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Those sweet, vague sounds are on the air, Too soon !-oh no, 'tis best to die
Half sleep, half song-half false, halftrué, Ere all of life save breath is fled: As if the wind that brought them there Why live when feelings, friends and hopes,
Had touched them with its music too. Have long been numbered with the dead? It is the very place to dream
But thou, thy heart and cheek were bright; Away a twilight's idle rest :
No check, no soil had either known; Where Thought floats down a starry stream, The angel natures of yon sky Without a shadow on its breast.
Will only be to thee thine own.
Themselves away to deeper shade;
Should make the wakening heart afraid. Where hopes are high, yet cares come not, The green leaves e'en in spring that fall,
Those fellow-waves of life's drear sea, The tears the stars at midnight weep, Its froth and depth-wbere Love is what The dewy wild-flowers such as these Love only in a dream can be.
Are fitting mourners o'er thy sleep. I cannot muse beside that mound
For human tears are lava-drops, I cannot dream beneath that shade
That scorch and wither as they flow; Too solemn is the haunted ground
Then let them flow for those who live, Where Death his resting-place has made. And not for those who sleep below. I feel my heart beat but to think
Oh, weep for those whose silver chain Each pulse is bearing life away ;
Has long been loosed, and yet live onI cannot rest upon the grave,
The doomed to drink of life's dark wave, And not feel kindred to its clay.
Whose golden bowl has long been gone! There is a name upon the stone
Ay, weep for those, the wearied, worn, Alas ! and can it be the same
Dragged downward by some earthly tie, The young, the lovely, and the loved ? By some vain hope, some vainer love, It is too soon to bear thy name.
Who loathe to live, yet fear to die.
THE ROBBER'S TOWER.
A TRUE ADVENTURE.
AFTER a long period of debility, the and to save my bereaved relatives consequence of a dangerous wound from the agonizing necessity of anreceived in the great “ Battle of the nouncing their loss, I folded some Nations,” fought near Leipzig, I found crape round the sleeve of ny uniform, myself so far recruited in the autumn and, with no enviable feelings, jourof 1815, as to undertake a long-plan- neyed onward to the house of mournned excursion to the residence of a ing. About a mile from the little widowed aunt, who lived, with two post-town my carriage turned a sharp daughters, on the family estate of her angle on the road, and suddenly one deceased husband, near the sources of of the finest prospects in this romanthe Elbe, in Bohemia. I proceeded tic district burst upon me. Between by slow journeys, and at noon, on the the giant stems of a dozen venerable fifth day after my departure from oaks I beheld a wide and fertile vale, Berlin, reached a small post town, a through which the infant Elbe was few miles from my destination. Here gliding like a silver serpent. The I heard, with inexpressible sorrow, middle ground was varied by green that my aunt had very recently lost and swelling hills, crowned with her eldest daughter, a lovely girl of copses of oak and beech, while in the eighteen, by fever.
