Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

A man bereaved, with something of a blight Nor inward light is needful; day by day
Upon the early blossoms of his life

Men wanting both are mated with the best
And its first verdure, having not the less And loftiest of God's feminine creation,
A living root, and drawing from the earth Whose love takes no distinction but of gender,
Its vital juices, from the air its powers : And ridicules' the very name of choice.
And surely as man's health and strength are Ho, Nieuverkerchen! What then, do we sleep?
whole

Are none of you awake ? — and as for me, His appetites regerminate, his heart

The world says Philip is a famous man. Re-opens, and his objects and desires

What is there women will not love, SO Shoot up renew'd. What blank I found be. taught? fore me

Ho, Ellert! by your leave, though, you must From what is said you partly may surmise;

wake. How I have hoped to fill it, may I tell ? Elena. I fear, my lord, that cannot be.

Enter an Officer. Artevelde.

Indeed! Have me a gallows built upon the mount, Then am I doubly hopeless. What is gone, And let Van Kortz be hung at break of day. Nor plaints, nor prayers, nor yearnings of the No news of Bulsen or Van Muck? soul,

Officer.

My lord, Nor memory's tricks, nor fancy's invocations Bulsen is taken ; but Van Muck, we fear, Though tears went with them frequent as the Has got clean off. rain

Artevelde.

Let Bulsen too be hung.” In dusk November, sighs more sadly breathed Than winter's o'er the vegetable dead Can bring again ; and should this living hope, tion for a love-scene; yet it is not more

This is certainly an extraordinary terminaThat like a violet from the other's grave Grew sweetly, in the tear-besprinkled soil

daring and original than it is in character. Finding moist nourishment — this seedling It is not such love as Artevelde's that exsprung

pands the heart, nor such success that Where recent grief had like a ploughshare satisfies even self-love. From this time pass'd

nothing prospers in the Flemish camp. Through the soft soul, and loosen'd its affec- Everything appears to fulfil the threat of tions

Father John : Should this new-blossom'd hope be coldly

nipp'd, Then were I desolate indeed!

After strange women them that went astray Elena. I said I fear'd another could not fill

God never prosper'd in the olden time,

Nor will He bless them now.”
The place of her you lost, being so fair
And perfect as you give her out.
I cannot give you what you've had so long;

Van den Bosch, the ablest of Artevelde's Nor need I tell you what you know so well.

lieutenants, is defeated, and receives a morI must be gone."*

tal wound. Many of the Flemish towns The Regent, on her departure, falls into lord; and even the name of Artevelde no

transfer their allegiance to their former the following soliloquy; to explain the lat- longer carries its old magic, ter part of which, it is necessary to premise having gone abroad that sorcery has subthat the criminals sentenced are Flemings jected him to the spells of a French spy. detected in carrying on, at the instigation The English king sends no aid : no hope reof Sir Fleureant, a correspondence between mains but in a successful battle. Gathersome of the Fleinish cities and France :

ing together all his forces, Artevelde Artevelde. (after a pause] The night is far marches to the eastern bank of the lower advanced upon the morrow,

Lis, to meet the French army and prevent And but for that conglomerated mass'

them from passing the river, Of cloud with ragged edges, like a mound, early hour in the morning he leaves bis Of black pine-forest on a mountain's top,

tent: Wherein the light lies ambush'd, dawn were

Artevelde. The gibbous moon was in a Yes, I have wasted half a summer's night,

wan decline, Was it well spent? Successfully it was. And all was silent as a sick man's chamber.

Mixing its small beginnings with the dregs Ho, Nieuverkorchen ! --- When we think'

upon Of the pale moonshine and a few faint stars, it,

The cold uncomfortable daylight dawn'd ; How little flattering is a woman's love ! And the white tents topping a low ground-fog Given commonly to whosoe'er is nearest Show'd like a fleet becalm’d. I wander'd far, And propp'd with most advantage; outward Till reaching to the bridge I sate me down grace

Upon the parapet. Much muscd I there, * Vol. i. pp. 207.-9.

