Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Repentance." Still on the whole we And conversely what may be most apmay say (and even these pictures are not parent at the moment that faith in God altogether exceptions to the rule) that expires may be the sudden release of a something of mistake mixes in most up- mystic fervor which has all to be emward-looking devotion as George Eliot ployed in the service of man. This, we paints it. That devotion of which all believe, is what was felt, oftenest unsuch is a feeble prophecy and type, must consciously, in the writings of George therefore take the very centre and focus Eliot. “What I look to,

she once of error.

said, “is a time when the impulse to Must one who feels this severance of help our fellows shall be as immediate love of man from faith in God, the and as irresistible as that which I feel to great misfortune of our time, yet allow grasp something firm if I am falling ;" that the thing that is lefto acquires, for and the eloquent gesture with which she the moment, a sudden influx of new en- grasped the mantelpiece as she spoke, ergy by the very fact of its severance ? remains in the memory as the expression It would not be looking facts fairly in of a sort of transmuted prayer. And the face to deny that the genius of now the look and the tones recur not George Eliot seems to show such a re- only as one of the most valued passages salt. Nor is there any real difficulty in in a valued chapter of memory, but as a making the concession. A bud may sort of gathering up, in a noble but open more quickly in water in a warm mutilated aspiration, of the ideal given room than on its parent stem, although by a lofty genius to the world. What thus the seed will never ripen. We may the many felt in her writings was the transfer conviction to a more genial at- glow of this desire, what they missed mosphere at the very moment we sever was its mutilation. We have often it from its root, and we must wait long wished that the latter had been more disto discover that the life that is quickened tinct. Her detaching influence from in it is also threatened. The love of the true anchorage of humanity would God has often seemed opposed to the have been less potent, we think, had it love of man. There is no love that may been received consciously. There was not oppose any or every other for a time. no lack of distinctness in it, at all We all see conjugal set itself against events, to her hearers. Perhaps there filial affection ; a new passion drain off may be some to whom these works have the energy from old and familiar attach- brought nothing but the glow of an emoments. Such of us as are wise are pre- tion to which their own mind supplied pared for the inevitable loss in all the hidden belief which to them could change, even if the change is gain on alone justify it. But on the whole we the whole ; such of us as are schooled cannot doubt that her convictions cut by long experience know that the loss is through this sheath of emotion, and only temporary.

made their keen edge felt on many a “ The love of one, from which there doth not mind and many a heart. spring

Can genius be indeed the barren and The love of all, is but a worthless thing," desolate eminence which we must consang the only English woman who could sider it if they alone to whom it is be compared to George Eliot in genius, granted have no object for reverence ? and who in the love of which she sings Can it be that the ordinary mass of was more fortunate. The mother who average mankind-the stupid, animal, inbends over the cradle for the first time dolent crowd-have exercise for this elefeels all other love chilled for the mo- vating faculty whenever they lift their ment by the sudden rush toward this eyes, and that all who soar into a purer mighty magnet, but the seed of a deeper region must look downward when they love than she has ever yet known for would find anything to love? We know those who bent over hers lies hid in that well how George Eliot would have anwhich seems to crush it. But a seed swered the question with her lips. But takes long to develop. What we feel with her life, and still more in her death, most at the moment, perhaps-at all she gives us a different answer. They events if we are the losers by itis the who occupy the mountain peaks of "expulsive power of a new affection.” human thought may preach to us that

these mountain peaks are all, and then, we must accept some parts of her creed, in their potent imagination, make the have promised in gold and paid in lead. . immensity of the plain below a substitute But we cannot bid her farewell with for the superior heights that they alone words of divergence. She has quickened lack. But all our instincts tell us that life as much as any of those who have goodness and power would become mis- rendered it more turbid ; she has purifortunes if they lifted man into a region fied it as much

as many who have where he had nothing above him. The arrested or slackened its flow. It is a bereavement which we feel as one and solemn thought that such an one has another depart from us cannot be the passed away-so solemn that the debt of abiding portion of those who have en- a large individual gratitude seems to riched their kind. “ Fame promises in disappear in the common emotion which gold and pays in silver,” said George it but intensifies and typifies. Her death Eliot once to the present writer. Not unites us as her life did, perhaps even fame alone, but that lofty hope, that more, for we listened to her voice with inspirer of ardent effort, which confers various feelings, and there is oniy one the power to despise fame-though it with which we learn that it has ceased often also confers fame itself-would, if forever.-Contemporary Review.

