網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

comic. He was primarily a satirist, provincial. His personages are not secondarily, a poet. Such being his large and deep enough to be representapowers and bis aims, helpful to him, tive. The manifold recesses of great nay needful, was a present Parisian minds he does not unveil; he gets no actuality of story and agents. A poetic deeper than the semi-barbarous excomedy ought to be, and will necessarily aggerations of selfish passionate love, be, a chapter of very high life. Mo- of revenge, honor, and jealousy. His lière's comedies, dealing unctaously characterization is weak. His highest with vice and folly, are, philosophically characters lack intellectual calibre, and speaking, low life. His are comedies are exhibited in lyrical one-sidedness not of character and sentiment, but of rather than dramatio many-sidedness. manners and morals, and therefore can. He is mostly content with Spanish cavanot be bighly poetical ; and thence he liers of the seventeenth century, ruled by felt no want of a remote ground, clean the conventionalisms in manners, morof all local coloring and association, als, and superstition, which have alsuch as is essential to the dramatist ready passed away even in Spain. He whose inspiration is poetical, and who is a marvelously fertile, skillful, poetic therefore must reconcile the ideal with play-wright. the real, by which reconciliation only Thus we perceive that, with poetic can be produced the purest truth. That dramatists, the prevailing practice is, notwithstanding they belong not to the to look abroad for fables. Moreover, highest poetio sphere, bis comedies in the cases where these were drawn continue to live and to be enjoyed, this from the bosom of the poet's own testifies of the breadth and truthfulness people, he sbuns the present, and bies of his bumanity, the piercing insight of as far as he can into the dark back his rich mind, and his superlative comic abysms of time, as Shakespeare does in genius.

Macbeth and Lear. The Greek tragio Of Alfieri's twenty-two tragedies, poets, having no outward resource, took three only are modern, and of these possession of the fabulous era of Greece. three the scene of one is in Spain. The poetio dramatist seeks mostly a

Of the nine or ten tragedies of the double remoteness, that of place as well foremost German dramatic poet, Schil- as that of timo; and he must have one lor, three are German, the Robbers, In- or the other. trigue and Love, and Wallenstein. The law lying behind this phenome

Goethe's highest dramas, Iphigenia, non is transparent. The higher poetry Egmont, Torquato Tasso, are all for is, the more generic it is. Its univereign in clothing. The Natural Daughter sality is a chief constituent of its excelhas no local habitation, no dependence lence. The drama is the most genericon time or place. Gontz von Berlich. ally human, and, therefore, the highest ingen, written in Goethe's earliest days of the great forms of poetry. The epio of authorship, is German and in prose. deals with the material, the outwardFaust-the greatest poem of these bumanity concreted into events; the latter times, and rivaling the greatest lyric with the inward, when that is so poems of all time—Faust is not strictly individual and intenso as to gush out å drama: its wonderful successive in ode or song. The dramatic is the scenes are not bound together by dra- union of the epic and lyric—the inmatic necessity.

ward moulding the outward, predomiThe drama of Spain, like the come- nant over the outward while co-working dies of Molière, is an exception to the with it. In the dramatio, the action is rulo we deduce from the practice of more made by the personality ; in the other dramatists ; but it is an exception epic, the personality is more merged in which, like that of Molière, confirms the strong, full stream of events. The the rule. Unlike the ancient Greek lyric is the utterance of one-sided, parand the French tragic poets, unlike tial (however deep and earnest) foeling, Schiller, Shakespeare, Goethe, Alfieri, the which must be linked to other feelthe Spanish dramatists do not aim at ings to give wholeness to the man and his ideal humanity. The best of them, actions. The dramatic combines several Calderon, is so intensely Spanish and lyrics with the epic. Out of humanity Romish, as to be, in comparison with and human action it extracts the esthe breadth and universality of his sence. It presents men in their comeminent compeers above-named, almost pletest form, in warm activity, impelled thereto by strongest feelings. Hence sense of power to unfold and elevate

must be condensed and compact, and ourselves ; we are more ready and more must, for its highest display, get rid of capable to withstand the assaults of local coloring, personal associations, and circumstance. Here is more thoroughall prosaio circumscriptions. The po- ly embodied the true Christian principle, etic dramatist needs the highest poetic that out of himself is to como every freedom, and only through this can he man's redemption; that the favor and attain to that breadth and largeness help of God are only to be obtained whereof the superiority of his form ad- through resolute self-help and honest, mits, and which are such in Shake- earnest struggle. In Christendom wo speare, that in his greatest plays the stand alone as having abovo us neither whole world seems to be present as the objectivity of politics nor that of spectators and listeners.

the church. The light of the past we Observe that the highest dramatic have, without its darkness. We carry literatures belong to the two freest peo- little weight from the exacting past. ples-the Greeks and the English. Hence, our unexampled freedom and A people, possessing already a large ease of movement, which, wanting the political freedom, must be capable of, old conventional ballast, to Europeans and must be in the act of, vigorous, rich seems lawless and reckless.

