ePub 版

M A Z E P P A.

“ CELUI qui remplissait alors cette place, “Le roi fuyant et poursuivi eut son cheval était un gentilhomme Polonais, nommé tué sous lui; le Colonel Gieta, blessé, et Mazeppa, né dans le palatinat de Podolie; perdant tout son sang, lui donna le sien. il avoit été élevé page de Jean Casimir, et Ainsi on remit deux fois à cheval, dans la avait pris à sa cour quelque teinture des fuite, ce conquérant qui n'avait pu y monbelles lettres. Une intrigue qu'il eut dans ter pendant la bataille.”sa jeunesse avec la femme d'un gentilhomme “ Le roi alla par un autre chemin avec Polonais ayant été découverte, le mari le quelques cavaliers. Le carosse où il était fit lier tont nu sur un cheval farouche, et le rompit dans la marche; on le remit à cheval. laissa aller en cet état. Le cheval, qui était Pour comble de disgrace, il s'égara pen

de l'Ukraine, y retourna, et y porta dant la nuit dans un bois; là, son courage Mazeppa, demi-mort de fatigue et de faim. ne pouvant plus suppléer à ses forces épuiQuelques paysans le secoururent: il resta sées, les douleurs de sa blessure devenues long-temps parmi eux, et se signala dans plus insupportables par la fatigue, son plusieurs courses contre les Tartares. La su- cheval étant tombé de lassitude, il se coupériorité de ses lumières lui donna une grande cha quelques heures, au pied d'un arbre, considération parmi les Cosaques : sa répu- en danger d'être surpris à tout moment par tation s'augmentant de jour en jour obligea les vainqueurs qui le cherchaient de tous le Czar à le faire Prince de l'Ukraine." - côtés.”_VOLTAIRE, Histoire de Charles XII.

du pays

Twas after dread Pultowa's day, In out-worn nature's agony; When fortune left the royal Swede, His wounds were stiff - his limbs were Around a slaughter'd army lay,

starkSo more to combat and to bleed.

The heavy hour was chill and dark ; The power and glory of the war,

The fever in his blood forbade Faithless as their vain votaries, men, A transient slumber's fitful aid: Had pass'd to the triumphant Czar, And thus it was; but yet through all, And Moscow's walls were safe again, King-like the monarch bore his fall, Cotil a day more dark and drear,

And made, in this extreme of ill,
And a more memorable year,

His pangs the vassals of his will;
Should give to slaughter and to shame All silent and subdued were they,
A mightier host and haughtier name; As once the nations round him lay.
A greater wreck, a deeper fall,
A shock to one-a thunderbolt to all.

A band of chiefs !-- alas! how few,

Since but the fleeting of a day Such was the hazard of the die;

Had thinn'd it; but this wreck was true The wounded Charles was taught to fly And chivalrous; upon the clay By day and night through field and flood, Each sate him down, all sad and mute, Naind with his own and subjects' blood; Beside his monarch and his steed, For thousands fell that flight to aid : For danger levels man and brute, And not a voice was heard to upbraid And all are fellows in their need. Ambition in his humbled hour,

Among the rest, Mazeppa made When truth had nought to dread from power. His pillow in an old oak’s shadeHis horse was slain, and Gieta gave Himself as rough, and scarce less old, His own-and died the Russians' slave. The Ukraine's hetman, calm and bold; This too sinks after many a league But first, outspent with his long course, Of well sustain'd, but vain fatigue; The Cossack prince rubb'd down his horse, And in the depth of forests, darkling And made for him a leafy bed, The watch-fires in the distance sparkling, And smooth d his fetlocks and his mane, The beacons of surrounding foes-- And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein, A king inust lay his limbs at length. And joy'd to see how well he fed; Are these the laurels and repose

For until now he had the dread Far which the nations strain their strength? His wearied courser might refuse They laid him by a savage tree,

To browze beneath the midnight dews:

But he was hardy as his lord,

Ay, 'twas,- when Casiinir was king -
And little cared for bed and board; John Casimir,-I was his page
But spirited and docile too,

