« ПредишнаНапред »
at the Hippodrome, where, at the age of seventy>ix, it was a wondrous, but sorry sight to see her.
Old usages of modern slang words turn up in unexpected quarters sometimes. Most of us think that the word jolly, in the sense of very, extremely, ia of recent date; but in a serious theological work of two hundred years ago — John Trapp's " Commentary on the Old and New Testament" (London, 1656 -57) — we read: "All was jolly quiet at Ephesus before St. Paul came thither." We have heard the same phrase from a school-boy's mouth, applied to a maiden aunt's tea-party. Trapp's Commentary is a great favorite of Air. Spurgeou's.
An Irish paper, in recently remarking that most of the novels now being published in London periodicals are by writers who are Irish either by birth or by family, speaks of Mr. Wilkie Collins as the son of an Irishman. This, we believe, is not correct. The author of " Armadale," himself a Londoner, is the son of Mr. William Collins, the painter, also a Londoner. But the father of the painter came from the sister island. Mr. Wilkie Collins is therefore twice removed from his Irish connections, and can hardly be claimed as the countryman of Carleton and Lever.
Mr. Puxch publishes the following Mexican duet, " arranged for Mr. Seward and H. I. M. the Empuror Louis Napoleon " : —
Ur. Sevard. Now, Louis N., I want to know
When yon 'II get out of Mexico?
Your stopping there is quite a blow
At onr great doctrine called Monroe. Limit ffap. France takes no bidding from a foe,
I know what to her name I owe;
No threat* from Bunkum, Ro«h, & Co.
Shall have the power to make me go. tlr. Setcard. Now, really, if you answer so.
We mnst commence to pick the crow. Lottit Nap. The crow, indeed! your nution 's low, —
The eagle's form my banner* show. Mr. Seirard. And we ain't got no engle, no?
As good a bird as yours, man beau. Loua Nap. The sovereign whom I took In tow
I mono to keep in itatu quo. Mr. SewarJ. Be oft", and rest content to fow
New kingdoms on the banks of Po. Lout Nap. Such chaff as that be pleased to stow,
And in one boat let 's try to row.
A»uu Nap. And then my word is " Eastward, ho!"
To wrath, begin with rage to glow.
Will net upon that heat like feau.
f get out of Mexico.
The name of Peacock as a writer of fiction, says the Athencfum, is too little known by the readers of our generation; but Shelley's executor, the author of "Ileadlong Hall," "Nightmare Abbey," " Maid Marian" (with its charming lyrics), "Crotchet Castle," " Melincourt," and, the other day, " Gryll Grange," — the friend and collaborator of Bentham, and Mill, and Grote, must not pass to his rest, at the patriarchal ago of eighty, without a tribute to his racy wit, his quaint reading, and his quiet command of our mother tongue. Rated among novelists, Peacock, in one respect, counta for little. He never
tried for plot; he had small descriptive power. Rated as a satirist who shot Folly as it flew, and could exhibit the philosophies and paradoxes of the time with an epigrammatic keenness, and withal a genial recognition of all that is best, highest, and most liberal, he demands no common praise, and will hold no common place whenever the story of ultra-liberal literature shall como to be written. One brief, whimsical volume comprises the best of his novels; but there is more in that book than in the seventy volumes of those prolific folk who lay stories — six a year — as fast as circulating-library readers will devour them, to be forgotten as soon as devoured. Peacock's tales will be returned to. They are, in some sort, already classics.