I had not seen distance towered the vast and awful my cousin since her childhood, but forms of the venerable Giant mounmy reminiscences of a delightful visit tains. On the slope of the highest to my hospitable aunt during the bap- intermediate hill stood the modern and py days of boyhood were acutely elegant mansion of my aunt, surroundroused by this afflicting intelligence; ed by a well-wooded park, above
which, on the summit of a dark and youthful bosom. She had heard of frowning rock, appeared the decayed my arrival, and, while the ready tears but still imposing castle of my late started into her large and expressive uncle's ancestors, which retained its blue eyes, she permitted me to salute ancient and characteristic name of the her cheek, but her emotion forbade “Robber's Tower.” A large portion all audible welcome. Feeling how of this once extensive pile was now a premature would be all attempts at shapeless mass of stones, over which consolation, I gradually led my aunt the giant ivy mantled in green and and cousin to discourse of the departprodigal luxuriance; but the keep, a ed Cecilia, and had ere long the plearound tower of vast dimensions, still sure to see them more tranquil, and defied the tooth of time, and threw able to speak of her with comparative up its lofty head with Titan grandeur. firmness and resignation. From their
During my slow progress up the conversation I gathered that she was hilly roads, I recognized many spots perfectly conscious of her approachendeared to me by vivid recollections ing death, but was nevertheless apof former enjoyment, but now they prehensive of premature interment, suggested no pleasurable associations; and earnestly besought her mother to my fancy was haunted by the image have the vault under the large round of the disconsolate mother, and I tower converted into a sepulchre, and could find no relief from depressing to place there her unscrewed coffin in anticipations but in the hope that my an open sarcophagus. The teoder unexpected arrival would afford at mother eagerly promised to comply least a temporary relief to the mourn with the last wish of her darling child,
The afternoon was considerably and the pall which covered the coffin advanced when I arrived at the house; was daily moistened with the tears of and my poor aunt, to whom the crape the desolate survivors. on my arm revealed my knowledge of With a view to cheer the spirits of her recent loss, clasped me in a ma my aunt and cousin, whose health bad ternal embrace, and, leaning her head visibly suffered from long confinement, upon my shoulder, sobbed aloud. Her I proposed a walk round the park. once full and finely formed person was Avoiding the lower road which led to wasted with sorrow and want of sleep, the sepulchre, I conducted my comand her expressive features were fur- panions up a steep and well-rememrowed with the lines of deep and bered path, which brought us to a heart-rending misery. She was the higher level of the castle ruins. Here living image of woe and desolation. an agreeable surprise awaited me. “ Dearest nephew !” she said at When I had played a boy about this length, in a low and broken voice, ancient pile, all approach to the baron's
why did you not arrive three weeks hall and the apartments in the tower sooner? You would then have found was impracticable, owing to the entire me rich and happy in the possession destruction of the lower staircases ; of two daughters; but it has pleased but with a view to better security of Heaven for wise purposes to sear me person and property in case the not to the quick, and to deprive me of a distant tide of war should roll through moiety of all I valued in this world : this secluded district, the baroness for what has a widowed mother on' had ordered the construction of a this earth but her children !” At staircase terminating in a long corrithis moment entered Julia, her surviv- dor, which connected the apartments ing daughter, a beautiful girl of seren- in the great tower with a fine old bateen; but grief had preyed upon her ronial hall in tolerable preservation, bloom, and her cheek was fair and and accessible only by a small door spotless as her snowy neck, which from the corridor, in consequence of rose in delicate proportion from the the two grand entrances having been crape handkerchief which shaded her blocked up by large masses of ruin.
In this noble apartment every trace of imagination, they acknowledged a decay had now disappeared. A new similar feeling, and begged me to quit flooring of polished oak, new furniture a place which they rarely entered, of massive and appropriate design, from an invincible reluctance to enand new casements of stained glass counter this painfully effective picture. which admitted a soft and chequered Returning to the corridor, I observed light through the tall and narrow win- at its extremity a low arched iron dows, proved the tasteful application door, secured with a bar of iron and of abundant means. In each corner large padlock. Inquiring to what of the ball stood a vast iron stove of part of the castle it conducted, my antiquated form, with the family aunt informed me that it was the enarms curiously emblazoned ; and on trance of an old armory,