Six summers in my earlier age;
Whate'er was to be done, would do. A learned monarch, faith! was he,
Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb, And most unlike your majesty :
All Tartar-like he carried him;

He made no wars, and did not gain
Obey'd his voice, and came to call, New realms to lose them back again ;
And knew him in the midst of all :

And (save debates in Warsaw's diet) Though thousands were aroand, and Night, He reignd in most unseemly quiet ; Without a star, pursued her flight,

Not that he had no cares to vex, That steed from sunset until dawn

He loved the muses and the sex; His chief would follow like a fawn. And sometimes these so froward are,

They made him wish himself at war;

But soon his wrath being o'er, he took This done, Mazeppa spread his cloak,

Another mistress, or new book: And laid his lance beneath his oak,

And then he gave prodigious fêtes-
Felt if his arms in order good

All Warsaw gather'd round his gates
The long day's march had well withstood--
If still the powder fillid the pan,

To gaze upon his splendid court,

And dames, and chiefs, of princely port: And flints unloosen'd kept their lock

He was the Polish Solomon,
His sabre's hilt and scabbard felt,

So sung his poets, all but one,
And whether they had chafed his belt-
And next the venerable man,

Who, being unpension'd, made a satire,

And boasted that he could not flatter. From out his haversack and can,

It was a court of jousts and mimes, Prepared and spread his slender stock:

Where every courtier tried at rhymes ; And to the monarch and his men

Even I for once produced some verses,
The whole or portion offer'd then
With far less of inquietude

And sign'd my odes, Despairing Thirsis.

There was a certain Palatine, Than courtiers at a banquet would.

A count of far and high descent,
And Charles of this his slender share

Rich as a salt-or silver-mine;
With smiles partook a moment there,
To force of cheer a greater show,

And he was proud, yo may divine,

As if from heaven he had been sent: And secm above both wounds and woe;

He had such wealth in blood and ore And then he said _“ Of all our band,

As few could match beneath the throne; Though firm of heart and strong of hand, And he would gaze upon his store, In skirmish, march, or forage, none

And o'er his pedigree would pore, Can less have said, or more have done,

Until by some confusion led, Than thee, Mazeppa! On the earth

Which almost look'd like want of head, So fit a pair had never birth, Since Alexander's days till now,

He thonght their merits were his own.

His wife was not of his opinion, As thy Bucephalus and thou:

His junior she by thirty years All Scythia's fame to thine should yield

Grew daily tired of his dominion ; For pricking on o'er flood and field.”

And after wishes, hopes, and fears, Mazeppa answer'd—“ Ill betide

To virtue a few farewell tears, The school wherein I learn’d to ride!”

A restless dream or two, some glances Quoth Charles—“Old hetman,wherefore so, At Warsaw's youth, some songs, and dances, Since thou hast learn’d the art so well?”

Awaited but the usual chances, Mazeppa said --“ 'Twere long to tell ;

Those happy accidents which render And we have many a league to go The coldest dames so very tender, With every now and then a blow,

To deck her Count with titles given, And ten to one at least the foe,

'Tis said, as passports into heaven; Before our steeds may graze at ease Beyond the swift Borysthenes:

But, strange to say, they rarely boast

of these who have deserved them most. And, Sire, your limbs have need of rest, And I will be the sentinel Of this your troop.”—“ But I request,"

a goodly stripling then ; Said Sweden's monarch, “thou wilt tell This tale of thine, and I may reap

At seventy years I so may say,

That there were few, or boys or men, Perchance from this the boon of sleep,

Who, in my dawning time of day, For at this moment from my eyes

Of vassal or of knight's degree, The hope of present slumber flies.”

