Obrázky na stránke

arise in glory. But for my good name
no resurrection is appointed here. .
Let it be blotted out on earth: in Heaven
there shall be written with it such good deeds
wrought in atonement as my soul this day
hath sworn to offer up.




"HEN am I doubly hopeless. What is gone
nor plaints nor prayers nor yearnings of the soul

emory's tricks nor fancy's invocations-
though tears went with them frequent as the rain
in dusk November, sighs more sadly breathed
than winter's o'er the vegetable dead, -
can bring again ; and should this living hope,
that like a violet from the other's grave
grew sweetly, in the tear-besprinkled soil
finding moist nourishment—this seedling sprung
where recent grief had like a ploughshare passed
through the soft soul and loosened its affections-
should this new-blossomed hope be coldly nipped,
then were I desolate indeed! a man
whom heaven would wean from earth, and nothing

but cares and quarrels, trouble and distraction,
the heavy burdens and the broils of life.
Is such my doom? Nay, speak it, if it be.




HOULD we be silent and not speak, our raiment,

and state of bodies would bewray what life
we have led since thy exile. Think with thyself
how more unfortunate than all living women
are we come hither: since that thy sight, which should
make our eyes flow with joy, hearts dance with comforts,
constrains them weep, and shake with fear and sorrow;
making thy mother, wife, and child, to see
the son, the husband, and the father, tearing
his country's bowels out. And to poor we
thine enmity's most capital: thou barr'st us
our prayers to the gods, which is a comfort

that all but we enjoy: for how can we,
alas, how can we for our country pray,
whereto we are bound,--together with thy victory,
whereto we are bound ? alack, or we must lose
the country, our dear nurse; or else thy person,
our comfort in the country.





HOW weak

is mortal man; how trifling, how confined his scope of vision ! · Puffed with confidence, his phrase grows big with immortality, and he, poor insect of a summer's day, dreams of eternal honours to his name, of endless glory, and perennial bays ! he idly reasons of eternity as of the train of ages, when, alas, ten thousand thousand of his centuries are, in comparison, a little point too trivial for account! Oh, it is strange, 'tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies ; behold him proudly view some pompous pile, whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, and smile, and say, "My name shall live with this till Time shall be no more,' while at his feetyea, at his very feet—the crumbling dust of the fallen fabric of the other day preaches the solemn lesson.




Pyl. WHERE is she? that my words with speed may

the joyful tidings of our near escape ? Iph. Oppressed with gloomy care, I much require

the certain comfort thou dost promise me. Pyl. Thy brother is restored : the rocky paths

of this unconsecrated shore we trod
in friendly converse, while behind us lay,
unmarked by us, the consecrated grove;
and ever with increasing glory shone

the fire of youth around his noble brow:
courage and hope his glowing eye inspired ;
and his free heart exulted with the joy

of saving thee, his sister, and his friend.
Iph. The gods shower blessings on thee, Pylades !

and from those lips which bear such welcome news,

be the sad note of anguish never heard !
Pyl. I bring yet more,--for Fortune, like a prince,

comes not alone but well accompanied :
our ffiends and comrades we have also found.
Within a bay they had concealed the ship,
and mournful sat expectant. They beheld
thy brother, and a joyous shout upraised
imploring him to haste the parting hour:
each hand impatient longed to grasp the oar,
while from the shore a gently murmuring breeze,
perceived by all, unfurled its wing auspicious.
Let us then hasten ; guide me to the fane,
that I may tread the sanctuary and seize
with sacred awe the object of our hopes,
I can unaided on my shoulder bear
Diana's image : how I long to feel
the precious burden!

A. SWANWICK from Goethe

[ocr errors]




Iph. ONCLUDE the tale

of which thy brother only told me half:
relate their end, who coming home from Troy,
on their own threshold met a doom severe
and most unlooked for. I, though but a child
when first conducted hither, well recall
the timid glance of wonder which I cast
on those heroic forms. When they went forth,
it seemed as though Olympus from her womb
had cast the heroes of a by-gone world,
to frighten Ilion; and, above them all,
great Agamemnon towered pre-eminent:
oh tell me, fell the hero in his home,

through Clytemnestra's and Ægisthus' wiles?
Ores. He fell.

Unblest Mycene! Thus the sons of Tantalus, with barbarous hands have sown


curse upon curse; and, as the shaken weed
scatters around a thousand poison-seeds,
so they assassins ceaseless generate,
their children's children ruthless to destroy.-
Now tell the remnant of thy brother's tale,
which horror darkly hid from me before.
How did the last descendant of the race,-
the gentlé child, to whom the Gods assigned
the office of avenger,-how did he
escape that day of blood ? did equal fate
around Orestes throw Avernus' net?
say, was he saved? and is he still alive?
and lives Electra, too?

A. SWANWICK from Goethe



Iph. S doth the flower revolve to meet the sun,

once more my spirit to sweet comfort turns,
struck by thy words' invigorating ray.
How dear the counsel of a present friend,
lacking whose godlike power, the lonely one
in silence droops! for, locked within his breast,
slowly are ripened purpose and resolve,

which friendship’s genial warmth had soon matured. Pyl. Farewell! I haste to re-assure our friends,

who anxiously await us: then with speed
I will return, and, hid within the brake,
attend thy signal.—Wherefore all at once,

doth anxious thought o'ercloud thy brow serene? Iph. Forgive me: as light clouds athwart the sun,

so cares and fears float darkling o'er my soul. Pyl. Oh, banish fear: with danger it hath formed

a close alliance,—they are constant friends. Iph. It is an honest scruple, which forbids

that I should cunningly deceive the king,

and plunder him who was my second sire.
Pyl. Him thou dost fly, who would have slain thy brother.
Iph. To me, at least, he hath been ever kind.
Pyl. What fate commands is not ingratitude.
Iph. Alas! it still remains ingratitude;

necessity alone can justify it.
Pyl. Thee, before gods and men it justifies.

Iph. But my own heart is still unsatisfied.
Pyl. Scruples too rigid are a cloak for pride.
Iph. I cannot argue, I can only feel.
Pyl. Conscious of right, thou shouldst respect thyself.

A. SWANWICK from Goethe



[ocr errors]

OU have not, as good patriots should do, studied

the public good, but your particular ends; your senate-house, which used not to admit a man, however popular, to stand at the helm of government, whose youth was not made glorious by action; whose experience, crowned with gray hairs, gave warrant to his counsels, heard and received with reverence, is now filled with green heads, that determine of the state over their cups, or when their sated lusts afford them leisure; or supplied by those who, rising from base arts and sordid thrift, are eminent for their wealth, not for their wisdom; which is the reason that to hold a place in council, which was once esteemed an honour and a reward for virtue, hath quite lost lustre and reputation, and is made a mercenary purchase. Whence it proceeds that the treasure of the city is engrossed by a few private men, the public coffers hollow with want; and they, that will not spare one talent for the common good, to feed the pride and bravery of their wives, consume in plate, in jewels, and superfluous slaves, what would maintain an army.—Yet, in this plenty, and fat of peace, your young men ne'er were trained in martial discipline; and your ships unrigged rot in the harbour; no de ence prepared, but thought unuseful; as if that the gods, indulgent to your sloth, had granted you a perpetuity of pride and pleasure, no change feared or expected.


« PredošláPokračovať »