which occuthe walls hung some large oil paint- pied the upper floor of a low square ings, bearing the stains and wrinkles tower containing the castle dungeons ; of two or three centuries ; but, having and, being massive and fire-proof, she been recently cleaned and varnished, had availed herself of its security to they were still, at some distance from place there some plate and other valuthe eye, wonderfully effective. The ables, until the Austrian deserters and most striking of these were a wolf other marauders, who occasionally hunt, drawn with a display of bone committed outrages upon private proand muscle not unworthy of Reubens; perty, had been taken or dispersed by two battle-pieces from the days of the police. Above the iron door was chivalry; and the catastrophe of a suspended another old picture which mortal combat between two mailed immediately absorbed my attention. knights. In the last, especially, the A young and lovely woman, in the artist had produced an effect as pow- garb of a nun, was kneeling in prayer erful as it was appropriate and true. before a shrined image of the Virgin. Observing how much I was struck by A beautiful infant boy lay dead and this old picture, my aunt told me that bleeding at her feet-wild despair and a clue to the subject had been found delirious agony spoke in every feature in an old family chronicle, written by of the kneeling mother, and contrasted the successive castle-chaplains. The strangely with the lifeless, stony look prostrate knight the valiant of the image above. « Good HeaBruno of Rothfels, who was killed in ven!” I exclaimed, “what means single combat about three hundred this horrid picture ?" years since by Gotthard, then lord of “ It is a portrait of the hapless the “Robber's Tower.” The dying Leah,” replied my aunt, “the daughman was unbelmed, and his life-blood, ter of the dying knight in the baron's issuing from a wide gash across his ball. Her young affections were sethroat, had flowed in torrents over his cretly given to Gotthard, his opponent, breastplate. The convulsed features who had in some forest-feud incurred and glazed eye-balls of the wounded her father's hatred. Forced by her man told his approaching death, while despotic parent to take the veil, she bis clenched right-hand was raised to- broke her vows, and Aed with her lowards heaven, as if imprecating his ver to this castle, where she became adverse fortune, and his left was the mother of a lovely boy ; but when grasping the blood-stained grass. I Gotthard had long and vainly sought gazed upon this singular picture until to obtain for her a dispensation from I fancied that I saw the sinewy limbs her vows, her wounded conscience of the wounded knight quivering with preyed upon her reason, and, in a moconvulsive effort, and almost thought ment of delirium, she destroyed her I heard the death-rattle in his throat. infant and swallowed poison. The When I described to my companions sad tale of her crimes and her remorse the strange impression which this is legibly told in that coarse but powscene of blood had produced upon my erful picture of some old German mas
ter. Soon after this tragic event, the of hill and vale, of the distant highhostile knights met in the forest, and ground in Silesia, and the lofty sumthe fatal combat ensued which you mits of the Giant mountains, some of have seen depicted in the hall. This which were capped with snow, and redismal tale is still a popular legend in Aected in glowing and rosy tints a our valleys ; the peasants will tell you splendid sunset. that the unfortunate Leah rests not in Fascinated with the picturesque siher grave, and that the shades of her tuation of these apartments, and deslain father and unhappy husband sirous to behold from their windows wander nightly in this castle. It has the glories of a summer morning in long been rumored, too, that the clat- this mountain region, I begged pertering of swords and armor, the chant- mission to occupy this delightful bed. ing of nuns, and the sound of fearful room during my stay. My aunt apgroans and lamentations, have been peared to find a gratification in the occasionally heard here at midnight idea that I should sleep near the tomb by the shepherds, when seeking stray of her Cecilia, and willingly consented; sheep amidst the ruins.”
promising that she and Julia would During this detail we had retraced join me to an early breakfast in the our steps, and at the other end of the tower the next morning; and, on our corridor we entered the large round return to the house, ordered my old tower or keep, from which the whole play-fellow Caspar, the game-keeper, castle derived its romantic appellation. to carry my luggage after supper to The spacious circle had been divided the castle. Fatigued with several into two roomy apartments, of which days of travel in a still infirm state of the outer one bad been elegantly fitted health, I left my aunt and cousin beup as a parlor of Gothic design. On fore eleven, and walked with old Casthe wall hung the portraits of my late par to the ruins. The day had been uncle, and of the lovely girl whose intensely hot; some menacing clouds mortal remains reposed in the vault in the southern horizon indicated as beneath. The picture of my cousin approaching storm, and, as we ashad been painted a few months before cended the staircase leading to the her death, and represented a blondine, corridor, the deep, low muttering of blooming with health, innocence, and distant thunder was audible from the beauty. Her fine auburn hair cluster- mountains. ed in glossy ringlets round ber angelic “ And do you really mean to sleep features, and a white rose adorned her every night in the Robber's Tower,' bosom. The resemblance to her sis- Major ?” said the old man, as he ter was striking, and would have been placed my portmanteau, sabre, and perfect, had not the darker eyes of pistols, on a chair in the Gothic parJulia given to her lovely countenance lor. a character of greater intelligence and “ Certainly, my good Caspar! and vivacity. “ That is my sainted cou- why not ?" I replied. sin,” I said, in a voice subdued by “I would only say," answered he, emotion into a whisper.