Could vie in vanities with me;

For I had strength, youth, gaiety, “Well, Sire, with such a hope, I'll track A port not like to this ye see, My seventy years of memory back: But smooth, as all is rugged now; I think 'twas in my twentieth spring,- For time, and care, and war, have plough'd

66 I wa

did pass

My very soul from out my brow;

A frivolous and foolish play, And thus I should be disavow'd

Wherewith we while away the day ; By all my kind and kin, could they It is—I have forgot the name-Compare my day and yesterday;

And we to this, it seems, were set,
This change was wrought, too, long ere age By some strange chance, which I forget:
Had ta'en my features for his page :

I reck'd not if I won or lost,
With years, ye know, have not declined It was enough for me to be
My strength, my courage, or my mind, So near to hear, and oh! to see
Or at this hour I should not be

The being whom I loved the most.-
Telling old tales beneath a tree,

I watch'd her as a sentinel, With starless skies my canopy.

(May ours this dark night watch as well!) But let me on: Theresa's form

Until I saw, and thus it was,
Methinks it glides before me now, That she was pensive, nor perceived
Between me and yon chestnut's bough, Her occupation, nor was grieved
The memory is so quick and warm; Nor glad to lose or gain; but still
And yet I find no words to tell

Play'd on for hours, as if her will
The shape of her I loved so well: Yet bound her to the place, though not
She had the Asiatic eye,

That hers might be the winning lot. Such as our Turkish neighbourhood Then through iny brain the thought Hath mingled with our Polish blood, Dark as above us is the sky;

Even as a flash of lightning there, But through it stole a tender light, That there was something in her air Like the first moonrise at midnight;

Which would not doom me to despair; Large, dark, and swimming in the stream, And on the thought my words broke forth, Which seemd to melt to its own beam;

All incoherent as they were-
All love, half languor, and half fire, Their eloquence was little worth,
Like saints that at the stake expire, But yet she listen'd— 'tis enough-
And lift their raptured looks on high, Who listens once will listen twice;
As though it were a joy to die.

Her heart, be sure, is not of ice,
A brow like a midsummer-lake,

And one refusal no rebuff.
Transparent with the sun therein,
When waves no murmur dare to make,
And heaven beholds her face within.

“I loved, and was beloved again-
A cheek and lip-but why proceed ? They tell me, Sire, you never knew
I loved her then - I love her still; Those gentle frailties; if 'tis true,
And such as I am, love indeed

I shorten all my joy or pain, In fierce extremes-in good and ill. To you 'twould seem absurd as vain; But still we love even in our rage,

But all men are not born to reign, And baunted to our very age

Or o'er their passions, or as you With the vain shadow of the past,

Thus o'er themselves and nations too, As is Mazeppa to the last.

I am-or rather was—a prince,
A chief of thousauds, and could lead

Them on where each would foremost bleed * We met—we gazed – I saw, and sigh’d, But could not o'er myself evince She did not speak, and yet replied ;

The like control - But to resume : There are ten thousand tones and signs I loved, and was beloved again : We hear and see, but none defines— In sooth, it is a happy doom, Involuntary sparks of thought,

But yet where happiest ends in pain.-Which strike from out the heart o'er- We met in secret, and the hour


Which led me to that lady's bower And form a strange intelligence,

Was fiery Expectation's dower. Alike mysterious and intense,

My days and nights were nothing-all Which link the burning chain that binds, Except that hour, which doth recal Without their will, young hearts and minds; In the long lapse from youth to age Conveying, as the electric wire,

No other like itself-I'd give
We know not how, the absorbing fire.— The Ukraine back again to live
I saw, and sigh’d-in silence wept, It o'er once more - and be a page,
And still reluctant distance kept, The happy page, who was the lord
Until I was made known to her,

Of one soft heart, and his own sword,
And we might then and there confer And had no other gem nor wealth
Without suspicion -- then, even then, Save nature's gift of youth and health.--
I long'd, and was resolved to speak; We met in secret-doubly sweet,
But on my lips they died again,

Some say, they find it so to meet; The accents tremulous and weak,

I know not that - I would have given Catil one hour.-- There is a game, My life but to have callid her mine

In the full view of earth and heaven; "Away !-away!-- My breath was gone
For I did oft and long repine

I saw not where he hurried on :
That we could only meet by stealth. 'Twas scarcely yet the break of day,

And on he foam'd-away!--away!