Revolving many a passage of my life,

- a rumour

At a very

near

And the strange destiny that lifted me
To be the leader of a mighty host,
And terrible to kings."

out the body. The Duke of Burgundy then appears, and Sir Fleureant approaches the group as the young king and his royal un

There he has a vision of his dead wife. cles gather around the body, and clumsily He thus describes it to Elena: endeavours to vindicate the fair fame of ElShe leaps to her feet, and snatching Artevelde's dagger, strikes it through the heart of his murderer. The guards rush in; and in the attempt to take her and Van Ryk prisoners, both are slain. The Duke of Bourbon gives orders that Elena shall receive Christian burial, but that the body of Artevelde shall be hung upon a tree, in the sight of the army. The Duke of Burgundy

refuses to war with the dead:

"She appear'd In white, as when I saw her last, laid out After her death; suspended in the air She seem'd, and o'er her breast her arms were cross'd;

Her feet were drawn together, pointing downwards,

And rigid was her form and motionless.
From near her heart, as if the source were
there,

A stain of blood went wavering to her feet.
So she remain'd, inflexible as stone,
And I as fixedly regarding her.
Then suddenly, and in a line oblique,
Thy figure darted past her; whereupon,
Though rigid still and straight, she downward
moved;

And as she pierced the river with her feet,
Descending steadily, the streak of blood
Peel'd off upon the water, which, as she van-

ish'd,

Appear'd all blood, and swell'd and welter'd

sore;

And midmost in the eddy and the whirl
My own face saw I, which was pale and calm
As death could make it:-Then the vision
pass'd,

And I perceived the river and the bridge,
The mottled sky and horizontal moon,
The distant camp, and all things as they

were."*

ena.

'Burgundy.

Brother, no;

It were not for our honour, nor the king's,
To use it so. Dire rebel though he was,
Yet with a noble nature and great gifts
Was he endow'd, courage, discretion, wit;
An equal temper, and an ample soul,
Rock-bound and fortified against assaults
Of transitory passion, but below
Built on a surging subterranean fire,
That stirr'd and lifted him to high attempts.
So prompt and capable, and yet so calm,
He nothing lack'd in sovereignty but the right,
Nothing in soldiership except good fortune.
Wherefore, with honour lay him in his grave,
And thereby shall increase of honour come
Unto their arms who vanquish'd one so wise,
So valiant, so renown'd. Sirs, pass we on,
And let the bodies follow us on biers.

[ocr errors]

Wolf of the weald and yellow-footed kite,
Enough is spread for you of meaner prey;
Other interment than your maws afford
Is due to these. At Courtray we shall sleep,
And there I'll see them buried side by side.”

Before the battle begins Artevelde is informed that a foreign knight, with his visor closed, demands to see him. It is Sir Fleu- Thus ends this drama; which, for largereant of Heurlée. On his former visit to ness of scope and skill in execution-for the camp, when detected in a treasonable delineation of characters at once harmocorrespondence, he had been condemned tonized and contrasted-for intellectual vigdeath; but his life had been spared at our, gravity, variety, and energy, - has, as Elena's fatal intercession. He had broken we believe, no equal since the Shakspearhis parole, escaped to the French camp, ian age; and which, owing nothing to merand there-half in despair and half in am- etricious allurements, cannot fail to keep bition-engaged himself to assassinate the that place in the estimate of thoughtful Regent. While Artevelde is passing the readers which it early acquired. Our limbridge of the vision he is stabbed by the ited space has allowed us but to indicate a false knight. For a time he conceals his few of its more prominent characteristics. wound, and the battle rages with various A play that revives the energy of the Elizafortune. His hosts are at last driven back bethan dramatists, while it avoids their in confusion; and Artevelde, making a des- coarseness, must ever occupy a historical perate effort to rally them, is swept back to- position in English literature. It is the wards the fatal bridge, and is suffocated in most vigorous of Mr. Taylor's works; the crowd, the bridge giving way. though in his other plays, and in his minor poems, there are perhaps a larger number of those passages which illustrate the wisdom, the moral dignity, and the refinement that characterize Mr. Taylor's poetry not less than its vigour.

