Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

South Germany, less thoughtful, and preferring
Eáse and known ways to toilsome innovation,
Clings to its fóresires' creed, and only closer
And clóser clings the more it is shown to be
Nonsense downright, hypocrisy and imposture.
Bóth Germanies my diligent, plodding feet
From North to South from East to West have travelled,
From filthy, rích, commercial, sensual Hamburg
To the far Draúthal and the Ortelerspitz,
And from where in the Moldau's wave reflected
The minarets of Prague, to where broad Rhine,
Fresh from Helvétia's Alps and glaciers, washes
Básel's white walls and weak Erasmus' tomb,
And I have found the German, in the main,
A plain fair-dealer without second purpose
Ánd to his word true; seldom over-courteous,
And álways quite inquisitive enough
About your náme, your country, your religion,
Whence, whíther, what and why and where and when;
And take fair warning, reader! shouldst thou ever,
Smit with the love of that coy spinster, Knowledge,
Venture upon a German tour pedestrian,
Outside the limits of still courteous Schwarzwald,
The watchdog all day long his iron chain
Clánks on each boor’s inhospitable threshold,
And even the inn door in the country opens
Slowly and súllenly or not at all
Tó the beláted, tired and houseless stranger.

From Gérmany I turn into Tyról;
A kindlier, friendlier land; where tired pedestrian
Though he arrive late has no growl to fear
Of súrly watchdog or more surly landlord,
But greeted with “Willkommen!" and the smile

Of búsy, gay, key-jingling Kellnerin,
Throws down his knapsack on Gast-Stube table,
And áfter short delay is helped to the best
Saúsage, stewed veal, and wine the inn affords ;
Nor is this all; finds when he goes upstairs
His béd, though nothing wider, has in length
Gained on the measure of his German crib
Some good three inches, cleaner far besides
And better furnished, but for greater width
Thán his cramp German crib's spare thirty inches
He must have patience till he leaves behind him
Not Gérmany alone but North Tyról,
And figs, vines, peaches, pomegranates and olives
And brighter suns and warmer airs announce
The European Eden, South Tyról.

From Vál Ampezzo and the belfry Glockner
And where in crystal vase is still preserved
The drop of the holy blood, I take my way
With the descending Drave into Carinthia's
East-trending valley-land flanked North and South
By mány a snow-clad Alp and ruined castle,
And sown by many a diligent peasant's hand
With mélons, maize, hemp, bere, oats, beans and barley.
I rúbbed mine eyes and wondered was 't a dream
When I behéld once more the female face
Óval and seemly, such as I 'd been used
To admire in England, Scotland and dear Ireland,
And hád in vain sought through all sprawling-mouthed,
Broad, prominent cheekboned, cat-eyed Germany.
But handsome though they be, Carinthia's maids
Detain not lóng my faithless, wandering steps,
And on the banks of Téssin or old Tyber
Or stretched at ease upon the sunny slopes

O’erhanging Spezzia's palms and placid bay,
Behold me wooing soon a lovelier beauty.

I like thee, Italy, and I like thee not;
Thoú that a thousand years thine iron sceptre
Laid'st heavy on the neck of human kind
From western Tagus to far eastern Ganges,
And from the Picts' wall to the burning Line,
Thine hour of retribution 's come at last
And crushed beneath the tyrant's heel thou liest
Writhing unpitied, not again to rise.
First waned thy private morals, then thy public;
Thy singleness and honesty of purpose,
Thy válor, heroism, selfdenial;
And though, of life tenacious, thy religion,
Clád in a different mantle and with features
Adjústed in the mirror of the times,
Síts in her ancient seat and fain would thence,
Rúle as of old the world and act the God,
A tíme is coming when even Róme's religion
Must túmble down and perish like Rome's State,
Or dón another mantle, other features,
And spreading out with one hand a new forged
And lýing patent, tear down with the other:
From the flagstaff the cross, and round a cone,
Triángle, square, trapezoid or circle,
Rálly new hósts of wonderworkers, martyrs,
Voices and signs and omens and believers.
Such shadowy prospect, far the field outlying
Óf the myopic vision of the vulgar,
Ópens before my strained eye in the dim
But hourly clear and clearer growing future,
And intermediate lying a vast plain
Cóvered with camps and bivouacs and battles

And charging horse and foot, and dead and dying,
Defeat and victory, prisoners and pursuit,
And búrning cities villages and cornfields,
Rápine and waste and all the whole heart of man;
And groáns assail mine ears and shouts of triumph,
And criés of wretches broken on the wheel
Slow inch by inch, or in the fire consuming,
Or rótting underground in damp, dark dungeons;
And, mixed with these, bells ringing, organs pealing,
And hymns in chorus sung to the new God,
And preachers' voices loud anathematising
Christ and his cross, rude barbarous superstition
Of a beníghted, Gód-deserted age.
Turn, weary ear and shocked, disheartened eye,
And seek refreshment in the happier past;
Alás! there 's nó refreshment in the past
For ear or eye; hórrors and woeful sounds
And sights of blood fill the whole backward distance:
Állah, Christ, Jove, Jehova, Baal and Isis,
With all their prophets, miracles and priests,
Sheiks, Popes, Druids, Patriarchs, and Bonzés
In battle mélée charge and countercharge,
Conquerors alternate, and alternate conquered
History, begóne! henceforth let no man write
The ánnals of his kind, or dissipate
The sweet and fair illusion that on earth
Sómetime and somewhere Charity has lived,
And mén not always when they used God's name
Had fraúd or blood or rapine in their hearts.
Stage upon which so many stirring scenes
Óf the world's history have been enacted,
Not without áwe I tread thee - here where Brutus
Díd his great deed, where Marcus Tullius pleaded,
Where Brennus threw into the wavering scale

[ocr errors]

His sword's weight; here where Clodius brawled, where wronged
Virginius' knife ended Decemvirates;
Hére where into the delicate, fine ears
Óf the world's máster, the Venusian bard
And Mántuan poured the honey of their song;
Hére where, resuscitated by the sculptor's
Lífe-giving chisel, round about me stand
In all their ancient majesty, reinstalled,
The lánd's pristine possessors, heroes heroines
Góds Demigods philosophers and bards,
Hére is no púppet show no village playhouse.
So far I wrote or thought, when on mine eyes
Fell slúmber like a veil, and lo! I 'm seated
Ón the top bench of a vast circular building,
Úp next the áwning; on each hand all round
Rome's ártizans, on the stone benches crowded,
Look down with strained necks into the Arena;
I too look down past the filled tiers and wedges,
Pást the dense rows of senators and knights,
Procónsuls, Prétors, Heads municipal,
And foreign princes in costumes outlandish,
And délegates from the round world's three thirds,
And past the Podium where on gold and crimson
The Émperor lolled, the Fasces at his back,
Ínto th' Aréna, where in the midst I saw,
Náked except the loins and all defenceless,
An old man and a youth together standing;
Ảnd to the question who or what they were
Received for answer from those sitting near me:
"A fáther and his son condemned to death
For spreading blasphemous, Jewish superstitions
Among the vulgar, teaching them one Christ,
A Jewish rebel, was their rightful Cesar,
Jóve's bástard by a fair Alcmena Jewess."

« PredošláPokračovať »