Dr. Ludwio Nohl, the editor of Beethoven's and Mozart's Letters, publishes a series of musical letters in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, from which we gather the following anecdote current at Vienna, where many a tradition in reference to the great masters is still afloat. In tin; summer of 1 "91 the young Lieut. Von Malfatti resided at Baden, seeking to be relieved, by its healing mineral waters, from the effects and wounds of the last Turkish war. His lameness compelled him to spend the greater part of the day in his room on the ground-floor, where he sat at the window reading, but often enough glancing over his book towards the window opposite, also on the ground-floor, which was occupied by a young, slender woman, with raven locks. One day, towards evening, he observes a short, rather youthful-looking man creep about the house of his fair ria-a-vit, look around him cautiously, and then attempt to scale the window of the lady. Herr von Malfatti hurries, as quickly as his limping will allow him, to the protection of his lovely neighbor, collars the little man, and asks him roughly what he wanted there, pointing out to him that he had mistaken the window for the door. "Indeed, I hope I may be permitted to enter the apartments of my wife," was the answer of Mozart, — for it was he, who had arrived from Vienna unexpectedly to visit his Stanerl, wishing to manage a surprise for her when she came home from her evening walk. His " Requiem " and " Zauberflote," which were at the time occupying his thoughts, did not prevent him from choosing with the greatest care suitable lodgings at Baden lor his "Herzensweibchen."
He had written to his friend, the choral director at Baden, — " Dearest Stoll! Do not be a Poll! — Secondly, look out for my wife a small lodging: the principal requisite of which must be, that it is on the ground-floor." His wife was at that time in an interesting way, and he was in great anxiety lest his " Stanzi Marini" should have a fall. She was delivered on the 26th of July in the same year of a son, Wolfgang Amadous the second. In return for this, and other little services which bis friend did for him, Mozart lent him sometimes ono of his Masses, and even composed fbr him later at Baden his divine ' Ave Verum.' Lieut. Malfatti was not a little surprised when ho found out that he had flirted with Madame Mozart, who was not at all insensible to the homage paid to her charms. Through this little adventure he became well acquainted with Mozart. His nephew, who told the anecdote to Herr Nohl, often heard his uncle relate it laughingly.
Not so pleasant is what people repeat about Beethoven's family and relatives. It is sufficiently known what Beethoven had to- suffer from these and his brothers' low marriages; but his own character shines forth in its moral dignity by the new facts which Hcrr Nohl has picked up, and by a number of hitherto unpublished letters to one of his brothers. These facts are, however, of so desolate a nature, that Heir Nohl only refers to them because they afford him an opportunity of saying a word of apology and exoneration on Beethoven's much-blamed "nephew." The gifted boy was the only child of his parents; from Lis tender youth he was the witness of domestic quarrels arising out of the levity of his mother and the violent temper of his lather. When the latter died, his celebrated uncle acted in the place of parent, and in his elevated notions of duty and honor tried before all to separate him from his mother. She in her turn tried every means of stratagem and persuasion to chain the boy to her; she taught him to practise all sorts of falsehood, made him suspicious of his uncle and guardian, who, what between exaggerated love and exaggerated anger towards his nephew, certainly was not the man to lead him with a firm and gentle hand on the right path of life.
It is well known, and but too true, what misery and trouble arose for Beethoven out of these family disputes; but not the less to be pitied was the child, •who, between the over-strict zeal of duty on one side, and the utmost indulgence on the other, was thrown like a ball to and fro, and deviated so much from the straight line of conduct which alone leads to a blameless and happy life, that when a youth, for but a trifling reason, he attempted suicide to make an end at once of the conflict and contradiction of his life. But that his heart was sound at the core, though led astray, is proved not only by the excellent school testimonies, which Herr Nohl examined himself, but by the fact that when left to himself after the death of his uncle, with the instinct of a wellorganized nature, he took to an orderly and active life, married an excellent wife at Iglau, and became the founder of a respectable family. His five children have become in their turn heads of families, and, if they do not share the fame of the great composer, at least they have no part in the odium clinging to his brothers, but enjoy a respectability which will secure to the name oif Beethoven, in the circles of Vienna middle-class life, respect and esteem. The youngest daughter of the ci-devant "nephew," Hermine von Beethoven, thirteen years old, shows much talent, and has just been received as pupil in the Conservatory of Vienna, where she is to perfect herself as apianiste under the direction of Professor Dachs.
That olden lady ! — can it be?
Well, well, how seasons slip away! Do let me hand her cup of tea,
That I may gently to her say: "Dear madam, thirty years ago,
When both our hearts were full of glee, In many a dance and courtly show
I had you for my vis-a-vis.
