Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

so severe.

believe the shortest interval would seem long, and that tants, and even surprised the sea eagle in her nest. no ordinary courage and energy were still necessary He climbs barefooted, and his toes clasp the slippery for his safety. He reached the top, and instantly pro- rock as talons would. Fear or dizziness he knows not strated himself on the turf, returning aloud to the of; and for a few shillings, or for an afternoon's recreaAlmighty his fervent thanksgivings, a few words of tion, he will scale many a ladder of rock, and penetrate which had hardly escaped his lips, when he sunk into many a time-worn crevice, where human foot but his utter insensibility.

own will probably never tread. Every cranoy, every Great was the amazement of his associates to find him stepping-place of the precipitous headlands of his native hanging on by his hands-greater far their astonish- island are intimately known to him; and at how much ment at his singular adventure: but once having told expense of unconquerable perseverance, zig-zag ex. his tale, which every circumstance clearly corroborated, plorings, and undaunted courage this has been accomhis pole and net being found on the rock as described, plished, we may not stop too particularly to relate. he never would again be prevailed on to recur to the On one occasion, led on by his indomitable love of subject; nor did he ever approach in the direction of exploring, he had passed to a point of a cliff to which the cliff from which he had descended, without turning even he had never dared to venture before. His object shudderingly away from a spot associated with a trial was to discover the spot where he believed a pair of

eagles had long built unmolested. Overjoyed, he reached Quite contrasted to all these scenes, as we observed the place ; triumphantly he possessed himself of the at the outset, are the aspect of nature and the manner eggs (for which, by the by, a commercial collector after. of taking the sea-fowl and their eggs in Shetland. The wards paid him five shillings); and then he for the first hills here are low, none of the seaward precipices are time became aware of his whereabouts. How he got above six or seven hundred feet high; and so far from there he could not even imagine. He paused a few fowling being pursued as a regular branch of em- moments : it was not fear, but unfeigned surprise and ployment, under proper regulations, as in Faroe, the awe that entranced him; and then the consideration Shetland landlords and other superiors by all means naturally forced itself on his attention— How shall I discourage their dependents from spending their time return ?' It ought to be mentioned, for the benefit of and energies in what is at best to them a desultory and the uninitiated, that it is much more difficult to get down most dangerous occupation, which, moreover, robs the than to ascend. The whole tortuosities and difficulties rocks, otherwise so bare and rugged, of those feathered of the path are more clearly in view, and the head is denizens, their appropriate ornament. Still, so fasci- apt not to be so steady. In the present case, moreover, nating and exciting is this method of idling away time, the excitement was past-the object was attained; and that might be much more profitably or improvingly it is wonderful how the blood cools, and courage beemployed, at least in these islands, that many of the comes calculating, in these latter circumstances. Well

, fishermen frequent the cliffs and peril their lives in the beside the plundered eyrie our gallant adventurer sat forbidden pursuit. Serious accidents occasionally occur. cogitating. I'll never return, that's certain, to begin Some time ago a poor man met a very dreadful fate. with,' he said to himself. •After all my escapes and He had been creeping into a crevice where were se exploits, my time is come at last. Well, if it is, it is : veral nests with eggs; having inserted half of his let me meet it like a man! If it is not come, I shall body, he had dislodged a stone, which held him fast. get down in safety, as I have done ere now, though His decaying corpse was found some time afterwards ; never from such an awful place before.' So he precipithe head, shoulders, and outstretched hands jammed in tately began the descent-plunging on without an idea the crevice, and the feet and legs hanging out.

