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THE IMPROVISATORE; of a John ANderson, MY Jo, John. "
Scene:- A spacious drawing-room, with music-room adjoining.
CAT fifth ine. What are the words? Eliza. Ask our friend, the Improvisatore; here he comes: Kate has a favour to ask of you, Sir; it is that you will repeat the ballad that Mr —— sung so sweetly. Friend. It is in Moore's Irish Melodies; but I do not recollect the words distinctly. The moral of them, however, I - take to be this:—
Love would remain the same if true,
ELIZA. What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont and Fletcher, which my brother admired so much? It begins with something about two vines so close that their tendrils intermingle. Fit I end. You mean Charles' speech to Angelina, in a the Elder Brother. We'll live together, like two neighbour vines, Circling our souls and loves iu one another: We'll spring together, and we'll bear one fruit; One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn! One age go with us, and one bour of death Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy.
cAthen inf. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile one to old age—this love, if true! But is there any such true love? Friend. I hope so. CATH Ealine. But do you believe it? Eliza (eagerly.) I am sure he does. Finiend. From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, expects a less confident answer. cATneni N. E. A more sincere one, perhaps, friend. Even though he should have obtained the nick-name of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and extempore verses at Christmas times? ELIZA. Nay, but be serious. Friend. Serious? Doubtless. A grave personage of my years giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, cannot well be otherwise. The difficulty, I suspect, would be for them to remain so. It will be asked whether I am not the elderly gentleman - who sate a despairing beside a clear stream," with a willow for his wig-block. ELIZA. Say another word, and we will call it downright affectation.
cAtheni Nr. No! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask pardon for our presumption in expecting that Mr —— would waste his sense on two insignificant girls. Pral end. Well, well I will be serious. Hem' Now then commences the discourse; Mr Moore's song being the text. Love, as distinguished from Friendship, on the one hand, and from the passion that too often usurps its name, on the other— Lucius. (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a whisper to the Friend.) But is not Love the union of both? friend (aside to Lucius). He never loved who thinks so. ELIZA. Brother, we don't want you. There! Mrs H. cannot arrange the flower-vase without you. Thank you, Mrs
Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is itself not the most common thing in the world : and mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the wellknown ballad, . John Anderson my jo, John," in addition to a depth and constancy of character of no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar sensibility and tenderness of nature; a constitutional communicativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible signs of the sacrament within—to count, as it were, the pulses of the life of love. But above all, it supposes a soul which, even in the pride and summer-tide of life —even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest that which age cannot take away, and which, in all our lovings, is the Love;-
There is something here (pointing to her heart) that seems to understand you, but wants the word that would make it understand itself.
cAthen IN e.
I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the
feeling for us. Friend.
——I mean that willing sense of the insufficingness of the self for itself, which predisposes a generous nature to see, in the total being of another, the supplement and completion of its own—that quiet perpetual
seeking which the presence of the beloved object mo
dulates, not suspends, where the heart momently finds,
and, finding, again seeks on—lastly, when - life's change
ful orb has pass'd the full,- a confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very bosom of hourly experience : it supposes, I say, a heart-felt reverence for worth, not the less deep because divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call Goodness its Playfellow; and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while, in the person of a thousand-foldly endeared partner, we feel for aged Viarus the caressing fondness that belongs to the INNocence of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies as had been dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.
ELIZA. What a soothing—what an elevating idea! carriettine. If it be not only an idea. Fair Nin.
At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it be, that two such individuals should meet together in this wide world under circumstances that admit of their union as Husband and Wife. A person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as neighbour, friend, housemate—in short, in all the concentric circles of attachment, save only the last and inmost; and yet from how many causes be estranged from the highest perfection in this? Pride, coldness or fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or ambitious disposition, a passion for display, a sullen temper—one or the other—too often proves • the dead fly in the compost of spices,” and any one is enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction. For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine vanity, that keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self-importance. And as this high sense, or rather sensation of their own value is, for the most part, grounded on negative qualities, so they have no better means of preserving the same but by negatives—that is, by not doing or saying any thing, that might be put down for fond, silly, or nonsensical,—or (to use their own phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most worthless object they could be employed in remembering.
Eliza (in answer to a whisper from CAthenine).
To a hair! He must have sate for it himself. Save me
from such folks! But they are out of the question. Falend.
True! but the same effect is produced in thousands by the too general insensibility to a very important truth; this, namely, that the Miskay of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year, the death of a child; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily;-in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man's life, are easily counted, and distinctly remembered. The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the count
less other infinitesimals of pleasureable thought and genial feeling. catherine. Well, Sir; you have said quite enough to make me despair of finding a • John Anderson, my jo, John," to totter down the hill of life with. Friend. Not so Good men are not, I trust, so much scarcer than good women, but that what another would find in you, you may hope to find in another. But well, however, may that boon be rare, the possession of which would be more than an adequate reward for the rarest virtue. ELIZA. Surely, he who has described it so beautifully, must have possessed it? Fral end. If he were worthy to have possessed it, and had believingly anticipated and not found it, how bitter the disappointment!
(Then, after a pause of a few minutes). Answen (ex improviso).
Yes, yes! that boon, life's richest treat,
But e'en the meteor offspring of the brain
That boon, which but to have possess'd
Those sparkling colours, once his boast,
Where was it then, the sociable sprite
O bliss of blissful hours!
THE GARDEN OF BOCCACCIO.
Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea-worn caves
Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry
The brightness of the world, 0 thou once free,
See! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees
* Boccaccio claimed for himself the glory of having first introduced the works of Homer to his countrymen.
O all-enjoying and all-blending sage,
Long be it mine to con thy mazy page,
where, half conceal’d, the eye of fancy views
Fauns, nymphs, and winged saints, all gracious to thy muse!
Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks,
* I know few more striking or more interesting proofs of the ! influence which the study of the Greek and Roman sed on the judgments, feelings, and imaginations of the literati of Europe at the commencement of the restoration of literature, than the passage in the Filocopo of Boccaccio: where the sage instructor, Racheo, as soon as the young prince and the beautiful girl Biancafiore had learned their letters, sets them to study the Holy Book, Ovid's Ant or Lovs. • Incomincio Racheo a mettere il suo officio in essecuzione con interu sollecitudine. E
santo libro d' Orridio, nel quale it sommo poeta mostra, come i santi Juochi di Venere si dehhano me freddi cuori occendere."
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