"That pale blue robe, those chestnut curls, That Eastern jewel on your wrist,
That neck-encircling string of pearls
I see them all, — I see the tulle
Looped up with roses at the knee, —
Good Lord! how fresh and beautiful
"I hear the whispered praises yet,
The buzz of pleasure when you came, The rushing eagerness to get
Like moths within the fatal flame; As April blossoms, faint and sweet,
As apples when you shake the tree, So hearts fell showering at your feet
In those glad days, my viB-fc-vis.
"And as for me, my breast was filled
With silvery light in every cell;
From amaranth and asphodel;
That carols o'er the flowery lea;
'By Jove! that t» a vis-a-vis 1'
"O time and change, what is't you mean''.
Ye gods 1 can I believe my ears? Has that bald portly person been
Your husband, ma'am, for twenty yean? That six-foot officer your son,
Who looks o'er his moustache at me 1 Why did not Joshua stop our sun
When I was first your vis-a-vis?
"Forgive me, if I "ve been too bold,
• Permit me to return your cup; My heart was beating as of old,
One drop of youth still bubbled up." So spoke I; then, like cold December,
Only these brief words said she, "I do not in the least remember I ever was your vis-a-vis."
F. A. White.
WHO SHALL DELIVER ME?
God strengthen me to bear myself j
All others are outside myself;
I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?
If I could once lay down myself,
If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!
God harden me againit myself,
Myself, arch-traitor to myself;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foo,
My clog whatever road I go.
Yet One there is can curb myself,
Christina G. Kossetti.
Alas, Fra Giacamo,
Too late ! — but follow me;
She is dead, quite dead, you see.
Gray meditative expression,
And admired too, at confession. How saintly she looks, and how meek 1
Though this be the chamber of death,
I fancy I feel her breath
Her praying, fasting, confessing,
ForTier endless image-caressing.
Not fashioned for kissing and pressing,
'But first, if you please, your blessing!
Wine? No? Come, come, you must!
And quaff a cup, I trust,
,M y heart is aching so!
And I feel so weary and sad,
You 'll sit, Fra Giacamo?
My friend! (and a friend I rank you
T ia Montepulciano ! — Thank you.
Heigho! T is now six summers
Since I won that angel and married her: I was rich, not old, and carried her
Off in the face of all comers.
So fresh, yet so brimming with soul!
Never made the dull black coal
Of a monk's eye glitter and glare.
Your pardon! — nay, keep your chair! I wander a little, but mean No offence to the gray gaberdine: Of the church, Fra Giacamo, I 'm a faithful upholder, you know. But (humor me!) she was as sweet
As the saints in your convent windows, So gentle, so meek, so discreet,
She knew not what lust does or sin does. I 'll confess, though, before we were one,
I deemed her less saintly, and thought
The blood in her veins Lad caught
Brute that I was, how I blundered!
To ninety-nine men in a hundred. Yourself, for example? you 've seen her? Spite her modest and pious demeanor, And the manners so nice and precise,
Seemed there not color and light,
Bright motion and appetite,
Internals less saintly than human ? —
You 're not a bad judge of a woman!
A jest, — but a jest I ... Very true:
'T is hardly becoming to jest,
And that saint up stairs at rest, —
She devoted herself to piety;
Or dislike her husband's society;
Above the dim vapora of hell —
To save her husband as well.
For place in the heavenly roll,
Her manner of saving her soul.
Whom I managed for that very day
To get safely out of the way —
And dug my nails in my hand,
What I 'd guessed and could understand. Each word was a serpent's sting,
But, wrapt in my gloomy gown, I sat, like a marble thing,
As she told me all! — Sit Down I
More wine, Fra Giacamo!
One cup, — if you love me I No?
What, have these dry lips drank
That Montepulciano tastes rank?
Come, drink! 't will brine the streaks
Of crimson back to your cheeks;
Come, drink again to the saint
Whose virtues you loved to paint,
Who, stretched on her wifely bed,
Lies poisoned, overhead 1
Sit still, — or by heaven^ you die!
