Page images
PDF
EPUB

has shown her so much farour and kindness, she , and classic beauty to Iphigenia. The poet preconfesses all to Thoas, and entreats him to sanction sents his newly finished poem,“ Jerusalem Detheir departure, and, won by her eloquence, the livered,” to his patron, Alphonso of Ferrari, in noble, though uncivilized monarch consents. the presence of Leonora D'Este, the sister of that Iphigenia is by far the most perfect of all Goethe's prince, and her friend Leonora of Scandiano. The heroines : the exquisite beauty, pathos, and sim- princess compliments bim, and places a laurel plicity of her character, her gentle earnest piety, wreath upon his brow. Antonio, the ambassador her high moral attributes, the fondness with which of Ferrari at Rome, returns at this moment; he is she cherishes every memory of her ancient home, filled with envy at the honours conferred on Tasso; and the ardour with which she longs to return meets his proffered friendship with coldness,—his thither, all conspire to charm and delight us. This subsequent surprise with ridicule and sarcasm, play was performed at Weimar as a compliment until the irritated poet forgets that he is within the io Goethe on his 80th birthday. We quote two precints of the palace, and draws his sword on short extracts :—the first is a portion of Iphigenia's him. He is imprisoned, but liberated at the insoliloquy on her own isolated state.

tercession of the princess, to whom he flies to ex“Alas, the sea

press his gratitude, and there gives utterance to Doth sever me from all I love !

his long cherished passion for her. Alphonso disDay by day on this lone shore I stand,

covers this daring, and Tasso is banished. The My soul still pining for the land of Greece.

passionate, enthusiastic, sensitive nature of the But to my sighs, the foaming beating waves

poet, is most graphically delineated. The character With their hoarse murmurs do alone reply:

of the princess comprehends all that is feminine, Alas! for one who desolate and friendless,

lovely, and dignified in woman-her calm, gentle Remote from parents and all fond relations dwells: earnestness, and highly cultivated reflective mind, Grief from him doth snatch each fleeting joy

are beautifully portrayed. She is second only to Before it reach his lip. To his father's halls

Iphigenia. The Countess Leonora too is a finely

drawn character, but there is a slight shade of His restless thoughts do wander ever,

worldliness and self mingling with all her wit, Where first to him the radiant sun unclosed The gates of heaven ; where day by day, closer

graces, and accomplishments. We cannot forbear And closer still, brothers and sisters round

extracting portions of two scenes. The first is a Each other did the bonds of love entwine." ---Act I. conversation between the two friends, and tends to

unfold their characters, Scene 1. The following passage forms the conclusion of

Princess. Yes, if all have feelings quick a the last act.

thine ; Iphigenia. Think on thy promise; let thy 'Tis a happiness I ofttimes envy thee. heart be moved

Leonora. And yet 'tis one which thou, my By what a true and honest tongue hath spoken : friend, O king ! look on us. An opportunity

As few besides most fully dost enjoy. For a deed so noble occurs not oft.

My heart impels me ever to express Thou canst not refuse! give then thy quick Promptly and freely whatsoe'er I feel, consent.

While thou, with feelings more intense, art silent. Thoas.-Then go.

Delusive splendour doth not dazzle thee, Iphigenia.—Not so, my king; I cannot part Nor wit beguile; vainly.doth flattery strive From thee in anger, or without thy blessing. With fawning artifice to win thine ear. Banish us not for ever, but let us

Firm is thy temper, most correct thy taste, The sacred right of guests still claim:

Thy judgment just, thyself most truly great, Honoured and loved as my own father was, And with greatness dost thou ever sympathize. Art thou by me, and ever on my soul

Princess.—This highly coloured flattery thou Will gratitude's impression still remain.

should'st not Should e'en the meanest peasant in thy land In the sacred garb of lovely friendship dress. Bring to mine ear the tones I heard from thee, Leonora-— Friendship is just; she alone can Or should I on the humblest see thy garb,

estimate I will with joy receive him, treat him as a prince; The full extent and measure of thy worth. With mine own hands prepare his couch,

Even if to fortune and to chance belong Place him in the warmest spot, and ask only Thy culture, it still is thine-and Of thee and of thy fate. O, may the Gods All the world do speak thy sister and thyself Thy kindness, thy benignity reward!

