Imágenes de páginas


There sit a girl and an old woman—they
Seem to be tired with pleasure and with play.


There is no rest to-night for any one:
When one dance ends another is begun;
Come, let us to it. We shall have rare fun.

[paubt dances and sings with a Oirl, and Mephisto-
Phelss with an old Woman,


What is this cursed multitude about!

Hare we not long since proved to demonstration

That ghosts move not on ordinary feet!

But these are dancing just like men and women.


What does he want then at our ball?


Ohl he
Is far above us all in his conceit:
Whilst we enjoy, he reasons of enjoyment;
And any step which in our dance we tread,
If it be left out of his reckoning,
Is not to be considered as a step.
There are few things that scandalise him not;
And, when you whirl round in the circle now,
As he went round the wheel in his old mill,
He says that you go wrong in all respects,
Especially if you congratulate him
Upon the strength of the resemblance.


[ocr errors]

Vanish ! Unheard-of impudence! What, still there!
In this enlightened age too, since you have been
Proved not to exist!—But this infernal brood
Will hear no reason and endure no rule.
Are we so wise, and is the pond still haunted 1
How long have I been sweeping out this rubbish
Of superstition, and the world will not
Come clean with all my pains !—it is a case
Unheard of!


Then leave off teasing us so.


I tell you, spirits, to your faces now,
That I should not regret this despotism
Of spirits, but that mine can wield it not.
To-night I shall make poor work of it,
Yet I will take a round with you, and hope
Before my last step in the living dance
To beat the poet and the devil together.


At last he will sit down in some foul puddle;
That is his way of solacing himself;
Uutil some leech, diverted with his gravity,
Cures him of spirits and the spirit together.

[To Faust, trim has seceded from the dance.
Why do you let that fair girl pass from you,
Who sang so sweetly to you in the dance 1

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


Seest thou not a pa!* Fair girl, standing alone, far, far away! She drags herself now forward with slow steps, And seems as if she moved with shackled feet: I cannot overcome the thought that she Is like poor Margaret.


Let it be—pass on— No good can come of it—it is not well To meet it—it is an enchanted phantom, A lifeless idol; with its numbing look, It freezes up the blood of man ; and they Who meet its ghastly stare are turned to stone, Like those who saw Medusa.


0, too true I Her eyes are like the eyes of a fresh corpse Which no beloved hand has closed. Alas! That is the breast which Margaret yielded to me— Those are the lovely limbs which I enjoyed 1


It is all magic, poor deluded fool!

She looks to every one like his first love.


0 what delight! what woe! I cannot turn
My looks from her sweet piteous countenance.
How strangely does a single blood-red line,
Not broader than the sharp edge of a knife,
Adorn her lovely neck!


Ay, she can carry Her head under her arm upon occasion; Perseus has cut it off for her. These pleasures End in delusion.—Gain this rising ground, It is as airy here as in a [ ]

And if I am not mightily deceived,

1 see a theatre.—What may this mean!


Quite a new piece, the last of seven, for 'tis
The custom now to represent that number.
'Tis written by a Dilettante, and
The actors who perform are Dilettanti;
Excuse me, gentlemen ; but I must vanish.
I am a Dilettante curtain-lifter.


^Translations anto ^Fragments.



"The Port, It is true, is the son of his time; but pity for him if lie is its pupil, or even its favourite! Let some beneficent deity snatch him when a suckling from the breast of his mother, and nurse him with thelmilk of a better time; that he may ripen to his full stature beneath a distant Grecian sky. And having grown to manhood, let him return, a foreign shape, into his century; not however to delight it by his presence, but dreadful like the son of Agamemnon, to purify it."—8ciiitLEn.


This volume has long been due to the public; it forms an important portion of all that was left by Shelley, whence those who did not know him may form ,-j juster estimate of his virtues and his genius than has hitherto been done.

We find, in the verse of a poet, " the record of the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds."* But this is not enough—we desire to know the man. We desire to learn how much of the sensibility and imagination that animates his poetry was founded on heartfelt passion, and purity, and elevation of character; whether the pathos and the fire emanated from transitory inspiration and a power of weaving words touchingly; or whether the poet acknowledged the might of his art in his inmost soul; and whether his nerves thrilled to the touch of generous emotion. Led by such curiosity, how many volumes have been filled with the life of the Scottish plough-boy and the English peer; we welcome with delight every fact which proves that the patriotism and tenderness expressed in the songs of Burns, sprung from a noble and gentle heart; and we pore over each letter that we expect will testify that the melancholy and the unbridled passion that darkens Byron's verse, flowed from a soul devoured by a keen susceptibility to intensest love, and indignant broodings over the injuries done and suffered by man. Let the lovers of Shelley's poetry—of his aspirations for a brotherhood of love, his tender bewailings springing from a too sensitive spirit—his sympathy with woe, his adoration of beauty, as expressed in his poetry; turn to these pages to gather proof of sincerity, and to become acquainted with the form that such gentle sympathies and lofty aspirations wor in private life.

The first piece in this volume, " A Defence of Poetry," is the only entirely finished prose work Shelley left. In this we find the reverence with which he regarded his art. We discern his power of close reasoning, and the unity of his views of human nature. The language is imaginative but not flowery; the periods have an intonation full of majesty and grace; and the harmony of the style being united to melodious thought, a music results, that swells upon the ear, and fills the mind with delight. It is a work whence a young poet, and one suffering from wrong or neglect, may learn to regard his pursuit and himself with that respect, without which his genius will get clogged in the mire of the earth: it will elevate him into those pure regions, where there is neither pain from the stings of insects, nor pleasure in the fruition of a gross appetite for praise. He will learn to rest his dearest boast on the dignity of the art he cultivates,

* ■' A Defence of Poetry." a 2

« AnteriorContinuar »