Your death in such delicate sips;
With so pleasant a taste on his lips; But, lest Montepulciano unsurely should kiss,
Take this! and this 1 and this I
Cover him over, Pietro,
And bury him in the court below, —
You can be secret, lad, I know!
And, hark you, then to the convent go, —
Bid every bell of the convent toll,
And the monks say mass for your mistress' soul.
ON A SONG IN "THE PRINCESS."
"Ask me no more: the moon may draw the sea;
The cloud may stoop from heaven and take the dope,
w Ask me no more: what answer should I (In *
I love cot hollow cheek or faded eye
Yet, O my friend, I will not have tbee die!
Ask me Do more, lest I should bid thee live;
Ask me no more.
"Ask me no more: thy fate and mine are sealed:
Ask me Do more."
A Song? surely a drama! If, instead of a son» in three verses, we called it a drama in three acts it would be nearer the truth; and indeed it might well form the motif of such a drama. Name it* three acts Indifference, Hesitation, Submission, and let us see what they disclose to us.
They are addressed by a woman to a man, — > man who loves her most ardently, and to whom, alter long resistance, she ultimately yields; and they describe the process of her mind in the unequal conflict. In the first — Indifference — she is almost aggressive. "Ask me no more," she says, half angrily, as one wellnigh wearied out by his ceaseless importunities. "Ask me no more," — your entreaties ire of as little concern to me as the moon to the ocean, as the cloud to the mountain, to which it has a ciual and distant resemblance, but no real connection. "Ask me no more," — you are "too fond," — when have I given you either encouragement br retort for these advances? Go, go, and "ask me no more." But the man, the lover — who with all the instinct of real, faithful, heartfelt love, knows no obstacle, and will take no denial — still perseveres, still assures her of his devotion. And thus it comes to pass that-in the next act she is softened and become more merciful. She has allowed herself to notice his worn and haggard looks, and to recognize that she is the cause of them, and that if she relents, they will be removed. She still reiterate, "Ask me no more "; but with what an altered meaning! Her perplexity and uncertainty are evident "Ask me no more," — I pray you press me no longer, lest I be compelled to give you an answer which I do not yet wish to give. "Ask me no more: whj answer should I give V" She is still almost Tcsci by his persistence, — "I love not hollow cheek or faded eye." But then the blessed light and warmth break into her mind, and the first token of rebntiw appears. "Yet, O my friend," — " my friends mark that concession ! — " Yet, O my friend, I will not have thee die!" The thought of the loneliness which would beset her if this one man, this •' friend," with whom she is still half angry, were to go where he could never come back; where he would reaU.r be forever lost to her; where all his delicate, thoughtful, scorned, unrequited acts were gone forever,— this thought for the first time has found its war into her marble bosom, and it makes her tremble, it makes her hesitate, and the "Ask me no more " *in which the verse concludes a more troubled and softer in its tone than that with which it begins. A new light has shone in upon her, and the moment of her conversion is at hand. For her lover, possessed by the divine inspiration of his love, will not, cannot, cease from his suit. He still presses her with that which is a necessity for them both; which, though they neither of them know it, is their Fats He still "asks " her; and now comes the moment
when with all her force, all her fancied panoply of indifference, she can resist no longer. And this nine again what a different meaning do the familiar words contain. "Ask me no more I Not because I will not grant, but because I can no-longer refuse," because she sees how true is the instinct, how irresistible the fury, of real passion; because she is forced to admit how right as well as how powerful her lover has been in his obstinate perseverance; because she finds herself too feeble, and is compelled to give herself up to an influence which is too strong for her weak will to combat. And observe how readily and gracefully the concession is made, as all concessions should be, when the inevitable moment has arrived. "No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield." How wonderfully sweet is the " dear love," following on the "too fond," and the "friend," of the former verses! Even to this it has come, — " No more, dear love, for at a touch I yield." "A touch," — yes! not yet an embrace, but a touch, — the touch of hand on hand, which at such a moment does more than match to fire a magazine. "No more," — yes, "no more " now , — no more importunity, but also no more resistance, — now, silence and fondness, and unutterable union of hands to hands, and lips to lips, and heart to heart, and being to being.
