Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

as these same students. It is written in the folio of Johannes de Mercuria :

1st. ‘PECCATUM MAGIS BONUM EST QUAM MALUM.' 'Sin is rather a good than an evil thing.'

2dly. CONSENTIENS TEMPTATIONE, CUI RESISTERE NON POTEST, NON PECCAT. “The man who yields to temptation when no longer able to resist, does not sin.'

For these dicta John was very properly condemned in 1347 by the University of Paris. Pity, is n't it, reader, that after so many centuries we should still find the students of that very University exemplifying by their lives the fullest faith in such improper, unexemplary, heretical and obsolete doctrines ? But so the world goes !

There is a little poem of Villon's, which always pleased me. The poor devil wrote it when laid neck and heels in prison, and introduced it, at my suggestion, into his ' Grand Testament.' Here it is :

Des Dames du Temps Jadis.

(1461.)

Say, is there left on earth a trace

Of FLORA, once the fairest fair ?
Or ARCHIPIADA, or THAIS,

That bright, unrivalled, queenly pair ?
Echo will fiing the question back,

O'er silent lake and streamlet lone.
Where doth all earthly beauty flee ?

Where have the snows of winter gone
* Where is the learned Heloise,

For whom the amorous scholar sighed ?
Ah, happy had they never met!

Love ili becomes scholastic pride.
Or where the proud and statel, Queen,

By whose command DE BURIDAN
Was thrown at midnight in the Seine ?

-- Where have the snows of winter gono!
* Where is that Queen, our fleur de lys,

Whose gentle voice could banish pain?
Fair Bertua, BEATRICE. ALYS,

And ILAREMBOURG, who held La Mayne?
And good JOANNA of Lorraine,

Burnt by the English at Rouen?
Where are they all - Saint Mary -- speak?

Where have the snows of winter gone?'
"Gentles, these questions all are vain;

Ask not of things for ever flown:
With this refrain, I answer plain,

Where have the snows of winter gone?'

BONAVENTURE DES PERRIERS was also a particular friend of mine. If I had time I would translate his • Cymbalum Mundi,' which is a witty book, as you well know, although sadly abused by the learned. For Stephanus calls it detestable ; ' La Croix du Mayne and Bayle, impious ;' and Estienne Pasquier, 'a book deserving to be burnt with its author.' The thick-headed Philistine, Theophilus Spizelius, assures his readers that it is very infamous, extremely wicked and execrable; while a certain manuscript commentator (or small potato) appended to it, as critique, · Dixit insipiens in corde suo, ' Non est Deus." Of all these gentlemen, with the exception of one, none had ever read a line of it; and he (the exception) declares it to be quite as vile a book as the work · De Tribu

Impastoribus,' with which he had no doubt carefully compared it. And this of the very man who aided Calvin and Olivetan to translate the Bible into French !! Horrible, most horrible!! But Bonaventure was a spiritual brother of Rabelais, ergo, if his sins, et cetera. You know the catch:

"SING jig my jole - the pudding bowl,
My master he did cudgel me,
For kissing of my dame.'

The table and the frame:

I shall always cherish with lively emotions of gratitude the recollection of my poor friend Bonaventure. For it was through him that I first became acquainted with that sweetest, gentlest, noblest

, and fairest of ladies, Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre; who introduced me to Clement Marot; who introduced me to Etienne Dolet; who introduced me to Pelletier; who introduced me to Denisot; who introduced me to Boiaistuau, whom I knew already. Ah! life was a golden dream for me then ! On the stream of time swam roses and lilies. Beautiful melodies rang forth from the lute of love, and the treble of glad hopes in a happy future bore the accompaniment of pleasant memories of a delightful past. O my soul !

BRINGE us in good ale, brynge us in goode ale!
For our blissed Lady's sake, bring us in goode ale!

For yf that I
Maye have trewly
Goode ale a firkin full;

I shal looke like one,
By swete Saint John,
Well shorn against ye wolle!

