« VorigeDoorgaan »
Thou art where billows foam,
Thou art where music melts upon the air; Thou art around us in our peaceful home;
And the world calls us forth-and thou art there.
Thou art where friend meets friend,
Beneath the shadow of the elm to rest-
The skies, and swords beat down the princely crest.
And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath, And stars to set,—but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
From ADDISON'S Tragedy of "CATO."
[ADDISON has founded this great play upon the historical facts of the incorruptible Cato refusing all the blandishments of wealth and power, and resisting to the death all attempts to enslave his country. The “ noblest Roman of them all,” finally despairing of successfully resisting the might of Cæsar, contemplates suicide. This extract gives his reasoning for and against “ shuffling off this mortal coil.”
Cato while delivering this Soliloquy is usually represented as in a sitting attitude, dressed in the Roman toga and mantle. In his left hand he holds a roll of Manuscript, to which he alludes when he ex. claims, “ This informs me I shall never die.")
It must be so-Plato, thou reason'st well-
And that there is, all Nature cries aloud
(laying his hand on his sword.
TRUE MORAL COURAGE.
[The opening paragraph of this fine passage, should be delivered in a rather quiet, slightly satirical tone ; but as the orator warms with his subject, voice, action, attitude should all express the greatness of the sentiments enunciated.)
There is a sort of courage, which, I frankly confess it, I do not possess—a boldness to which I dare not aspire, a valor which I can not covet. I can not lay myself down in the way of the welfare and happiness of my country. That, I can not-I have not the courage to do. I can not interpose the power with which I may be invested-a power conferred, not for my personal benefit, nor for my aggrandizement, but for my country's good—to check her onward march to greatness and glory. I have not courage enough. I am too cowardly for that. I would not, I dare not, in the exercise of such a threat, lie down, and place my body across the path that leads my country to prosperity and happiness. This is a sort of courage widely different from that which a man may display in his private conduct and personal relations. Personal or private courage is totally distinct from that higher and nobler courage which prompts the patriot to offer himself a voluntary sacrifice to his country's good.
Apprehensions of the imputation of the want of firmness
sometimes impel us to perform rash and inconsiаerate acts. It is the greatest courage to be able to bear the imputation of the want of courage.
But pride, vanity, egotism, só unamiable and offensive in private life, are vices which partake of the character of crimes in the conduct of public affairs. The unfortunate victim of these passions cannot see beyond the little, petty, contemptible circle of his own personal interests. All his thoughts are withdrawn from his country, and concentrated on his consistency, his firmness, himself! The high, the exalted, the sublime emotions of a patriotism which, soaring toward heaven, rises far above all mean, low, or selfish things, and is absorbed by one soul-transporting thought of the good and the glory of one's country, are never felt in his impenetrable bosom. That patriotism which, catching its inspiration of the immortal God, and, leaving at an immeasurable distance below all lesser, groveling, personal interests and feelings, animates and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and of death itself—that is public virtue; that is the noblest, the subblimest of all public virtue !
FIORDELISA, Daughter of Bertuccio. [The motive of this fine drama is derived from the determination of Bertuccio to avonge himself upon the proud noble who had ruined his domestic happiness, tarnished his family honor, and partially disordered his intellect. To gain his object he counterfeits insanity, and becomes a buffoon on whom courtly gallants whet their wit. In ac. cordance with his plan he brings op bis only daughter in seclusion, ignorant of his history and private wrongs.
Our extract gives the meeting of the jester and his daughter.
COSTUMES.-Bertuccio should wear a dress of motley, similar to that worn by a Shaksperian Clown in a Circus. Fiordelisa's dress should be a plain white robe, with her hair gathered in a silk net.]
BERTUCCIO and FIORDELISA in conversation.
No; though she urged me
BER. You did not tell her ?
Who my parents were !
BER. Patience, my darling; trust thy father's love,
When what I live for
What you live for ?
[father! Fio. (averting her eyes with horror). Oh, do not look so,
BER. Listen, girl, You asked me of your mother ;-it is time You should know why all questioning of her Racks me to madness. Look upon me, child; Mishapen as I am, there once was one, Who seeing me despised, mocked, lonely, poorLov'd me, I think, most for my misery : Thy mother, like thee-just so pure-so sweet. I was a public notary in Cesena; Our life was humble, but so happy; thou Wert in thy cradle then, and many a night Thy mother and I sate hand in hand together, Watching thy innocent smiles and building up Long plans of joy to come! (his voice falters- he turns away.) Fio.
Alas! she died ! BER. Died ! There are deaths 'tis comfort to look back on: Her's was not such a death. A devil came Across our quiet life, and marked her beauty, And lusted for her; and when she scorned his offers, Because he was a noble-great and strong, He bore her from my side-by force—and after I never saw her more: they brought me news That she was dead ! Fio.
Ah, me! BER.
And I was mad,
Fio. Father, 'tis not for me to question with you:
BER. Preach abstinence to him that dies of hunger,
Do—and for me; good night!
F10. Oh, tell me of my mother! .
No, no, no!
Fio. Oh, not so soon-with all these sad, dark thoughts,
BER. I must go : 'tis grave business calls me hence(aside) 'Tis time that I was at my post. My own, Sleep in thine innocence. Good ! good night?
Fio. But let me see you to the outer door. BER. Not a step further, then. God guard this place, That here my flower inay grow, safe from the blight Of look, or word impure, a holy thing Consecrate to my service, and my love!
[Exit BERTUCCIO ond FIORDELISA. R.
BIANCA, Fazio's Wife. [The tragedy of Fazio is one of the few dramatic pieces that shino with undimmod lustre even beside the brilliant gems of Shakspero.