Imagens das páginas

Old Man. Well, well-I am but like the ancient He almost curses life, so does he long servant

To pass away in death, which he conceives Of our good Lord, I do put forth my hand

The portal of immortal youth and joy. And others gird and lead me where I would not ! Never did aged man abhor his years, .

[They go in. Like my poor father! "T is, I must believe,

Only the weakness of a feeble spirit,
Bowed down beneath his threescore years and ten!

Ugo. Margaret, thou hast performed a daughter's

part ; Night-fall- a - a room in the collage. In the far part

. Now list to mine. Du thou make him my father,

I did allow thy father's claim to thee, the old Man's bed, with the curtains drawn round it.

And let him dwell with us; we'll comfort him - Margaret sits within a screen at her work; a

Our bliss will reconcile him to his life! small lamp is burning beside her.

Marg. Alas, thou know'st he will not leave this Marg. I'll sing a hymn, it oft hath cheered his

roof! spirit

Sorrow and love have bound him to these walls In its disquietude ---Oh Lord forgive him,

He'd die if we remove him; and thy duties, If he say aught injurious of thy mercy

As the good pastor of a worthy flock, He is a weak, old man!

[She sings. Bind thee unto thy mountains! C'golin,

Could I believe this weary waiting for me — Bowed 'neath the load of human ill,

This seven years' tarriance on a daughter's duty, Our spirits droop, and are dismayed;

Fretted thee with impatience, I would yield Oh Thou, that saidest peace, be still,' Thee back thy faith, and give thee liberty To the wild sea, and wast obeyed,

To choose elsewhere; but I have known thee well, Speak comfortable words of peace,

Have known thy constancy, thy acquiescence And bid the spirit's tumult cease!

With the great will of God, howe'er unpleasing

To our poor souls; so let us still perform We ask not length of days, nor ease,

Our separate duties! When my father needs Nor gold; but for thy mercy's sake,

My care no longer, 't will be a great joy Give us thy joy, surpassing these,

To have performed my duty unto him; Which the world gives not, nor can take ; And all the good, life has in store for us, And count it not for sin that we

Will come with tenfold blessing! At times despond, or turn from thee!


Dearest love,
Enter ugolix, softly.

I thank thee for the justice thou hast done me

But let me have my will, and to thy father l'go. How is thy father, Margaret ? does he sleep? Speak once more on this point! If he refuse, Marg. Methinks he does; I have not heard him as he before has done, I'll say no more!

Old Man. Margaret! my daughter Margaret! For half an hour.

Marg. (drawing aside the curtains.] Yes, dear fac Ugo. Thou lookest sad, my love,

ther, Hast thought my tarriance long ? I would have sped What dost thou need ? To thee ere sunset, but I stayed to comfort

Old Man.

I thought I heard him speak, A mother in affliction ; a poor neighbour;

Is he still here? Wife of the fisherman, whose son hath fallen

Marg. Ile is, shall he come to thee? Into the lake, and was brought home a corpse!

Old Man. No, no, I tell thee no! dear daughter A worthy son, the comfort of the house.

no! Marg. Alas, poor soul! it is a great affliction!

I saw him in my dream, and when I woke Ah Ugolin, this is a world of sorrow,

I heard him speak with thee: let him go hence! And, sa ving for the hope the Christian bears In his dear faith, a dark and joyless world!

Marg. Dear father, thou art dreaming still, be Ugo. It is not oft thy spirit is o'ercast

sure ! I see thee ever as a gentle star,

Thou art not speaking of gond Ugolin

It was his voice thou heard'st!
Shedding kind, cheering influence!

Of late
OU Man.

Good Ugolin!
My spirit hath grown sadder, and I ponder

Ay, ay, perchance it might be Ugolin! Upon the many ills which flesh is heir to;

I was in dreams - I thought it was the man Sickness and death — the falling off of friends ;

Who did converse with me beside the door; Blightings of hope ; and of the desolation

It was a dream - a strange, unpleasing dream.
Sin brings upon the heart as on the home -

But go, my child, - it only was a dream,
And hearing now of this poor woman's grief, For rarely dost thou see poor Ugolin;
And of her brave boy's death, my soul is saddened; Yet ere thou go, smooihen my pillow for me!
Besides, my father's mood doth frighten me;

[Margaret adjusts the pillow, and draws Heaven grant his soul's impatience be not sin!

the curtains.


you shall :

[ocr errors]

Ugo. Thy father is not well, dear Margaret, A master of the art; make way for him! His sleep is sore disturbed.