except his early-imbibed belief in predestination, and More lately, a man noted for his fowling depredations an occasional aspiration to the Almighty for protection. went out one fine morning to gather shell-fish bait for He never knew, he says, how or by what paths he the next day's fishing. It happened to be the day after reached a place of comparative safety ; but he would the communion Sabbath, when there is sermon at noon. not attempt to go again to that spot for twenty The fisherman's Sunday clothes were laid ready, his guineas. family went to church and returned, but he appeared It is not, however, only in those localities with which not: night came, and he was yet absent. Still his from childhood he has been familiar that our courageous family were under no particular anxiety, imagining he fowler is dexterous and adventurous in his undertakings. had gone to a friend's at some little distance. In the Tempted by an offer of adequate remuneration from an morning, however, when he did not join his boat's crew amateur, he engaged to procure an eagle's egg from a to go to the usual fishing, the alarm was raised, and distant quarter, where they were known to have a nest. inquiry and search immediately made. It was without | The gentleman, in the interval of his absence, sorely success for a considerable time ; but finally, near the repented that he had proffered the bribe, though he by no brink of a precipice, where an opening rent in the rocks means urged the step. But in due time the brave cragsmade an accessible way for a short distance downwards, man returned successful, having twice scaled the precithe poor man's shoes and basket of bait were found. pice to the eyrie. The first time when he reached the Following up this indication, his fishing associates pro- place, from whence he scared the parent birds, he found ceeded in their boat to the base of the cliff, from whence the nest so situated, that though he saw the eggs, he could they thought they saw something like a human being. not by any possibility reach them. Nothing daunted, With renewed hope they climbed up, and found their he returned and made his preparations. To the end of unfortunate comrade caught between two rocks, where a long fishing-rod he attached a bladder, the mouth of he reclined as if asleep; but he had fallen from a great which he kept distended by a wire. Reaching this height, and was quite dead : and by this act, as of a simple but ingenious apparatus to the nest, from the truant schoolboy, for a few wild-fowl eggs, was a wife perching-place where he leaned, he gradually worked and large family left destitute and mourning!

the eggs into the bladder-bag with the point of the rod, There is in the island of Unst, the most northerly of and bore them off in triumph. It was the most lucrathe Shetlands, one man who, by his bravery, expert- tive, though the most dangerous adventure he had ever ness, and, we may perhaps add, his incorrigible perse-accomplished; for the locality was strange, the weather verance, has gained a sort of tacit immunity from the was gloomy, and the birds were fierce, and at one time general restriction, or at least his poaching misdemea in startling proximity to the spoiler. nours are winked at. His father was a noted fowler This man, who in every respect is the beau ideal of a before him; and since his own earliest boyhood, he has successful fowler, is now in the prime of life, about been accustomed to make it his pastime to scramble medium height, active and agile of course, and slender among the steepest crags and cliffs, making many a and lithe as an eel. During the late trying season of hairbreadth escape, many an unheard-of prize. He has destitution from the failure of crops and fishing, he has robbed the most inaccessible nooks of their inhabi- | mainly supported his family by the produce of such

exploits as we have been detailing. And he has a little in educational grants to different religious denominations son, the tiny counterpart of himself, who, almost ever -& scheme whereby the interests both of religion and since he could walk, he has taught to climb the rocks of education are liable to suffer from the spirit of party; along with him, and who therefore bids fair, should he that such a result is much to be deprecated, at a period escape casualties, to be as bold and expert in fowling as

of life when it is a main object of all sound moral training is his parent.

to foster kindly and generous sentiments; and that where this scheme has been put to the test of experiment, it is

already yielding the bitter fruits of alienation and aniPROGRESS OF THE EDUCATION QUESTION

mosity which might have been anticipated.

III. That to render the parochial system of education IN SCOTLAND.

truly a national one, the following conditions appear indisTWELVE months ago, we took occasion to point out pensable:what we considered the insufficient and unsatisfactory Parochial Schools entirely to cease, and the right of super

1. The control of the Established Church over the state of elementary education in Scotland, where, by intendence and of management not to be placed in the the institution of parish schools, it might be supposed hands of religious denominations as such. to have been on a tolerably perfect footing. Since that

2. Attendance at a Normal School, and certified acperiod the subject has undergone some discussion; and quaintance with the art and practice of teaching, to be even those who advocate existing arrangements, allow required of all candidates for the situation of teachers. that something is wanting to remedy acknowledged de- 3. Security for the sound principles of teachers to be fects. The longer that the Scottish parish school system sought in a right mode of appointment; and religious is considered, the less will it appear possible to adapt tests to be abolished, as sectarian in spirit, and at the it to the present and prospective wants of the country same time nugatory as evidence of character. without a very considerable change in its administra.