In the last scene Elena kneels on the bloody battle-field beside the body of Artevelde; while Van Ryk, an old Flemish captain, stands at the other side. He urges her to flight; but she refuses to depart with* Vol. i. p. 269.

* Vol. i. pp. 289-92.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

STUDIES FOR

From the Sunday Magazine. pointed out in the letter. It was a desolate THE BROTHER'S TRUST.

place, in a thinly populated quarter of the city. By the faint light of the moon he

counted the windows, and found the slit in STORIES.”

the wall, which was deep, and fenced on THERE was once, says an old legend, a the riverside with an iron grating backed young Italian noble, whose elder brother by a sheet of horn; into this slit he bastenloved him much; he had moreover saved ed to place his lantern, and then began to his life, and had reconciled him to his fa- look about him, and consider why his brothther when greatly offended with him. er should have chosen such a place for their

As might have been expected, the youth meeting. returned this affection, and after the death Not far off ran the river, and he did not of the father these brothers lived together, doubt that by water his brother would the younger obeying the elder, and behav- come, for it was evident that he feared to ing to him in all respects like a son. show himself in the streets of the city.

Once, on a certain day, however, a long Anselmo started once or twice during his separation came between them, for the solitary watch, for he thought he distinelder went out, as if upon his ordinary guished the splash of an oar, and then an affairs, and never returned again to his advancing footstep; but he was mistaken, house. His young brother was first sur- his brother did not come to meet him that prised, then alarmed. He sought for him, night, nor the next, nor the one after; and proclaimed his loss; he scoured the coun- when he had come to await him

every night try, caused the waters to be searched, and for a fortnight, he began to get sick at sought in all the recesses of that old Italian heart. city ; but it was of no avail ; his brother And yet there was no way but this; he was gone, and none could tell him wbither. was to watch till his brother came. It was

No tidings were heard of him for more his only chance of seeing him; and he than six months, till one night as his young went on, without once failing, for eleven brother was knocking for admittance at months and twenty days. his own door, a figure in a domino came up, In order that he might do this more and put a note into his hand, at the same secretly, he frequently changed his lodgtime whispering his brother's name. It was ing; for as the time wore on he began to during the time of the carnival, when it is fear that his brother might have involved so much the custom for people to wear dis- himself in one of the political intrigues guises, that such things excite no surprise. common in those days, and he felt that the Anselmo, for this was his name, would have utmost caution was required, lest his conseized the domino by the hand, but he stant visits to that quarter of the city quickly disappeared in the crowd; and full should be watched, and lead to suspicion. of wonder and anxiety the young man A strange piece of blind obedience this read the letter which he had 'left behind seemed, even to himself, and of trust in

his brother; what appeared to him the " Anselmo, I live, I am well! and I be- strangest part of the letter was the entreaty seech thee, as thou lovest me, fail not to do that he would always bring a lantern; for me what I shall require, which is, that if there could be any fear," he thought, thou wilt go every night down that lane" of my not recognizing his step, or as if it which leads along the south wall of the could be likely that more men than one P-- Palace; ten paces from the last win- could by any probability be standing by dow but one thou shalt find a narrow slit in that solitary corner.” But in those days of the wall; bring with thee a dark lantern, tyrannical government and lawless faction, and into that slit do thou place it, turn- flight and mysterious disappearance were ing the light side inward that thou be not not uncommon. Thus Anselmo watched discovered. Thou shalt be at the place on, though hope began to wax faint, even every night at twelve, and thou shalt stay in his strong and patient heart. until the clock of St. Januarius striketh The clock struck one. “Eleven months," one. So do, and one night I will meet thee said he, “and. one and twenty days !-I there. Thy loving brother prays thee not will watch for thee the year out." He put to fail."

his band to the slit in the wall, and withThat very night the young nobleman drew his lantern ; it was dying in the went out unattended, in the hopes of meet- socket. What,” said he, “is the light ing with his brother. He carried a lantern, also weary of watching !"

