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ent, yet the scenery and customs associated with them are the same. We recognize in each the hardy, wholesome nature peculiar to the inhabitants of the towns along the North-Atlantic coast. Both picture the same busy society, gossiping habits, and rough yet sincere neighborly love. Similar religious precepts pointed the path of duty to Mary, which brightened the faith of Mara. The later work will, bowever, be known better from its connection with “Agnes of Sorrento," than for any inherent excellence.

The prominent feature of the story is the character of little Mara, too tender a plant for so rough a soil. A strange visitor among an uncultivated people, she is the wonder as well as the beloved of all who know her. It may be well to note the influence of the religious principles prevalent among all the people of New England, upon a nature like Mara.

The stern Puritan faith is practical and not imaginative. It prohibits dreamy musings, and leads its supporters away from the pleas. ant wanderings, which fancy loves, to the rough realities of existence. It is well suited to the people who live on our hardy soil, Here all is prose, and it is unfortunate that a gentle spirit, full of the poetry of life, should be born and live amid such uncongenial influences, unless kind hearts are ever guiding ready hands to comfort and sustain it. Among the varied experiences of humanity, I can conceive of none sadder than a nature full of fancy, sensitively nervous, and possessing a precocious perception, compelled to drudgery with dull, unappreciating folk, who misconstrue all its actions and thwart all its desires. But Mara bad kind friends. Those who understood her least, were won by her simple grace, and indulged every queer fancy which occupied her mind. The strong arm of Puritanism had a salutary check upon her spiritual ideas, and preserved her intellect in perfect health. It gave her a calm patience, an earnest and beautiful faith, in the weary trial with Moses' selfish, impetuous disposition. She was sustained by it in the long illness which prefaced her death. From its healthy teachings, she learned the lessons by which she led her lover from the path of ruin to the straight course towards honor and principle. It seems to be the principal aim of the story to illustrate, by the life of its heroine, the influence of our religion upon delicate and sensitive organizations.

Let us leave, for the present, the remaining characters of the book, and turn to “Agnes of Sorrento.” The purpose of this work is to discover the power of the Catholic Church upon a nature identical with that of Mara. It presents the picture of life among the humble clas

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ses during a portion of the mediæval age. Secular and Religious history has defined the exterior of Catholicism, and exposed the corruption of its servants. The world thoroughly understands the men who have stood behind the screen and worked the machinery. They are, in a great measure, answerable for a thousand years of barbarism and superstition, which would have continued to this day if the brain could have been shackled with the body. The prejudice created by the atrocities which the Church has sanctioned, the hatred aroused by its blasphemous use of Divine gifts, have caused men to overlook its good qualities. The beauty of the peasant's faith is forgotten amid the heartless ceremonials of the rich. Yet at the simple household shrine, and not in the gorgeous Cathedral, are found sincerity and truthful worship. This is true now; ; how much truer nine hundred years ago, when a few received universal homage, and claimed irresponsibility in action !

Mrs. Stowe, realizing this fact, has chosen as the scene of her story a lowly village in the heart of Italy. Sorrento was so far from Rome that its inhabitants were ignorant of the follies which disgraced that city, and so near that no heretical influence could easily reach it. Here was the home of Agnes. She had no companions except her grandmother, whose harsh, worldly views' contrasted with the gentle, saintly ideas of Agnes, like the gnarled oak with the delicate violet beneath its branches. Her acquaintance extended only to the inmates of a neighboring convent, and this, instead of drawing her away from her own thoughts, only increased the babit of self-communion. The grandmother, hardened by her life's experience, regarded the observancies of religion as a duty; but she never looked beyond the outward show, and could not comprehend the quiet, devotional temperament of her charge. Agnes, whose rare beauty represented her pure soul, lived out of the world among thoughts and fancies. She performed the ceremonies which the Church commanded, but looked beyond material assistants to the spiritual life of which they were the emblems. Love, which had stolen unbidden into her heart, could not turn her from the fancied duty to religious rites. Yet, firm as her faith seemed, it was soon destroyed. It was the luxuriant growth of the tropics, and not the rugged produce of a Northern climate. One brief glance at the corruptions of Rome, and the lessons of a life were undone. Under such influences, this lovely character was formed. Physically and mentally Mara and Agnes are alike, but they were trained and nurtured by different teachers. Each gazed with longing eyes towards an unseen world. Mara met God face to face, and wor

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shipped him with a fresh and natural piety. Agnes saw the Father afar off, and approached him through others. She placed her trust in the vast machinery which she was taught could alone lead her to him. Mara learned the practical with her religion, and gained strength in faith from daily communion at the natural shrines which God has scattered all over the earth, as images of his power and goodness. When Love came to her, she did not attempt to crush it because her lover was a skeptic, but applied the teachings of her instinct and reason to the purpose of turning him from darkness to the Light. Agnes, driving away each natural affection and desire by self-torture, had a faith of unnatural intensity, yet of the greatest outward beauty. She spurned her love as a sin, and tried by prayers, and not by deeds—for Catholicism had never taught their utility-to turn to the fold her wandering lover. How holy the trust and hope which sustained Mara through sickness and death! How sad the sight of Agnes, trying to banish affection by physical pain! Our hearts swell with a just pride for the creed of our fathers, which rejected so many yokes and freed man from religious servitude.