4. Heads of families in parishes, or in such districts as tion. While all acknowledge the value of its past may be found convenient, to have the right of electing services, and look on it still with respect, an impression the teacher, and of superintending by a committee of their is very generally gaining ground that it must submit number or otherwise the business of the schools. to a by no means limited reform; and further, that this Parochial Schools to continue to be applied to this pur

5. The funds at present set apart for the support of reform can be effected only by legislative revision and posc, and such additions as may be found necessary in enactment.

particular districts, to be raised by local taxation-with The leading defects of the present polity are briefly a view to place the system under the wholesome control these :-Only one school properly constituted exists in of public opinion. a parish; while some parishes, by reason of increase of

6. Stated returns from the National Schools, embracing population, would require several schools, all equally well the branches taught, fees, attendance, &c. to be made to supported by public grant. Originally placed in a great and a full digest of such returns to be published annually.

the Privy-Council, or to a National Board of Education, degree under the cognisance and government of the Established Church, the schools remain under the same

JAMES HARPER, Convener.' management, although, in the course of events, the establishment is now the minority. In consequence of A short time previously, in May 1848, the following this arrangement, as well as the obligation of teachers to resolutions were come to by the same body on the not subscribe a religious test, the schools are sectarian in cha- less important subject of University Tests in Scotracter; and the greater number of children-nearly the land :whole in some districts-are educated at schools got up • That the existing University Tests are not only secby private parties, or by dissenting and seceding bodies. tarian, unjust, and impolitic, but totally inefficient for the The salaries of the teachers are preposterously small; professed object for which they are imposed-namely, to but there exist no means of legally increasing them ascertain the religious principles of persons appointed to consistently with independence of principle. It is very professorships: that this synod regard the entire abrogamuch to be regretted that any representation of these tion of such tests as desirable ; and are of opinion that and other defects should lead to the slightest animosity the right of appointment, placed in the hands of duly or party feeling. The parish schools, as we have always public opinion, would prove the most eligible and avail

qualified parties, and exercised under the influence of understood, were not erected for the benefit of this able check upon improper nominations to chairs in the or that party, but for all; and they have been endowed national universities." accordingly. If, then, society alter so far as to leave them in a false position, in which they cannot possibly

Those who are interested in the progress of national realise the intention of their founders, is it not a public education will be gratified to observe that one of the duty to aim at such changes as a calm consideration of most numerous religious bodies in Scotland has, much the subject will suggest ?

to its honour, taken so enlarged a view of this imporWe have been induced to make these few remarks tant question. from observing that one of the largest and most respectable seceding bodies in Scotland — the United Presbyterian Synod-numbering about five hundred

OCCASIONAL NOTES. chapels, has had the sagacity to take an impartial and correct view of the state of our elementary education, and the courage to indicate the necessary remedial The price of labour is lower in Silesia than elsewhere measures. The following document has been issued in Germany, yet Silesia is one of the most valuable under the authority of the body :

and industrious of the Prussian and Austrian proAt a meeting, held at Edinburgh on the 28th June 1848, is great, owing to the dense population of the country

vinces. The explanation is, that competition for work of the Committee on Public Questions appointed by --even of the mountainous portion belonging to Austhe United Presbyterian Synod, the following Resolu- tria. The peasant who divides his time between the tions were adopted on the subject of National EDUCA-cultivation of the ground and his mechanical trade, TION.

makes only a fraction more than 38. a week; while, if I. That the acknowledged inefficiency of the Parochial employed in a manufactory, his earnings do not exceed Schools of Scotland, and the dissatisfaction with regard 6s. 60. The linen manufacture is here very ancient; to them which generally exists, are mainly attributable but it is still for the most part carried on by the to the subjection of these schools to the control of the Established Church; while there is thus combined the country people in their own huts, and it yields them inconsistency of a system called national being placed in but a scanty subsistence. the hands of a minority, with the injustice of maintaining

In Prussia, the hours of labour are long, averaging the interests of a party at the public expense.

twelve in the day; and for this period of toil a journeyII. That the remedy for these evils is not to be found man receives 1s. 5d. In a manufactory the wages are

WAGES AND LIVING IN GERMANY.