Tbo I goe bare,

Take ye no care;
I nothynge am a colde;

I am so wrapped

And tboroghlie lapped,
In joly goode ale and olde.
CEREVISIA BIBUNT HOMINES;
ANIMALIA CETERA FONTES !

E PLURIBUS UNUM: the eagle suffers little birds to sing. It has been deeply regretted by the French lifres-lofres, or literary loafers of the present day, that so little is known of the private life and adventures of Des Perriers. Now if they will make it worth the while, I will undertake to supply the deficiency. I will tell you how he first obtained a copy of Aristophanes, availing himself of the occasion to kiss the book-seller's daughter ; how he quarrelled with Cardanus about the souls of the stars, and visited Cornelius Agrippa for the purpose of interpolating an anecdote into a little work on which the latter was then engaged ; said work being entitled • Of the Bodaults and Guillemettes of Paris ;' which visit gave occasion to a certain chapter in Rabelais :

PANURGE consults Her Trippa,
Believest thou, O King AGRIPPA!'*

· Dicam quod mirandum verum,' as Drunken Barnaby hath it. All of these fine things, not less wonderful than true, will I do out of philanthropy and a love for letters ; ID EST - for a consideration. For what, in this money-getting generation, would the public think of me, if I were to do it for nothing?

* PIPPA Passes.

My readers they would me despise,

Turn me over and damn my eyes.' Literary Public, shouldst thou relish this preamble, en avant, there's more sour-krout for thee, and buon pro vi faccia. But for this present reading, let the following choice old Flemish ballad suffice:

[blocks in formation]

6

[ocr errors]

Myn heren,' sei sy, 'myn heren,

Wilt doch een wort verstaen,
Of daer een goelick vroutje
Quam voor uw beddeken staen ?'

VIII.
Dat daer een goelick vrouwetje

Quam voor myn betje staen ?
Ick souse so heimelick kussen,
In myn blanc arm ontfaén.'

IX.
Sout ghise so heimelick cussen,

In uw blanc arm ontfaên ?
So heeft dat lose schryvertje -

Ooc anders niet misdaen.'

My lords,' said she, my noble lords,

Oh, will ye list to me?
What would you do if a fair lady
Should choose you her love to be ?'

VIII.
• What would I do if a fair lady

Should yield to me her charms?
I would kiss her, I ween,a thousand times,
And fold her in my arms.'

IX.
And would you kiss her a thousand times

When you her love had won ?
That scholar on the gallows tree

The self-same thing hath done.'

[ocr errors]

Com af, com af, loos schryvertje,

Come down, come down, thou reckless Behouden is uw lyf;

A lady hath saved thy life; [blade,
Dat heft gedaen een vroutje,

A fair lady of high degree,
So riken lantsheer syn wyf.?

The wealthy Landgrave's wife.'
ΧΙ.

ΧΙ.
Heeft dat gedaen een vroutje,

Hath that a lady done for me,
So riken landtsheer syn wyf?

The wealthy Landgrave's wife?
Behouden moet si haer eertje

May she for aye her bonor keep,
Ende ick myn jonghe lyf.”

And I in peace my life.'
THERN is a much more beautiful German version of this old ballad, entitled, 'DER FRISCH'JING
ZIMMERGESELL,' frequently sung by students. (Vide DES KNABEN WUNDERHORN. edition of 1:16,
vol 2, p. 237; also L ER DEUT. VOLKEL I. 5, 4, and EOFF V. FALLERSLABEN. HORA BELGICE,
II 152.)

[blocks in formation]

Down from the dark clouds came the tempest swooping,

Rending with thunder-bolts its onward way;
Far round the headland came the white waves, trooping

Like frightened wild birds, fast along the bay.

11.

Landward the hurrying skiffs were quickly rowing,

Each ladeu bark up-furled her flowing sail ;
The husbandman the ripened meadow mowing,

Hastened to shelter from the threatening gale.

111.

Under the tall trees stood the watchful cattle,

Low in the strong wind bowed the full-eared grain ;
Then, like an army rushing on to battle,

Down o'er the parched earth poured the loud-paced rain.