The noblest women of the present age. Farewell !-Oh! turn thee not away, but give Princess. —That can bui little move me when I One kindly word of parting in return;

think, So shall the wind more gently swell our sails, How poor at best we are, and for what we are ; And from our eyes, the tears of separation How much to others more indebted than ourselves. With softened anguish flow.

My acquaintance with the ancient tongues Fare thee well once more ! And wilt thou not And with the treasures by the past bequeathed, Graciously extend thy hand to me

I to my mother owe, who in varied lore, In pledge of ancient friendship?

nd mental power, her daughters far excelled. Thoas.—(Extending his hund.) Fare thee well. If either of us with her can be compared, “Torquato Tasso," ranks next in point of poetic It is Lucretia, certainly not I.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

pure

[ocr errors]

Besides, what is by nature or by chance

Princess. If man would really learn what
Bestowed, as rank and property, I do not esteem. fitting is,
I find with pleasure, when the wise converse, Let him from exalied women seek the lore.
Whate'er they say my mind does comprehend; To woman it is indispensible that all
Whelber they judge some bygone sage or hero, By her becomingly should be performed.
And weigh his actions; or of science treat, Modest propriety must ever, like a wall,
Which, when extended and applied to life, Surround the tender, weak, and vulnerable sex!
Mankind at once exalts and benefits.

They reign where reigns propriety, but where
Where'er the converse of such men may stray Rudeness holds her throne, there are they nought!
I follow willingly, because with ease.

Man aims at license, woman at decorum! Well pleased the strise of argument to hear, 'Tis the difference ever visible 'twixt the sexes. When eloquence, with graceful ease,

Tasso. Dost thou then deem us rude, insensible, Inspires and animates the tuneful lips ;

untamed? And gladly listen when the man of thought

Princess. Not so ! but after objects far remote Treats of ambition, or the thirst for fame,

ye still will strive, Seeking with subtle wisdom and fine tact,

With ever violent and headlong strife ; Not to perplex and dazzle, but instruct.

While we, with views more narrow, on this earth Leonora. And after this more grave and sage Seek one sole possession, and are too happy converse,

If that with constancy remain our own.
How with tranquil inward joy doth ear and mind Of no man's heart are we, alas ! secure,
Upon the poet's tuneful verse repose,

Whate'er the ardour of its first devotion !
Who through the medium of harmonious sounds For beauty is a fleeting treasure, and that alone
Infuses sweet emotions in the soul.

Man seems to honour-what beside remains
Allures no more-what allures no more is dead.
If men there were who knew a female heart

To prize-- who could but understand
I honour all men after their desert,

How rich the store of truth and affections
And am in truth towards Tasso barely just. A woman's breast can in its depths conceal;
His eye scarce lingers on this earth; his ear If the memory of bliss-fraught, happy hours
To nature's beauteous barmony is tuned.

In your souls could but vividly endure,
What history offers, and what life presents, Then, then, for us a beauteous day indeed
His bosom promptly and with joy receives. Were dawned, and we once more might celebrate
Both near and distant is by him combined, The “Golden Age.”

Act II, Scene I.
And his fresh feelings animate the dead.
What we oft count for nought he doth ennoble- “ Faust." This drama, or rather dramatic poem,
What we do treasure is by him despised.

is one of the most wild and imaginative of all Moving thus through his bright enchanted sphere Goethe's works ; in it he seems to have concenThis potent sorcerer still allures us on

trated all his peculiarities, all his tendencies.
To wander with him, and partake his joys. Lessing, the great originator of German dramatic
E’en while he seems to approach us he remains art, was the first who attempted this subject, but
Remote as ever, and perchance bis vision, only a fragment of his work ever appeared ; aud
Resting on us, sees spirits in our place."