12s. a year.

name.

similar, being 8s. 6d. a week. In Bavaria, the workman does not gain more than from 5s. 6d. to 78. a week;

RATIONAL CORSETS. but here he is comfortably lodged at the rate of L.l, So much good advice has been thrown away upon the

ladies in the matter of tight-lacing, that we are glad to In order to judge of these prices, we must take into notice an invention which goes far to divest them of the account the general expense of living. Throughout power of injuring themselves by means of the corset. Saxony, beef averages 3£d. a pound, pork 4}d., and bread This is a new application of caoutchouc, which is in. d. a pound. In Bavaria, beef is 3fd. a pound, mutton troduced, in the form of fine threads covered with lacethe same price, pork 3 d., and bread ad. a pound. In thread, into the staple of the cloth of which stays are the Rhenish provinces the same prices very generally made. Such a mode of introducing this material, it prevail. It must be confessed, however, that labourers will be seen, permits free evaporation; while the elashave little to do with any of these articles but bread; ticity obtained does away with the necessity for whalethree-fourths of them knowing nothing of meat but the bone, except in such thin flakes as can do no harm. In

This bread is made of rye, and is black, heavy, the ease with which an elastic ligature like this yields and sour; but they do not eat it entirely from neces- to the motions of the chest, consists of course its great sity, but likewise from choice. They think it sustains superiority over the old corset; but the perfect adaptathem better than wheaten bread; and for this reason tion of the new invention to the shape, and the graceful it is used likewise by plain families of a higher rank. flexibility it permits to the figure, will, we suspect, be This rye bread, with a little butter and potatoes, and considered still greater advantages by the wearers. in the morning coffee, forms the daily nourishment of The inventors are Messrs Thomas and Co. of Cheapthe German workman. Meat, we have said, is unknown side, London, whose business of staymaking would to the mass; and beer and wine are only tasted on afford some rather curious statistics. In this apparently extraordinary occasions.

unimportant manufacture they employ 2000 work. Such meagre nourishment is not favourable to the people ; 800 in London, and the rest in the provinces. character of the workman either morally or physically. It is worthy of observation that the lower we descend It may be said that the German is always a slow coach ; in society, the more bigoted we find females to the but the German working-men are apathetic and indo- worst species of stays. Strength and unyielding solidity lent, and as far inferior to the French, who live better, as are the grand properties sought for; and in some places the French are to the English, who live best of all. In the stays offered for sale are actually weighed, and those a recent report made to the French ministry of agricul- preferred which are found to be the heaviest ! ture and commerce, it is remarked that substantial and abundant living has a great influence on the quantity of work a man can get through; and that the difference

JAMES GREGOR GRANT'S POEMS.* in this respect is the cause of the advantage the English There is a story darkly hinted at, not related, by working-man possesses over the French. Experience,' Dante, of a young wife who was imprisoned by her continues the report, ‘has frequently shown that when causelessly jealous husband in a tower built in the the latter enjoys as substantial aliment as his rival, he midst of a pestilential marsh. Here he watches day works as hard and as long.'

