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“No, Margaret." And I smiled upon her. If my heart spoke out from my face, assuredly that was a loving smile,
“I was an infant,"—continued Margaret,-" a baby, when they took me from father-land;
but I may not visit it again : an angel, with a flaming-sword forbids me to re-enter this Paradise.
Do you know why, -why, -why 2" And there was an unusual energy in the tones of her voice. 1 * *
“My dear Margaret,” I said, soothingly; “do not be thus excited. Spare yourself the recital of this story. Believe me, I know all.”
“And who told you?" asked Margaret earnestly.
Margaret had suffered the book to fall upon the ground. I went down upon one knee to pick it up. I did not rise, for I saw the cushion upon which Margaret's feet had been resting : one little foot was still there. I looked up into the maiden's face, “May I sit upon that cushion,” I said.
Margaret smiled. “You may sit there, -why not But my Lord Hamlet—” Then she checked herself suddenly, and continued, “I almost forget, Claude, what I was about to say. Something very silly, I am sure, -something not worth remembering.”
I sate down on the cushion, as Hamlet sate by Ophelia. It was some allusion to this that Margaret was about to make; but perhaps she thought,-though I know not why she should, that the allusion was not quite maiden-like, and, therefore, she would not utter it. I opened the volume and began to read. The poem I fixed upon was that sweet balled of Coleridge's the “Introduction to the tale of The Dark Lady ;"—perhaps the most beautiful love-verses which the English language enshrines. If I did not read with taste, I am sure that I read with feeling ; for the tears were in my own eyes, and they trilled down Margaret's cheeks. Almost every line of the song struck some accordant note in our bosoms. But when I came to that part where the minstrel declares his passion for Genevieve, in the words of the “old and moving story” he is singing—
I told her how he pined ; and, ah
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sung another's love,
She listened with a flitting blush ;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Two fondly on her face.
The book fell from my hand ; I could not utter another line. It was all too true ; it was too close a picture of ourselves. Mly tones and gestures were exactly those of the ideal wooer in the ballad. There was no acting upon my part. I did not seek to adapt my bearing to the words of the poetry before me. It was all spontaneous ; I could not help it, I did gaze too fondly upon Margaret's lovely face. Yet, why too fondly : I am sure that she forgave me ; but I forgot every thing in the world when gazing upon that face. I could not read ; I could not hear; I could not see any thing but that beauteous face. . I took one of Margaret's hands between my own, and, looking upwards from my lowly posture, I fixed my eyes so intently upon the maiden's countenance,—with such a wrapt and admiring expression pervading my every feature, that a sculptor would have been glad of such a model for a statue of incarnate adoration.
There was a long silence—a long eloquent silence. We felt how entirely dear we were to one another; and we were happy. I was the first to utter a word. I awoke, as it were, from a dream of joy; I started up from my humble seat, and placing myself beside Margaret, I said, “Speak to me, dearest; it is better that we would be more tranquil." Margaret echoed the word ' ' tranquil;" she scarcely knew what tranquillity meant, when coupled with the name of love. She was a native of the sunny south, and her love was a passion ; it was rapture; it was excitement; she could not be calm and love at the same time. . .
“Let us think of something else,” I said, “let us—” But Margaret interrupted me in a reproachful voice.
“Let us think of something else, say you? Oh, Claude : Claude!”
“Nay, Margaret, do not be angry. God knows how entire is my affection; but this intense excitement may be injurious. I tremble for your sake, Margaret; I tremble for the safety of the sensitive plant. Will you not acknowledge that I am right ! It is better that we should be more tranquil. Perhaps you will sing to me, sweetest.”
“Yes, Claude, you are right. ... I am a weak, silly creature. I forget everything; I forget myself; I forget to do the honours of our house, Would you like coffee? I forgot to ask you; and my father is very particular that the servants shall not enter the room when they are not summoned ; i * say they wonder ; we had better have the coffee, I think : may I ask you to ring the A footman obeyed the summons, and Margaret, bending over a large book of prints, syllabled the word “coffee.” Presently the man re-appeared.
I took a cup from the salver; Margaret would not drink any coffee; I was glad to hear her refuse it; for she could not have taken aught more injurious in the present excited state of her nerves.