A DAY WITH LISZT IN 1880.

BY REV. H. R. HAWEIS.

FRANZ Liszt is one of the few living the epoch of Titiens, Joachim, and Rurepresentatives of that great upheaval of binstein. To have heard him is to have ideas known as the Romantic movement heard a man who in the beginning of of 1830.

this century as completely transformed Abroad the new aspirations, cramped the school of pianoforte-playing as did in politics, found their solace and ideal Paganini the school of violin-playing. fulfilment in the realıns of literature and The Liszt method has profoundly influof art. The names of Georges Sand, enced even the severer clique of classiAlfred de Musset, M. Lamartine, and cal experts in Germany; and the greatHugo ; of De Lamennais in religion ; ness and foresight of Liszt is evidenced of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, in in the fact that no pianoforte developmusic, are but so many expressions of ment since has in the least outgrown the that suppressed excitement of new life impulse given it by him nearly fifty years which found iis chief vent in literature ago ; nor as executants can even Rubinand art on the Continent, and gave us a

stein or Bülow claim to have done more new burst of painting and poetry, and than offer successive illustrations of the the Reform Bill, in England.

great master's method and manner. The new spirit, the “ Zeitgeist,” the young Impulse, of the nineteenth cen- As I drove through the groves of tury, now grown to maturity, was then olives brightening with crude berries that abroad and busy in overturning king clothe the slopes of Tivoli, and entered doms and theories of art, philosophy, the gateway which leads up to the duca! and religion with rigorous impartiality. Villa d'Este, it was with something of

There are few survivals of that stir the feeling of a pilgrim who approaches ring and romantic epoch. Liszt is a shrine. Two massive doors open on among them.

Once the idol of every to a monastic cloister, and the entrance capital in the civilized world as an exec- to the villa itself is out of the cloisters, utive musician, he was placed years ago just as the rooms are entered from the on an unapproachable pedestal.

cloister of Trinity College, Cambridge. Few among

even who have Here for six years past in the autumn reached middle life, have heard him Liszt has led a retired life, varied by ocplay; he belongs to the epoch of Paga- casional excursions to Rome. nini, Malibran, and Lablache-not to I was conducted up a staircase which

us

opened on to a lofty terrace, and thence should I ? what have we in common ?into a side room, while the Swiss valet they come out of curiosity to stare, that disappeared to summon the Abbate is all ; and even here I am worried with Liszt. In another moment I saw a side callers, who have no interest for me ;"' door open, and the venerable figure of and indeed it was current in Rome that Liszt, already for years engraven on my the Abbate Liszt would receive no one heart, advanced toward me.

at Tivoli ; and especially ladies were It was the same noble and command not admitted. ing form—with the large finely-chiselled I could not help admiring the situafeatures, the restless glittering eye, still tion of the Villa d'Este.

Indeed, full of untamed fire, the heavy white said Liszt, “this is quite a princely reshair, thick mantling on the brow and idence ; it is rented by the Cardinal Hocropped square only where it reached henlöhe, with whom I have had very old the shoulders, down which I can well and friendly relations; he is good enough imagine it might have continued to flow to apportion it to me in the autumn; unchecked like a snowy cataract. you see his picture hangs there. The

He came forward with that winning place is quite a ruin. It belongs to the smile of bonhomie which at once invites Duke of Modena, but of course they cordiality, and drew me to him with both can't keep it up now: the Cardinal hands, conducting me at once into a lit- spent about £2000 to make it habitable. tle inner sitting-room with a window You shall see presently, the terraces are opening on to the distant Campagr.a. rather rough ; I don't often go about