It might be supposed at first sight that, with bread by day-himself her sole jailer—the ebbing life of his at fd. a pound, the Prussian wages of 88. 6d. a week victim, till the tragedy closes with her death. To this would be at least equal to 178. in England. But this is legend the immortal Florentine has given a few lines, not the case; for in the latter country bread is only but these contain the materials of a fine poem.f The one of many items which make up the general expense husband, it should be observed, is exposed to the same of living. There may be little chance of a money resi- danger as the wife. He is no common assassin, who due in either country; but in England, the workman takes the life of a supposed offender, because it is in his on low wages has at least the superiority in food, and what he ternis comfort — things of which money is power : he endures all the horrors of the marsh,the merely the representative.

silence, the solitude, the sickening, the creeping of the The great increase of potato culture in Germany is aërial poison through his veins, the visible and tangible a consequence of the lowness of wages; and the fact approach of death-all this he endures that he may see would serve of itself to disprove the common paradox, it endured by her ; and yet we may conjecture that that the Irish are poor because they live on potatoes. there lurks in some mystic recess of his heart an ideaThe truth is the very reverse: the Irish live on potatoes almost a hope that she will not be the first to perislu

. because they are poor, and because they were prevented We may thus fancy the co-existence of undying love by the operation of the corn laws from having recourse to cheap grain. If there was a similar law in Germany even with so monstrous a revenge, and divide our pity interdicting potatoes, the effect would not be to pre-between the two victims of one destroying passion--the vent the spread of poverty, but simply to deny to the murderer and the murdered. people a wholesome variety in the cheap food to which This we conceive to be the poetical view of a repultheir existing poverty restricts them.

sive subject, and the only one which could fairly adapt In Ireland, lowness of diet has the same effect as in it for exciting the sympathies on which it is the proGermany: it makes the labourer both weak and indo- vince of poetry to act. Poetry is the priestess of nature; lent. Professor Hancock, in his smart remarks on the and to imagine a cold, slow, calculating, selfish, and yet opinions of those who desire government interference to give the Irish a taste for better food, does not advert horrible revenge, is an apostasy of which her high and to this circumstance. 'Let them try,' says he, the holy nature is incapable. Of this apostasy Mr Grant first potato-fed Celt they find with a good dinner of has been guilty ; but although he would thus appear to such established Saxon fare as roast-beef and plum- be deficient in the loftier attributes of his calling, he pudding, and I will venture to predict that a taste for partakes so largely in other respects of the true poeti. good living will be developed with a rapidity, and to an cal spirit, that we should think it improper to allow his extent, quite surprising to the pocket of the incredulous theorists. The professor means, that an Irish peasant

* Madonna Pia and other Poems. By James Gregor Grant. will choose a good dinner in preference to a bad one, if 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1848. he has them both before him: but this is trifling with

+ Ricorditi di me, chi son la Pia: the subject. The taste sought to be developed is of

Siena mi fe': disfecemi Maremma: that kind which will make a man work for what he

Salsi colui, che 'nnanellata pria, covets--which will subdue indolence, drunkenness, and

Disposando m'avea con la sua gemma.' other bad habits, and raise him in the social scale.

DANTE : Purgatorio, Canto it.

[ocr errors]

volumes to pass unnoticed in the common torrent of The disproportion between cause and effect is a leading verse.

peculiarity of the olden ballads and metrical romances, If Pietra partook as largely of the human nature of in which the heroes, leaping suddenly from love to hate, Othello as Madonna Pia does of that of Desdemona, we and from indifference to the wildest passion, appear should have some difficulty in finding in the poetry of little better than maniacs to us sedate moderns. The the day a match for the poem before us. And it does reason simply is, that they want a historian to elaborate seem extraordinary that Mr Grant, in adapting his few motives capable of explaining the transition. It was materials, should have wandered so far not only from not the fashion of our ancestors to go into any details human nature, but from Dante. His own first stanza but those of action; and their suddenness is frequently should have suggested the true theory.

termed vigour and simplicity by a more metaphysical

generation. The fault, therefore, of. Madonna Pia’lies
• Madonna Pia! thou whose gentle shade
In the sad Tuscan's awful path arose,

not so much in the dire effects of a trivial cause, as in
When in the milder penal realm he strayed-

its inconsistency in failing elsewhere to fulfil in the
Yet breathed no murmur of thy mortal woes,

same manner the conditions of the olden legend.
Nor creature, dead or living, didst upbraid
With bringing thy gweet life to bitter close-

