« 上一頁繼續 »
altars of the cathedral. How is it that the ghost of Murillo did not rise from the tomb to arrest the despoiler's ruthless hand from stripping his birth-place of the brightest honours. His choicest works, and those of almost every celebrated painter of Spain, were considered booty by the enemy. Poor Seville! poor Andalusia! how many gems have been stolen from thy crown of fame, so many centuries respected and admired by all civilized nations of Europe.
The cathedral and the alcaçar are the two monuments of antiquity I most admire in Seville. There are, as I have said, many others of high interest, but they none of them speak to my heart with the same force, or call forth such emotions as these do; none in my imagination are at all comparable to that antique palace of Moorish and Christian kings, or that splendid temple of the Deity, where sleep so many crowned heads no more to disturb the world or be troubled by its vanities.
All the cities of Spain possess an Alameda ; that of Seville is distinguished from all the others by a remarkable singularity; this is the two antique columns on which were elevated two statues of equal antiquity,— one of Cæsar, the other of Hercules.
We know that of the forty-two or three Hercules of fable and of history, two went into Spain; one was a Lybian, the other a Theban. The latter went to Cadiz, with the Argonauts, from thence to Gibraltar, where he founded Heraclea. This Hercules came into Spain a thousand years after the other known by his strength and bravery.
Which of the two founded Seville is a question I do not pretend to answer. There are persons who affirm that they know the day and the time at which the Lybian Hercules died, adding that he went to Cadiz for that purpose, after having knocked Getion on the head, and eaten up all his sheep. I do not pledge myself to such particularities, and only narrate the tradition. That the foundation of Seville is attributed to one of these two Hercules appears in evidence, from the following lines sculptured on one of the twelve gates of the city, called Xérés:
Hercule me edifico.
Julio Cesar me cerco
De muro-y de torres altas.
Y el rey sante me gano
Con Garci Perez de Vargas.
Hercules founded me.
With a wall and high towers:
And on a very ancient painting of the city of Seville, was inscribed :
Ab Hercule et Cæsare
A se ipsâ fidelitas.
To Hercules and Cæsar
She owes her nobility.
The people know all these traditions by heart, and all those belonging to the old alcaçar, whose enchanting bowers, the best model of Moorish taste, become deserted at night-fall, by those who have whispered their tales of love beneath these shady and perfumed trees, in the freshness of evening.
The Xeneraliffa, the bowers of the Alhambra, evrything in Spain that recalls the Saracenic manners, must all cede to the garden of the Alcaçar of Seville. It has preserved its primitive form of a labyrinth composed of enormous myrtles, cut into fanciful shapes, whose alleys terminate at a sparkling fountain. A jasper basin, of rare beauty and workmanship, receives its liquid diamonds; and an Arabic inscription on it informs the spectator that this fountain is the emblem of sacred purity. When we remember that we are standing on the same mosaic pavement that was formerly pressed by the slipper of some favourite sultana, or some haughty sultan, who in olden time came here to perform his holy ablutions, imagination conjures up a crowd of illusions, and we are transported back to those scenes of romance whose memory now receives but a faint colouring of the truth. We behold around us the very scenes described in the Thousand and one nights, with such graphic fidelity; and are almost induced to believe the mighty deeds of necromancy and fairy goddesses to be equally true.
To these reminiscences, however romantic in their character, another brighter sentiment is associated in our memory-one that should inspire us with grateful thanks and admiration far beyond the emotion love and chivalry give rise to. It is, that Christianity and its bright rays of truth now shine where formerly mankind walked in the shadow of ignorance and paganism. Why, therefore, should we regret the lost domination of the Moors?—yet we do so, at Seville. For what other feeling can be excited
but that of bitter regret, on beholding those desolate fields, over which the curse of Heaven seems to have poured its wrath.*
Without doubt, these fields still remain fertile,-the palm, the fig, the orange tree, still give their fruits and flowers; but it is as it were against the will of the new masters of this paradise, whose neglect of the spontaneous gifts of nature, whose indolence in cultivating the stores of Providence, is a marked fatality in the Spanish character, and leads one to regret that they have not followed the example of their Moorish ancestors, who gathered golden store from Spain's rich soil, and whose poets sing,-" My mistress shall ride on a velvet carpet enamelled with gems of every hue; her horse shall be shod with the purest silver; a snow-white falcon shall sit on her wrist, with bells of gold around its neck. I will vow to her a loyal knight's unceasing constancy and allegiance; great deeds will I perform to her honour in war and in tournament. Woe to him, who does not praise her beauty—the choice flowers and fruits around her, are not half so sweet as her smile; her voice is more musical than the nightingale's note. A garden of paradise is under her footsteps."
