Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

no! their tribute is the bounding of the grateful heart, not shouts of multitudes mingled with dying groans,not widows' tears, but widows' blessings,—not the bereaved orphans' anguished cry, but songs of gratitude,-not dying soldiers' curses, but their prayers, not the world's fear, but the world's veneration."

I know not how much longer my reverie might have continued, had not the return of Marianne called my attention to what was passing around me. There was a calmness in her aspect that might easily be accounted for; the full heart had 'overflowed, the tide of her feeling had subsided, and she was now sunk into a deep and settled melancholy. During her absence, her lover had fallen into a gentle slumber; fearful of disturbing his repose, she approached his bed-side on tip-toe, and having seated herself beside him, watched his pale and haggard looks with the most fixed and solicitous regard. He appeared to be dreaming, his lips muttered inarticulate sounds, his face became flushed, his brow bedewed with perspiration, his whole frame seemed agitated ;she was alarmed; she took his hand, and gently pressing it, exclaimed, “William, my love !" He raised himself from his couch, and wildly casting his eyes around, cried, as he earnestly seized her arm, “What, Marianne ! here still? methought we were separated for ever,--death was the divider,-and I was just casting a last glance on this transitory world ;-'twas all a dream-but shadows of truth,--for I feel my strength rapidly wasting, and, ere long, shall be as though I ne'er had been. Yes, yes, I am verging towards eternity ; each moment bears me, like the boiling billow, farther from the shores of time ;-my eye is dim,-my hand is feeble,--, my frame is relaxed,-but my soul, my immortal soul, is still the same ;-it lives through all, and flourishes in the midst of ruin :-to feel all the agony of parting, and to experience, with more poignant anguish, the sad and solemn reflection, that when I am reposing beneath the grass-green turf, there will be one kind and gentle spirit left, lonely and deserted, who must weep unnoticed, sigh uncomforted;—in the hour of gaiety, joyless ; in the silence of solitude, drear and desolate : these are the thoughts that rack,-these the reflections that harass me :she who loved me living, must mourn unconsoled o'er my memory when dead. Then, Marianne,” continued he, “then, when you shall call for me unanswered, save by the hollow echo from the graves,—then, if parted souls may visit those they love, mine shall hover round you, watch over your destiny, reverberate your sighs, weep over your sorrows, if disembodied spirits weep, and be the first to hail your trembling spirit when it crosses the threshold of eternity." Those, and those only, who have stood beside the couch, where all that is lovely and valued lies struggling with the last enemy, can imagine the devotional fervour, the something more than mortal interest, with which Marianne beheld him. “ This,” said she, taking a little miniature from her bosom, “this is all that will remain to remind me of a hapless lover, --but my heart needs no remembrance,-none, none; ’tis withering at the core, and, ere long ” The door slowly opened, and an aged lady, whose face bespoke a heart ill at ease, gently approached to his bed-side, enquiring, with much anxiety, how he felt himself. He

smiled, and would have reached forth his hand, but the effort was too much, and the willing arm fell heavy and languid by his side, “I am better now," said he, “much better," although his voice and features evidently bespoke him much weaker. Marianne was in tears, and her deep and repeated sobs at length attracted his attention ; suddenly raising himself in his bed, he stretched forth his arms, as if to clasp her, and then sunk exhausted with his head upon her lap; she raised him tenderly, and having carefully smoothed his pillow, gently placed his head upon it. “ This is the boon, which, through many a wearisome night, I have earnestly - prayed,—to have my pillow smoothed by the fostering hand of early affection,and now I die in peace: let them lay me,” continued he, with pathetic softness, “let them lay me beside the little yew tree, in the north corner of the churchyard; there shall I sleep in quiet, as I would have lived, but war forbade. There, when all the human race have forgotten me, and not a trace remains to tell that I have been

there, shall the rising and the setting sun shed his sweetest beams. Oh, Marianne ! do you recollect that happy evening when first we made vow of mutual love? We stood upon that spot, and lightly talked of many a future year,--and then you sighed, but not as now you sigh, in deep despair,-'tis past,'tis past ----all past, and now no more of joy,—of love,- of life, of hope-remains for us,—but bitter dregs. No ! no! ’tis misery all;—before,-behind,-around;whither, oh! whither shall the wretched flee, and be at rest!" His breath seemed departing, his bosom heaved with spasmodic agitation, and it was some minutes before he was able to assure them, with a voice weak and tremulous, that he was recovering. “Heaven is our home,” said Marianne, “there shall we experience that plenitude of bliss we fondly, vainly looked for here." It was pleasing to bear the touching tones of her melodious voice, thus breathing the spirit of religious consolation at a moment like this : it had the desired effect,-he ceased repining, and whispered, (it was all he could,) “ Yes, there is a Providence that rules and directs all for the best, and to his benevolent protection I can safely commit the dearest and most valued of earthly beings :--the taper of life waxes short, I am faint and feeble; give me your hand.” He pressed it to his lips, then to his heart. “Mother, your's too.” Having done the same with it, he placed them in each other, and said, “My mother-my Marianne; one of you is about to be childless, the other loveless : be a daughter, be a mother, to each other; and when all around is cheerless and unpromising, and I am no more, think of futurity, of me, of heaven-where we shall all be united to part no more.

I have a blessing for you, but it will die in my -" His voice faltered, his lip quivered, his eye rolled carelessly round: the last spark of life seemed nearly extinguished. After a short struggle he appeared more composed, but grew gradually weaker and weaker. The convulsive clasp of his hand was still the same; Marianne pressed it to her lips, and looked upwards, as if, in spirit, to implore heaven to spare him yet a little. His fading eyes were fixed on her ; she again placed his hand to her lips, and wept: he looked his gratitude, and closed his eyes,-opened them, closed them again,-heaved a gentle sigh, and then, with a faint smile on his countenance, breathed his last.

J. R. W. European Magazine.

THE CLASSICS AND ROMANTICS.

Since the celebrated dispute of Perrault, no subject has been discussed with more earnestness among the French literati, than that at present pending in respect to the relative merits of the classic and romantic schools, or, to be more explicit, respecting the superiority of the style of the age of Louis XIV. which has been denominated the “ Classic School" on the one hand; and the followers of a free national style, unshackled by the laws of the ancients, on the other, distinguished by the appellation of “ Romantic.” In this war of words, the combatants have called to their aid every auxiliary power, and it may not be amiss to give the reader an idea of a contest which will, in the end, produce an important change, for the better, in the literature of the nation. The despotism of the academy, once so perfect, had frequently of late years received severe shocks upon isolated questions, and the revolution inflicted upon its sovereignty, a blow which it was impossible for it to survive. Its use to the Bourbon government, as an instrument of influence on theliterature of the country, has now nearly become inert, not by the conversion of the academy to the

« PredošláPokračovať »