He turned, and proceeded to the unfrequented lane and a heavy stone hard by his feet was

him :

as

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

Almost every

raised from beneath, and up from under the over to the keeping of his deadly enemy: earth came his brother.

one whose house had long heen of the opThy cloak — quick! cover me with it,” posite faction to his own. By this enemy he whispered. * Hide my prison gar- he was conveyed to the P— Palace, and ments.”

laid in a dungeon, that, as he said, “Noth· Thy prison garments !” repeated An- ing it seemed could have broken through, -selmo, faintly, for he was distraught and unless his teeth had been strong enough amazed.

to eat through that wall." His brother took the cloak and wrapped hour in the day his enemy came and looked himself in it. It was not so dark but that at him through a hole in the door; his food Anselmo could see that his feet were bare was given him by means of this aperture ; and his face haggard. He took the lantern and when he complained of the want of and threw it down, beckoning towards the bedding, they gave him, also by means of river.

the hole, a thin mattrass, and two coarse " Let it lie,” he said, to his young brother. rugs to cover him.

“ I am sorry the light has gone out just This dungeon contained nothing but one when it is wanted,” said Anselmo, for he large chest placed against the wall, and halfwas still amazed, and scarcely knew what filled with heavy stones; one of these, he he was talking about.

was given to understand, would be tied “ Eleven months and twenty-one days round his neck should he attempt to escape, hath it served me well,” his brother replied; and his body would be thrown into the “ nothing else, whether alive or dead, saving river. thyself only, will serve me so well again.” His light in the daytime came through

What a strange thing this was to hear; the little slit so often mentioned; but in but the walls of the old Italian city echoed daylight he could do nothing, for his enethe sound so softly that none awoke to list- my's eyes were frequently upon him ; from en, and the two figures, gliding under the twelve o'clock to three in the night were deep shadow of the houses, passed away, the only hours when all his jailers slept, and and were seen there no more.

then it was dark, and he could do nothing By morning dawn a vessel left the har- but just feel the strength and thickness of bour, and two brothers stood upon the deck, the wall: a hopeless task indeed to break bidding farewell to their native country; it down with one poor pair of hands! the one was young, the other had a wan But, after months of misery and despair, cheek, and hands hardened by labour; but one of the jailers took pity on him, and the prison dress was gone, and both were asked him whether there was anything he. clad in the usual costume of their rank and could do to help him to endure his captivity order.

better. “ Yes,” said the poor prisoner; “ And now we are safe and together," " I have been a studious man, and if I could said Anselmo, “I pray thee tell me thy now read, it would help me to endure my story. Why didst thou keep me waiting so misery. I dare not read in the daytime, for long, and where didst thou rise from at my enemy would not suffer me to have such last?"

a solace; but in the night, if I could have a “ That I can tell thee at all, is thy do- light in the slit.” ing," answered his brother : “ because thou The jailer was frightened, and told him didst never fail to bring me the lantern." not to think of it. Yet, as his prisoner kept

And then, while the grey Italian shores urging it, he looked at the height of the slit waxed faint in the sunny distance, and all and its small size, and then, when he had hearts began to turn towards the new world, heard the words that were to convey this whither the vessel was bound, Anselmo's request for a light, and that they told nothbrother descended with him into the cabin, ing as to where Anselmo's brother was, he and there told him, with many expressions consented to convey them; first getting a of affection, the remarkable tale which solemn promise that he would never attempt follows:

to speak to his brother, even if he should He had, unknown to his brother, made find it possible, and,.secondly, that he would himself obnoxious to the government; and never betray hin. the night of his disappearance he was sur- Whether this jailer felt certain that he rounded, and after making a desperate de- never could escape, whether he was not loth fence, he was overpowered and thrown into to aid in it, or whether he pitied him, and prison. In a dreadful dungeon he lay till thought no harm could come of the light, his wounds were healed, and then, for some is not known; certain it is that he searched cause unknown to himself, he was given this dungeon diligently every night, and ex

