Графични страници
PDF файл

to talk about the heroes of thy faith?
Have I not freely on their deeds bestow'd
my admiration, to their sufferings yielded
the tribute of my tears? Their faith indeed
has never seem'd their most heroic side
to me: yet therefore have I only learnt
to find more consolation in the thought,
that our devotion to the God of all
depends not on our notions about God,
my father has so often told us so.-

The Templar's interview with Athanasios is peculiarly characteristic of the tone and style of the piece. The reader will thank us for extracting it entire.

Patriarch. So, sir knight, I'm truly happy
to meet the brave young man—so very young too~~
something, God help him, may come of him.

Templar. More
than is already hardly will come of him,
but less, my reverend father, that may chance.

Patriarch. It is my prayer at least a knight so pious
may for the cause of christendom and God
long be preserved; nor can that fail, so be
young valour will lend ear to aged counsel.
With what can I be useful any way?

Templar. With that which my youth is without, with counsel.
Patriarch. Most willingly, but counsel should be follow'd.
Templar. Surely not blindly?

Patriarch. Who says that ? Indeed
none should omit to make use of the reason
given him by God, in things where it belongs,
but it belongs not every where; for instance,
if God, by some one of his blessed angels,
or other holy minister of his word,
deign'd to make known a mean, by which the welfare
of Christendom or of his holy church
in some peculiar and especial manner
might be promoted or secured, who then
shall venture to rise up and try by reason
the will of him who has created reason,
measure th' eternal laws of heaven by
the little rules of a vain human honour ?-
But, of all this, enough. What is it then
on which our counsel is desir'd ?

Templar. Suppose, my reverend father, that a jew possess'd an only child, a girl we'll say, whom he with fond attention forms to every virtue, and loves more than his very soul; a child who by her pious love requites his goodness. And now, suppose it whisper'd-say to methis girl is not the daughter of the Jew, he pick'd up, purchas'd, stole her in her childhood that she was born of christians and baptiz'd, but that the jew hath rear'd her as a jewess, allows her to remain a jewess, and to think herself his daughter. Reverend father, what then ought to be done?

Patriarch. I shudder! But first will you please explain if such a case be fact, or only an hypothesis ? That is to say, if you, of your own head, invent the case, or if indeed it happen'd, and still continues happening ?

Templar. I had thought that just to learn your reverence's opinion this were all one.

Patriarch. All one-now see how apt proud human reason is in spiritual things to err: 'tis not all one ; for, if the point in question be a mere sport of the wit, 'twill not be worth our while to think it thro', but I should recommend the curious person to theatres, where oft, with loud applause, such pro and contras have been agitated. But if the object should be something more than by a school-trick-by a sleight of logic to get the better of me-if the case

within our diocese, or—or perhaps here in our dear Jerusalem itself, why then

Templar. What then?

Patriarch. Then were it proper . to execute at once upon the jew the penal laws in such a case provided by papal and imperial right, against. so foul a crime—such dire abomination.

Templar. So

Patriarch. And the laws foremention'd have decreed,
that if a jew shall to apostacy
seduce a christian, he shall die by fire.

Templar. So.

Patriarch. How much more the jew, who forcibly
tears from the holy font a christian child,
and breaks the sacramental bond of baptism;
for all what's done to children is by force-
I mean except what the church does to children.

Templar. What if the child, but for this fostering jew, must have expir'd in misery?

Patriarch. That's nothing;
the Jew has still deserv'd the faggot-for
'twere better it here died in misery
than for eternal woe to live. Besides,
why should the jew forestall the hand of God ?
God, if he wills to save, can save without him.

Templar. And spite of him too save eternally.
Patriarch. That's nothing ! still the jew is to be burnt.

Templar. That hurts me-more particularly as
'tis said, he has not so much taught the maid
his faith, as brought her up with the mere knowledge
of what our reason teaches about God.