However this may be, Pietra sees one day a smile on
Sighing but this-"that the Maremma slew,

the radiant face of his beloved ; and, following the
And he, the loved one, thy Piotra, knew.".

direction of her eyes, behold it is reflected in the face Had Pietra been a loveless, ruthless hangman, as he of a man! This is absolutely all. Nothing preceded represents him, this affecting silence would have been the smile ; nothing followed ; it was itself accuser and

proof in onemere stupidity. But Mr Grant makes us carry the stupidity (the name of which in romance is feminine

"Sternly he sullened on their homeward way;

Sternly he sullened to their chamber door; devotion) to a still more surprising extent, as we shall Sternly he left Madonna there--a prey see by and by.

To many a bitter pang unfelt before :

Alone he left her-and alone she lay, Madonna Pia was young, beautiful, high-born, and Wondering and weeping all this strangeness o'er; prodigiously wealthy

Wondering and weeping-pouring sigh on sigh,

And asking her deaf pillow “ Why, oh why?"
“Yet not for wealth did young Pietra scek
This dazzling Phænix of Sienna's sky-

During the night her lonely curtains are withdrawn,
He saw an empire on her lip and check,

and a stern voice bids her rise.' The face of the
An El Dorado in her glorious eye!

bidder is full of wrath and sin; and his parting steps He heard sweet music when he heard her speak;

shake the chamber as she prepares with a quaking
Wings sprang within him when her step drew nigh;

heart to follow.
And the least glance or smile she threw on him
Made all of brightness else look cold and dim.'

"As down some dusky stream a dying swan This radiant creature returns his love: they are mar

Creeps slow, slow down the marble stairs she crept,

Shivering with icy terror-and, anon, ried—they are all in all to each other—they are happy

From out the portal's gloomy archway stept;

There sat Pietra, staring, spectral-wan, to the highest pitch that human nature can endure

And ghastly.motionless, as if he slept and they believe it impossible that anything can occur

On his dark steed; another neighed before her, to break the bright and smooth tenor of their charmed

And to its saddle menial hands upbore her.' life.

Away go the fated pair; and the first gleam of dawn • Never should hope or fear their steps divide

breaks pale and drear as they pass through the last of Never should love in their deep hearts decay

the gates of Sienna. Skirting the craggy heights of Vol. Never should joy or sorrow, side from side

terra, they ride seaward, and at length their horses' feet Sever their rich affections, night or day!

plash in the deadly swamp of the Maremma. In the
Never should jealousy (the jaundice-eyed

middle there is a lonely tower, rising like an isle in a
And canker-hearted) make of them a prey !
“ Never, oh never !" blinding Passion cried-

lake ; and this is henceforward to be the abode of the
Never, oh never!" blinded Faith replied.'

husband and his victim. A wild scream bursts from

the heart of Madonna Pia, as she stands there face to So far all is well. This portion of the poem is ma- face with the avenger, and reads his purpose; and with naged with infinite grace. You seem to breathe as well the instinct of love, she tries to take refuge from his as read beauty; and in obedience to the magical wand cruelty even in his arms. He dashes her to the ground of love, the moving world subsides into passionate and withdraws. This incident, it will be seen, is merely

a following out of the poet's radical mistake; but still it repose

must be said that it is in the worst possible taste, sinking
• It was a lovely summer's loveliest eve

Pietra, as it does, from a being of preternatural wicked-
When she-far lovelier still !-her passion told.

ness to a mere vulgar ruffian, and depriving the piece
The lingering sunset took reluctant leave,
As, ray by ray, expired its purpling gold;

of one of the chief elements even of the false sublime
The very twilight, dying, seemed to grieve,

which the author aims at.
Lest never more such joy it might behold!
All nature slept, as if on folded wing,

"Bhe rose, at length--but not to rave or stamp,
And silence listened like a charmed thing.'

