« 上一页继续 »
MONUMENT TO DB. WATT8.
by public subscription. The inscription upon the pedestal is as follows:
"In memory of Isaac Watts, D.D., and in testimony of the high and lasting esteem in which his character and writings are held in the great Christian community by whom the English language is spoken. Of his Psalms and Hymns it may be predicted in his own words:
* Ages unborn will make his songs
He was born at Southampton, July 17th, 1674, and died November 25th, 1748, after a residence of thirty-six years in the mansion of Sir Thomas Abney, Bart., then standing in these grounds."
"Few men have left behind such purity of character, or such monuments of laborious piety. He has provided instruction for all ages, from those who are lisping their first lessons, to the enlightened readers of Malcbranche and Locke. He has left neither corporeal nor spiritual nature unexamined: he has taught the art of reasoning, and the science of the stars;—
such he was as every Christian Church would rejoice to have adopted."—Dk. Johnson.
The genius of Dr. Watts makes less impression, because he sought by varied studies to be useful rather than to shine pre-eminent in any individual walk of literature. Yet his poetry plainly indicates that he might have risen to the very highest style. Some of his verses are harsh, but no writer conceives of grander objects, or invests them with a richer drapery. Marble monuments and statues are poor mementoes of such a man. One prefers to think of him as associated with the green yews and cedars of Abney Park, with the rich cloud palace, which the setting sun and his own imagination has changed into walls of sapphire surrounded by an emerald sea, and surmounted with golden turrets; or, better still, one would think of Watts after listening to a full choir in the sanctuary, singing from his second version of the twenty-fourth Psalm those three sublime stanzas:—
"Our Lord is risen from the dead,
u There his triumphal chariot waits,
"'Loose all your bars of massy light,
Still, if the lasting fame of Watts were staked upon any one species of composition, it should be his Divine and Moral Songs for Children. We know of nothing of human inditing which has exercised a deeper and more abiding moral and religious influence over us than these little poems. While they are simple and thus adapted to childhood, they are replete with the profoundest truths, and much of their imagery is worthy to be embroidered upon the vestments with which we would desire our souls to be dressed for immortality. Where in all our English literature can be found a similitude containing more beautiful moral analogies, or richer associations with which to fasten a valuable impression on the mind than that contained in his "Summer Evening"?
Though written for children, it will repay any mind for the labour of fixing it in the memory; and we cannot avoid citing it, in the hope that it may furnish some reader who is not familiar with it, the same lasting pleasure which it has given to ourselves.
"How fine has the day been! How bright was the sun,
But now the fair traveller comes to the west,
"Just such is the Christian; his course he begins,
And travels his heavenly way;
Of rising in brighter array."
The usefulness of such a man can never be estimated. His "Psalms and Hymns," and his "Divine and Moral Songs," have been published by millions. Yet they are by no means antiquated. No better sacred lyrics—no better songs for children have yet arisen to supplant the productions of Watts. Of his person little need be said. He was scarcely more than five feet in stature. Yet he possessed a dignity of manner, a bright countenance, and a piercing eye. In the pulpit, his manner was quiet, seldom moving a hand, but his voice was distinct, and his intonations sweet and attractive. His last days were peaceful and happy. He was heard to say, "I bless God that I can lie down with comfort at night, not being solicitous whether I awake in this world or another." In conversation with a friend, while he was patiently waiting his departure, he observed, "That ho remembered an aged minister used to say, that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they come to die, have only the same plain promises of the gospel for their support, as the common and unlearned; and so," said he, "I find it." He died on the 25th of November, 1748, just one century and one year ago. He was honourably interred among the worthies of Bunhill Fields. Six clergymen, two from each of the different dissenting churches, bore his pall. Dr. S. Chandler pronounced the oration at the grave, in which he delivered the following just commendation: "We here commit to the ground the venerable remains of one, who being intrusted with many excellent talents by Him who is the giver of every good and perfect gift, cheerfully and unweariedly employed them as a faithful steward of the manifold grace of God, in his Master's service, approving himself as a minister of Christ in much patience, in afflictions and distresses, by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the armour of righteousness, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report, and who, amidst trial from within and from without, was continued, by the kind providence of God and the powerful supports of his grace, to a good old age, honoured and beloved by all parties, retaining his usefulness till he had juat finished his
course, and being, at last, favoured according to his own wishes and prayers, with a release from the labours of life into that peaceful state of good men, which commences immediately after death. Oh, how delightful is that voice from heaven, which has thus pronounced: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.'" Dr. Jennings preached the funeral sermon from Hebrews xi. 4, "He being dead yet speaketh.'' He observes in his discourse, "I question whether any author before him did ever appear on such a variety of subjects as he has done, both as a prose writer and a poet. However, this I may venture to say,—there is no man now living, of whose works so many have been dispersed both at home and abroad, that are in such constant use, and translated into such a variety of languages; many of which will, I doubt not, remain more durable monuments of his great talents than any representation I can make of them, though it were to be engraven on pillars of brass."