Goethe was the first who ever carried out and em-
Act I, Scene I. bodied the idea. Several imitators have followed

him, but with little or no success. The following The next is a portion of a sceve between the is a slight sketch of the plan of the work :Princess and Tasso, and considered (by Germans) Faust, à learned doctor and professor, highto be one of the gems of the piece.

souled and enthusiastic, pines for knowledge far

exceeding aught he sees within his reach, and to Princess. The golden age, my friend, long since attain it has recourse to magic. His spells sum. hath vanished ;

mon to his presence the Erdgeist, or symbol of None but the good alone can e'er restore it. original power. This spirit proceeds to explain to But, if my secret thoughts I should 10 thee confess Faust ils mode of creation and action ; bui man's This golden age, of which all poets do

limited understanding cannot comprehend the imSo love to speak and sing this beauteous fairy mensity of this spiritual power, and it disappears

. time

Faust now resolves on suicide, hoping that by reNo more was known in bygone years than now; leasing his spirit from its fleshy, material boundaOr, if it was then, so might we as certainly ries, it may rove freely through all the regions of It real make in this our present age.

superhuman knowledge; but, as he raises the cup For kindred hearts can still unite, and in

of poison to his lips, sacred music, church bells, That union find all joys of an enchanted world. and sweet hymns, come echoing 10 his ears, re

Tasso. Would that an uncontrolled tribunal, calling to mind his childhood's joys, bis youthful Formed of good and noble men, did once decide pleasures, and hours of gentle happiness; and he for all

cannot resolve to die. The devil shortly appears On what is decorous. Then no more would each to bim, and he enters into a compact with this Esteem that right which most doth benefit bimself. spirit, not with the hope of securing that knowHow oft we see the mighty and the shrewd ledge for which b:e yearns, for that hope he knows Find all succeed, and what they do is sanctioned. is vain in such companionship, but in order to

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

obtain uninterrupted activity, change, and bustle ; | possessed such an one of Shakspeare, Milton, and
that bodily motion may deaden the mind's fierce some few more of the great spirits of our country,
longing. His fate is that of all who quit the path We cannot forbear making one short extract, as it
of iruth for that of error, who prefer the welfare shows Goethe's opinion on a somewhat disputed
of the body to that of the soul. As soon as the point:-
intellect of man succumbs to his passions he is “ First love, it has been justly said, is the only
rapidly whirled into the vortex of sensuality and real one. If that feeling does return a second
material existence. The character of Faust is true time, its brightest gem, its sublimest attribute,
to itself in all its bearings, and the glimpses of bis namely its infinity, its eternity is gone for ever; by
better and gentler nature, which occasionally break the very act of loving again do we learn that ibe
like sunbeams through ihe dark clouds which en feeling is perishable and evanescent, appearing
velope him, are touches by a master hand. Me- and disappearing like all other earthly ibings.”
phistophiles, the tempter, the evil spirit by whose “ Herman and Dorothea” is a poem in hexa-
agency he is led onwards in bis downward career, meters, modelled after Homer; the subject is a
is no vulgar devil, with boofs, horns, and tail-love-tale in simple life.
but a subile, shrewd, sarcastic, artful being. Virtue “Jerry and Betsy” has appeared on our stage
is to him a mere farce; honour, an empty sound; as a musical opera, entitled “Batley."
honesty, a mark assumed to enable its wearer the “ Wilheln Meister's Peregrination," although
better to cheat; good, a mere illusion ; and evil, retaining marks of the master's hand, and not
the sole reality. It is no individual dislike to the wanting in beauties, betrays occasional tokens of
man which leads him to tempt Faust, but simply the prosiness and garrulity of age.
a wish to experimentalize on human nature. He “Die Wahlverwandschaften” (Elective attrac-
is the devil of the present day, polished and re- tions) is a novel containing many beauties, and
fined, stripped of all his tell-tale characteristics, some scenes of great delicacy and interest;

but its
with which he is painted to terrify ignorance; but moral bearing is peculiar, and unsuited to English
not one whit less malevolent, less to be shunned opinions.
and hated. The character of Margaret is very The sequel to Faust, Pandora, and some few
touchingly and naturally sketched; her youthful other of his later dramatic and poetical writings,
simplicity, her love, her child-like devotion and betray a deficiency of power ; but even to the last
trust, nay, even her fall, are pictures full of Goethe was the master-spirit of the age.
nature; and at the moment when, amid the The universality of his genius was one of the
ravings of madness, she prefers a death of igno- most striking features in this great poet's literary
miny to a life of sin, she wins our perfect sym- character. No writer ever attempted such a variety
pathy.