Or rend distractedly her golden bair

Slowly she rose--and round her prison damp !! The author pauses on this portion of his picture, Looked long and pryingly, with dreadful stare.

Save a thick ropy slime from the green swamp, touching and retouching with new delight. But his

Roof, walls, and pavement, all were lothly baretask presses. The marriage was already among the

And one stern loop-hole, barred with jealous might, bygone things of the time : the excitement of the city

Poured in the poisonous air and pale drear light. was at an end

Thither she dragged-and saw the fenny grass

Sullenly wave o'er all that sullen lea;
And fluttering gallants sought no more to please

And heard the bittern boom in the morass,
The wedded wonder of the Siennese.'

And saw the wild swan hurrying to the sea ;

And dreary gleams, and drearier shadows, pass The circumstance which gives its tragic colour to O'er lonely wilds that lonelier could not be: the piece is a smile ; and this we see has, as it is ma

And then she turned, all hopelessness, within,

And felt that all was hopelessly akin." naged, awakened the ire of some of the critics, as a thing too slight and meaningless for such grave results. She humbles herself at bis feet; she tries expostulaBut a word may here be ventured in the poet's defence. I tion, intreaty-all in vain ; she implores that he will at

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

comes a

least let her know in what she has offended him. He chanical part he has little to learn; but if he would rise is as mute as a statue.

to a loftier strain, he must devote himself to a severe Gone-and no word : and thus, all sternly dumb,

and searching study, not of the forms, but principles of Daily, for months, her prison to and fro

his divine art, and be touched with a higher and holier Implacable in silence did he come,

faith in the duties and responsibilities of poetry.
Implacable in silence did he go.
Oh! list, peor victim ! list the bittern's hum,
List to the sullen winds without that blow,

WINTERING IN PA U.
List to whate'er drear voice comes o'er the fen-
Pietra's voice thou'lt never list again!'

BY A LADY.
He comes and goes as silently as a shadow, his only

SECOND ARTICLE-OCTOBER errand to bring her food, and look at her wasting and With October came cool weather, and we began to withering away-like himself. The pestilential air of extend our morning walks into the beautiful country, the Maremma works upon them both like poison. which, more particularly on the side towards the mounBoth!

tains, afforded us a never-ending variety of interest

ing excursions. On Mondays the scene on the thorough. • The canker spreading to his bud and leaf

fares was enlivened by a perfect crowd of the peasantry Poor lost Madonna saw with tenfold griefGrief deeper far than for her own decline!

coming to the weekly market with their wares. It And once, when on his hands the sunbeams strook, was really not always easy to thread a clear path And she beheld how fast they 'gan to pine,

through the throng of busy, happy - looking people And with a tremor (not sweet Pity's !) shook,

streaming on towards the town. Some were on horseLove conquered terror, with a strength divine That cruelty itself could not rebuke

back, some in charge of carts, a mob on foot, all well And she implored, with heart, and lip, and eye,

loaded, full as many women there as men, and numLet not both perish !--leave me here to die!"

bers of them riding astride on their small spirited The descriptions we now have of the successive mountain ponies, in the midst of sacks of grain or changes of the Madonna's spirit in her dungeon are the wool, or baskets of farm produce. They wore their finest portions of the poem ; but our space restricts us

usual dress—the worsted gown and cotton shawl, and a from copying a single stanza. A winter night at length bright-coloured handkerchief tied about the head : the

dreary, dismal, bitter night; and Pietra, only addition to their ordinary costume was a sort of knowing that there is little chance of her living till the skirt, open both in front and behind, like two aprons morning, comes—faint, ghastly, wan himself to look put on together, one at each side, and hanging down upon her once more. Even then, when he finds her

over their feet. Monday was the only day the little weak, as dying lamps are weak,' he will not suffer her quiet town seemed to be alive: all the rest of the week to hear his voice.