It is the true story of a King's Son, one who saved the lives of many, and reconciled them to his Father whom they had offended. In his wonderful condescension, He called himself their Elder Brother; but after He had long dwelt among them, He one day disappeared from their sight, promising them that after many days He would come again. He sent them a message afterwards, entreating them to watch, and saying "Behold, I come quickly!"

For a while they did watch; but afterwards it was said in his kingdom which he had left, "Our Lord delayeth his coming, and we are weary of watching, the time is so long. If He had told us the exact day or the exact hour when He would return, we would have been ready, and would have gone out to meet Him with great joy; but we cannot always watch, though He has promised us and done for us so much."

It is a long time now since that message was sent; some dispute its meaning, some say it shall be on this manner, and some on that manner; some have even said, "Those many days must now be drawing near their close."

amined the iron protection to the slit: it was far above the poor prisoner's head, and when the jailer found it always safe he appeared satisfied. Yet the work of breaking through the wall began the first night of the lantern, and never ceased till it came to a triumphant conclusion.

The great chest, as has been said, was half-full of heavy stones; as soon as the light enabled him to act with certainty and perfect quiet, he laid his mattress and rugs beside it, opened the lid, took every stone out in turn, and placed it on one of them; he then, exerting all his strength, lifted the chest away, and began to undermine the stones behind it, and under it.

With wonderful skill and caution, he went gradually on; but it took twenty minutes of labor to empty the chest, and twenty minutes to fill it with equal quiet: there remained, therefore, only twenty minutes in which to perform the rest of this herculean labour.

But for the light he must have handled the stones with less certainty, and, of course, the least noise would have caused all to be discovered. How little could be done each night becomes evident, when it is remembered that the stones and rubbish which he displaced had to be put back again, and the chest returned to the same position before the light was withdrawn.

For nine months he made but little progress, and for the next two months the difficulty of disposing of the rubbish daunted him; but the last night, when still far from the surface, though already through the wall, such a quantity of earth heaved in that he swept it down fearlessly upon the floor of his dungeon, and resolved to make a daring effort to escape, and risk all on that one venture. He crept through the hole once more, and shielding his head with one arm, pushed upwards with the other; more and more earth fell, and at last, nearly suffocated, he applied all his strength to the flat stone that it had left bare, heaved it up and escaped to life and freedom.

Which is most remarkable here ? — the trust of the elder brother, who could venture so much on a protracted attention to his letter, or the obedience of the younger to a command which he could not understand?

We can scarcely tell. Yet this story, though widely different in some respects, has one point of resemblance to another narrative far more worthy of credit, but which passes among many for an idle tale, if one may judge by the thoughts that they bestow upon it.

But, O prisoner, working by night in the light of your brother's candle! O elder brother, who had won such true fraternal love! O friend so trusted in, though not understood, so longed for, though scarcely expected-how differently was your earthly claim admitted your earthly command obeyed! There was One who said, "Watch, for ye know not the day, neither the hour, when the Son of Man cometh;" and "what I say unto you, I say unto all - Watch!" BUT DO THEY WATCH?

From the Sunday Magazine. "THE BLACK CAMEL."

A FEW THOUGHTS FOR BEREAVED

PARENTS.

WHEN God sent us our little Edith, it was a' time of darkness and of sorrow, and the smiles that welcomed her were something like the rays of sunshine breaking through a rift in the storm-clouds, and falling upon the drenched and dripping foliage. But they were very bright smiles nevertheless, just as the sunshine is, I think, all the brighter when it thus pierces the blackness and is reflected by a myriad raindrops. And wonderful was the comfort which that little baby brought us. There she lay; tiny and helpless; clinging to us

« VorigeDoorgaan »