of styles, and succeeded so well in all; and none We forbear to make any extracts, as so many ever possessed, in so bigh a degree, the power of translations of this drama exist, among which carrying his reader along with him, and exciting those by Dr. Ansler, and Lord Leveson Gower, his most perfect sympathy. None was ever so rank highest.

persuasive, so fascinating, and gifted with such “Wilhelm Meister's Lehrjähr" (apprenticeship) unlimited command of language. It is almost is a prose work, imbued with great enthusiasm of impossible to escape the spell which his enthusiasm imagination and feeling, united with glowing and throws over our senses. faithful descriptions of the beauties of nature. It Fully to understand his greatness, we must also contains one of Goethe's most admired lyrical pro- observe that he may in some measure be regarded ductions, of which Byron has given us a beautiful as the creator of German literature; for before his version in his ballad, “ Know'st thou the land of time little had been written in the language that the cypress and myrile.” The main purpose of could be said to possess any decided superiority this work is to exhibit the progress of a youth who, of thought or style. He trod no beaten path, but though at first ignorant of the world, and filled created a bright world of his own, peopled it with with the most romantic ideas, becomes in process the beings of his own imagination, and then deof time an accomplished gentleman. It contains lighted his countrymen with the vivid and graphic many valuable criticisms, not the least of which is pictures which his eloquent pen sketched of its that op Shakspeare's Hamlet. The gentle, roman- scenery, its inhabitants, and their feelings, passions, tic, confiding Wilhelm; the sceptical Jarno; the and actions. business-like Werner; the calm, polished Lo- He was an enthusiastic admirer of the beautiful thario; the unearthly and enthusiastic Harper; wherever it is found, shone in polished society, the gay, lively Philena ; and the mysterious and and was in life and opinions a decided aristocrat. almost spiritual Mignon, who sat for the model of Among his own countrymen there are two dis. Scott's Fenella and Victor Hugo's Esmeralda; all tinct parties, one claiming supremacy of poetic are sketched with a truthful and masterly hand ; skill for Goethe, the other for Schiller; and many all blend together to form one harmonious whole, and various are the opinions put forth by each. wherein man's passions, life, and business, feelings, We quote two. Jean Paul Richter says, “ There hopes, and purposes are imaged out in types of is in Goethe a plastic rounding, a dictatorial deterpoetic and beautiful significance.

minateness, which betrays the manual artist, and “ Dichtung and Wahrheit” is an exquisite work, makes all his works resemble a gallery of bronze wherein perfect knowledge of the world is united and marble statues," with tolerance and candour of judgment; as an Novalis says of him, “He is in his works what autobiography it is unrivalled; would that we the English are in their manufactures-simple,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

convenient, and useful; and has done in German | And nuns entomb'd at dead of night, literature what Wedgwood did among English And seamen toss'd upon the billow, artists."

And spectral forms array'd in white, And Menzel, even while he does due homage to Flitting around the murderer's pillow! the “mighty mind,” to the graphic powers, and artistic skill of this great poet, adds, “But Goethe These thy continual labour ask, has infected our youth with a baneful disease, not

Yet, lady, dread not the inspection : of body, but of 'mind; leading them to desire to Well art thou fitted for the task be more than their nature admits of, 10 strive after

Of vigilant and wise selection ; impossibilities, or coldly and superciliously 10 Giving to some inspiring hope, look down on the world, and complain that it is

To others kind advice extending ; far too common-place for them. 'Many really And striving, in the words of Pope, talented individuals have been led astray by this

