ePub 版

Dumb by these fawners? Yet, she is most lofty,—
Most queenlike, most commanding.-Now she smiles,
Bows-beckons-ha! her hand? Jove! I forgive 'em.

Countess. What! Señor Juan?


Now, who calls on me?

Countess. Your friend, Sir.

[blocks in formation]



Close not your gates! Such music comes but once
From your rich viols and cerulean shells.

Let the sound live-until I hear no more.`

Oh! hast thou hoarded up all grace till now?
Hast damm'd the current of thy soul, and now

Wilt drown me with its sweetness? Speak, divine one!
Speak-lest great Love and I go dead together,
And thou be left unmated!



The bright stream falleth;
Sweetly sweetly-sweetly
The lone bird calleth:

Peace, peace! That song no more

Will suit our times;

December's beard is hoar,

And chills our rhymes.

Yet what care we, my love?
Whate er betide,

We'll sing our Christmas songs
By the fire-side.


The torrent boundeth,

The wild wind soundeth;

Yet man, on war's waves tost,
Leaves life for death,

And Nature's words are lost

In the trumpet's breath.

Yet what care we, my love,
Whate'er betide,

Since we can sing old songs
By the fire-side?

Our rival swells with pride,

Our foe revileth;

Our old friend stands aside,

Our false friend smileth:

Yet we have still the love
Which warmed our youth,
Have still bright hopes above,
And a song of truth.

Need we then care, my love,
Whate er betide,

Since we can sing old songs
By the fire-side?



Ant. Think, noble Juan.

There are double ties

Which bind thee down to virtue. Diego's wife

Is a gem, but not thine own. Another claims her▬▬ Juan. I loved her first,-before this monster lord Fetter'd her falsehood with a golden ring. Oh, how I loved her, then!

[blocks in formation]

Juan. I would, by burning Cupid. Look! I have
A blood as rich as ever run in Spain,

And yet I droop my proud Castilian knee,
To do her worship.

Ant. She is half a Moor-—

Juan. And I am a Duke; rich, by my brother's will.
Ant. That brother proudly loved to trace his line,
Through stainless generations, all renown'd,
Unto that shining hero of the cross,

Godfrey of Bulloigne. Was it fear that bade him
Chain to thy vast inheritance-a wife,

Whom he knew poor but noble ?

Juan. I am struck.

Ant. She whom your brother's will

Juan. Away! I'll wear

My rags again. O brother, brother!

Whom Death has kiss'd to stone, was it for this
That thou hast mock'd me from thy ghastly tomb
Dost thou rain riches on me, but to show

How heavy the storm may be?

Should I refuse

My brother's wish-command-what follows, Sir?
Ant. Save one estate, which will be Helena's,
All goes unto the monks.


Let it go. I'll raise
A hectic blush upon his marble cheek

Shall shame him in his shroud. What! shall I sell
Freedom, my birthright, for some dusty dross?

Shall I bow down before that breathless thing
That was my brother, but is now dust-dust,
Like this I trample on? I do refuse.

Ant. Forbear, Sir. There are laws which must make vain
All cavil. You must forfeit, or obey.

Juan. The forfeit, then, be mine. Heaven! why am I
Thrust out a beggar from thy bosom? Why

Am I alone, of all my noble house,

Cursed like a Cain?

Ferrand is dead, you say?



Why, that were well. But from his ashes springs
A blast that blows me from my father's home,
And sends me, Irus-like, about the world,
Seeking for food and shelter. Must I be
Again a beggar on a stranger's hearth?
Or kiss a cheek I loathe, and swear I love it?
I will not do 't.

You have a year to choose
Tween poverty and power. Meanwhile, you are
A duke, with mighty revenues.
What! a year?
A large, long year?-and I a Duke? Enough!
I'll spend it, as the Roman triumvir

Compress'd life's pleasures into one sweet span,
And gave 't to Cleopatra. Yet he fell ;-

She, too. But then they had their last great day,
And kept all night their Alexandrian feast,
Scaring the reedy echoes of the Nile

With laughter, until dawn. For one bright year
I'll hang the ducal crown upon my brows,
And frown the master of a thousand slaves.
Afterwards—what Fate wills.


Where is gone the bubble-Life?

With the wrack and winds at strife,
Yet soaring-Ah! and dying
In the Heaven's absorbing light,
As the dark and solemn night
Dies, drowned in the morning bright.

Is it lost? Then, what remains
(Tell us, Angels !) on this earth
Now to soothe us through our pains?
To make us prouder of our birth?
What to imparadise our lot,

On this bleak and sullen spot,

Where Power is crown'd, and Love-forgot?

Why, Peace, who e'er hath some sweet haunt,

Shelter'd from the war and wind;

Sage Content, who hath no want;

And the inward Mind,

Whose thoughts are borne on Seraph's wings,

Beyond where orb or planet sings,

Around the Universe of things.