I soon dismissed the liveried cup-bearer, and seated myself again upon the sofa. “Margaret,” I said, “ you are a poetess; somebody told me this ; perhaps you told me so yourself; however, I know it ; is it not so? May 1 read some of your poetry 1”
“I write verses sometimes,” replied Margaret, “but I will not, I dare not, emulate to my self the sacred name of a poetess. Petrarch was a poet ; Shakespeare was a poet ; Shelley was a poet; but I, Claude—this is no affectation-I pour out my feelings upon paper, and 1 clothe then in rhymes and metres, but this is not all that is wanted, I know, but I cannot tell you what real poetry is. You will think me very fanciful, perhaps, but I have thought at times that I ama poet, though I cannot write poetry. We have both of us been poets to-night. I have thoughts and feelings within me : I have all the ideal part of poetry; but when I seek to embody my ideas in words, I fail, I am no longer a poet, I become at once low, worldly, mechanical. I think that if I had been educated in Italy—in my own country, Claude-I should have been an improvisatrice. You smile ; I am sure that you must think me a vain, foolish girl.”
“Oh, Margaret !” I exclaimed, “how well I understand what you mean. If you had never written a line, l should still call you a poetess. I thought so before I heard you speak ; I think so now, Margaret. When I saw you for the first time at the theatre, I was sure that you had poetry in your soul.”
“For my part,” continued Margaret, “there is something, I cannot help thinking, anomalous in printed poetry... You will say I am very singular, but I cannot understand how the poet can bear to unbosom himself before the world. I allude only to egotistical poetry ; such as are the sonnets of Petrarch and Shakespeare, and almost all Lord Byron's writings. I once met Mr. Hazlitt at a party. I remember having heard him say that Shakespeare was ‘the least of an egotist of any man that ever lived. He was not an egotist in his plays ; because he kept all his egotisms for his sonnets, But this is not right either. I am always in error, Claude, when I use that word,' because.' I am no logician. I know nothing of causes. But I think that Shakespeare was an egotist."
She ceased, wishing me to say something ; but I only cried, “Go on; I love to hear thy sweet voice, Margaret."
“I have very little to say, I am afraid, unless I repeat something that I have already spoken of before, I marvel how a poet can lay bare his heart to the gaze of an unfeeling public; I marvel how a creature of sensibility can make confidants of the whole world ; I marvel how he can dare to communicate the inmost secrets of his soul, his joys, his sorrows, his hopes, his fears ; and, above all, his love, Claude, to a sordid and insensate multitude, who laugh at his fine feelings, and make a mock of his agony, and cry out in the plenitude of their brutish exultation—“ Ha! ha : ha! —I am better than this man ; what a wretched creature is a poet 2—genius, a fine thing truly ;’ tis another name for unhappiness;' and then, Claude, they thank God that they are “not as this man is.' I have heard it, yes; it is true, I have heard it, and I have wept to hear it. But I have not wondered at the people ; I have only wondered at the poet.”
“Sorrow is egotistical, Margaret. Poetry is the child of sorrow ; your own poet has said that
Most wretched men
It is very true, Margaret, but it is strange that they should desire to teach. But will you not sing to me, Margaret : 1 should so like to hear you sing this evening.”
Margaret did not answer; but rising from the sofa, she walked straightway towards her harp, and having seated herself beside it, she stretched out her beautiful arms, and striking a few irregular preludious notes, she awakened the chords of the instrument, with a rapid, yet delicate touch, until they had taken their measured tone; and then the full harmony burst upon my ear—voice and lyre mingling together.
The song was Margaret's own composition; it was in the language of her native country, a wild, irregular ode to Italy, which reminded one of those patriotic addresses which the Welch harpers were wont to pour forth, in days long buried in the sepulchre of the past. The following translation will convey to the reader but a faint idea of the energy, the pathos, and the delicacy ofthe original.
I. “I turn my face towards the south, for that way lies the home of my fathers, the land wherein I was born, and wherein she, who bare me lies buried. Oh! that I could borrow the plumage of a bird, or sail from realm to realm upon the bosom of a silver-rimmed cloud, floating across the azure heavens, and I would voyage towards thy bright shores, radiant Italy, land of the sun."