[The Old Man takes the sling, but attemplMarg. "T was but a dream;

ing to throw, his arm drops powerless. There came a stranger and conversed with him

The youths turn away and laugh. An hour ere sunset, and he sees so rarely

Old Man. Curse on this arm! am I a laughingThe face of man, that it becomes a terror

To him in sleep; besides, his mind was burthened Let me go hence, I am an aged fool!
Before he went to rest. (A bell tolls the hour. Yet that I might but only shame those scoffers

The time wears on ;- I'd yield my hope in heaven!
I must not tarry longer, or the hour

Strang. (reconducting him to his seal.] My friend,
Will be past midnight ere I reach my home.
I will be here to-morrow ere the sun set.

Vain-glorious fools! to laugh the old to scorn.
Sweet rest to thee, my Margaret, and good dreams, I told you I was skilled in medicines ;
And to the poor old man! (He embraces her. The secret virtues of all plants and stones,
Marg. Farewell, good Ugolin! [He goes out. And earths medicinal, are known to me;

[Margaret fastens the door ; then, after And hence I have concocted a strong draught

listening a few minules by her father's Of wondrous power— it is the Elixir Vitæ,
bed, she retires to her own chamber. For which the wise of every age have sought.

(He presents a small flask.

Drink this, my friend, and vigorous lise shall run SCENE III.

Throughout your frame ; you shall be young anon;

You shall be even as these ; and more than these ! Noon of the next day - the saloon of a house in the

Old Man. Give me the flask! I'll shame the city, opening to a green on which young men are

insolent: engaged in athletic sports - the old Man sits in a I will outsling these mockers! large chair looking on; the Stranger stands beside

(He takes it eagerly, then pauses as if him

deliberating ; smells at it, and looks at

it belween his eye and the light. Strang. Nay, nay, you know it was with your Strang.

Drink, my friend. consent

Old Man. Said'st thou it would restore my vanI brought you here. The litter was so easy,

ished youth? The day so warm, the gale so soft and low,

Strang. Yes, yes! will give thee youth, and You did yourself confess the journey pleasant ;

strength and beauty Confessed that a new life refreshed your limbs ; Will give thee youth which is imperishable! Yet now you murmur, and uneasy thoughts

Old Man. And I shall live, enjoying life on earth? Disquiet you!

Strang. Yes, wilt enjoy upon this glorious earth Old Man. When the poor flesh is weak, All that the young desire! So is the spirit.

Old Man. (giving it back.) I'll drink it not! Strang. True, my ancient friend!

I'll none of it - it is an evil thing. But let us now regard the youths before us;

Strang. What, to be such as these, an evil thing! Behold their manly forms, their graceful limbs, Did they not laugh at thee, and mock thine age ? Supple, yet full of force Herculean.

Old Man. Ay, what is youth but folly? Now I Look at their short, curled hair ; their features' play; Their well-set, noble heads; their shoulders broad; The sinfulness of my unholy wishes : Their well-compacted frames, that so unite

I thank thee, God, that thou hast kept my soul Beauty and strength together! Such is youth. From this great spare! Oh, take me, take me hence, Old Man. I once was such as they.

A feeble man, I am not of your sort! Strang.

Look at that boy, Strang. (aside.] A curse upon thee, and thy feebleThrowing the classic discus! such as he

[He speaks to four of the young men. The old Greek sculptors loved ; look at his skill, My friend, the litter will be here anon; How far, how true he hurls !

These will conduct thee safely to thy daughter : Old Man,

When I was young

Give me thy hand, old friend, I sain would serve thee. I threw it better far! Oh for the years

Old Man. Let me go home : I am a weak old man. That now are distanced by decrepitude !

[The four youths accompany him out. Strang. Look at the slingers yonder; how they Strang. A weak old man! a weak old whining mark

fool! Al yon small target!

If pain and hunger could have made him mine, Old Man. (altempting to rise.] Give me here a He should not thus have left me: but I know sling;

The soul is only strengthened by oppression. I will excel them all!