the place, but I will come out with you The room was dark, and completely now, and show you some points of view. furnished with deep red damask-cool I lunch about one o'clock; you will and shadowy contrast to the burning stay, and put up with the hospitalité de sunshine of Italy. After alluding to our garçon. last meeting in Wagner's house at Bay- He then led me to the window. Down reuth, which recalled also the name of the slope of a precipitous mountain Walter Bache, who has worked stretched the Villa d'Este gardens ; tall bravely for Liszt's music in England, cypress-trees marked the lines of walk he said, “Now tell me, how is Bache? and terrace ; groves of olive, between I have a particular, quite particular, re- which peeped glittering cascades and gard for Bache; he stayed with me here lower parterres, studded here and there some years ago, and he has been very with a gleaming statue, and tall jets of steadfast in presenting my works in Eng water, eternally spouting, fed from the land ; and tell me, how is Victor Hugo ? Marcian springs ; the extremity of the and have you seen Renan lately?" I park seemed to fade away, at an imwas overwhelmed by these inquiries and mense depth, into the billowy Camthe like. I could not give him very pagna. good accounts of M. Hugo, whose health It was like an enchanted scene : from I feared was declining ; but I said that the contemplation of which I was roused the last evening I had spent with him in by the Abbate taking my arm, and, passParis, he had received up to twelve at ing through several antechambers, we night, and seemed full of life ; although emerged on to the raised terrace, which his hours are much earlier now. Of M. commanded one of the most striking Renan I could of course speak much views in Italy, or the world. more fully, as he had so recently been “ Round to the left," said Liszt, in England. “Renan took me to M. "lies Hadrian's Villa, and perhaps your Hugo's when I was in Paris, and we eyes are good enough to see St. Peter's had a delightful evening," he remarked. yonder in the horizon." The gray mist After asking after a few other personal hung at a distance of eighteen miles friends, he said, “I am glad to see you over the straggling buildings of distant here. At this time I have a little more Rome; but they gleamed out here and leisure. I escape to this retreat for rest. there. Beyond these wooded flanks of At Rome I am besieged (obsédé) by all the mountain ; beyond the ruins of sorts of people, with whom do not care villas where Mæcenas and Horace and to entertain particular relations-why the Antonines held their revels ; beyond New SERIES.-VOL. XXXIII., No. 4

30

SO

[ocr errors]

the rushing murmur of cascades and others. Rather to my surprise, Liszt fountain ; never silent, yet ever mak- said, “Yes, but how are they played ? ing a low and slumbrous melody, lay I remember being much struck by the the Campagna like a vast lake, over Antwerp carillon.' I described to him which the shadow of cloud and the the mechanism of the carillon clavecin flicker of sunlight swept and faded out; and tambour, and reminded him that the and again beyond the Campagna, loom- Antwerp carillon was much out of tune, ed the Eternal City with its mighty Bruges being superior, as well as of dome.

heavier calibre, and Mechlin bearing off We seemed lifted into the upper air, the palm for general excellence. We as on the spacious summit of a lofty stopped short on one of the terraces, and precipice ; the dry vine leaves hung he seemed much interested with a deabout the trellised parapets, and the scription I gave him of a performance Virginian creeper was just beginning to by the great carilloneur M. Denyn at turn.

Mechlin, and which reminded me of Liszt was silent. As I looked at the Rubinstein at his best. He expressed noble and expressive features, never surprise when I alluded to Van den quite in repose, and strongly marked Gheyn's compositions for bells, laid out with the traces of those immense emo- like regular fugues and organ voluntations which have been embodied by him ries, and equal in their way to Bach or in his great orchestral preludes, and Handel, who were contemporaries of the thundered by him through every capital great Belgian organist and carilloneur. in Europe, in the marvellous perform- “But," he said, "the Dutch have also ances of his earlier days, I could not good bells. I was once staying with the help saying, “If you do not find rest King in Holland, and I believe it was here, you will rest nowhere on earth ;" at Utrecht that I heard some bell music it was indeed a realm of unapproachable which was quite wonderful.” I have serenity and peace. Then we descend- listened myself to that Utrecht carillon, ed by winding ways, pausing in the long which is certainly superior, and is usually walk, thickly shaded with olive-trees well handled. and the beloved ilex, where fifty lions' We had again reached the upper terheads spout fifty streams into an ancient race, where the Abbate's midday repast moss-grown tank,

was being laid out by his valet.

It was “It is,” said Liszt, a retreat for a charming situation for lunch, comsummer ; you can walk all day about manding that wide and magnificent prosthese grounds, and never fear the sun- pect to which I have alluded ; but .all is shade. But come down lower;" autumn was far advanced, there was a and so we went, at times turning round fresh breeze, and the table was ordered to look down an avenue, or catch, indoors. Meanwhile, Liszt laying his through the trees, a peep of the glowing hand upon my arm, we passed through horizon beyond.

the library, opening into his bedroom, Presently we came to a central space, and thence to a little sitting-room (the ded into by four tall cypress groves. same which commanded that view of Here, up from a round sheet of water the Campagna). Here stood his grand in front of us, leapt four jets to an im- Erard piano. As we were talking of mense height ; and here we rested, while bells," he said, “ I should like to show the Abbate gave me some account of you an Angelus' which I have just this Villa or Château d'Este, and its written ;"' and opening the piano he sat former owners, which differed not great- down. This was the moment which I ly from what may be found in most guide- had so often and so vainly longed for. books.