II. “I pant for my native fields. I am consumed with an unquenchable thirst. I am even as a bird in a cage, who longeth to fly away. Why do they keep me here This ungenial clime turneth the blood of my veins into ice. But in Italy, in my beloved father-land, the sun glows warmly like the feelings of a youthful poet; the air is soft as the voice of love ; the sky above -the clear hyaline is deep blue, like the eyes of a seraph—all things are beautiful there.”
“In Naples was I born ; there did the tide of life first circulate in these veins ; there did I first become sensible of the pains and pleasures of vitality ; there was my first tear shed. Alas! how many have I shed since 1. There were these lips first moulded into a smile of infantine delight. Why may I not return thither I am an Italian ; I feel it within me; this cold western island has nothing in harmony with my soul.” IV. “The city sleeps at the foot of the mountain ; the blue, rippling sea laves the margin of its daedal streets ; the aspiring mountain-peaks of the giant Vesuvius mingle themselves with the heavens; a mighty turmoil is stirring within, like that which swells the bosom of a proud manwho would rank himself with the gods. Further on lies the buried city,+wondrous record of past ages. . I see all these things with the eye of my fancy, but I am forced to live asar off. Alas! why was I born a Neapolitant” V.
“I pine—I wither—I am dying, a captive in a great prison-house. I shiver with cold ; I am girt about with ice. I wander here and there, but all is dark and desolate. My soul harmonizes with eternal nature. How can I be joyous in this place, where every thing around me is so drear? 1 speak in the language of my country; it is my only solace, I have none beside it. I am a wretched outcast. Why was I not cut off in my infancy It is better to die in Italy, than to live any where else in the world.”
We consider this altogether one of the most striking specimens of the beautiful and pathetic in Jerningham. We believe that many of those who read it will be inclined to exclaim with the author,
“What a beautiful thing it is to make love over a volume of poetry '"
We believe it must be; for the development of passionate love, is the poetry of the heart.
It will be seen, by our last quotation, that Mr. Kaye excels occasionally in pourtraying the passions and emotions familiar to young minds; but what is more extraordinary, is, that he frequently exhibits a subtlety of thought and an analytical power which would seem to be the fruits of a much more matured judgment, and greater experience than our author's. One extract will suffice to support our opinion on this point. Delaval is relating the history of his intimacy with Lord Leicestor's father, and of his plan of revenge. He had saved his Lordship's life at school, but made the discovery that his quondam friend, on whom he still “doted,” cared not for him. He proceeds thus:
“We became once more the most inseparable companions in Eton ; but we were never friends again from that hour. Oh! no ; our connexion now was but the ghost of our former friendship; we played with one another, we read with one another, we walked with one another ; but our souls communed not. We were two bodies linked together by fate; but further than this there was nothing—nothing which spoke of the union that had been. It would have been impossible, situaled as we were, to have moved both of us, upon the same arena, with an outward semblance of difference, palpable to the senses of all around us. It would have been too unnatural, too inexplicable a sight to manifest to such as understood it not. This it was that drew us togother that we ought to associate—that the world would marvel if we did not—that we should wonder at ourselves if we did not; aud we both of us tried to believe that still we were all-in-all to each other. We neither dared to utter our misgivings, but the sophistry would not act ; we attempted to smother the truth, but the effort was very idle, we tried more to cheat ourselves than to delude one another; but it failed. Self-delusion is a spontaneous thing. We knew what was the reality; but we parted not.