Ort to "reject" without“ offending." fallacious reasoning; the idea that they are shining Coun ; nor in thy efforts tire, lights, and as such ought to be worshipped, has

Whatever troubles may impede thee; turned the brain of many clever youths, and pre- Experience thou shalt thús acquire, vented them from afterwards becoming what, in a more healthful frame of mind, they were fully Ilabits of prompt and cheerful zeal,

Suited through life's rough paths to lead thee; capable of being.” But our remarks have already far exceeded And power to think, to act, and feel,

Clearness and strength of mental vision, their due limit, and were we to make them doubly

With rational and firm decision.
as long, our faint praise could add nothing to the
honour of him of whom we speak. Goeihe is Would that thy sex were all endow'd,
the pride of his own country, the admired of Like thee, with ready comprehension,
every nation to which his fame and works have To seek the wise, adnyire the good,
reached.

Scan and unveil each false pretensi
Administer reproof with grace,

Give meek timidity a trial,

And ever, in the proper place,
EDITORIAL TRIALS.

Accord acceptance and denial.
(Addressed to the Editress.)

IMPROMPTU ON RECEIVING THE

ABOVE.
Lady, amid the crowd who gaze
On these, thy graceful-varied pages,

Dear Lady, would I more deserved
Fertile in stories and in lays,

The praise your verses send, Adapted to all tastes and ages,

Where wit and fancy sparkling bright, How sew regard in pitying thought

With kindly wishes blend. The anxious toils of thy employment

If worthier than—white paper stain'd, How many deem ils duties fraught

If BELLE be sometimes blue, With constant pastime and enjoyment !

The honour be to minds like thine,

Who give the proper hue ! But I, who may presume to guess

The cares of leiter'd occupation, Know that thy work derives success From due and skilful preparation.

SONG.
In fancy I behold thee sit,

BY DAVID LESTER RICHARDSON.
At midnight, by the gleaming taper,
Searching for genius and for wit,

As quickly as the light leaf shivers,
Amid vast piles of scribbled paper.

When zephyr haurts the bower,

As quickly as the needle quivers “ Tributes to Friendship”-“Woodbine Bow- Beneath the magnet's power;

My true heart vibrates at the sound “ Musings by Moonlight on the Waters".

Of thy sweet voice divine, Songs of a Sad One”-Faded Flowers":

And yearns, with tenderness profound, “ Sianzas to Infant Sons and Daughters".

To blend itself with thine. “Sonnets to Freedom"- _" Last Farewells"Odes lo pet lap-dogs and canaries

Not long the storm-vexed stream could Jally Lays from desponding " Isabels

On yon rough mountain's breast; And lyrics from deserted “ Marys !"

It swifily wound into the valley,

Its own sweet place of rest; And tales in prose of fames and darts,

And thus o'er wild ambition's height And trellis'd cots and empty purses,

I quickly ceased to roam, And ruthless sires and broken hearts,

And sought with thee the calm delight, And children chang'd by treacherous nurses ! The blest repose of bome.

BY MRS. ABDY.

ers"

THE HAYMAKERS.

however great, will be destroyed for ever; for we A Rural Sketch.

shall then all have entered into a state where

neither crowns, nor principalities, nor powers, BY W, G. J. BARKER, ESQ.

will anything avail, but the upright heart and pure

will receive its exceeding reward. Surely, then, "----in haste her bower she leaves,

it is well for us, during our pilgrimage here, 10 With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ;

mingle freely at times with those fellow mortals Or, if the earlier season lead

who, though their names are unrecorded by the To the tann'd haycock in the mead."

herald's pen, perhaps possess souls capable of L'ALLEGRO.

thoughts as lofty as our own; in whose bosoms may beat hearts less polluted by pride and sin,