I still will speak him fair-I will fatter him, Strang. (supporting him.) You shall, my friend! And stir up that impatient soul of his, [To one of the youths.] Give here a sling, good De- Till his own act shall make him mine for ever. cius; here you see

Now let him rest awhile, and bask i' the sun,




my frame!

Like other feeble things; for yet seven days


He is beside thee;
I'll leave him to himself, - and then, old man, Father, he is beside thee, even now.
We'll have a strise for it.

(He goes off. Ugo. My father, may the God of peace be with


Old Man. [looking earnestly at him.] Yes, thou art SCENE IV.

here, good Ugolin - good Ugolin!

And thou art good: dear child, give me thy hand. Evening. The Old Man sitting in his chair wilhin My children, I for many years have hung

his own door he appears very ill his daughter Like a dark cloud above your true affection ; supports him.

But I shall pass away, and Heaven will crown

Your life with a long sunshine. Old Man. Oh what an icy pang shoots through


Dear, dear father,

Take not a thought for us; God has been good! God help the feeble who do suffer thus !

Thy life has been our blessing. Marg. Some woe hath fallen on thee in the city;

Old Man.

Yes, my child, Tell me, and who that stranger was, dear father. Old Man. Oh, ask me not of aught; I am afflicted— I know that he is good, but my weak faith

How truly dost thou say that God is good. Body and mind, I am afflicted sore!

Has failed my latter days. I have repined Marg. Call upon God, my father, he will help That still my life had a prolonged date. thee.

[Ugolin comes up. I saw not mercy in my length of years, Ugo. My good old friend, how does it fare with And I have sinned perchance a deadly sin!

you? Old Man. My son, I am afflicted-mind and body And knows our weakness, nor will try our strength

Ugo. Remember, God is full of tender mercy, Are suffering now together!

Beyond what it can bear.
Ugo. [to Marg.)
What means he?

Old Man.

Oh for a sign Marg. I do not know: the guest of yesterday

That I might be accepted; that the sin Seduced him to the city; and perchance

Of my repinings had been blotted out! The crowd, the noise, the newness of the scene

I fear to die, who have so prayed for death! Have overcome his strength ; or else perchance

Ugo. Bethink thee, how our blessed Lord was He saw some scene of riot or distress

tried, Which thus hath wrought upon his feebleness.

And of the agony wherein he prayed Ugo. Father, shall we support thee to thy bed,

That that most bitter cup might pass from him! And read to thee, and comfort thee with prayer?

He bore those pangs for thee, and by his stripes Old Man Ay, let me to my bed, that I may die! Thou wilt be healed! Oh put thy trust in him!

(They support him in.

Old Man. I am a sinner! save me, oh my God!
Ugo. Amen!

[The old man turns his face to the wall. CENE V.

- Margaret and Ugolin kneel down and Midnight. The Old Man lying on his bed - Ugolin

pray silently. and Margaret sit beside him - Margaret reads.

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;

SCENE VI. So when this corruptible shall have put on incor. Several days afterwardsa church-yarda body has ruption, and this mortal shall have put on immor

been committed to the grave; the mourners stand tulity,

round - the stranger comes up as a casual observer Then shall be brought to pass the saying which is

the minister repeats these words. written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Oh Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is Min. “ Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty thy victory?

God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin of our dear brother here departed, we therefore comis the law,

mit his body to the ground: earth to earth; ashes But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory to ashes ; dust to dust: in the sure and certain hope through our Lord Jesus Christ."

of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord

(She closes the book. Jesus Christ." Old Man. The sting of death is sin! and over Strang. (aside.) Thus is it, whether it be saint or death;

'T is the Lord Jesus Christ gives us victory! All are alike committed to the grave,
Thank thee, my daughter; there is holy comfort In sure and certain hope of resurrection
In those few words

To life eternal! Well, the fools at least
But think'st thou Ugolin Are charitable in this farewell rite.
Will visit us to-night? I fain would have

(He looks among the mourners His prayers before I die.

