Obrázky stránek
[ocr errors]

When, on the stillness of the sabbath-day,

Heaven in that peal seem'd pouring from above,
And I look'd upward for its kiss of love,
Wbilst saints might wish with joy like mine to pray.
An undefined aspiration

Impellid me from the haunts of man ;.
I form’d myself a new creation,

While tears of christian fervour ran.

very song proclaim'd to childhood's ear
The solemn tide for joys for ever past,
And memory, waking while the song I hear,

Arrests my strides, and checks me at the last.
Sound on, blest strain, your task almost is done ;
Tears force their way, and earth regains her son.'

vol. i. p. 43. Faust, having escaped this temptation, wanders forth into the fields with his pupil Wagner, and contemplates the universal festival. This also is spiritedly given;

* Turn round, and, from this hillock's height,
Back to the town direct thy sight.
See, from the jaws of yonder gate,
How thick the insects congregate ;
They celebrate, in guise so gay,
Our Saviour's resurrection day..
From lowly roof, and stifling cell,
Where labour's murky children dwell-
From chamber close, and garret high,
From many an alley's dismal sty,
And from the venerable night,
Shed by the church's shadowy height,
They wander forth, and court the light.-
Şee how the myriads buzz and throng
The garden and the field along ;
See, on the stream, how thick they float,
The steadier barge and heeling boat.
How yonder skiff, o'erladen, laves
Its gunwale in the rippling waves.
Yon distaut mountain-path no less
Is gleaming with the tints of dress.
I hail, in yonder rout and coil,
The short-lived heaven of those who toil ;
I almost shout, like them, for glee,

And am the man I seem to be.' vol. i. p. 54. We cannot afford room for the scenes in which Mephistopheles, in the shape of a hound, gains admission to Faust's chamber; at length assumes a human form; and, after a variety of conversation, induces the unhappy victim to seal the compact with his


[ocr errors]

blood-the compact which renders him, in so far as his own act can do so, the slave of the juggling fiend. We pass over also the debauchery of the drinking cellar, and come to the scene with which the main interest of the drama opens.

Faust, now reinvested by magic art with all the graces of youth, sees, and is enamoured of Margaret-the most charming of all the creations of the poet's genius. He speaks to her-she repels him like a modest maiden, and passes on. At that instant Me

phistopheles enters.

'FAUST. Hear:-you must win her; no delay! MEPH. Win whom?

FAUST. But now she past this way.

MEPH. Oh! her. The priest to whom she came to pray
Absolved her free from sin and guile;

I listen'd by his chair the while.

The monk could scarcely send her thence
More perfect in her innocence.

Such are beyond my mischief's sphere.
FAUST. Yet she has reach'd her fifteenth year.
MEPH. You speak in Mr. Wilfull's tone;

Who, as he walk'd the garden, thought
The flowers were made for him alone.

And so much mischief there he wrought-
But check the speed with which you run.
FAUST. Pray, Mr. Check-my-speed, have done,
Quoting your saws and maxims clever;
And more to tell you I make bold,
Unless, ere midnight's bell has toll'd,
That beauty in my arms I hold,

We part at twelve-and part for ever.
MEPH. Think of the nature of the case:
I ask, at least, a fortnight's space,
The slightest opening to secure.
FAUST. Had I seven hours to seek the maid,
I should not want the devil's aid,
Her simple virtue to allure.
MEPH. You talk this like a Frenchman born!-
Let not my hints awake your scorn.
Why seek to gain what you affect
By paths so simple and direct?
The joy is not so great by far
As when, in spite of bolt and bar,
Above, around her, and below,
By practice you have learnt to go:
Have sometimes stoop'd, and sometimes mounted,
As in Italian tales recounted.

FAUST. Without all this I crave and would obtain.
MEPH, My warning must be clear and plain.

This fort, 'tis not the devil's fault,
May not be taken by assault :
We cannot beat the bulwarks down,
And so must parley with the town.
FAUST. Then bear me to her place of rest,
Bring me the kerchief from her breast—
A keepsake bring, whate'er it be—
A lace-the garter from her knee.
MEPH. That you may see how I submit
To watch and tend you in your fit,
This very night you shall be led
Within her chamber- -to her bed.

FAUST. And see her-clasp her?
Not at all.

