Imágenes de páginas

plied the Poet. “The guardian angel of a child is a For they are not like flowers of Italy – gentle Christian mother; she protects not its out. But they are such, dear mother, as grow here? ward life only, but informs and purifies, and exalts Ter. My boy, she will accept them! Gracious that nobler existence which elevates man above the

Virgin, brute.”

She would receive a poorer gift than this ; “I wonder,” said Achzib, after a moment's pause, She would accept the will without the gift, “whether an infidel mother ever took as much pains For she doth know the heart! There on the shrine to instruct her child in unbelief as a Christian mother Lay them, my boy, and pray if thou have need ; does in belief."

Fear not, for she is gracious, – so is God ! " "T is an unheard-of thing !" said the Poet. “A Paol. (laying the flowers at the feet of the Virgin.) mother could not teach her little child to deny God! I have no prayer, dear mother, save for thee, 'Tis a monstrous thought-an outrage to our nature And that is in my heart. I cannot speak it, but to conceive it."

Thou didst weep so, when last I prayed for thee! "In what way," inquired Achzib,“ would the af.

Ter. [kissing him.] It is enough, my boy, the section of a mother be made the mode of temptation ? Holy Mother for every virtue has its appropriate temptation, and Knoweth what is within thy inmost heart! divines teach that the highest virtue consists in the

[She again bows herself before the Virgin, resistance of evil!"

then taking the child's hand, goes out. " Thine are strange speculations," said the Poet; “ but the dearly beloved child is often a snare to a parent's heart; it has been an idol between the soul and God, and He has sometimes mercifully taken the

SCENE II. child to keep the parent from sin.” “I have heard as much," said Achzib, and fell into Night the same forest ; the pine trees are old and

splintered, and covered with snow; it is a scene of a long silence.

desolation-at a little distance a small house is seen through an opening of the wood.

Enter Achzie, as a northern hunter.
THE SORROW OF TERESA. Hun.' And this is their abode! A mighty change,

From a proud palace on the Arno's side,
To a poor cabin in a northern wild !

Let me retrace the history of this pair :

He was Count Spazzi — young and rich, and proud
Ambitious and determined. Fortune brought
Unto his knowledge fair Teresa Cogni,

The daughter of an exiled chief of Corinth ;

Beautiful as her own land, and pure ACHZIB, AS A NORTHERN HUNTER.

As her own cloudless heavens. It is a tale HULDA, AN OLD WOMAN.

So long, so full of sorrow and of guile,

of heart-ache and remorseless tyranny, SCENE I.

That now I may not stop to trace it out. A little chapel in a gloomy northern forest Teresa But she was forced to marry that stern man, on her knees before the image of the Virgin.

After her father's death had given her

Into his power. – Enough, it was a marriage Ter. Thou, that didst bear a pain that had no Where joy was not; but where the tyrant smiled healing

Because his pride and will were gratified.
An undivided misery,

Next followed lawless years of heedless crime;
Which unto kindred heart knew no appealing, To those, the desperate strife between us two,
O, hear thou me!

Wherein I made the vow which I have kept, I tell thee not mine own peculiar woe;

How, it now matters not. I watched him fall, I tell thee not the want that makes me poor, Impelled by my fierce hate, until at length For thou, dear Mother of God, all this dost know!- I saw him banished from his native land. But I beseech thy blessing, and thy aid ;

Meantime that gentle partner of his fall, Assure me, where my nature is afraid,

Bore, with a patience which was not of earth, And where I murmur, strengthen to endure ! All evils of their cruel destiny.

[She bows her hend, kneeling in silenceas she But she was now a mother — and for him,

prepares to leave the chapel, enter Paolo, That docile boy, whose spirit was like bers,
with a few snow-drops in his hand.

Ever-enduring and so full of kindness,
Paol. Mother, in Italy I used to gather

What mother would not bear all misery Sweet flowers; the fragrant lily, like a cup And yet repine not, blessed in the love Chiselled in marble, and the rich, red rose,

Of that confiding spirit! Thus it was. And carry them, an offering to Our Lady;

And they three went forth, exiles from their land : Think'st thou she will accept such gifts as these, One with the curse of his own crimes upon him;


Two innocent as doves, and only cursed

“I will find thee flowers the fairest, In that their lives and fortunes were bound up

And weave for thee a crown; With that bad man's.