When I left England, it seemed to As we reascended, the bell of Sta. me as impossible that I should ever hear Croce, in the tall campanile over the Liszt play, as that I should ever see cloisters which form part of the Villa Mendelssohn, who has been in his grave d'Este, rang out a quarter to one. for thirty-three years. How few of the

It was a bad bell, like most Italian present generation have had this privibells, and I naturally alluded to the su- lege ! At Bayreuth I had hoped, but periority of Belgian bells, above all no opportunity offered itself, and it is well known that Liszt can hardly ever me in addition with a priest's silken be prevailed upon to open the piano in skull-cap, playfully remarking, As you the presence of strangers. A favorite call me “ Abbate,' I shall address you as pupil, Polig, who was then with him at 'Il Reverendo,' and whenever you come The Villa d'Este, told me he rarely here, you will find this priest's cap touched the piano, and that he himself ready for you. had seldom heard him—“but,” he add- The "hospitalité de garçon" proved ed with enthusiasm," when the master anything but ascetic. A vegetable soup, touches the keys, it is always with the maccaroni with tomato sauce, a faultless same incomparable effect, unlike any beefsteak or “bistecco, dressed with one else : always perfect."

fried mushrooms, cooked dry; a pe“You know," said Liszt, turning to culiar salad, composed of a variety of me, “they ring the Angelus ' in Italy herbs in addition to leeks, onions, letcarelessly; the bells swing irregularly, tuce, and fruit, the like of which I can and leave off, and the cadences are often never hope to taste until I lunch again broken up thus :' and he began a little with the Abbate at the Villa d'Este. swaying passage in the treble-like bells We were alone. I need not say that, tossing high up in the evening air : it in such company, the wines seemed to ceased, but so softly that the half-bar me to possess an ideal fragrance and a of silence made itself felt, and the list Sicilian flavor wholly unlike and incomening ear still carried the broken rhythm parably superior to the heavy vintages of through the pause. The Abbate him- Spain. There were some questions self seemed to fall into a dream ; his about Mendelssohn and Chopin that I fingers fell again lightly on the keys, had always wished to ask ; but at first and the bells went on, leaving off in the the conversation was much more general. middle of a phrase. Then rose from We spoke of the curious recent fancy of the bass the song of the “ Angelus,” or the Italians for Wagner's music ; the rather, it seemed like the vague emotion way his operas had been produced at of one who, as he passes, hears in the Bologna, and just then Rienzi at Rome. ruins of some wayside cloister the ghosts “Yes,' he said ; “the Italians are beof old monks humming their drowsy ginning to understand more kinds of melodies, as the sun goes down rapidly, melody than one ; they perceive, perand the purple shadows of Italy steal haps, that Wagner's melody pervades over the land, out of the orange west ! each part of his score, so that you can

We sat motionless—the disciple on have a mélodie à plusieurs étages. This one side, I on the other. Liszt was al- notion of “ a melody in flats,

or “ of most as motionless : his fingers seemed several stories,” struck me as most apt, quite independent, chance ministers of as well as humorous. Speaking of Waghis soul. The dream was broken by a ner, I related to him an unhappy occapause ; then came back the little sway. sion on which I had been requested by ing passage of bells, tossing high up in Lord to try and prevail on Wagthe evening air, the half-bar of silence, ner, when in England, to accompany the broken rhythm-and the “ Angelus' me to his house one night, where we was rung.

were to meet a royal princess most anxLuncheon being announced, we rose,

ious to see Wagner. I reluctantly unand Liszt, turning to his young friend dertook the mission, but failed to induce Polig, who occupies an apartment at the great Maestro to go with me, and so Este, and enjoys the great master's help was placed in the unpleasant position of in his musical studies : “Go, dear having to apologize on my arrival for friend,” he said, " and join us in about his absence. Ah !” said Liszt, laughan hour-nay, sooner, if you will.” ing, "a similar thing occurred to me

So we sat down in the cosily furnish- lately : some royalties at Sienna asked ed little sitting-room-dark, like all the me to get Wagner to meet them ; but I Abbate's suite of apartments, and evi- knew Wagner better, and at once dedently intended to shut out the sun. clined to charge myself with that com

I was still heated with our clamber- mission. Your mention of Lord ing walk, and Liszt insisted on my reminds me that I knew him years ago ; keeping on my great-coat, and provided indeed, in my young days I was on one

« VorigeDoorgaan »