"How inexplicable the excursions of the mind—how unfathomable the ordinations of fate— how wild the wanderings of the affections ! But a few short weeks and the most servent, the most engrossing love, had been chilled into the coldest indifference. I often amuse myself by endeavouring to develop the progress of this change; to distinguish each link in the chain of altered feelings; to discern the bridge of twilight over which I passed from light to darkness. But I leave •ff unsatisfied with my endeavours. 1 went to Eton a child of sensibility, enamoured of beauty both natural and intellectual. 1 have already told you that an ideal creation first excited my boyish love; I dwelt upon this circumstance, because, in some measure, it served to illustrate the state of my moral organization at that time. My soul was exceedingly thirsty; my heart was craving for an object unto which it might cleave; aud, in the absence of a material reality, it clung to
a phantasy of the brain. Perhaps you will now understand the condition of my mind, when I was entered at Eton, and fully acaount for the extravagant passion which I conceived for my first friend. The connexion which I then formed, influenced the whole future tehour of my life. There is nothing strange or unaccountable in this ; it would have been marvellous had the consequences been otherwise. The void in my heart was full-full even to the overflowing. I drank even te intoxication the precious wine for which my soul had thirsted. My moral fabric was now completed ; and I was no longer the crude fragment of a human being, which I felt myself, ere I loved and was beloved. Had the first object of my young attachment been a creature of the opposite sex, my love would have strengthened as 1 approached maturity ; the development of my intellect, and the increase of my knowledge, would have presented me with certain new, and undreamt of combinations, relating to the constitution of love, which, whilst they wrought a change upon the nature of my affections, would have served to strengthen them, as I advanced in years, until the possession of their object would have become the all-devouring principle of my existence. But as the circumstances of my sate were woven, the converse of this was the case. Years diminished the warmth of my attachment. As I ascended the hill of life, age and experience weakened my ardour. Knowledge pointed out to me that my enthusiasm was something strange, uncommon, and unnatural. I looked around and saw none like me. I heard the name of “friend” bandied about from mouth to mouth ; the word was on every tongue, but I looked in vain for the substance; for I sought for something like unto my own, and then I looked upon myself as an isolated creature whose feelings were not as those of my fellows; for their friendships were temperate and sober, whilst mine was full of passionate intoxication, and then I looked upon myself as a silly creature, because I was unlike to the rest of the world. The freshness of my sensations wore away, the bloom of my first affection was destroyed, the world and the world's littleness had touched it, and it was as fruit which had passed through many hands; contact had soiled its beauty. And then the ignorance, which is bliss, forsook me; the mist of delusion passed away; I had tasted of the tree of knowledge ; and I saw corruption with too clear a sight. What once I regarded as perfection discovered a thousand blemishes; stainless purity became spotted as the pard ; the cheek of health ulcerous and bloated ; the honeyed voice harsh and discordant. Then I despised myself, because I had been imposed upon, because I had walked in the shadow of credulity, and I shut my eyes; and I tried to cling to the old belief; but it deluded my grasp, and mocked me. Alas! a change had passed over my feelings; and certes, it was not for the better.
“But I must drop metaphor, and leaving my high place in the clouds, employ once more the language of humanity. This ‘damnable iteration’ creeps upon me, and I utter a number of big words, all signifying nothing. To tell the truth, Harry Leicester was not destitute of faults; but he had many and great excellences. He was ‘gentle but not fearful ;’ he was firm, resolute, and little selfish. But had his virtues been most transcendant they must have fallen far short of the value which I fixed upon them at first sight. I thought that in Liecester. I contemplated the very essence of all perfection. It is the nature of love to form a hasty conclusion, and to make subsequent discovery of its error. Thus it was, unfortunately, with une. • Truth,' says Penthea, in the play, is the daughter of old time;' and long acquaintance taught me to scrutinize too nearly the qualities of my friend. I viewed them with a microscopic minuteness, I explored the very penetralia of his character. From effects, I betook myself to causes; I endeavoured to sift his motives, and to unravel the perplexities of bis nature. Nor was this all ; as my sight became keener, the defects of my friend became more prominent. Years, which had sharpened my faculties more strongly, developed the weak points of Leicester's character; and failings, little unbecoming to the child, became glaring and monstrous deformities when they exhibited themselves in their more advanced stages. In addition to this, age brought to light many qualities which had hitherto lain dormant ; his character coming in collision with the world, struck out the sparks of undeveloped vices: his intercourse with men corrupted him : he bowed to “busy opinion,'—the meddling fool,’ who is the sworn foe of truth; and quitting the natural for the conventional, became an artificial worldling. I loved him not the better for this.
There are several other passages in which the author displays considerable knowledge of the mind and its workings; but not one inore subtle and analytical than that we have quoted.
With what a burst of genuine eloquence the author describes,
READING IN A SUMMER-110 USE.
It was a beautiful summer's-day, oh I remember it well ; there was sunshine over the glorious landscape, and there was sun-shine in the recesses of my soul, and 1 thought that I had never been so happy, as I lay at full length in that summer-house reading, and yet hardly reading, for thought was more rapid than vision, and my brain outstripped my lazy-pacing eyes; then my soul was calm and undisturbed as the waters of a pellucid lake, and my gigantic passions slept, and I was harmless and tranquil as an infant in the grandeur of its gentle slumbers.