I will get thee ripe, red strawberries, He is a hunter now;

If thou wilt but come down! And his precarious living earns with toil

“Oh Holy, Holy Mother, And danger, amid natures like his own:

Put him down from off thy knee; And here I might have left him to live out

For in these silent meadows The term of his existence, had I not

There are none to play with me!" Seen how the silent virtues of the wife,

Thus spoke the boy so lonely,
And the clear, innocent spirit of the boy,

The while his mother heard,
Have gained ascendance o'er him; and besides,
Sure as I am of Spazzi, 't is for her,

But on his prayer she pondered,
My seventh victim, that I tread these wilds;

And spoke to him no word. For will she not curse God, if from her sight

That self-same night she dreamed Is ta'en that precious child, and hate her husband,

A lovely dream of joy ; By whom it shall appear the deed is done?

She thought she saw young Jesus She will, she will — I know this mother's heart!

There, playing with the boy. And on the morrow, as a skilful hunter,

" And for the fruits and flowers I shall present myself before her husband,

Which thou hast brought to me, No more Count Spazzi, but the hunter Olaf.

Rich blessing shall be given
[He goes farther into the forest.

A thousand-fold to thee!
“For in the fields of heaven

Thou shalt roam with me at will,

And of bright fruits, celestial,

Shall have, dear child, thy fill!" The following morning the interior of the house in the forest Teresa sitting near the fire -- Paolo

Thus tenderly and kindly

The fair child Jesus spoke; kneeling upon a foolstool at her side.

And full of careful musings, Paol. And now, dear mother, tell me that old tale,

The anxious mother woke.
About the litile boy who prayed that Jesus

And thus it was accomplished
Might come and play with him.
I will, my love.

In a short month and a day,
[She sings in a low recitative.

The lonely boy, so gentle,

Upon his death-bed lay.
Among green, pleasant meadows,
All in a grove so wild,

And thus he spoke in dying:
Was set a marble image

“Oh mother dear, I see
Of the Virgin and the Child.

That beautiful child Jesus

A-coming down to me!
There oft, on summer evenings,

" And in his hand he beareth
A lonely boy would rove,

Bright flowers as white as snow,
To play beside the image
That sanctified the grove.

And red and juicy strawberries,

Dear mother, let me go?"
Oft sate his mother by him,

He died - but that fond mother
Among the shadows dim,

Her sorrow did restrain,
And told how the Lord Jesus

For she knew he was with Jesus,
Was once a child, like him.

And she asked him not again!
" And now from highest heaven

Paol. I wish that I had been that boy, dear He doth look down each day,

mother! And sees whate'er thou doest,

Ter. Ilow so, my Paolo, did not that boy die,
And hears what thou dost say !"

And leave his mother childless ?

Ah, alas,
Thus spoke his tender mother:
And on an evening bright,

I had forgotten that! But, mother dear,

Thou couldst not be so wretched, wanting me
When the red, round sun descended
'Mid clouds of crimson light,

As I, if thou wert not! It breaks my heart

Only to think of it; and I do pray,
Again the boy was playing,

Morning and night, that I may never lose thee !
And earnestly said he,

Ter. My precious child, heaven is so very good, “Oh beautiful child Jesus,

I do believe it will not sunder us
Come down and play with me!

Who are so dear, so needful to each other!

Paol. Let us not speak of parting! And, indeed, "A free translation of one of Herder's beautiful legends. I will not be a hunter when a man;

I will not leave thee early in a morning,

Enter OLAF, muffled in his hunting dress.
And keep away from thee for days and days!
I do not love the chase, it frightens me;

Olaf. Where's the boy! I hunt to-day.
The horrid bark of wolves fills me with dread. Ter. Not in this storm, my husband !
I dream of them at night!


In this storm! Ter. Thou shalt not, love!