NARRATIVE OF EMILIA DURANO,
MARCHESA DI ALBAROZZI.
BY B. H.
The following narrative is an episode from an unpublished work, which circumstance it is necessary to mention, in order to account for the rapid way in which many details and intermediate events are hurried over. The appalling story is fully believed to this day in many parts of the south of Italy. It was communicated in papers left by Emilia Durano, to be opened by her son Sebastiano, after her death.
Forgive, my child, this long concealment of my eventful history, and the total ignorance in which you have been kept, both as relates to yourself and to me. The agony of memory rather than shame, and the consideration also of thy youth, have hitherto caused me to remain silent. Nor could the information have done you any service, as my family would never have recognised your birth. Oh what a time of delirious thoughts was that for me; and at what a time are these recollections forced from my pen, so long concealed, so wrung from me at last by the consciousness of my approaching end, with no more hours to waste.
Now that strangers are casually standing by my deathbed, I vainly wish for thy dear presence, to tell thee all with my own faltering lips. Why have they sent thee away before I am cold? How often have I called for thee, and no one would listen to my entreaties? It seems as if they thought I was not in my proper mind. All I can say only confirms them in that suspicion, so that, in truth, my dear son, I begin to think they must be right, though their very suspicions and treatment are in part the cause. But read—read!
I am the only daughter of an English nobleman, whose estates were lost by disastrous circumstances, over which he had no control. So far from being able to retain sufficient to support his rank, he scarcely had enough remaining to maintain a respectable existence. He retired, in consequence, to an. old halfruined castle on the Kentish coast, accompanied by my mother and myself, there to live as best we might, and at any rate avoid the
VOL. vi. 6
endless shames that attend the poverty of a
person of condition in England.
I had just attained my nineteenth year, when a rich foreign nobleman, bearing the title of the Marchese di Albarozzi, arrived one morning at the castle, with letters for my father from a Neapolitan nobleman, who did not know of his present condition. Concealment was in vain. The pride of an English nobleman, who had been accustomed to all the attentions and homage which they so commonly receive on the continent, was no longer supported by any of the usual adjuncts, but squalid ruin stared at his visiter on all sides. My father therefore had no alternative but to state his altered circumstances, and the impossibility of his receiving the Marchese with that hospitality which his letters of introduction would undoubtedly have commanded. I was really glad of this, as I had conceived the utmost antipathy to him at first sight.
But the Marchese made quite light of the
matter—assured Lord and Lady A that he
was a traveller, and could be comfortable with any sort of accommodation—flattered them by great respect, and reminding them of their princely equipage and position when among his friends in Naples—lauded my beauty in the most unmeasured terms—and finally threw out hints about me, which ended in his taking up his abode for a few days in our poor dilapidated castle.
Day after day passed and he did not depart, nor speak of it, but paid me the most marked and odious attentions. I protested against it to my mother. She wept, and referred me to
Lord A . I besought him not to allow me
to be subject to any further addresses from the Marchese. Lord A replied that he extremely regretted my indisposition to receive them, but he could not interfere, as he had already been solicited, and had granted permission. He said it would keep up the honour of the family, and that there was always a blessing of some kind in a wealthy marriage.
I will not surround with vain words a result which is one of the oldest and painfullest stories in the world. My father and mother were
wretchedly proud and equally poor; the Marchese was rich; I was the daughter doomed to
be sold. Lord A commanded me to accept
the proposals of the Marchese. I refused.