There are many such brief and beautiful bits as that we have last quoted, scattered through Jerningham; but we must hasten on to a few more extracts, and then take leave of this work.
We have spoken of Delaval's revenge as utterly revolting ; but the most revolting character in the work, is Jerningham's brother, Frederick. He is an exaggeration of Blifil—a deeper hypocrite and villain than the former. We had thought of quoting some passages illustrative of this character, but we find the task too disgusting. By a series of atrocious artifices and calumnies, he succeeds in marrying the lovely, enthusiastic Margaret, the affianced bride of Jerningham ; and the latter, then, out of pique, as we have stated, marries the pretty, fond, confiding Ellen Hervey, and breaks her heart by his brutality. Soon after their marriage he meets Margaret at a party, and the scene which ensues, though drawn with considerable power, is somewhat unnatural. The conduct of Jerningham, on this occasion, has been denounced by some critics as quite unmanly and revolting; it seems to us, rather, to have been quite absurd.: a man of such intense feelings, could never have so conducted himself. Margaret finds an opportunity, the next day, of making known her innocence and her husband's villany, and, we confess, we felt alarmed for the result of the summer-house interview between Jerningham and this impassioned and beautiful creature, when she has not merely to exculpate herself, but to avow that he is still the sole object of her heart's adoration. The author brings them off, however, by a touch of his magic wand : they are on the brink of a precipice, but they fall not. We should like to have quoted some portion of this scene, and of several others in the third volume, but we have not space for more than one long extract. The most exciting of the whole is that of Margaret's madness, which is pourtrayed with great power, but considerably overwrought. She is afterwards restored to society; but, instead of getting rid of her vile husband by the gallows, and marrying the widowed Jerningham, as poetical justice required, her spouse suddenly repents and they are happy together | Happy The chapter which develops the fate of Everard Sinclair, who, after losing his lovely wife, characteristically, but somewhat suddenly, sacrifices his life to his humanity, at a fire, is the best in the third volume ; and the conclusion, the description of the fire, has an air of truthfulness in it which is very impressive.
About six weeks after the date of my interview with Frederick Jerningham, Sinclair, and I were sitting together in the drawing-room of my house, at Heathfield, conversing upon a subject which, of all others, was the most interesting to my friend, namely, the best means of promoting the welfare of our fellow-men.
It was summer time, and it was almost mid-night. Ellen had retired to her chamber ; whilst Everard and I sate together, by an open window, which looked towards the garden, enjoying the silence of the night, and the coolness of the nocturnal air. There was no moon, but a myriad of stars bespangled the great canopy of the heavens.
We were speaking of the selfishness of the world. “I have often thought,” said Everard, “that what we are wont to call selfishness, is nothing more than a sort of suicidal propensity, which ignorance very often develops. Selfishness defeats its own object. For my part, I wonder that they whose sole desire it is to render themselves happy, do not for once try what may be the result of making others as happy as themselves. When Xerxes offered a reward for a new form of pleasure, it is strange that there was not a wise man in the kingdom to whisper into his ear, Evepysta ! Benevolence never palls. It is the only flower upon earth which never withers or decays. Let the selfish man once make an experiment of its virtues, and he will forsake his sensuality for ever.”
“We must change his heart first,” I replied. “There are some men who would derive no pleasure from doing a good act.”
“I think not so. He who has virtue enough voluntarily to do good, has virtue enough also to experience the delights of having done good. He will stoop, as it were, to pick up a stone, and find that he has a jewel in his hand. It will be with him, as it was with Pyrrhias, the boatman, of whom Plutarch tells us, that having rescued, by his humane exertions, an old man, who had been captured by pirates, he received, as the wages of humanity, several earthenware vessels, which, apparently, contained only a quantity of pitch, but which, upon examining their contents, proved, in reality, to have been laden with gold. Such are always the wages of benevolence ; we appear only to be repaid with pitch, but in reality, we are repaid with gold.”
“Ay, there also : but I speak now of earthly wages. What are the wages of benevolence? happiness, happiness unbounded. What a beautiful thing it is to contemplate one's own good works When we have built a house, or planted a vineyard, or sown a field with corn, we contemplate the work delightedly. A sort of active pride stirs within us; we are conscious of having