“ that you must have more courage “Such she was, but two months than I have ; and yet a Bohemian back ;” replied the agonized mother, gamekeeper is no coward. Many a " and now
dark night have I passed alone in the Her sobs impeded farther utterance; mountain woods, in spite of old Ruand to change the current of her bezahl and his imps, and the Wild thoughts, I requested her to show me Huntsman to boot; but in this tower the inner apartment. Here I found I would not sleep alone, for all my an elegant bedroom of Gothic design, lady's broad lands." and commanding from three windows “ What, Caspar !” I exclaimed, in the half-circle described by the “ an old woodsman, like you, afraid Wall, successive and boundless views to sleep where
cousins slept every night last sum- eternity. I closed it, and opened mer ?”
“ An Essay on “ Ay, ay, Major !” muttered the Death." A third was, “ The Solace
“ the castle was quiet of Old Age and Infirmity.” This enough then ; but sipce the death of was a most unpalatable collection for my Lady Cecilia, strange sights and a reader in quest of worldly associasounds have been heard here ; and tions; but at length I discovered you may take my word for it, that the small volume, curiously bound in Lady Leah, who murdered her child, black velvet, and containing more is not yet quiet in her grave.” mundane matter. It was a historical
The old man then lighted my ta- detail of the Order of Knights Temi pers with his lantern, commended me plars, 'printed in ancient black letter; | cordially to the protection of Heaven, and, according to the title-page, from | and departed, leaving me considerably a rare and curious manuscript of the
less pleased with my quarters than thirteenth century. Having been alwhen I had seen them by the rich and ways prone to the study of history,
cheering light of sunset. The con- this little book would have been a I sciousness of utter solitude, at such prize under any circumstances; but as
an hour, and in such a place, began to the solace of a sleepless night, in this r infect me with the superstitious fears lonely tower, it was above all price,
of old Caspar, and the solemn still- and I sat down with eager impatience, ness of the losty and dimly lighted to peruse it. Opening it accidentally Gothic room, interrupted only by an at the chapter describing the ceremo-occasional and distant roll of thun- nies of the order, I recognised with der, made me feel something very surprise and delight the name of a valike repentance, that I had exchanged liant ancestor of my own, whose deeds the modern mansion of my aunt for shine brightly in the history of Gerthis old robber's nest on a mountain many's middle ages. I knew not, crag. During the struggle which re- however, that he had in middle life leased Germany from the iron grasp become a knight of this order, until I of Napoleon, I had stared death in the here discovered a detailed account of face too often to fear any danger from an imposing funeral service, performed human agency, and a liberal education over his remains at Prague in the in Prussia had raised me above any year 1190. To be reminded of this apprehension of supernatural sounds great man's death, and to read of his and appearances ; but as I sat alone funeral at such an hour, and in a near midnight, in this old tower, and place fraught with sepulchral associarecollected my immediate vicinity to tions, were somewhat singular coincithe sepulchre, and the baron's hall, dences, and with strong and growing the grim picture of the dying Bruno, excitement, I read the account of the and the still more appalling portrait of funeral ceremonies till I came to the the pallid nun and her bleeding in- following sentence : fant, I felt the necessity of banishing - The Grand Master now raised an from my thoughts a crowd of images iron hammer, struck with it three which would inevitably murder sleep; heavy blows upon an iron cross, place and, exchanging my tight uniform for ed at the head of the coffin, and calla light dressing gown, I bolted the ed aloud, Open the gates of Death !!” door, snuffed my candles, and looked No sooner had I read this, than I around for a book, with which to be- heard three knocks, which sounded guile an hour, and induce a more seemingly from the corridor. I starttranquil train of thought. In a small ed, closed the book involuntarily, and recess between the windows I disco- listened long and anxiously, but all vered a few books, one of which I was silent. “ It was delusion,” eagerly opened, and found a collec- whispered common sense ; “my heattion of hymns, treating upon death and ed imagination carried me amidst the
57 ATHENEUM, vol. 1, 3d series.