They lose much both of pleasure and knowledge Of all English rustic employments with which who, haughtily environing themselves with state, we are acquainted, haymaking is assuredly the refrain from inquiring inio the feelings by which most delightful. Talk, as much as you please, the hombler classes are actualed. about the merry harvest field,” and “the reaper's What noble sentiments, though couched iu rude joyful band;" write songs and sonnets on them, language, we occasionally hear fall from peasant and revel in descriptions of sturdy youths, and lips! what beautiful ideas are sometimes giren dark-eyed gleaners, they belong not, after all, to uiterance to by those whose talk might reasonably our island : under southern skies, they are beautiful be expected to be of nouglit but oxen. They themenough; but, in England, say what you will, the selves are wholly unconscious of it; their mental most picturesque aud delightful rural scene is faculites have never been cultivated, and, devoid presented by the hay-field. We never yet en- of education, they labour on, holding, it may be, countered any one who did not like baymaking, in secret, a sweet, but unulterable, communion and if it should ever be our lot to meet such an with the choice things of nature that surround individual, we shall immediately pronounce him them; breathing to the wild flowers, and the sighaltogether destitute of sympathy with the pleasures ing zephyrs, and the stars of night, those thoughts of the country, and cold and callous to nature's which, under more favourable circumstances, fairest prospects.

would have conferred immortality; and having Can anything be more charming than a stroll finished their course noiselessly, they are borne to through a newly-strewn field, when the sweet the burial-place of their fathers, and there laid scent of the fresh-cut hay is perfuming the evening down to mingle ashes with ashes, and dust with breeze, and rendering the whole atmosphere odori- dust, unnoticed and unremembered. Unrememferous ? Can anything be more delightful than 10 bered, said we? Nay, verily, even for them Memingle with the merry groups of haymakers whilst mory has a shrine in the fond hearts of surviving they are busily engaged in turning the fragrant kindred and friends, and the fair maidens whom crop, or raking it into winrows previous to getting ? they loved when living will visit their graves with No other employment seems half so healthy or ex- tears as precious, and, it may be, far truer than bilirating. All are brimful of mirth, that vents those shed on the tombs of coronetted rank. So itself in innocent jests and hearty laughter. The old passes away many a young rustic genius, ignorant actually recover their energy for a while, and the in- of his own powers, but happy in that very ignodolent are roused to activity; the Aush of health is rance. He enjoys the pleasant things which God recalled 10 pallid cheeks,--and so equalising is the has made for all as much as does the most reinfluence of the situation (as indeed is always the nowned. He breathes the fresh air of heaven, and case when persons of different ranks are brought listens to the lark's sweet song, and inhales the together in natural scenes), that Pride unbends his dewy fragrance of the meadow blossoms, and so haughty brow, and Humility loses at least one goes on, contented and rejoicing, until the dread half her timidity. We like this ; for, although no messenger calls him, and, like one of those blosone is readier, in proper place and season, to yield soms, he quietly lies down to moulder in the lap or claim honour for those to whom it is due, we of our mother earth, thus putting off the mortal abhor that frigid stateliness, that unapproachable for the immortal. If the world has not known pomp, which arrogates to itself a superiority in him, he, on his part, has not known the cares of body and spirit above its human brethren, and ambition; therefore we may, without error, in this sitting enthroned in a sort of mysterious and self-pronounce him happy. created semi-divinity, bears written on its front, But we are wandering from the haymakers and “ Touch me not, for I am belter than ye.”

their pleasant task. Let us return, and, entering We all entered into the world alike, and alike we yonder field, walk down the line of joyous and must all depart; bringing nothing with us, and laughing maidens who are moving so briskly across taking nothing away. Even during our stay here, it, iurning, as they go, the hay which was strewn despite the different ranks and callings which ne- yesterday. It is a well known fact, that the clicessarily exist, we participate in the self-sanie mate of England, notwithstanding its variable feelings. The noble and the peasant, the rich and character, is peculiarly favourable to beauty; and, the poor, have the same thoughts, cherish the same consequently, we find the females of our lower hopes, weep the same tears, and suffer the same orders not only possessed of charms we vainly emotions of sorrow or joy, although modified by look for in the same class in continental countries, fortuitous accidents : and when a few transcient Spain perhaps excepted, but also retaining them at years shall have passed away, all distinctions, a period of life when foreigners have lost all pre

« PreviousContinue »