Where is the boy? I heard him here, just now. And yet, what couldst thou be, if not a hunter,

Ter. Why, why the boy? What dost thou want In these wild regions, Paolo !

with him? Paol. Oh no, mother,

Olaf. He shall go out with me on this day's hunt I will not be a hunter! They are fierce,

Ter. Oh no! not so — he must not go to-day! They have loud angry voices. Dearest mother, Olaf. Why, 't is a puny, feeble-hearted thing, I tremble when I hear my father speak;

Whom thou hast fondled with and fooled, till nought I wish he was as kind, and spoke as sweetly

Of a boy's spirit is within his heart! As thou dost.

But he shall go with me, and learn to dare Ter. Hush, my Paolo — say not thus –

The perils of the forest! Thy father is a bold and skilful hunter,


But this once A very skilful hunter.

This once, my husband, spare him—and when next Paol. Yes, I know it;

Thou goest to the hunt, he shall go with thee! I've often heard it said. But tell me why

Olaf. This day he shall go with me! Thou

wouldst teach Men are so stern! If I am e'er a man, I will be kind and gentle; and the dogs

The boy rebellion! He shall go with me! Shall not start up whene'er they hear my step,

Ter. Nay, say not so— he does not love the chase! And skulk away from the warm, pleasant hearth!

Olaf. "Tis me he does not loveand for good I will love all things, mother; I will make

reason, All things love me!

Thou ever keep’st him sitting at thy side,
My dearest, gentle boy,

A caded, dwindled thing that has no spirit !
I do believe thou wilt!

Look at the other children of the forest;
Mother, hast heard

They are brave, manly boys!

Alas, my husband,
My father goes unto the chase to-day,
And that strange hunter with him!

Thou hast forgotten, 't is a tender flower Ter.

Nay, my love,

Transplanted to a cold, ungenial clime. In this wild storm they will not go to hunt.

Olaf. Say not another word! Thou hear'st my Paol. I saw them even now. The sledge is ready,

will! With the horse harnessed to't; and, mother dear,

Enter PAOLO; he runs to his mother's side. We shall have such a long and quiet day, – 'T will be so happy! And oh, wilt thou tell me Ter. Thy father wishes thee to hunt to-day. About thy home at Corinth, and the time

Paol. Oh, not to-day, dear mother! When from the morning to the blessed eve


And why not? Thou sangest to the music of thy lute;

It ever is the cry, "Oh not to-day!"
Or wander'dst out with kind and merry friends ; I pr'ythee what new fancy's in thy head,
Or tendedst thy sweet flowers;- and tell me too That thou canst not go with me?
About the bright, blue, restless sea at Corinth – Paol.

I besought
And sing me songs and hymns in thy Greek tongue, My mother to sing me her Corinth songs;
And hear how I can sing them after thee –

To tell me of the groves and of the flowers,
Wilt thou, dear mother?

And of that happy home that was more fair
I will indeed, my love!

Than even was ours, in pleasant Italy;
But hark! thy birds are chirping for their meal,

And she has promised that she will, my father.

Olaf. Ha! ha! is 't so ?--'T is even as I thought. Gio, feed them, my sweet boy.

I know wherefore these stories of the past ! Paol.

Yes, I will feed them, Mark me, Teresa, if thou school him thus, And then there will be nothing all the day

I'll sunder ye! - Thou need’st not clasp thy hands; To take me from thy side!

For on my life I'll do it!

[He goes out. Paol. [weeping.) Father, father, Ter.

Thou dear, dear child! Part me not from my mother, and indeed Thou happy, innocent spirit! 'Tis o'er-payment,

I will go with you. A rich o'er-payment of my many woes,

Ter. [aside to Olaf.] Pray thee, speak him kindly! To see thee gatner up such full enjoyment

Olaf. Come, I'll be thy companion! I will teach Within the narrowed limits of the good

thee Which thy hard fortune gives thee! And no more To be a man; -dry up these childish tears! Let me account myself forlorn and stripped,

Ter. My sweet boy, do not weep! Go out this day Whilst I have thee, my boy!

Thy mother prays it of thee, and bring back

But hark! here comes A little ermine, we will make it tame; My husband !

It shall be thine, my Paolo, and shall love thee.

