Page images

The most renowned of the Matadores were Romero and Pepe-Hillo, the author of a treatise entitled Tauromachia. The first retired from the arena full of honours and considerable wealth. But being desirous of obtaining for his son a canonship, he was commanded, in order to obtain that favour from the queen, Maria Louisa, to re-appear in the arena, on some grand festival.

Romero joyfully obeyed; but his age and feebleness were inadequate to cope with the fearful bull, and he would certainly have been killed, had not his friends forcibly withdrawn him from the arena.

The will, however, was taken for the deed, and his son was accordingly made a canon. With regard to PepeHillo, like a gallant general, he met his death in the field of his exploits. On a certain occasion, contrary to the opinion of his friends, who knew him to be suffering from a wound in the hand, he appeared in the arena. Unhappily he had to encounter a tremendous animal. The bull hurled him on high twice; and when the unfortunate man fell on the ground he was frightfully gored, and shortly afterwards expired, amidst the most excruciating torments.


There is a magic in the days gone by,

Which stirs, through all its depths, the pausing soul ; When, dim and vast, in wild sublimity,

The shades of buried ages round us roll;When, from the bonds of present being freed,

We live through years and empires in an hour,Behold the Victor crowned, the Patriot bleed,

And the long laurelled train of giant Power.


There is a magic in the days gone by,

When some hoar, mouldering relic of their pride Rears mournfully its riven frame on high,

And forceful points to what hath lived and died; Like the pure memory of our dawning life

In childhood's stainless heart devoutly placed; Which, through the whirl of sin, the passions' strife,

Lives on, when all around lies dark and waste.


Memorial of the dead! the gorgeous day

Rests like a glory on thy crumbling height; And Summer's balmiest odours round thee play,

And rainbow blossoms clothe thy stones in light. Joy is above--around thee — in the blue

Of the far heaven, and in the gurgling notes
Of birds harmonious ;- in the changing hue
Of the fresh leaping wave that by thee floats.

But joy claims nought in thee,--my pulses change

Their giddy throb, as, with a holy thrill More consonant to thought's sublimer range,

I enter thy charmed precincts, slow and still. I stand amid the mockeries of Time,

My foot is on the reaching aims of Art; For this, proud worm! didst thou essay to climb

Up Memory's steep, and set thy name apart?

Where is that name and glory ?— let the blast,

Which sweeps thy midnight chambers, loud arise And to the skies the haughty secret cast,

In words of storm :-I speak; but none replies. Thine echoes have departed — and the air,

Which all without is full of glee and song, Wails in the chastened accents of Despair

Through the dank ivy, as it creeps along!


Now following floods of light intense pervade,

Floating these roofless arches, with their line Of slender columns, melting into shade,

As less and less the clustered shafts decline;These desolate windows, and their fairy work

Of nicest tracery, choked by clinging weeds, Where in her silent nest the small birds lurk,

Or hymn low notes o'er Valour's sculptured deeds.


While in the holiest circle, where the burst

Of choral chant to Night's dull ear was given, Two graceful trees the sacred soil hath nursed,

And reared their heads rejoicingly to heaven.
Vigour and youth — decay and tottering age--

Day's vivid blaze — the darkness of the dead ;-
Strange contrast!— lo, the concentrated page
Of Man's all-grasping glory here is spread.

Why do I love this dim religious awe,

Which sends my eager spirit forth to meet
The thronging phantoms of quenched day, and draw

Mysterious voices round my lonely seat ? Why does the deed of glory rouse my soul

To passionate joy—the bard's inspired shell Each thought and mute-suspended pulse control,

Each grovelling dream of earth, absorbing, quell?


Should not this gracious world, how fairly dressed

In shapes and hues of wonder, light mine eye With joy as full, with awe as deeply blessed,

And wrap my soul in equal ecstasy ? Alike on earth, in characters of light,

Sublime as those revealed when Moses trod
The thundering mountain in a nation's sight,
Is stamped the mystic finger of their God.

Oh, yes! I love the deepening firmament,-

Its living spheres of glory--every flower
Of hill, or brook, or dell—wild ocean, rent

By storm, or slumbering in the twilight hour: But in the fuller majesty of mind,

Whose beams intenser glow as ages fly, A holier sympathy my senses find,

A firmer pledge of Immortality!

« PreviousContinue »