[ocr errors]

It passed; and at bis door the gladdened mortal

Turned to the brightening heavens his thankful brow,
When, lo! on yonder shore, as 't were the portal

To glory, rose the wondrous, seven-fold bow!

The promise-bow throughout the ages cherished,

The spirit-bridge, whereon, the ancient Norse
Believed, the hero who in battle peri-bed

Rode to Valhalla on his phantom-horse.

VI.

The wampum-belt wherewith, the Indian sayeth,

Waucondan bindeth strongly back the rain ;
The sign of power our God to us betrayeth,

To cheer our future when our hope seems vain.

VII.

Oh! what a temple then rose all around us !

Faded the portal from our raptured eyes,
While through the glowing radiance that enwound us,

Floated Earth's incense up to Paradise !

VIII.

And on the West's high altar sunset's pyre,

'That piled with gorgeous flame in grandeur lay, Burned heavenward, like a sacrificial fire,

A pure thank-offering for the blessed day.

IX.

Thanks for the wayside joys that rise to greet us,

Thanks for the rain that cools the spirit's core;
Thanks for the truthful hearts that glow to meet us,

And fill our lives with memories evermore.

QU E B E C.

Early one morning, in the month of August of the present year of grace, I left the cabin of the steam-boat on which the night before I had embarked at Montreal for Quebec, for a walk upon

the
upper

deck. The gray dawn had yielded to the full light which precedes sunrise, and the rosy fingers of Aurora, rather large and long and red for a maiden's, reached from the horizon to the zenith. Far down the river, crowdi! g close upon the water's edge, and rising over a steep hill of rock, which receded gradually from the river, stood the ancient city of Quebec. High over the roofs of the city, on the summit of the hill, stood the 'Citadel, from which floated against a cloudless sky a banner gilded by the rising sun, and displaying on its folds the cross of St. George.

In a short time our boat had reached the town; had traced her way to the dock through the shipping lying at anchor in the river; and in a still shorter time I was on shore, and was tumbled, bag and baggage, into a two-wheeled man-trap called a “calèche;' and with the assistance of a little shaggy horse, which the French driver, by whistling and whipping, was trying to aggravate into a trot, was making my way up the steep and crooked street wbich leads from the lower to the upper town.

After a John Bull breakfast of beef and beer, I walked out to see the place. Heu mihi qualis erat! How different from that Quebec of which my youthful mind had, years before, formed so many pictures, as I read its history !

Quebec is, and, ever since the removal of the seat of government to Montreal, has been, on the decline. The many tenantless old houses, with cracked walls and sunken roofs; the broken steps; the doors and shutters hanging by a single hinge; the quiet and solitude which reign over many of the streets; the old-fashioned, crazy vehicles which go bounding over the rough pavements; and the hordes of squalid and shirtless mendicants which meet you at every corner; all show that Quebec is fast tumbling to decay. Every thing indicates the want of that vigor and enterprise which give to the cities of the United States their prosperity and growth. The town and its inhabitants appear to have taken a more than Rip Van Winkle sleep, and to have waked up, if they can be said to be awake at all, a hundred years behind the age.

The best houses are built of stone, in a rough, old-fashioned, but substantial style, and are covered with steep tin roofs, and surmounted with huge stacks of chimneys. The streets are dirty and crooked, and many of them so narrow as barely to allow two wagons to pass each other. The streets connecting the lower with the upper town are so steep, that one wonders how the houses keep their places.

The French language is spoken by nearly one half of the citizens, the descendants of the ancient founders and masters of the city. All public notices are given in both French and English. For instance, on the front of a tall bridge I read this prohibition : Public NOTICE.- No trotting allowed on this bridge.' And immediately underneath this king's English the following French translation : ‘Avis PUBLIQUE. — Il est expressément defendu trotter sur ce pont. The exclusive use of their respective languages by the two races is probably one chief reason why they have not · like kin

« AnteriorContinuar »