Upon a friend she means to call;
In the meanwhile you take your station,
And feed yourself-on expectation.

FAUST. May we go now?


It is too soon: not yet. FAUST. Seek me some gift, some jewel richly set. [FAUST departs. MEPH. Presents so soon!—he'll not be long in wooing.' &c.


-vol. i. pp. 150-154. The next scene presents us with A small and neat Apartment.' MARGARET is discovered plaiting and binding up her hair;' and her soliloquy is:

[ocr errors]

'I would give something to discover
Who 'twas that spoke so like a lover.
"Tis sure he had a mien and face

Which spoke him of a noble race.
That from his very look I told-

Besides, he would not else have been so bold.
MEPH. (to FAUST) Come in, but softly ply your feet.
FAUST. Leave me alone, I do entreat.
MEPH. Few maidens' chambers are so neat.
FAUST. Sweet dimness of the sacred room,

I hail thy chaste and sober gloom!
I feel the breeze of mental health,

Where calm content and order dwell:
The fulness of the poor man's wealth,
The freedom of his prison-cell!

[Throws himself into a large arm-chair.
Receive, thou friend in joy and sorrow known,
A guest unwonted in thy calm embrace.
How oft around this patriarchal throne

Have clung the hopes of many a parent's race!
How oft at Christmas, tide of childish bliss,

[She goes in.

Perchance for gifts that spoke the closing year,
Her own loved lips have printed many a kiss

On the old hand of him who rested here!

Fair one! I hail the spirit of the place;
Of decent neatness, and of order's grace!
At whose command the spotless cloth is spread,
The clean sand crackles underveath thy tread.
With such a tenant misery flies the door,
And watchful angels bless thy humble store,


And thou ?-it shakes my soul with fear
To ask thee, wretch, what dost thou here?
Why camest thou, Faust? what makes thy heart so sore ?
Wretched and lost! I know thee now no more.
Ah! should she enter, lovely, now,
How should I then repent my

How would the devil vail his brow
Before that form, in innocence sublime !

Quick ! quick ! I see her at the door.
Faust. Begone yourself! for I go hence no more.
Meph. Here is a casket for the dame ::

Heavy. No matter whence it came.
There, put it-quick-in yonder chest,
I vow you look like one possest.
Within, a little venture lies,

To win for you a greater prize.
Faust. I know not shall I ?


ask ?
Ob! if you mean to keep the treasure,
You might have done me so much pleasure
At least to spare me half my

I did not think you prone to avarice.

(Faust places the casket in a press.
Now off! away!
To win the beauty in a trice !-
And there you stand, enwrapt in gloom,
As if preparing for a lecture room
And Physic's form were standing there,
With Metaphysic's-lovely pair!

[They depart.
Enter MARGARET, with a Lamp.
Marg. What makes it close and sultry here?

Without, the air is fresh and clear. [Opens the window.
I wish my mother's walk and task was o'er ;
Somehow I feel as ne'er I felt before :
Through my whole frame there runs a shuddering.
I am a silly, foolish, trembling thing.

[She begins to sing while she undresses herself.' We must give one more specimen. It shall be taken from that scene in which, after the seduction of this innocent child has led to the slaughter of her brother, and her mother's death, she is introVOL. XXXIV. NO. LXVII.



duced as kneeling in the midst of the people in the cathedral. Conscience is awake, and the poet dares to clothe the still small voice' in a visible shape. The Evil Spirit creeps close behind her and disturbs her prayers.

'EVILSPIRIT. Margaret, how different thy lot

When kneeling at the altar's foot
In thy young innocence;

When, from the mass-book, snatched in haste,
Thy prayer was utter'd;

Prayer which but half displaced

The thought of childish pastime in thy mind.
Margaret !

How is it with thy brain?

Is it not in thy heart

The blackening spot?

Are thy prayers utter'd for thy mother's soul,
Who slept, through thee, through thee, to wake no more?
Is not thy door-stone red?

Whose is the blood?
Dost thou not feel it shoot

Under thy breast, e'en now,
The pang thou darest not own,
That tells of shame to come?

MARGARET. Woe, woe! could I dispel the thoughts
Which cross me and surround
Against my will.

CHORUS. Dies iræ, dies illa,

[blocks in formation]
« PředchozíPokračovat »