring air.


No! not in vain hath it in fearful dreams
And apparitions strange revealed itself.
For three successive nights I have beheld
Johanna sitting on the throne at Rheims,
A sparkling diadem of seven stars
Upon her brow, the sceptre in her hand,
And I, her sisters, and the noble peers,
The earls, archbishops, nay the king himself,
Bow'd down before her. In my humble home
How could this splendour enter my poor brain?
Oh 'tis the prelude to some fearful fall!
This warning dream reveals her vain desires;
She looks with shame upon her lowly birth,
Because her gracious God with nobler charms
Hath graced her person, and endow'd her mind
Beyond the other maidens of the vale.
She in her heart indulges sinful pride;
And pride it was by which the angels fell,
And evil spirits first seduced mankind.


Who cherishes a purer, humbler mind

Than doth thy gentle daughter? Does she not
With cheerful spirit work her sisters' will?

She is more highly gifted far than they,

Yet, like a servant maiden, it is she

Who silently performs the humblest tasks.

Under her guiding care thy corn and herds

Thrive strangely, and there flows round all she does
An unaccountable prosperity.


An unaccountable prosperity!

In truth this blessing fills me with dismay.

But now no more; I henceforth will be silent.

Shall I accuse my own beloved child?

I can do nought but warn and pray for her.
Yet warn I must. Oh, shun the Druid tree!
Stay not alone, for in the wilderness

The evil spirit tempted e'en our Lord.

PROLOGUE. Scene 2.

Schiller particularly excels in the poems introduced into his plays; as, for instance, that which opens the 3rd Act of " Mary Stuart," where the Queen rejoices in her new-found liberty; and also that containing the Soliloquy of Beatrice, the Bride of Messina, in the garden, where she pours forth all the experience of her innocent and happy life; and again, that in which Joan of Arc beautifully touches on the incidents of her former peaceful existence, after having received the helmet. This latter poem we give entire :

Farewell ye mountains, ye beloved glades,
Ye silent, peaceful valleys, fare ye well!
Through you Johanna never more may stray,
Johanna bids you all a long farewell.

Ye meads in which I wander'd! and ye trees,
Which I have planted, bloom in beauty still!
Farewell ye grottos and ye crystal springs!
And thou, sweet vocal spirit of the vale,
Who sang'st responsive to my simple strain,
Johanna goes and ne'er returns again!

Ye scenes of all my peaceful, heartfelt joys,
For ever now I leave you far behind!
My gentle lambs, poor flock without a fold,
O'er the wide heath now wander unconfined;
For I am call'd another flock to tend,
Where armies on the field of battle blend.
This hath the holy spirit's voice made known;
No earthly motive drives me forth alone.

For he who once on Horeb's sacred height,
Appear'd to Moses in the bush of flame,
And bade him go and stand in Pharaoh's sight,-
He who to Israel's pious shepherd came,
And sent him forth his champion in the fight,-
He who hath ever loved the shepherd train,
Thus whisper'd from the branches of this tree,

[ocr errors][merged small]

"Rude armour now must clothe thy tender frame,
Thy bosom heave beneath a plate of steel.
No mortal there may kindle earthly flame,
Thy heart the glow of passion ne'er may feel,
For thee no hand the bridal wreath shall twine,
No smiling infant on thy knee be nursed,
But war's triumphant glory shall be thine,
And thou of women shalt be deem'd the first.

"For when the most courageous hearts despair,
When humbled France is just about to yield,
Then thou my conquering oriflamme shalt bare,
And, like a reaper in the harvest-field,

Mow down the haughty victors to the ground;
Thou soon shalt turn the wheel of fortune round,
To Gaul's heroic sons deliverance bring,
Retrieve beleaguer'd Rheims, and crown the king."

The holy spirit promised me a sign;

He sends the helmet, it hath come from him;

Its touch endues me with a strength divine;

I feel the courage of the Cherubim !

It drives me forth the din of war to find,
Its power impels me like the rushing wind;
I hear the charger's neigh, the trumpet's sound,
And the loud war-cry echo shrilly round.

PROLOGUE. Scene 3.

Of the style of the translation we have said nothing, preferring to leave our readers to form their judgment of its merit, from the extracts we have given: every one must perceive that the verse is smooth and harmonious, and no one acquainted with the original can fail to be struck with its great fidelity and accuracy.

ART. V.-PAST AND PRESENT. BY THOMAS CARLYLE. 12mo. pp. 399. London: Chapman and Hall.

NONE but the devoted admirers of Mr. Carlyle will read his books. Those to whom his style is an abomination are quickly wearied or disgusted, and throw up the task in despair. Readers who desire in a nutshell to find the gist of the matter, open his pages, and immediately are whirled away in such vortices of words and cloudy emblems, that they speedily come to the conclusion that their own small wits are more likely to be of use to them in getting an insight into any given question, than such broken and patched meaning as they are likely to collect from a writer who has forsworn simplicity, and delights in tripping up the heels of his reader. We are not about to enter on the subject of Mr. Carlyle's style. We would allow to every man his own instruments of art, and see what he will make of them. A man must work with his own tools. But as a model, in relation to the imitatorum pecus,—it is a bad example in literature, and the apes of so fantastic an original are in every way detestable.

Mr. Carlyle's great talent is in his power of presenting pictures, and animating them with a gleam of the profoundest practical truth, and the most healing sympathy. A flash of ideal light mingles with the vivid realities he sets before you; and the actual is painted by one who cannot forbear placing by its side the work of a reconciling spirit. If he is largely endowed with either the philosophic or the logical faculty he does not make very ample use of them, he gives neither connected reasonings nor views,-but he sees into the heart of things. The amount of thought in this his last work cannot be considered great. It relates nothing remarkable either of the Past or the Present, and it offers not one new suggestion for the Future. Its facts and its remedies, in plain prose, would gain small notice. But the Poet is everywhere, and the old things become new. Evils that you indolently acknowledge and lament, glare upon you terribly. Sympathies that stir you languidly, become throes of pity, yearnings of love towards suffering fellow-beings. Social arrangements which you had looked on as mere anomalies, assume monstrous shapes, and are as horrors in your eyes. No greater service could be rendered to a people than this faithful picturing of their social condition, by one whose heart is full of the true conservative leaven of a Christian regard for man, and it is a thousand pities that these true pictures should be impene

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »