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figure and degrade their best productions. In avoiding the measured uniformity and dull formalities of the Aristotlelian school, with its inviolable unities and its intolerable confidants, it might be natural enough that the pendulum should swing to the opposite extreme, and that the despotic monotony of the classicists should be superseded by the horrors and the license of their rivals. But the excuse does not alter the fact. It cannot render · Lucréce Borgia' a fitting heroine ; it cannot legitimize the attempt to perpetuate the disgusting atrocities of the Tour de Nesle ;' it cannot make ‘La Reine d'Espagne' decent or tolerable. These nightmares of the stage, as Hugo himself very ingenuously calls them, will fade away- it is fitting they should — with the morning light of sober judgment. if, in the libraries of our children, they still find a place, it will be on some dusty shelf, beside the 'Castle Spectre' or the Mysteries of Udolpho.'
A more legitimate exception, perhaps, might be made in favor of the German drama. A large proportion of Germany's voluminous authors have occasionally written for the stage. Even her Milton himself, the elaborately enthusiastic Klopstock, has, after his own antique fashion, deigned to woo Melpomene. The same giant intellect which, in later years, rioted in ‘Faust,' devoted one of its earliest efforts also to the drama, producing Goetz of Berlichingen ;' a play of no little merit, though indifferently adapted for representation. And, Shakspeare out of the question, it might be no easy task to match some of the happier creations of Schiller's dramatic fancy: take, for example, the beautiful conception of Tekla’s character in his • Wallenstein,
Yet, withal, it will hardly suffer denial, that the proportion of modern literary talent which has flowed in the dramatic channel, is small, compared to that which has taken other directions; and small indeed, compared to the importance of the art, and its neglected capabilities of affording instruction and delight. Now that the tale, the novel, the romance, have been elevated to a rank which, in former days, belonged to graver efforts only, and that distinction in that line is a hopeless reward, except for talents of the highest order, may we not hope for a corresponding improvement in a department nobler and worthier still ? When that improvement comes, small need will there be to challenge, for the dramatic art, a rank which even Shakspeare's powers of enchantment have proved insufficient with many fully to secure for it; a rank as an art not fascinating only but useful; an art, that shall improve the affections as well as gratify the imagination ; a Promethean art, that shall breathe life into the unimpassioned marble of history, and upon the cold beauty of the moral code ; an art practically philosophical, that shall exhibit what it desires to explain; that shall place the past
before our eyes,
and cause us to know it ; that shall embody tue to our senses, and cause us to love it; an art, that, like a pure soul in a fair form, shall win while it teaches, and convince the understanding by first mastering the heart : an art, in fine, in accordance with the genius of the times — with that mild spirit of modern reform, which strives not, as our headstrong ancestors used, to dam up the passions and propensities of youth, until, like the arrested torrent of some Alpine valley,
the gathering stream outburst its ruptured barrier, carrying devastation in its path; but rather seeks gently to guide the mountain torrent through field and meadow, so that it shall scatter verdure and freshness over the very scenes it once covered with desolating inundation.
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
UNPITYING Avenger! thy still voice
Oh, Conscience! thou exacting creditor -
The dust of all humanity shall rise.
' To me there seems a religion in love, and its very foundation is in faith.'. MADELINE.
After my return home, as mentioned in my last chapter, I remained at my father's house for a few days, when another tutor was provided for me, in the most delightful section of the country, and better than all, within walking distance of my dear cousin. I had not, during all this time, lost sight, in my mind's eye, of my Catholic relation. She was always in my dreams. If I stood by a lake or running water - if I stood beneath the shade of a tree — if I was upon a mountain, or in a deep valley, or in lonely places, which induce the mind to indulge in trains of poetic musing and pensive thought, at such times, I thought of my dear cousin. Her image was reflected from the clear water; her voice sounded in the breeze; the shade played out her form; and on the mountain, I was nearer to heaven and to her.
Who does not know that one's loves are stronger at some times than at others ? To the most fervent heart, there are seasons of relapse and indifference. The eye looks upon a trafficking world, and forgets, in a momentary disgust, that there are any bright and sacred temples of feeling amid the degraded throng. In seasons of want and uncertainty, when weighed down with bitter poverty, or biting ills, we may turn our eyes in despair for some resting-place for the sick soul; but love comes not then in its appropriate garb. It is then the medicine ; but in prosperity — in moderate yet calm periods of life, when we can feel that our livelihood is provided for how placidly and luxuriously the heart gives itself up to the delights of domestic affection, and reposes in the confidence of friendship !
In my new abode, I was happy. I was surrounded by comparative refinement. There was nothing to disgust my taste, if I had not that which could elevate my character. The family I resided in, were well educated. They lived in handsome country style. We had music, and paintings, and books, and flower-gardens, and a neat teatable, and agreeable chat.
but I did not study here. Day after day I resolved to begin. One week broken, I would resolve upon the next, and each day saw me dwindling away my time in fruitless efforts to do something. I knew all the while that I was wrong, and felt it keenly. I knew the right, but I had no habits of study. The fault might be traced to my early education, where I was taught words and not ideas. The foun. dation of my character was weak, and my whole being yielded to the slightest temptation.