My suggestions in respect to the remaining characters must be brief. Moses and the Cavalier were both skeptical concerning the established theology of their countries. Moses, doubting the extreme and unreasonable portions of the Puritan's creed, overlooked its truths, and rejected all. The Cavalier was too honest to be a Christian, if only Christians could sin with impunity. He was willing to renounce God, if he could approach him only through the foul pathway of the Roman Court. Aunt Roxy and Jocunda represent a class with which no society could dispense. Sally Kitiridge and Giulietta were alike by nature, but their surroundings caused a difference of taste and ideas.The other actors in the dramas, like those which I have mentioned, aid, in connection with Mara and Agnes, to show the power of the two great sects of Christendom upon individuals the same both by nature and in worldly circumstances.

Catholicism and Puritanism! The two extremes of the Christian Church. Mrs. Stowe has silently taught their differences by the delineation of her characters, more than the Historian—more than the Preacher. One rears its children artificially, and, though evincing a sincere faith, they are not trained to bear the rough storms of life ;the other, after pointing out the way, leaves the soul to find the Father through its own impulses and by its own natural instinct. J. H. B.

VOL. XXVII.

22

Thoughts on a Midnight Music.

I heard a strain of music far and sweet
Through the hushed darkness of the calm midnight,
Stealthily dropping on my sense as pearls
Drop from a necklace one by one and fall
With pleasant sound into a casket lid.
I listened for the voices as eagerly
As ever lover for his lady's voice;
And when they came so softly intertoned,
By the low sighing of the winter wind,
A pleasant fancy took abode with me.

I wandered back in vision to the days
Of Grecian glory when the earth was new;
I heard the cheerful strains in Tempe's vale,
And Pan soft piping by the river's brink,
Waist-deep among the rushes.

Then again,
I saw the Persian myriads turn in fear,
And fly before their foemen's paean shout,
While through the carnage gleamed the bloody brass,
And o'er it all still rang that fearful hymn
Striking dismay. And when the Spartans rise
To combat with Messenae, I espied
That lame schoolmaster of the battle songs,
Weakest in body but in mind the first,
And whose strong lyrics purchased victory.
Into the East I passed and listened there
To dreamy music, heard barbaric chants,
And at the sunrise by the river Nile,
Stood near old Memnon's statue.

On the strand
Of Palestine I paused and by my side
Came armed crusaders with a clash of steel,
Singing in joy a strong-voiced monkish hymn
As on they journeyed to Jerusalem.
I was with those who found this Western world,
And when the grand Te Deum rose and swelled,
It broke upon the silence like the voice
Which, after weary watching, speaks and tells
The fever crisis over.

Wheresoe'er
I went in distant or is nearer lands,
Whether I listened to the Troubadour,

Or heard the Norsemen's war song, there I found
The same old passions answer to the strain.
And even now in days as stern and proud
As any days of pride in elder times,
I found it still as then, the one sweet voice
Which never fails to speak to all the heart.

D.

How will the War affect our Literature ? Most nations at some time in their history pass through great transition periods. Influences which have been long in operation, seem suddenly to develop into a barvest of results, and the work of centuries is swept away or greatly modified in as many months or days. The American nation is now passing through such a transition period. The spirit of change has come over us and extends its influence to all departments of life. Our public policy, our social life, our habits of thought, speech and action, our language and literature, are all being more or less modified. It would be a most interesting problem, did we possess sufficient material for its solution, to determine what will probably be some of these changes in our literature.

There are a few facts which it seems to me will naturally and inevitably exert a powerful influence in this direction.

And first; the great increase of intelligence among the masses of the people. This increased intelligence does not conist entirely or chiefly in a more extended knowledge of physical facts. Along with our new information of a geographical and kindred character, and our familiar acquaintance with the art of war and its auxiliaries, we are acquiring a better knowledge of history, a deeper insight into principles, into the causes which control human action, and into those hidden moral forces wbich lie behind all social and political changes.

Thought is further quickened by the great problems which the crisis forces upon public attention. The theory of our government, the principles upon which it has been, and should be administered, and the gravest questions of civil polity are freely discussed.

Admitting that many of the ideas promulgated in these discussions are crude and visionary, and that no new truths of political science

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