Still he did not depart. Indeed he persisted in regarding my refusal as the mere timidity of juvenile innocence. It was more than that. I felt—I had an instinct—that the passion the Marchese professed for me—had for me—was without one spark of pure affection and delicate regard. His wolfish eyes betrayed him—his lambent smile betrayed him—his feverish lips, his cold, restrained air, his hard look of selfpossession, his savage patience,—all betrayed
him. Lord and Lady A saw nothing of
this. But I was to be the victim. I saw it all.
The Marchese slept in a chamber of the south wing of the castle, beneath a tower so ruinous as to bo little more than a shell; and never did I hear the wind rise and come roaring across the sea, that I did not wish it might strike that tower with a sweoping gust, and bury him in its ruins. This may seem wicked, but I felt it, and consider myself justified in the eyes of heaven, if not in the eyes of man.
I said I would be brief in telling this story of a common curse. I refused the hand of the Marchese. My father, my mother,—they both tried every means to persuade me. My suffering was to be their saving. They gave me no rest. I had no affection for any one but them. After a few weeks I gave my consent.
The Marchese was tall and well-proportioned, except this,—his arms were too long. lie was handsome, as to features, except that he had a hideous mouth; his hair was black and luxuriant; his manner elegant and courtly; he dressed with great taste and style, and was in many respects the beau ideal of an Italian nobleman. My feelings, however, were my own, and so were my reasons for aversion; and I was right.
There was one thing which the Marchese
stipulated, to which Lord A for some time
refused his consent. It was the concealment of our marriage during a period of six months, or at least during the time that he remained in England. He said he wished first to settle some diplomatic business he had at court, and that his reception in fashionable circles would be more favourable if he were supposed to be
unmarried. Lord and Lady A well knew
how true this was, and fearing to lose what they considered so excellent a match for me, (and for themselves, alas !) they suffered themselves to be persuaded. We were therefore married privately, no one but Lord and Lady A being present at the dreadful ceremony.
As we drove off from the poor old ruined oastle, I looked out of the carriage window, and saw my mother's pale face in the entrance
porch, suffused with tears, and Lord A
standing in the court-yard without his hat, trying to look cheerful with a hollow cheek, but appearing not to know very well where he was, or what was happening. It was aU a horrible mistake. I turned to the Marchese— I know not what made me—and saw a sardonic smile playing over his features. My heart died within me. Not a word was exchanged during the first hour, when suddenly, as if awakening from a dark trance, the Marchese threw aside all consideration and restraint— taunted me with the ruin of my family,—reproached me scornfully with my refusal of his hand, and reluctant consent,—and then treated me, partly in revenge, as though I had been (and oh! how truly I was so,) a mere victim of his purchase. No words can record my dismay.
We drove to London, where he took me to an obscure lodging in the suburbs. We lived there under an assumed name. All my worst apprehensions were realized. I was united to a man —must I call him such—who had gone through the whole round of a licentious and utterly unbridled course—who had chosen me merely as the last novelty that had crossed his path, and who entertained for me no single feeling that did not cause me to shudder. I had often
heard Lady A declare that personal beauty
and personal attractions were the greatest blessings with which a woman could be endowed in the present state of society. Alas! if this applied to me, how certainly had they become my unutterable curse.
I have said that my worst apprehensions were realized. It was far more than that; for how should a delicate girl, excluded from society, the daughter of a nobleman, brought up with the most scrupulous avoidance of the least knowledge of the vices and contaminations of the world—how should such a girl even conceive of a character in which the atrocities of the most depraved imaginations seemed to have reached their utmost height? I have since thought at times, that the evil blood of this tyrant to whom I was wedded, would have displayed itself in acts of the most remorseless cruelty, if he had been placed in circumstances which enabled him to exercise a lawless will. Indeed, I sometimes fancied him a sort of monomaniac, like Nero. A slow fever was ever burning in his veins. My torment, my loathing, were his relief and pastime.
"Madam," said he one evening as we were sitting at the window, facing a dead wall, of our obscure and murky lodgings, "Madam, would you like a divorce ; to return to your family once again; and again to have the pleasure of refusing the honour of my hand? Yes, me,— to refuse me! As for the poor Lord and Lady there, they thought to sell you at a good price. Well—tacitly understood, and by a courtly, circuitous evasion in terms, they did so. They made a capital bargain. I lost a small estate at cards with your father the evening before our wedding—do you comprehend me. Now, madam, to bed. I shall go out to supper, and return some time in the night, or towards morning."
No refuge—no relief—there was no hope for
me. I could neither write to Lord A , nor
escape from my diabolical destroyer. It was plain he did not regard me as his wife—merely a victim, and as much so, as those poor girls we read of, who are reoklessly sold to men, perhaps like the Marchese.
I once ventured to ask him how long I was to remain under an assumed name, and thus hidden from the world in a dark and dismal lodging. He smiled, and answered "You should rather dive into the darkness to hide from the world, seeing the use to which your beauty and pride have been turned. You know well that I bought you as a slave." Thus was the "honour of our family" to be kept up! Here was tho "blessing" of a wealthy marriage in defiance of a daughter's feelings!
I was often left alone, yet never quite alone. Whenever the Marchese was absent, I was always narrowly watched by a servant of his, named Andreugo. Not only were any letters or mine certain to be intercepted, but the means of writing were denied me. I made an appeal to the woman of the house, but I soon perceived she had been suborned by the Marchese. Yet, truth to say, even if I could have escaped, I began to feel after a few weeks so stricken down,—so utterly prostrated in soul and body, that I could scarcely have made the effort. My tyrant was right, I thought, in respect of my seeking darkness. I felt a desire to shun the countenances of my fellow-creatures.
I suppose this could not have lasted with me much longer, but that I should have died, or gono mad; but heaven granted me a change,—■ a respite from torment and despair. The Marchese informed me that he was about to return to Naples; that I should set out first, under the care of Andreugo, and he would shortly follow. The thought of being carried out of England would have seemed like the last blow to my doom, thus placing me beyond the remotest chance of any communication with my family; but the feeling that I should, for a time, be relieved from the detested presence of the Marchese made it endurable, and I submitted with the feeling of one who has been half stifled, on finding a window suddenly opened into the fresh air.
I arrived at Naples, and was taken to a house in the outskirts of the city, where Andreugo »nd two other creatures of the Marchese took up their abode with me. I found that I was to
be called "the Signora Emilia," and was not to be regarded as the wife of the Marchese. Was
it for this, Lord and Lady A besought me,
with tears in their eyes, to consent to such a marriage!
To my surprise I discovered that my liberty was comparatively restored. I walked about the gardens of the house; no one followed me. I extended my rambles to the neighbourhood, and was suffered to continue doing so. It was merely intimated to me by Andreugo, that while the Marchese had no objection to my taking any walks or pastime good for my health, yet he had strictly forbidden that I should enter the city. I promised I would not. The period of his absence I was told was uncertain.
Blessing my temporary release from the Marchese, yet looking forward with horror to his coming at no distant day, I wandered about the delicious gardens and groves of the neighbourhood, enjoying the odours of the air, the scenery, the pure azure heavens, but speculating how I should get some peasant to furnish me secretly with the means of writing, (still denied to me at home,) and of conveying it to the post. I dreaded betrayal.
During one of these rambles, I was seated at the foot of a tree, trying in vain to read, for my feelings were too sad, perplexed and apprehensive, to allow me to attend to anything but themselves, when the page of the book was gradually obscured by a moving shade. On looking up, I perceived a young man, with a sweet and earnest countenance, leaning over me. He bowed in apology—again looked at me with the same earnest eyes—and withdrew. I sighed unconscious of the cause, as I returned homeward.
A few days after this I received a letter from the Marchese, saying that his departure from England was still protracted, and that in the mean time he desired to have my portrait. This surprised and alarmed me, as I had begun to flatter myself with the hope, that he had grown quite tired of me, and did not trouble himself much more about me. I subsequently learned
that this was to pacify Lord and Lady A ,
who were astonished at receiving no letters from me.
A certain Neapolitan artist had been designated by the Marchese. His name was Sebastiano del Guaradi. To him I accordingly repaired. The recognition was immediate. It was he whom I had seen, and of whom—shall I confess it,—I had already dreamed with strange emotions.
I went to him several times on this affair of the portrait. Why delay to speak all at once? We knew each other's feelings from the first hour, which was one of deep though silent com