The last of human sounds which rose,
For lovers there are many eyes,

As I was darted from my foes,
And such there were on us;- the devil

Was the wild shout of -avage laughter, On such occasions should be civil The devil!-- I'm loth to do him wrong,

Which on the wind came roaring after

A moment from that rabble rout: It might be some intoward saint,

With sudden wrath I wrench'd my lead, Who would not be at rest too long,

And snapp'd the cord , which to the mane But to his pious bile gave ventBut one fair night, some lurking spies

llad bound my neck in lieu of rein,

And, writhing half my form about,
Surprised and seized us both,
The Count was something more

Howl'd back my curse; but ’midst the tread, than

The thunder of my courser's speed, wroth

Perchance they did not hear nor heed : I was unarm’d; but if in steel,

It vexes me- for I would fain All cap-à-pie from head to heel,

Have paid their insult back again. What 'gainst their numbers could I do? – 'Twas near his castle, far away

I paid it well in after-days :

There is not of that castle-gate,
From city or from succour near,
And almost on the break of day;

Its drawbridge and portcullis' weight, I did not think to see another,

Stone, bar, moat, bridge, or barrier left ;

Nor of its ficlds a blade of grass, My moments seem'd reduced to few;

Save what grows on a ridge of wall, And with one prayer to Mary Mother,

Where stood the hearth-stone of the hall; And, it may be, a saint or two,

And many a time ye there might pass, As I resign'd me to my fate,

Nor dream that e'er that fortress was:
They led me to the castle-gate :

I saw its turrets in a blaze,
Theresa's doom I never knew,
Our lot was henceforth separate. –

Their crackling battlements all cleft,

And the hot lead pour down like rain An angry man, ye may opine,

From off the scorch'd and blackening roof, Was he, the proud Count Palatine;

Whose thickness was not vengeance-proof. And he had reason good to be,

They little thought that day of pain, But he was inost enraged lest such

When launch'd, as on the lightning's flash, An accident should chance to touch Upon his future pedigree;

They bade me to destruction dash,

That one day I should come again, Nor less amazed, that such a blot

With twice five thousand horse to thank His noble 'scutcheon should have got,

The Count for his uncourteous ride.
While he was highest of his line;
Because unto himself he seem'd

They play'd me then a bitter prank,

When, with the wild horse for my guide, The first of men, nor less he deem'd in others' eyes, and most in mine.

They bound me to his foaming flank: 'Sdeath! with a page- perchance a king

At length I play'd them one as frankHad reconciled him to the thing;

For time at last sets all things evenBut with a stripling of a page

And if we do but watch the hour,
I felt-but cannot paint his rage.

There never yet was human power
Which could evade, if unforgiven,

The patient search and vigil long
“Bring forth the horse !"- the horse was of him who treasures up a wrong.

brought; In truth, he was a noble steed, A Tartar of the Ukraine breed,

“Away, away, my steed and I, Who look'd as though the speed of thought Upon the pinions of the wind, Were in his limbs; but he was wild, All human dwellings left behind: Wild as the wild deer, and untaught, We sped, like meteors through the sky, With spur and bridle undefiled —

When with its crackling sound the night 'Twas but a day he had been caught; Is chequer'd with the northern light: And snorting, with erected mane,

Town-village-none were on our track, And struggling fiercely, but in vain, But a wild plain of far extent, In the full foam of wrath and dread And bounded by a forest black; To me the desert-born was led:

And, save the scarce seen battlement They bound me on, that menial throng, On distant heights of some strong hold, Upon his back with many a thong ; Against the Tartars built of old, Then loosed him with a sudden lash- No trace of man. The year before Away!- away!- and on we dash!

A Turkish army had march'd o'er; Torrents less rapid and less rash.