Sure that's the old man's daughter! and that man

[ocr errors]

Is pastor Ugolin! There then is buried

How," inquired Achzib, " has her loss been so My hope of that repining, weary soul !

very great ?" Death was before-hand with me. I ne'er dreamed “ Know you not,” rejoined the other, " that a moOf his sands running out, just yet at least;

ther mourns most, suffers most, for the child least Life is a slippery thing! I'll deal no more

worthy of her love? Man knows not to what an With any mortal who is turned three-score ! extent that mother's heari has suffered : it has been

[He hastens off wounded unto death, and yet it lives on, enduring a

life more painful than death, a life quivering with [The funeral train moves away, preceded

the sting of outraged love!" by choristers chanting.

Was he not young,” inquired Achzib; “ how then “I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, has he committed so great sin ?" write, from henceforth, blessed are the dead who die You cannot have attentively regarded these in the Lord; even so suith the spirit, for they shall things," replied the stranger, " or you would know rest from their labours."

that, for a young man, the most perilous of all conditions is to be the son of a widow; for losing the authority, the counsel, the example of a father, he

falls into numberless temptations, against which a This second defeat of Achzib was like a blow given mother can be but an insufficient defence. Besides, by an unseen hand; it was an event altogether ont young men, too often having experienced the easy, of his calculation. He had heard how the spirit of irresolute, uncertain government of a mother in their the old man, in its moments of irritation, poured furth boyish years, cease to regard her with respect as reproaches and murmurs against God, which would they approach manhood." have been mortal sin had the heart responded to " But,” said Achzib, recalling to mind the firm them. But his spirit resembled water in its dead principle and devoted affection of the Poor Scholar, calm, corrupt and unsightly, which nevertheless “I have known such arriving at manhood, armed at when agitated by the tempest overleaps its barriers, all points against temptation, and cherishing in their throws off its impurities, and rushes on in a strong, souls the most ardent love, the most holy reverence bright torrent. His discontent and his impatience for a mother." were almost meaningless on his own lips; but ad- "God forbid,” replied the stranger, " that I should dressed to him as the sentiments of another, to which say all mothers are inadeqnate to the government of he was required to assent, he started from their sin, a son, or all sons incapable of estimating, and gratefulness, beholding, as it were, his own reflected fully rewarding the unwearied solicitude, the neverimage. This was an event beyond the range of sleeping affection of a mother; for I myself know a Achzib's idea of possibilities. He was sceptical to widow who has trained three noble sons from their all that virtue in human nature, which great occa- fatherless boyhood, maintaining her own authority. sions bring into action, though it may have lain dor- and nurturing in their souls every virtuous and man. mant for half a life, and which may be regarded as ly sentiment; and who now, adorning manhood, are a store in reserve for extraordinary emergency. as a crown of glory to her brow. And it may also

The old man seemed, as it were, to have slipped be received as a truth, that love and reverence for a from his grasp; and, half angry with himself for widowed mother will be as much a preservation from being overcome hy so apparently weak an opponent, evil as the authority of a father — but these are the he turned from the burial-place and walked on, he exceptions to the general rule, which is as I have hardly knew whither, for many hours. At length he said, that the sons of widows are the most peculiarly was recalled to his own identity by coming upon a liable to temptation, and the least defended against it." village church-yard, where a funeral was taking “I believe you to be right,” replied Achzib, not a place. The dead seemed to have been of the lower little pleased with the hint, which had inadvertently class of society, if you might judge by the appearance been given him. “I believe you are right! and of of the coffin, its humble appurtenances, and its sew' all temptations to which a young man so circumattendants; but there was a something about its stanced is exposed, those of pleasure would be the chief and only mourner, which told that misfortune most besetting," continued he, remembering the first had brought her thus low. Yet was her whole air sin of poor Luberg. melancholy and wretched in the extreme; and so • Exactly so," said the stranger : “the timid, enerharrowed by grief, so woe-stricken, so wholly sell vating system of female government, gives the heart abandoned, that no one could see her for a moment a bias towards pleasure, without strengthening it for without knowing that it was her son who had been resistance, or even enabling it to discriminate becommitted to the dust, the only child of his mother, tween good and evil. This is the snare into which and she a widow.

such generally fall; and there is hardly a sin more Achzib remarked this to an observant stranger who sorrowfully degrading, or one which holds its victim stood by.

more irreclaimably: he is as one self-conducted to " You are right," he replied, “ they bury the only sacrifice; a captive, who rivets on his own fetters, child of a widow; a son, who having died before his while he groans for freedom: for the indulgence of time, will cause the mother's grey hairs to descend those vices miscalled pleasure, while they deaden the with sorrow to the grave !"

will, leare quiveringly alive the sense of degradation. How has the poor youth, who is now gone down to In its full joy unto the heaven of heavens ; the dust, looked with streaming eyes upon pure and Thank God for life, and for the spirit which gives noble beings, whom though he still worshipped, he The fulness of enjoyment unto life! had not the power to imitate, and from whose society he was cast as a fallen angel from heaven! How, All that the soul desires of good and fair to obliviate the maddening sense of his own degraded Will I possess ; knowledge that elevales condition, has he plunged into excesses which he ab. And that refines ; and high philosophy, horred! Alas, the spirit, writhing under the com- Which wakes the god-like principle in man; punctuous sense of evil, and the hopelessness of good, And in the founts of sacred poesy is a sight upon which the angels of God might drop I will bapuse my spirit, and drink deep tears of pity!"

of its pure, living waters; and sweet music Achzib was satisfied with what he had heard; Shall minister to me, like heavenly spirits therefore, bidding his companion good day, he re- Calling me upwards to sublimer worlds ! turned to the city. He had, however, a superstitious All that is beautiful in art and nature repugnance to making another trial in the scene of Fair forms in sculptured marble, and the works his late defeat: he therefore removed to a city where of the immortal masters, will I study; all was new to him, and very soon commenced his And so imbue my spirit with a sense fifth essay, according to the hints thrown out by the of grace and majesty, till it shall grow stranger of the church-yard.

Like that which it perceives! To me far lands,
Immortal for their ancient histories,

Shall be familiar places: I will seek

The Spirit of greatness where the great have dwelt,
And left behind eternal memories !




Am I not young, and filled with high resolves ? RAYMOND.

And like the sea my will shall be supreme ; ACHZIB, A STRANGER, AFTERWARDS BARTOLIN A Man shall not set it barriers, nor shall say

"Thus far, but yet no farther!" I will on! MADAME BERTHIER, THE MOTHER OF RAYMOND. Glory and pleasure at the goal I see, THE PASTOR, HIS GUARDIAN.

And I will win them both: pleasure, which crowns ADELINE, THE PASTOR'S DAUGHTER, BETROTHED Glory with its most radiant diadem

Pleasure, that-springs from the proud consciousness CLARA, A YOUNG LADY OF THE CITY.

Of high achievement, purchased at a price

None but the great would dare to pay for it!

Ere long, dear mother, thou shalt see thy son
Time occupied, upwards of three years.

Among the honourable of the earth.
I know not how renown shall be achiered;

But that it shall is my most solemn purpose,

And this is my first earnest of success
A summer morning Raymond sitting under a large Yes, yes my mother, I will crown thy age

That without power, heaven gives not the desire ! tree in the fields a small village, half hid among with such transcendent glory of my deeds, wood, is seen in the distance.

That thou shalt praise God for one chiesest blessingRaymond. How full of joy is life! All things are Thy son, thy dutiful, illustrious son!

For one great scheme of bliss — all things are good, I will not bow unto the common things
As at the first when God pronounced them so : Men make their idols - I will stand apart
The broad sun pouring down upon the earth From common men - my sensual appetite
His bright effulgence; every lighted dew-drop Shall be subservient to my loftier soul -
Which glitters with the diamond's many rays; I will be great and wise, and rise supreme
These flowers which gem the coronal of earth ; Above my kind, by dominance of mind!
Those larks, the soaring minstrels of the sky;
Clear waters leaping like a glad existence;

But who comes here? He hath the look of one
Forests and distant hills, and low green valleys, Who hath seen foreign travel, or hath dwelt
And feeding flocks, and liule hamlet-homes, Much among men, such ever have that air
All, all are good — all, all are beautiful!

Of easy gaiety. — The walk through life Existence is a joy! I walk, I leap

Without impediment; my country breeding, In thut exuberant consciousness of life

Makes me embarrassed in a stranger's presence Which nerves my limbs and makes all action pleasure. But I will up and meet him, and perchance The vigour of sirong life is to my frame

Improve this meeting to a better knowledge. As pinions to the eagle : and my soul

(He rises, and meets a stranger, who is Is as a winged angel, soaring up

advancing over the fields towards him.

« AnteriorContinuar »