Even development, through deep inward pas- among ourselves, many tremble for our sion and faculty, in order that its spirit future, because they have little faith in shall issue in the perennial flowers of bumanity, and because they cannot the poetic drama. The dramatic espe- grasp the new grand bistorio phonome cially implies and demands variety and non of a people possessing all the fullness and elevatiou of personality; principles, practices, and trophies of and this is only possible through free- civilization without its paralyzing endom, the attainment of which freedom cumbrances. implies on its side the innate fertility of But think not, because we are loss nature which results in fullness and ele- passive to destiny, we are rebellious vation.

against Deity ; because we are boldly Now in the subjective elevation of self-reliant, we are, therefore, irreligiousthe individual, and therewith the un- ly defiant. The freer a people is, the precedented relative number of indi- nearer it is to God. The more subviduals thus elevated, herein do we jective it is, through acquired selfexceed all other peoples. By subject rule, the more will it harmonize with ive elevation I mean, liberation from the high objectivity of absolute truth the outward downward pressure of and justice. For, having thrown off the dogmatic prescription of imperious capricious secondary rule of man, wo custom, of blindfolded tradition, of shall not be the less, but the more, unirresponsible authority. The despot- der the steadfast, primary rule of God; ic objectivity of Asia —where religion for, having broken the force of human is submissiveness, and manhood is fallible prescription, we shall the more crushed by obedience has been par. feel and acknowledge the supremacy of tially with stood in Europe. The eman- flawless divine law; for, having rejected cipation therefrom of the Indo-Ger- the tyranny of man's willfulness, we manic race is completed in Anglo- shall submit the more fully to the beneAmerica. Through this manifold ficent power of principle. omancipation, we are to be, in all the Our birth, growth, and continued high departments of human achieve- weal, depending on large, deep prinment, preeminently creative, because, ciples-principles deliberately elaborwhile equipped with the best of the atod and adopted by reason, and generpast, we are at the same time pre- ously embracing the whole our life eminently subjective; and, therefore, must be interpenetrated by principle, high literature will, with us, necessarily and thence, our literature must ombrace take the lyrical, and especially the dra- the widest and most human wants and matic, form.

aspirations of man. And thus, it will More than our European anoestors, be our privilege and our glory to be We mould, each one of us, our own then the most national in our books destiny; we have a stronger inward when we are the most universal.

THE RHINE CASTLE.

[ocr errors]

WANDERED up the path of time,

I saw a castle riso sublime,

On cliffs precipitously steep;
A trumpet clamored from its height,

O'er turret, battlement, and keep;
Shrill voices answered of affright,
And beacons flung a larum light.
A dizzy window swung agape,

Anear the summit of the tower,
And from it leaned a maiden's shape,

In beauty like a starlight-flower.
She drow my eyes-she drew my soul-

I floated upward by that power
Inborn to dreams ; I upward stole
As lightly as a mist may roll.
She saw the watch-fire's writhing blaze

Flash bodefully athwart the Rhino;
She sent a timid, tearful gaze

O'er moonlit forest, cliff, and vine.
Some distant clangor faintly rose ;

Some far-off weapons seemed to shine ;
And, through the midnight's broad repose,
Came shadows swift of friends or foes.
She tottered to a gloomy stair,

And down its sullen spiral filed;
Adown that by way of despair

I followed, by her weeping led ;
We passed a mighty hall where shone

Great wassail-cups on tables spread,
Swords gapped with shredding helm and bone,
And trumpets oft for slaughter blown.
Within a chapel's vaulted cell

We reached an altar's sanctity ;
Before the Crucified she fell,
And lifted

oyes

of

agony
A wondrous change upon me came-

That Crucified I seemed to be,
And threatened her with eyes of flame,
Which checked her ere she spake the Name.
Then footfalls rept the woeful air,

And swiftly through the gloom advanood
A frenzied woman, ghastly fair,

Who wildly sang and wildly danced.
She seized the other by the arm,

And fiercely in her visage glanced ;
Then shuddered back, as with alarm,

Or stung by memories of barm.
“ The time is come !" she sbrilly cried.

“Aba! aha ! behold the time!
The day appointed for a bride

The belfries ring a wedding chime.
Who ever saw so fine & sun ?

And yet the sky is black as grime.
But oh, my heart is lost and won-
My virgin days are told and done.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

“ The baron bold of Bingensee

Rides bravely down the banks of Rhine ;
He slow a husband once for those

A lover and a sire of mine ;
The baron's hair is silver white,

But it shall redder turn than wine;
The baron's arm is strong in fight,

But woe to him some starry night! “I heard a voice which bid me fly;

I flew upon a demon's wings-
I flew to tell a prophecy

The raven to tho she-wolf sings;
I heard him singing in a tree,

•The war-axe falls, the helmet rings-
The baron bold of Bingensee,
Oh what a prize for mo and theo !""
She ended with a gurgling laugh.