"Thou little star, that, in yon purple cloud,
First gem of evening, glittering 'mid the shroud
'Neath whose dark folds the day lies cold and dead!
Perhaps is found e'en in thy distant sphere.
"Art thou a world of sorrow and of sin,
The heritage of death, disease, decay-
Where all things fairest soonest pass away?
*The solano, that burning wind of Styria and of Egypt, still blows with all its periodical violence. It has broken down the barrier of verdure and flowers that once offered a feeble resistance to its entrance, on the African side of Seville; and where woods and gardens once stood, arid plains and naked rocks now present themselves, as it were scathed by fire.
And are there graves in thee, thou radiant world,
"Perchance they do not die that dwell in thee;
And striving that hath neither days nor hours!
Where I now weeping walk, I will not leave thee.
Open thy arms, oh mother! and receive me!
THE PHILOSOPHER AND HIS PUPIL.
The over-joyed De la Villette saw that it could easily be rendered habit. able; but not daring to employ workmen, he himself devoted several nights to the task of rendering it so. The mute, Nannette, aided his labours effectually; and never was joy greater than his, when, at the termination, he saw that Adrienne would owe to him the happiness of having nothing to fear for her reputation, or for the existence of her child, who might safely be confided to the care and attachment of the faithful mute; for Adrienne had derived a means to supply the infant with that nourishment, which she dared not herself afford it; she had a favorite goat, which she had reared from a kid; the most docile creature, and she flattered herself that its milk would afford ample nourishment to the child.
Both she and Frederic flattered themselves, that the infant could be thus secreted till the moment of their union would allow them to introduce it to the world as the child of Frederic, and both vowed by the most ceaseless cares, to compensate to it the stains which circumstances compelled them to ca st upon its birth.
The baroness appeared to enter sincerely into their plans, though she secretly vowed that they should never execute them; her hatred to Adrienne was redoubled by the means which Frederic had taken to awe her into silence. She was also tormented by her vile confederate De Clugny, who expecting from her the instant separation of the lovers, was incensed beyond measure, that she had not effected it; and she could scarcely calm him by promises of soon accomplishing his wish.
Three months passed, and so entirely had she seemed to lend herself to their plans, that the lovers, persuaded of her sincerity, had not a thought of concealing any thing from her. She had, in fact, very effectually aided Adrienne to disguise her situation, by herself adopting a style of dress calculated to conceal the shape, and which Mademoiselle de Touranges could without any apparent design, or appearance of singularity, easily copy; so that her increasing size totally escaped observation.
During these three months Frederic employed himself in assembling in the subterranean apartment, destined to receive his child, all that could render it a healthy and delightful residence. He had a double view in this, -the health of his child, and the enjoyment which Adrienne would derive from finding that he had consulted her taste in the arrangement of the furniture. He cultivated also, and very succesfully, the natural intelligence of the mute; he made her understand, that in a little time she would have a child to take care of. She was delighted with this intelligence, and showed by her signs and gestures, that she was determined to be the most careful and attentive of nurses.
The time of Adrienne's confinement approached, and the baroness, fertile in expedients, devised one which promised to give her the means of passing the dreaded trial undiscovered. The lovers congratulated themselves that everything went well for their happiness, when a stroke as heavy as it was unexpected, came to separate them.
We have spoken of a visit the marquis received on the day of Adrienne's intended explanation, from one of the neighbouring ladies, after whose departure he appeared disturbed; the reason was, that she had told him it was the general belief that he intended to bestow Adrienne upon De la Villette. The marquis was indignant at the idea, and protested that he could not conceive how it was possible people should have entertained it for a moment. The lady replied rather drily, that he had himself in a great degree sanctioned the report, by suffering the young people to be constantly together. He assured her, that he never had an idea of the kind, that he received the young man with pleasure for his uncle's sake, and also for his own but he had very different views for his daughter, who he was certain Oct. 1845,