Patriarch. That's nothing! still the jew is to be burnt-
and for this very reason would deserve
to be thrice burnt. How, let a child grow up
without a faith? Not even teach a child
the greatest of its duties, to believe ?
'Tis heinous! I am quite astonish’d, knight,
That you yourself-

Templar. The rest, right reverend sir, .
in the confessional, but not before."

The Sultan's second interview with the Templar is beautiful, and even affecting.

Templar. I thy prisoner, Sultan.

Saladin. Thou my prisoner
and shall I not to him whose life I gave
also give freedom?

Templar. What 'twere worthy thine
to do, it is my part to hear of thee,
and not to take for granted. But, О Sultan,
to lay loud protestations at thy feet,
of gratitude for a life spared, agrees

not with my station or my character.
At all times, 'tis once more, prince, at thy service.

Saladin. Only forbear to use it against me..
Not that I grudge my enemy one pair more
of hands—but such a heart, it goes against me
to yield him. I have been deceiv'd with thee, .
thou brave young man, in nothing-Yes, thou art
in soul and body Assad. I could ask thee
where then hast thou been lurking all this time?
Or in what cavern slept ? What Ginnistan
chose some kind Perie for thy hiding-place,
that she might ever keep the flower thus fresh?
Methinks, I could remind thee here and yonder
of what we did together-could abuse thee
for having had one secret, e'en to me-
cheat me of one adventure—yes, I could,
if I saw thee alone, and not myself.
Thanks that so much of this fond sweet illusion
at least is true, that in my sear of life
an Assad blossoms for me.”

The following soliloquy of the Templar, in the Place of Palms, before Nathan's house, is striking :

“ No, into this house I go not sure at last he'll shew himself-once, once they used to see me so instantly, so gladly-time will come when he'll send out most civilly to beg me not to pace up and down before his door. Psha—and yet l'am a little nettled too; and what has thus embitter'd me against him? He answered yes. He has refus'd me nothing as yet. And Saladin has undertaken to bring him round. And does the christian nestle deeper in me than the jew lurks in him? Who, who can justly estimate himself? How comes it else that I should grudge him so the little booty that he took such pains to rob the christians of? A theft, no less than such a creature tho'-but whose, whose creature ? Sure, not the slave's who floated the mere block on to life's barren strand, and then ran off ; but his the artist's, whose fine fancy moulded upon the unown'd block a godlike form, whose chiyel grav'd it there. Recha's true father,

spite of the christian who begot her, is,
must ever be, the jew. Alas, were
to fancy her a simple christian wench,
and without all that which the jew has given,
which only such a jew could have bestow'd-
speak out my heart, what had she that would please thee?
No, nothing! Little! For her very smile
shrinks to a pretty twisting of the muscles .
be that, which makes her smile, suppos'd unworthy
of all the charms in ambush on her lips?
No, not her very smile--I've seen sweet smiles
spent on conceit, on foppery, on slander,
on flatterers, on wicked wooers spent,
and did they charm me then? Then wake the wish
to flutter out a life beneath their sunshine ?
Indeed not-Yet l'am angry with the man
who alone gave this higher value to her.”

The following is still more pathetic. It is Recha's account of Daya's communication to her, of her real birth and parentage :

“ Coming hitherward,
we past a fallen temple of the christians-
she all at once stood still, seem'd inly struggling,
turn'd her moist eyes to heaven, and then on me.
Come, says she finally, let's to the right
through this old fane--she leads the way, I follow.
My eyes with horror overran the dim
and tottering ruin-all at once she stops
by the sunk steps of a low moorish altar.
O how I felt, when there, with streaming tears
and writhing hands, prostrate before my feet
she fell. * * * And by the holy virgin,
who there had hearkened many a prayer and wrought
many a wonder, she conjur'd, entreated,
with looks of heartfelt sympathy and love,
I would at length take pity of myself-
at least forgive, if she must now unfold
what claims her church had on me.--
That I am sprung of christian blood-baptiz'd-
not Nathan's daughter-and he not my father!
God, God, he not my father!"

We have only room for another extract. That, however, is the most beautiful in the piece. It is the old story of the

That claimse, if shee pity of

« ПредишнаНапред »