And where the Spahi's hoof hath trod,


The verdure flies the bloody sod :

And through the night had heard their feet
The sky was dull, and dim, and gray, Their stealing, rustling step repeat.
And a low breeze crept moaning by-

Oh! how I wish'd for spear or sword,
I could have answer'd with a sigh- At least to die amidst the horde,
But fast we fled, away, away

And perish-if it must be so ---
And I could neither sigh nor pray ; At bay, destroying many a foe.
And my cold sweat-drops fell like rain When first my courser's race begun,
Upon the courser’s bristling mane:

I wish'd the goal already won;
But, snorting still with rage and fear, But now I doubted strength and speed.
He flew upon his far career:

Vain doubt! his swift and savage breed At times I almost thought, indeed,

Had nerved him like the mountain-roe; He must have slacken'd in his speed: Nor faster falls the blinding snow But no- my bound and slender frame Which whelms the peasant near the door Was nothing to his angry might,

Whose threshold he shall cross no more, And merely like a spur became :

Bewilder'd with the dazzling blast, Each motion which I made to free Than through the forest-path: he pastMy swoln limbs from their agony

Untired, untamed, and worse than wild; Increased his fury and affright:

All furious as a favour'd child I tried my voice,- 'twas faint and low, Balk'd of its wish; or fiercer still-But yet he swerved as from a blow; A woman piqued -- who has her will. And, starting to each accent, sprang As from a sudden trumpet's clang: Meantime my cords were wet with gore, “The wood was past; 'twas more than Which, oozing through my limbs, ran o'er; And in my tongue the thirst became But chill the air, althongh in June; A something fierier far than flame. Or it might be my veins ran cold –

Prolong'd endurance tames the bold :

And I was then not what I scem, “We near'd the wild wood—'twas so wide, But headlong as a wintry stream, 1 saw no bounds on either side;

And wore my feelings out before 'Twas studded with old sturdy trees,

I well could count their causes o'er:
That bent not to the roughest breeze And what with fury, fear, and wrath,
Which howls down from Siberia's waste, The tortures which beset my path,
And strips the forest in its haste,-- Cold, hunger, sorrow, shame, distress,
But these were few, and far between Thus bound in nature's nakedness;
Set thick with shrubs more young and green, Sprung from a race whose rising bloud
Luxuriant with their annual leaves, When stirr'd beyond its calmer mood,
Ere strown by those autumnal eves

And trodden hard upon, is like
That nip the forest's foliage dead, The rattle-snake's, in act to strike,
Discolour'd with a lifeless red,

What marvel if this worn out trunk Which stands thereon like stiffen'd gore Beneath its woes a moment sunk? l'pon the slain when battle's o'er,

The earth gave way, the skies roll'd round, And some long winter's night hath shed I seem'd to sink upon the ground; Its frost o’er every tombless head, But err’d, for I was fastly bound. So cold and stark the raven's beak My heart turn’d sick, iny brain grew sore, May peck unpierced each frozen cheek : And throbb’d awhile, then beat no more : 'Twas a wild waste of underwood, The skies spun like a mighty wheel; And here and there a chesnut stood, I saw the trees like drunkards reel, The strong oak, and the hardy pine ; And a slight flash sprang o'er my eyes, But far apart, and well it were,

Which saw no farther: he who dies Or else a different lot were mine

Can die no more than then I died. The boughs gave way, and did not tear O'ertortured by that ghastly ride, My limbs; and I found strength to bear I felt the blackness come and go, My wounds, already scarr'd with cold- And strove to wake; but could not make My bonds forbade to loose my hold. My senses climb up from below; We rustled through the leaves like wind, I felt as on a plank at sea, Left shrubs, and trees, and wolves behind ; When all the waves that dash o'er three, By night I heard them on the track, At the same time upheave and whelm, Their troop came hard upon our back, And hurl thee towards a desert realm With their long gallop, which can tire My undulating life was as The hound's deep hate, and hunter's fire; The fancied lights that flitting pass Where'er we flew they follow'd on, Our shut eyes in derp midnight, when Nor left us with the morning sun ; Fever begins upon the brain; Behind I saw them, scarce a rood, But soon it pass'd, with little pain, At day-break winding through the wood, But a confusion worse than such :


« 上一頁繼續 »