Which varied to a frenzied yell,
As of those damned souls who quaff

The mantling agony of hell ;
Then swiftly vanished from the place,

While speechlessly the other fell,
And swooned away upon her face
Against the altar's chilly base.
Sudden, a far, discordant cry

Swept hoarsely bodeful to my ear,
Still nearer bowling, and more nigh,

Till, deafening loud and deadly clear,
It roared through window, door, and hall,

A storm of groan, and shriek, and cheer,
With clash of steel and trumpet call
And lifeless bodies' plunging fall.
Then, trampling feet, with maddened rush,

Burst doors ajar ; and struggling forms
Profaned the chapel's saintly hush

With blasphemy of clanging arms ;
Some slipped upon the gory pave,

Gasbed horribly with mortal harms ;
Yet onward surged the steely wave
Of halbert, dagger, pike, and glaive.
On one with venerable hair

It chiefly fung its savage might;
He shouted with a fierce despair,

His war-axe fell like levin-light;
His cuirass gaped with riving blows,

Yet still he faced the rushing fight,
Till, downward dragged by clutching foes,
He grimly fell and never rose.
Beside his fainted child he fell,

And clasped her with a dead embrace ;
She started staring from her spell,

And shrieked and gibbered in his face ;
Till, agonized, I gave command

To cleave that castle to its base ;
And down it thundered, shaking land
And ocean with destruction grand.

THE BOSTON LADIES' RECEPTION OF WASHINGTON.

CHAPTER I.

ceptacle. Doubtless the lid was often · And now unveiled the toilette stands dis.

raised to display its accumulating play'd

treasures to country cousins or admirEach silver vase in mystic order laid, ing friends. I shall glance in-bere Th' inferior priestess at her altar's side."

is the costly lace, the transparent and Rape of the Lock.

filmy gauze, the delicate silk, hueless, AT

LL that can now be recalled, relating but lustrous, with wreaths and clusters

even indirectly to our earliest Presi- of blushing roses. In the folds of that dent, commands such interest and atten- silver paper are the quaint little shoes, tion, that I am tempted to offer a kalei. pure and snowy as the dress, and near doscope glimpse of his noble figure, them, in the morocco case with velvet surrounded by the antiquated ceremonial lining, are sparkling buckles. In this of a ball-room in the eighteenth century. perfumed satchel are the delicate gloves, This ball, or, as we should now phrase and here, incased from oareless hands, it, this reception or levee, was given the fan of exquisite workmanship. during Washington's last visit to the This beautiful dress is made at homemetropolis of New England in 1789, only the mother's careful and tasteful that the ladies of Boston might be gra- hand may be trusted on so special an octified by a personal introduction with casion. This ability to cut and fit their the opportunity of offering their re- own dresses appears to have been not spectful and grateful homage.

unusual with our gentlowomon of the In family conclave, it is decided, last century, and was considered by that the dress for the gala evening them rather in the light of an accomshould be entirely new-nothing worn plishment. the preceding season may again appear While such preparations are supin so distinguished a presence. The posed to be gradually advancing, allow services of Mr. Rowe-the most fasb- me to introduce to your

potice the mas. ionable ladies' coiffeur-should also be tors of the ceremony. The traditions I promptly secured, and the more speedi- consult preserve the names of but three ly, from some uncomfortable reminis- individuals. In our own day we occaconcos connected with commencement- sionally see published the names of day at Harvard University. The hour seventy or a hundred persons as presidfor leaving the city was so early, and ing over the fashionable assemblies of the time so limited, that this favorite our summer watering-places, and somehair-dresser was in requisition during times wonder who can be left to appear the hours usually considered as belong simply as private citizens, without some ing to the night, and even powdered indicating ribbon, or official badge at and dressed the heads of

many

ladies the button-hole. But we know the title the preceding evening, these votar- is often a mere honorary distinction. ies of fashion, unhappy victims of the Many are not oven present, or, perhaps, tedious head-dress, passing the night in have not been consulted in the use of their high-backed chairs. His assist- their names.

Behind this shadowy ance is, therefore, at once bespoken, and cloud of bypothetical managers, is the the important matter satisfactorily ar- true working committee who underranged. For, though drawn in different stand and regulate the complicated directions, and having long-standing machinery. Not so in the last century; engagements with many a fashionable a limited number of gentlemen, accusdame, he promises on the word of an tomed to society, and competent to the honorable coiffeur to present himself at task, well-known themselves, and knowa convenient hour, on the afternoon of ing all in the perhaps somewhat narrow Wednesday, the 29th of October. The circle of the then small town, were conexciting business of shopping now com- sidered sufficient for the many and menced, and many a consultation was various duties of the situation, assumheld to decide on the material and style ing no responsibilities they did not fully of the new dress. A large trunk was intend to meet Of the three whose placed in the young lady's apartment, names have been handed down, aud I and each article, when procured or com- am inclined to believe they were all who pleted, took its place in the spacious re- officiated, were, first, Colonel Bradford,

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »