Page images

tis persone ; and, above all, the beau- ing fatalism, which so painfully pere tiful stream of genuine poetry, which vaded the drama of antiquity, and runs through almost every scene, will, that cold and withering scepticism we trust, reconcile the reader to linger which casts a blight over

many of the awhile longer with us on its flowery, noblest efforts of modern genius--it is yet solemn margin, than the brief a subdued and salutary acquiescence rules of dramatic analysis usually re- in the decree, which has made Peace, quire.

not Triumph, the handmaid of virtue The events which form the basis of and Heaven, not Earth, the home of this five-act tragedy (whose length, happiness. extending to more than 300 close The scene is laid (so late as the bea pages, might rather entitle it to the ginning of the last century) in a splenname of a dramatic romance) having did baronial castle of German Switzchiefly occurred at a period of sixteen erland, the hereditary domain of the years before its commencement, and Counts Von Norden, and for many only transpiring as they affect the va- years the solitary residence of their rious conduct and feelings of its actors supposed last scion, a knight of the -a preliminary sketch, such as is usu. Teutonic order, and, as such, devoted ally presented to the reader, becomes to celibacy. The play opens with the not only difficult but inexpedient, as characteristic grumblings of a saturthe whole interest of the play arises nine old seneschal at the increase of from the gradual developement and trouble and sacrifice of comfort, occabearing of these half-forgotten events sioned by the late unwonted influx of on the passions, recollections, and de- guests, whose apparently humble concisions of to-day. The reader must dition he can by no means reconcile therefore be content to accompany us with his master's lavish hospitality, through the successive scenes in which and respectful demeanour towards they are unfolded, and owe his in- them. An Italian, named De Burg, formation to the same, perhaps, tedi. and his blind, but still lovely daughter, ous process. If he is one who loves have been for some time inmates of the to jump at a conclusion, and who castle; and the previous evening had reads the last page of his novel before witnessed the arrival of two more inthe first-he will do well to leave dividuals of the same country-an art“ Das Bild” to those who have both ist of renown named Spinarosa, and leisure and inclination to follow the his youthful pupil Leonhard-from author in his sad, yet soothing pilgrim- whose reception the attendants have age, through those “dark chambers gathered that the younger is son to of imagery," the recesses of the human the blind lady. heart, with all their shadowy, yet fa- In the midst of the châtelain's inmiliar forms of love, and ambition, dignant mutterings, the latter pair reand sorrow.

turn from that morning homage of The solemn impression left on the genius at the shrine of nature, to mind by the denouement of this tale which the vicinity of the glorious of domestic distress, is equally re- Alps had summoned them. Leonhard, mote from that gloomy and depressa youth of fifteen, thus exclaims;

Leon. See here what spacious halls! how all around
Us breathes magnificence!

A princely pile !
But ah! how nobler far its daring site !
It rears its tow'rs amid these rocks and glaciers,
As if proud man were in his might resolver
To add his rock to those that spurn the vale.

Leon. All here is beautiful ! but 'tis not home!
'Tis true I was a child scarce eight years old
When led by Pietro into Italy
Yet are my home's green lineaments as fresh
As when first painted on my infant soul;
This castle bears them not. My home lay hid
In the deep bosom of gigantic oaks,
That o'er its roof their guardian shadows flung.
Nor towers, nor gates, nor pinnacles, were there ;

With lowly thatch and humble wicket graced,

Smiling, yet solitary, did it stand. The youth goes on to express his regrets at the corresponding change in its inmates; the formerly poor and plebeian father of his blind mother, seems transformed into a splendid noble, to whom even the high-born Knight of the Sable Cross pays deference. The painter thus kindly encourages his darling pupil :

Spin. Fortune anticipates us, we had thought
To be her heralds at your native cot ;
She meets us, standirg on this princely threshold,
Thus sparing thee a world of filial cares !

Leon. What call ye cares? think ye I was so apt
A pupil, only that in after days
I might, like thee, shed sunshine on the earth,
Steal Fancy's pinions, and her province bring
Within man's ken ?-No! love for my blind mother,
For her poor father, whose incessant sighs
Spoke better days gone by-these urged me on!
Whate'er I learn'd was treasured for mine own,
For them I won, and hoped to exercise it.

Spin. Well do I know thy filial spirit-oft
Did I admire how talent strove with duty
To speed thee onward in the paths of Art.
Her steep ascents are gain'd--and I rejoice
That Fortune thus from thine unshackled wing
Care's weight removes.

I felt none-all was light!
How rich had I return’d to yonder hut
Where Misery dwelt !- here, I feel poor indeed,
Methinks, in these fair balls the youthful artist
Serms but a stranger 'mid his wealthy kindred.

Spin. My Leonhard ! thou but echoest my thoughts!
Thou know'st my earthly treasure is mine art,
Nor do I prize it lightly-get 'tis with me
As with the wearied seaman, who his course
Shapes by bright constellations—but, at length,
Longs to cast anchor on some steadfast shore.
The spirit heav'nward soars—the humbler heart

Will seek a haven in its mother Earth! The attached pair unite in deploring the altered circumstances which already threaten to affect their relative situation, and deprive the artist of a parent's right in the child he has reared so fondly. His projects of ending a life of wandering and misfortune in the bosom of a humble but grateful family, seem blighted by the ostentatious reception given him by the grandfather of his disciple, whose mother he has not yet been permitted to see. These prognostics seem confirmed by a private interview which the former now comes to demand with his grandson. He enters splendidly attired, and endeavours in vain to convert the youth's undisguised surprise and regret into more natural curiosity. Leon. hard sadly answers :

Leon. I have no heart to guess! I cannot learn
To joy o'er pomp that steals my dearer hope;
Her faded picture soon I could renew,
Could I but trace one well-known outline here
Deep on my soul engraved.

Leave, leave the past,
Long with an envious cloud obscured— The sun
Once more sheds radiance on our future path.
Quickly I'll chase each ling'ring doubt away!

Before thee stands the Marquis of Sorrento,
And hails thee as his grandson, Count Von Norden.

Leon. Grandfather! do not sport with ine, I feel
As if in quaint disguise ye stood before me.

Marg. I do not jest !-the time at length is come
When the long-hidden mystery of our rank
I may disclose. Did the old faithful Pietro
E'er speak to thee of Count Von Norden?

Oft he spake of him, as a valiant man,
And proud-who having staked his life
For Naples' freedom, in his dungeon died.

Marq. He was thy father!

Ġracious Heaven! -my father? The old noble goes on to relate, that he had from infancy betrothed his only daughter to a son of his early friend, Count Von Norden, preferring this alli. ance to the still more brilliant, nay, princely ones, which her surpassing beauty and virtue opened to her. The young Count had arrived, and the marriage was celebrated; but the restless spirit of freedom and enterprise, brought by the bridegroom from his native mountains, could not brook the subjugation of his beautiful new country by the usurping Spaniards, and urged on by the fame of Masaniello and other previous champions of liberty, he became the soul of a conspiracy, whose explosion was anticipated by the usual perfidy of accomplices. The Viceroy's efforts to seize its leaders were frustrated as if by miracle; the Marquis and his daughter escaped, though with confiscation of all their property--while the Count himself, a still more obnoxious victim, though saved by flight from an ignominious death, has his picture suspended on a gallows in the place of execution at Naples. The youth bursts out,

Leon. In Naples, say’st thou? was my father's image
Hung in derision on that dismal spot,
Where, as by moonlight oft, with secret shudder,
I glided past, perchance his sorrowing glance
Rested upon me? Aye, I do remember
There swung dim relics of a broken frame
From the fell tree !

In that dark gallery,
No master's hand gives immortality.
Death the original's escape revenges
By ravenous preying on ihe counterfeit !
We, in our flight, a wretched pittance saved,
And bought, in Germany's obscurest corner,
A little deeply-hidden hermitage:
There wert thou born-But, in that narrow cell,
Thy father might not breathe-his demon urged
Him forth to glut the fangs of cheated vengeance:
In monk's disguise he ventured to appear
Once more in Naples—but the fatal picture,
By an accursed hand too truly limned,
Was his betrayer!

Heav'ns! who could our art
Thus desecrate?

Marq. We'll speak of that anon.
Thy father soon was recognised, and thrown
Again into his dungeon-Greedy Death
Mock'd the slow process that his destinell prey
Had once escaped-Within his secret cell
He died by poison !

O my wretched father!
Thy son thine ashes trode, and knew it not !

Marq. Soon through our friends we learn'd the dismal news:

Fain had I hid them from thy bapless mother,
Then lying with thee in the mortal crisis
Of deadliest malady. It was in vain !
Short as her hours of nuptial bliss had been,
And few, and sad, she sorrow'd nigh to death,
Till, in the bitter flood of ceaseless tears,
Her eyes' mild light was quench'd! Thy sire's alliance
Brought us but wretchedvess—e'en in our exile
He fill'd our misery's cup-One beauteous flower
Grew in our house of mourning-thou, my child !

Leon. Was not that hut the nest the pious swallow
Builds 'mid the stately fallen capitals
Of some proud palace ?

There in poverty Thou wert brought up. Had not thy father's brother (In error deem'd his foe) supported us, Necessity had doubled sorrow's weight, And we been prey to both. After long years, To our surprise, from Naples came old Pietro, Of yore my faithful servant ; who, when all My summer friends forsook, remain'd alone Unshaken in adversity-he came, And bore thee with him to our native land. For (as I never could forego the hope Again my rich possessions to enjoy, When Spanish tyranny should be o'erthrown) It was my wish to rear thee, where bright Heavens Smile on Earth's paradise ! where sweeter dreams Than Germany's deep foresis ever nur sed, Quicken the heart's warm pulses. In the love Of Italy, and spirit of her sons, I've rear'd thee for myself a worthy heir !

Leon. And yet I bear a lofty German name
Von Norden is a harsh, but powerful sound!

Marg. Alas! it froze us with its icy breath!
Suffice it, thou wert borne to yon fair land ;
We mark'd in tbee an early wond'rous gift
Of painting-and bade Pietro give it scope,
(Ari doth not stain nobility)--and seek
À worthy master for thee.

He obey'a
Must trulywhen in haste we quitted Naples
For Rome, he brought me to famed Spinarosa ;
In him I found a father. Oh! what were I
But for that wondrous man !

Thy grateful heart
Conters the merit-he but did his duty.
It is the master's greatest aim and pride
To make apt scholars.

Nay, but he adopted
A son! Pietro died suddenly, his children
Saw in me but a stranger-I was left
A beggar'd orphan-You were far away
On distant shores-I could not claim your aid,
And to the people of yon smiling land
My tearful northern speech was pour’d in vain :
Then did my generous master, Spinarosa,
Fold to his bosom the forsaken child !

Marq. And deeply are we all beholden to him !
But thank thy fortunes that enable thee,
More thau he claims, now richly to repay.

Leon. More than he claims?-Alas! he makes no claim.
Grandtather, we misunderstand each other.
What! shall the man who Virtue's precious seeds
Sought deep to lodge within thy grandson's heart,
Whose ceaseless care watch'd o'er them till they bloom’d
Beneath the spring-breach of parental love,
He who not only bade his pupil dip
His pencil deep in Nature's rainbow hues,
But, like a telescope--in holiest hours
Of sweet communion-the bright mirror held
Of his own radiant fancy, to mine eye,
Till the eternal stars, and brighter spheres,

Were brought within my ken,-shall he be paid? The indignant youth goes on to enumerate the Painter's claims on his gratitude. The rich presents of Popes and Monarchs to their favourite artist had all, he says, been treasured to gladden the supposed poverty and solitude of his parental roof. Still the narrow worldling can coldly answer

Marq. Be calm, my child; no longer as poor Burg
I claim the stranger's aid-Since Austria's banner
Once more in Naples waved, we banish'd men
Are all recall’d-again I shine a Marquis,
And hourly look for tidings that my lands
Are mine once more. For this I summon’d thee,
That, ere I lead thee to iny fairer country,
Thou mightst claim kindred with thy noble uncle,

And know this castle thy proud heritage ! The puzzled youth enquires how his heritage can lie in Switzerland ; and is told that the hospitable Knight under whose roof they are, is the only, and childless, brother of his father, Count Gotthard Von Norden.

The Count enters opportunely, and opens his arms with more than paternal love to his nephew. The latter, in joyiul surprise, asks how he has deserved such kindness.

Count. Oh! do nct ask! receive it as a treasure.
Long buried for thee in my faithful heart.
Rejoice with me, anıl be indeed my son !

Leon. How rich I am! Did ever orphan find
So many fathers striving thus in love !

Count. My son! what think'st thou of thy father's castle?

Leon. 'Tis grand and beautiful-yet is it sad
To roam through empty chambers, where are none
To give us friendly greetings—as 'mid tombs
We fit in quest of life-Oh! that 'iwere ours
To dwell together in some tiny cot,
Where, without seeking, we were sure to meet!

Count. Thou'lt learn to love ihese ancient halls, that ope
Their arms to thee so wide I've dwelt alune
Amid them long, yet felt no solitude !
They are our sires' grey comrades—who beheld
Their course from youth to age--who silent mark'd
Their joys and sorrows--in whose trusty breast
J.ies many a secret long seal'd up by death !
There dwells a spirit in these ancient walls,
That will erelong claim brotherhood with thee.

Leon. Already I revere-and soon shall feel it.

Count. Thou know'st these tow'rs are destined to be thine,
Make friendship with them now, thou wilt not leave them
And me, my son ?

« EelmineJätka »