A SHREWD old friend of ours used to say, "Recommend whatever else you please, but never recommend a husband or novel,-they are a matter of taste." Now, like all other opinions, we are not disposed to allow but one half of their truth. We will allow that it is well not to interfere with the choice of another person's husband: but a novel,-no ; we must advise the reading of our favourites. We must say why they are favourites, bring forth their merits, and show good cause for our liking. Literary love is a social passion; we desire to share our pleasure; it has also something of a chivalric feeling: we like the beauty of our book to be universally admitted. Thus it is, not content with enjoying "The Disowned" ourselves, we must canvass "golden opinions from all sorts of men" for its dear sake. We do not say that it is the best, but we like it the best of Mr. Bulwer's works. It has an interest which every succeeding volume of his will increase, it is, as it were, the early picture of his mind wherewith to contrast all after ones. The author's youth is in "The Disowned," with all its romance, its generous enthusiasm, and its poetry, all "the golden exhalations of the dawn." There is much in it that we are persuaded he could not write now. We deny that ever "the beautiful has vanished" to return not; but our keen feeling of it has. We no longer welcome it with fancies. No more (to use a pretty love-conceit in these very pages) do we believe that the butterfly bears on his painted wings a message from Oberon. Such pleasant dreamings relieve not twice the commonplace of life. "The Disowned" is redolent of first love,-of first hope, beneath whose fairy feet flowers spring up, destined by their very nature soon to perish, but whose sweetness never wholly passes away. A life without youth would be like a year without spring; there would be no music to remember,-no fragrance to recall. We know of no tree that brings forth fruit without blossom. The necessity of the lovely is felt throughout nature. There are some books that do, some that do not, interest you personally in the writer. "Pelham " belonged to the last, and "The Disowned" to the first class. Much of the enthusiastic admiration which Mr. Bulwer has inspired belongs to the volume now before us. It spoke of the heart within, and such a manifestation is the bond between the writer and the reader. We delight to trace the individual in his compositions, because it shows their reality. It has been truly said, we take but feeble joy in the merely transitory, and only truth can give duration. In "The Disowned" were first felt the energy, the benevolence, and the depth that characterise all Mr. Bulwer's writings, but with more of poetry. We never knew a young person who did not delight in this work; it gave them back all their better impulses and higher aspirations with a "diviner shape." This power of exciting the enthusiasm of the young is the first stepping stone to an author's fame. Their opinion will in time be that of the old, and in the meanwhile its warmth gradually diffuses itself.

A singular variety of talent was shown in the four volumes, now reduced to two of the prettiest tomes that ever carried in their personal appearance what Lord Chesterfield calls "a letter of universal


The young artist was conceived in the finest spirit of poetry-at once ideal and true. It called attention to distress little known, and too little pitied. No career has more positive suffering, than that devoted to any imaginative pursuit. It has the difficulties, the privations, that harass all who have to make their own way in the world, and it brings to endure them a temperament the least fitted for such endurance-feverish, irritable, and sensitive— feeling everything keenly, and exaggerating everything. The most unremitting labour is required. The popular fallacy of genius and idleness being constant companions has long been exploded. The artist or the literary man must, and do work far harder than any clerk in any office; look at all our principal names, whether in literature or in art, and then remember how much work they have done, and to how large a portion of toil the mere manual exercise of writing has amounted. Labour, too, the worst requited of all in a worldly sense. Half the exertion, and half the energy as a tradesman, would have realised immense fortunes. The Rothschilds of the mind rarely secure even independence; still we deny not that "verily they have their reward." The triumphs of genius are the noblest that mortality can achieve; and the smallest sharer of such spoil may not complain that the wind has been rough, and the strife has been hard. We are all ready enough to sympathis e with the success, but we are all too apt to forget the struggle. It is that struggle which is painted so forcibly in Werner, the youthful artist. He goes down to the grave unguerdoned and ungarlanded; and such is the lot of many. Go through the minor streets of our vast metropolis— how many dim lights will you see in the upper windows burning through the melancholy midnight! We know no more touching associations than surround the single candle, gleaming hour after hour. Either it speaks of the vigil by the sick pillow, where the faint breath is made doubly precious by the danger of its atmosphere; or else it tells of the page which, though loved, is dwelt upon even to weariness; the drawing contemplated till its outlines become confused to the over-taxed sight: a pale and hectic world is around that lonely light. What a general and human feeling is given to the ethereal and dreaming life of Werner, by the strong love felt for the wayward child by his old and devoted grandmother. There is something singularly touching in the few lines that close the poem, for such it is, of the artist's existence. "There are two tombs close to each other in the stranger's burial-place at Rome; they cover those for whom life, unequally long, terminated in the same month. The one is of a woman, bowed with the burden of many years; the other darkens over the humble dust of the ambitious artist.'

Perhaps characters were never more finely analyzed than in "The Disowned." The vanity of Talbot-the fierce partisan spirit of Wolfethe mean, fraudulent, and weakly-cunning Crauford, are drawn with a master's hand; but Algernon Mordaunt is the triumph-we feel the better for dwelling on such nobleness of nature. Mr. Bulwer has, however, somewhat idealised the poverty. He writes as one who has never experienced it. We doubt whether it be possible to give an interest beyond painful pity to a real picture of poverty. Its wantthough that brings out all that is most animal in our nature—is its least suffering. It is the moral debasement which we hold to be inevitable—the shrinking misery with which first one wretched expedient

« 上一頁繼續 »