Certainly the old poets were wiser than the moderns, for when will it not be true to say:
All promise is poor dilatory man.'
'In all the magnanimity of thought,
I read a great deal more here than at any time before ; but it was principally at night, and during hours which I should have devoted to sleep; for in the day time, I was restless and nervous in consequence, and unfit for any thing but moping about. I read works of feverish interest, and used to get worked up into such an excited state of mind, that my cries alarmed the family. My tutor at times thought me partially deranged.
I was accustomed to spend whole nights upon the banks of the lake, which was distant from the house only a quarter of a mile. Frequently I obtained permission — for here I was under the appearance of authority — to visit my cousin, about two hours' walk from the house ; yet I did not go there often, but employed my leave of absence in wandering about the fields, in sight of the house where she lived. I shrunk from exposing the secret feelings of my heart by my conduct. When in her presence, I was always respectful and rational; there was a subdued earnestness in my manner, which I am now conscious that she, with the nice tact of her sex, fathomed. She must have known that I loved her, and I believe she was, to say the least, rather interested in me. Who can be insensible to affection ?
I was called a wild, dissipated young man. Nobody ever expected I would make any thing worth having; and so mothers did not court me for their daughters. But in the house of my cousin, I always received a kind welcome. The whole family treated me as if I was worthy of something good, but it was the hospitality of open-hearted people, who feel above suspecting or being suspected, and not the calculating kindness of the selfish and low-lived. Nevertheless, I rarely went there. I trembled when I did go. My heart beat loudly as I approached the house ; my knock was hesitating; my manner flustered
My cousin was so much older than I, that with the greatest coolness imaginable, she used to take it upon herself to amuse me, and show me the garden, and pluck a choice flower for me, and see that I had sugar enough in my tea. I was a little, short, fellow, but
upon such occasions, I confess, I blushed more for my dignity than my love. We used to sit, during the warm summer afternoons, in an arbor situated in the midst of a highly cultivated garden, with a fountain playing up in the centre. I used to think of the garden of Eden, and I do indeed doubt whether Adam ever enjoyed more in his paradise than I did in the fountain-arbor.
I had some enthusiasm, and she loved to excite it. Deeply read herself, and elegantly educated, she could sport with my crude and irregular reading, and she had all the advantage of comparing her tastes with nature, in me. We had music, too, and of that I was passionately fond, by inheritance. I cannot at this day describe what we said, but I only know that it was bliss to me to be near her — to look in her dark, full eye, and the expressiveness of her whole person. Sometimes, we wandered about the grounds, among the hay-makers, and gave scope to the full glee of youth — free and open in all our feelings, and unconscious of our actions. How I was fascinated, as I gazed upon the grace, the beauty, heightened by exercise and excitement, the unstudied elegance of her movements !
But generally I was very reserved, unless taken by surprise, and hurried, by some such amusement, out of my diffidence. I remember that it used to wound my pride, to observe that my cousin could be so assured, and easy in her address to me. She would reach out her hand to me with a frankness that told me it did not contain her heart, but only her good wishes. Women do not give their hearts, their affections, those thoughts and emotions they have kept as a hidden treasure, since the commencement of their girlbood, without a trembling fear - an indefinite mistrust that the receiver will not value the gift according to its estimate in their own minds.
After an afternoon spent with her, at early evening I used to set out for home. I always pretended to leave them in haste, for fear of being late ; but many is the night I have stood concealed near the house, to catch glimpses of her figure — to hear, perhaps, the tones of her voice - her joyous laugh, or her affectionate caresses of her younger sisters. There was an excitement about this, that grati
I sought to create difficulties. It was necessary to my idea or scheme of love, that the course of true love never should run smooth.' I could not have felt any sympathy for the loves of another, which were prosperous; I could not have been interested in my own easy conquests.
Returning home at night from these visits, I lingered along the banks of the lake; I plunged into the deep groves. I wished to find solitude, lonely and untrodden places, where I could sigh unrestrained and unwitnessed, and give vent to the pent-up ecstacies of
It was a boyish romance, but it was not silly. It was too serious to be trite; too influential upon my life, to be called ridiculous.
I have registered these feelings, to show into what a vein of thought and conduct a young man may be led, by cultivating exclusively the imaginative powers — by reading fiction alone. He is mad, to all intents and purposes. The great objects of existence, the good of society, his eternal interests, sink into insignificance before the one great idol his fancy rears. He is absorbed. All the channels of the soul are made to run in different directions, and to nourish various designs of duty; are turned by disease into one great river that sweeps through the moral nature, and bears down with it all hopes of usefulness. Such is passion.
My remaining term of suspension passed on in this manner. How I got rëinstated in college, with my class, I am unable to say. I was received through some influence or other, with the proviso that I should pay some attention to certain studies during the approaching long vacation.
When I returned, my class-mates hardly knew me, nor I them. We had all changed materially in our habits and feelings. New lights of genius had sprung into notice; old ones bad gone out, or were eclipsed. We had all grown, both in mind and body.
It was now the junior year, and the character of the man, the permanent character, began to show itself. The effects of different