When we turn from the inward to the outward, from the substance to the form of this exquisite poem, how truly and astonishingly beautiful it is! It would be difficult to find a more striking example amongst the many that meet us on every page of Li's works, of the singular power which Mr. Tennyson possesses of clothing beautiful sentiments in beautiful words, and thus fulfilling the definition which Coleridge gave of poetry, that it was " the best thoughts in the best language."
The stanza in its mode of rhyme has a ring of "In Memoriam," which will prejudice no one against it, though the difference in the length of the lines and the addition of the short terminal line, are sufficient to make the resemblance but a distant one.
I have already endeavored to bring out the moral force of the constant recurrence of the burthen, u Ask^ me no more." But its artistic worth, in reference to the sound alone, is hardly less; and the finish which it gives to each stanza, and the expression of its varying cadence as the phases of the drama alter, are beauties which may be felt, but can hardly be described.
The music of the lines is throughout charming. It is not perhaps quite equal to the last stanza of the eighteenth canto of " Maud," beginning, —
"!• that enchanted moan only the swell
lad containing the two most exquisite lines, —
"To dreamful wastes where footless fancies dwell, Among the fragments of the golden day ";
or to the Bugle Song from " The Princess," or to that other idyl from the same, —
"Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn,
Bat then these are indeed pre-eminent instances even of Mr. Tennyson's pre-eminently melodious verse, and, being less dramatic, they are able to be •after and smoother in their flow.
Two things I venture to remark in the structure of the Terse of this poem. First, that it is almost
entirely composed of monosyllables. In the whole fifteen lines there are only six words of two syllables. This gives a great fulness to the lines; and I can find no other instance of it, to the same degree, in Mr. Tennyson's works. Secondly, it is most interesting and instructive to observe that whereas the passages just quoted, and others in the Laureate's works, which will occur to every reader, owe a great part of their charm to the alliteration with which they abound, and which makes both tongue and ear linger lovingly along their linked sweetness, — that artifice is here used most sparingly. The last stanza, in its second and third lines, " I strove against the stream," and "the great river," alone affords any instance of it.
In this Mr. Tennyson may be compared to the great musicians, who delighted to produce some of their finest effects with the scanty materials of quartet or trio, and to show that they could move their hearers as greatly with those imperfect means, as with all the resources of the full orchestra; or to others — Mozart, for example — who in the full orchestra itself persistently rejected certain instruments, with the help even of which other musicians in vain strive to reach his pinnacle of greatness.
In considering, to conclude, the final impression which this masterly composition leaves on one's whole being — ear, heart, intellect, imagination, memory — I find myself continually tempted to compare it with some of the masterpieces of the musical art, some of the slow movements of Beethoven's symphonies, for example, which present the same astonishing combination of beauty of subject and beauty of general form with perfect delicacy of detail, the same consummate art with the same exquisite concealment of it, — and which, like it, form a whole that satisfies both the intellect and the imagination, and, once known, haunts the memory forever.
SPIRIT-RAPPING A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO.
I Wish in what follows to submit to some examination a tolerably well known, and certainly very remarkable story, — the history of the spiritual manifestations which disturbed the Wesley family in the year 1716. Dr. Priestley has said with truth that no story of the kind is better authenticated than this, or has been better told. A very careful investigation of the facts was made by the two brothers Samuel and John Wesley, and the result has been to preserve for us the account of the matter, given at the time by almost every one who could speak of what had occurred from personal knowledge. The elder brother Samuel was at the time an usher in Westminster School. When he heard of the alarm of his family at the mysterious visitant, who went in the household by the name of Jeffery, he put to his mother some very sensible questions as to the possibility of imposture; and he desired that she and his father and each of his sisters should separately write to him a particular account of all that had taken place. We have still the letters written in compliance with his request. We have also notes, in the form of a diary, Kept by Wesley the father; we have memoranda of the results of John Wesley's inquiries from the servants, and other members of the family ; and, finally, a narrative founded on these documents, drawn up by John Wesley, and published by him in the Arminian Magazine. All these documents seem to be written with the most perfect good faith; and