Pad. I will go, dearest mother - nor will cry Paol. Oh horrid! how they tear each other's flesh. Though the gaunt, hungry wolves bark round about, Olaf. Now hurry forward, for our only hope (aside.] But, mother dear, will you sit by my side Lies in out-speeding them! When we come back, and sing me fast asleep? Paol.

Let us go home! I have such horrid dreams of wolves at night.

Olaf. Again they are upon us — their gaunt jaws Ter. I will, indeed I will, my dearest love! Dropping with blood, which they lick evermore! Olaf. Come, come, why all this fondling? We'll Now for another slaughter! be back


'Tis in vain, Long ere the night.

For right and left, yet other packs are coming ! Ter. Come, now I 'll put thee on

Paol. Oh father, father, they will be upon us! .
Thy cloak, and that warm cap of ermine skin And I shall never see my mother more!
I made for thee last winter!

Hunt. Peace, brawling child !
[They go out.

My poor, dear boy, be still Olaf.

How she sways him! Paol. I will, I will, dear father! With a sweet word she guides him as she will! Olaf. [lo the Hunter.)

Cursed murderer. Would that the child loved me but half as well; His blood will be upon thy head! Heaven help me! but I am a rough, bad man,


Indeed! And have deserved neither her love nor his ! Who forced him from his mother 'gainst his will ? But now the sledge is ready.

Olaf. Most strange, inhuman wretch! (He goes oul. Hunt.

Nay, use thy gun, "T will do thee better service than thy tongue ! SCENE IV.

Olaf. [aside.] Please heaven I live, I'll pay thee

for this hunt, Near sunset a dreary, desolate region, surrounded Wages thou didst not ask! with ice-mountainsthe Hunter drives a sledge ra

[He puts his last charge into his piece. pidly forward, in the back part of which sit Olaf

This is the last and Paolo.

When this is done, there is no other hope Olaf. Where is this wild ? I know not where thou But in our flight!

[He fires. drivest!

Now heaven must be our helper! Hunter. Below our feet lies the eternal ice On, on, spare not the thong! Of the great sea!

[The horse in dashing forward, breaks Olaf.

abides not here!

from the sledge ; the wolves fall upon Hunt. We'll find enough, anon!

him instantly. Olaf. Thou dost not know Olaf.

Now must we fly! The track on which thou go'st. - Here only dwells

Hunt. There is a hut among these icy deserts The gaunt and savage wolf! and hark - even now Raised by some hunters. While they gorge themI hear their bark!

selves Paol. Oh, are there wolves a-nigh?

We may escape. Hunl. Ay, they are nigh, look in that black abysm,


Take, take my hand, dear father! It is a wild wolf's den!

Olaf. How cold it is, poor boy!
Thou braggart hunter,

[They turn among the ice-mountains, and Is this thy wondrous skill? Wheel round the sledge

soon are out of sight. Before the horse is maddened with the cry! There is no time to lose ! Pull in the beast ! Hunt. It will not do the wolves are now upon us!

SCENE V. Paol. Oh father, save me!. - save me, dearest father!

A chaotic wilderness of icebergs. Olaf. Let go my cloak — they shall not hurt thee, Enter the hunter, and OLAF carrying Paolo, who child!

appears faint. [lo the Hunter.] Thou cursed man! - Dost see these savage beasts,

Ilunt. I hear their bark-we are not much a-head. And yet sit grinning there, as thou had'st done Olaf. How far is 't now unto the hunter's cabin? A piece of hunter-craft'

Hunt. A half hour it would take us, could we run Hunt. You carry arms —

At our best speed-but cumbered with the child, Cannot you fire upon them? They will gorge

What can we do? Upon each other, and be pacified!


Dear father, I will run Olaf. If they taste blood, they will be more fero- I will not cumber thee – I am strong now! cious

Olaf. My poor dear boy, thou canst not! would And thou know'st well, we have not ammunition

to heaven For such a strise! yet will I fire on them,

Thou wert at home! Their savage barking will bring others down. Paol.

How kind thou art, dear father [He fires. I will run on - I will not cumber thee!

my life

Hunt. The wolves are here! Hark, hark! their Ter.