there was nothing doing in Pau. Empty streets, de

serted shops, a closed market-house, all still and silent, • Yet to the last her shivering frame she raised,

resting, as it were, after the bustle of the Monday. But On him, on him, to pour her latest sighs;

October is the dull month here; hardly any one is to
And, to the last, on him she gazed and gazed,
With Love's beseeching and forgiving eyes!

be met with belonging to the upper classes. The prefet, Until their orbs that heavy film had glazed

and the magistrates, and the English, are all at the difWhich melts no more till melted in the skies ;

ferent watering-places. It is the holiday season for the And her last words fell brokenly and weak" Guiltless I die !--Oh loved Pietra, SPEAK!”

French officials, the only relief from duty given to them,

this six weeks' vacation; the rest of the year they never Then first in the avenger's bosom grew

quit their business.
The anguish of one dread misgiving thought,
Oft said, oft writ, that dying lips speak true."

Society being for the present unattainable, we had
Oh God! if now that fearful truth were taught !

leisure to continue our observations upon the locality, One little word, while yet his voice she knew

and to acquaint ourselves more thoroughly with the E'en one, with heavenly soothing might be fraught: habits of the place. The weather continuing for some “ Breathe but that word!" the angel Mercy sighed

time cool and showery, our walks were extremely plea. “ Breathe not the word!"a stubborn demon cried !

sant. We found the roads good in every direction : And in his tortured heart the strife raged on,

they are all under government control, and managed Till, in a moment, all the strife was vain ! The weary spirit to repose was gone

with a regularity which insures perfection : men were The broken heart had broken from its chain.

constantly employed on them in small gangs, which He pressed his hand upon her bosom wan,

appeared to proceed a certain distance, repairing diliAnd felt and listened for the throb of pain;

gently whatever was amiss, and then to return to begin But all was still: pain, pulse, and breath had flown,

again. The glazed hat of the labourer bore his number And he and sated vengeance were alone!'

on the front: the same number was marked on his Such is practically the close of a fine and faulty poem. measuring pole and other tools, and on his provision We do not repeat the accusation, so loudly made else- bag, Women sometimes assisted in breaking stones, where, of plagiarism ; for this, we think, is more in for female labour is abundantly employed in out-door manner than matter. The cadences of other poets work hereabouts. Indeed on the little patches belonging (chiefly modern) appear to have lingered so long in our to some of the cottages, I have seen the wife do allauthor's ear that they come out unconsciously with his dig, or weed, or plant, as might be-while the husband own ideas. We cannot trace any more than the usual | obligingly walked about with the baby. The bypaths conveyance of thoughts, although occasionally words and between these little farms and hamlets, and among the forms bear almost a ludicrous resemblance to those of fields and vineyards belonging to them, always drew us other writers: the line, for instance,

on from one nest of beauty to another; the picture being * I pass these raptures, for these raptures passed,'

always interesting, whether we found it snugly sheltered

by fine old oaks and chestnuts on the plain, or up along might seem to be from a passage in the • Rejected the côteaux backed by those wonderful mountains. On Addresses ' inscribed with the name of Crabbe. Neither the Bayonne road is the handsome villa of a British do we predicate of Mr Grant, as others do, that he will family, built upon a terrace among vineyards facing improve in his next attempt. We are willing to accept the Pyrenees, and overlooking the village in which still of *Madonna Pia’ as one of the best contributions to stands the old farmhouse where Henry IV, was nursed. the poetical literature of the day, and have no faith that Further on is the village and old cathedral of Lescures, & practised hand, as that evidently is which has pro- well worth a visit. Striking off from the pare through duced it, will surpass its own work on another occasion. fields to a sort of waste meadow by the gâve, we one In such circumstances, the contrary is more frequently day came upon a saw-mill, very small and very primithe case than otherwise. At anyrate it is not experi- tive indeed in its construction. A single saw, and the ence in writing the author wants, for in the mere me- labour of a man and boy, were all the means employed

« ZurückWeiter »