And not my boy? barking comes

Hulda. (laying the clothes logether.] He will no Upon the passing wind!

need these more! Paol. Oh, they are here!


Then he is dead! Olaf. How can we 'scape from them? I'll sell Huld. Alas, dear lady, yes!


Peace, woman! peace Dearly for this child's sake!

The earth were less forlorn without the sun, Hunt

Throw them the child! Than I without my boy! He is not dead! And while they gorge on him, we can escape.

Huld. Would God he were not! Olaf. Thou devil of hell!


Do not say he is Paol.

Sweet father, do it not! It is like blasphemy to say he 's dead. [The wolves surround them; and the Hunter Heaven would not strip me so - O do not say it!

snatching up Paolo throws him among Where are these men? I'll forth and meet my boy! them.

Huld. (stopping her.] He is not on the road! No, Paol. Oh father, father, save me!

never more Olaf.

My boy! my boy! Will he repass this threshold! Hunt. It is too late—they tear him limb from limb! Ter.

'Tis a dream! Now for escape! Run, run, and we shall reach Huld. Dear lady, no !-too plainly tell the hunters A place of safety!

(He darts forward. All that has happened ! Olaf. God in heaven! my boy


And, pr'yrhee, what has happened? My gentle-hearted boy! my murdered boy!

Huld. A quarrel 'twixt the hunter and our master, [He dashes among the wolves with his Who now comes wounded home. hunting knife, and then springs for


And what of Paolo? ward after the Hunter.

Huld. O heavy, heavy news! - The child is

missing! Ter. Nay, then he is not dead!-Oh no, not dead !

I told thee heaven would not so deal with me! SCENE VI.

My precious boy will come back on the morrow,

Hunters are often lost for many days.
Night the interior of Olaf s house Teresa alone - These men shall seek for him among the wilds —

a bright fire burns on the hearth refreshments are I, too, will go myself. Where are the men ?
set out, and clothes hanging by the fire for Olaf and

Enter the HUNTER, hastily.
Teresa. How late it is! an hour beyond the mid-

Hunt. Dear lady, woe is me!

Huld. night!

Away, away! And bitter cold it is! The icy wind

Ter. Where is my boy ?

Oh wretched, wretched mother
Even pierces through these walls! Poor little Paolo,
Flow weary and half-frozen he will be:

Ter. Torture me not, but tell me where he is? But he shall sit upon the bench beside me,

Hunt. Lady, forgive me for the news I bring ! And I will hold his hands, and lay his head

Ter. Then he is dead?

Most terrible recital !
Upon my knee; it is his dear indulgence –
Poor child, and he shall have it all to-night!

Lady, thy husband, to preserve himself, [She puts fresh logs on the fire. Hath given thy little Paolo to the wolves! And this is the third time I have renewed

Ter. [with a scream of horror.) Oh no, no, no! The wasting fire! and when I piled it first,

Hunt. He stopped their maws “My Paolo will be here," I said, “ before

With thy poor Paolo's blood!

He did not so!
These logs shall have burned through!" but, now

Hunt. Poor little one, how he did cry for thee! I know not what to say, saving the wonder

Huld. Peace! can’st not hold thy peace. Oh hear That he comes not, and even this is grown

it not! A kind ot vague despair, that seems to threaten

Lady, he is but missing ! He will not come at all! Oh, if aught happen,


Poor weak thing!

How he did cling to me, and pray that I Save good unto the child, like poor old Jacob,

Would save him from his father! Then should I be bereaved !

[Teresa clasps her hands, and stands in Enter HULDA, with a very dejected countenance ; she

speechless agony. takes down Paolo's clothes, and folds them up. I might have snatched a pretty lock of hair; Ter.

Nay, how is this? I wish I had - a pretty curling lock! Huld. He will not need them more?

Ter. (falling on her kness.] God, of thy mercy Ter. Woman, what say'st thou ?

strengthen, strengthen me! Huld. Two hunters from the icebergs are come Enable me to bear what is thy will! down

[She falls insensible to the floor. Ere long thy husband comes.

Huld. Wretch, why didst tell it her so cruelly

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