« ForrigeFortsæt »
book, Theresa, then you renounce me; but if he comes without the « book, thou art mine for ever-ever! that is the word of eternity, and • I dare not pronounce it again. Adieu !
“ Theresa was distressed and alarmed at this letter : these words, eternal damnation,' overthrew her soul. • Rosario !' cried she, “we were so comfortable ; why was this happiness not enough for thee ? Left to herself, she knew not how to decide never to see him again. Oh! never, never ;--but to lose him. "Oh, Rosario ! why intrust to me thy destiny? Then I ought to sacrifice myself. She had courage to resist; and Carlo, charged with the prayer-book, was ordered to place it on Theresa's chair. • Haste, go quickly,' said she to him, and immediately secluded herself in her chamber. Rosario, since the day of his return, that day when he had found Theresa so tender, had no further power to resist ; more love, and even more remorse, must await him : for this state of rest and happiness was not sufficient : he was lost; he knew it : but notwithstanding the violence of his passion he could not decide to possess Theresa, if she did not compel him to be happy ; violent, as weak, he knew not how to resist, or to yield to his passions. He waited for Carlo a long time; the church was deserted; he saw him go to the chair of Theresa, and lay down the book. Rosario was no longer master of himself; he rushed forward, seized the book, gave it to the boy, and ordered him to take it back to his mistress. Rosario remained motionless, før a long time, on that spot where he had sealed the fate of himself and Theresa ; he could hardly believe in what he had done; but presently recovering, he exclaimed, I will see her! Theresa, overwhelmed with distress, had but one hopemto die! Without Rosario, life was insupportable. Carlo was announced to her; he gave her back the book, telling her that the father Rosario had ordered him to do so; she who had renounced him, but for his own sake, went to see him again. This idea occupied all her heart : her emotion was extreme; every moment she believed she heard him ; he had the key of the garden ; it was from thence he would surely come; she waited for him ; he at length appeared, but silent and sorrowful; his countenance cast down ; he dared not approach Theresa ; she comprehended all that was passing in his heart; she who trembled at the thought of this interview, who had had the courage to refuse it, when she saw her friend so miserable, had the power to console him. She was no longer the weak, the timid Theresa : she went to him. Rosario !' she exclaimed, “I am thine. Oh, Rosario ! thy destiny is accomplished_mourn ; think of these words, “Murder ! violent death !' The love of Rosario had become a phrenzy : apart from Theresa, his remorse distracted him ; near her, he evinced a wildness of sorrow, that her most tender caresses could not influence. Theresa still loved him more; she mourned in secret, each change she saw in him ; but she dared not complain ; she was fearful of distressing him, of banishing him from her presence ; she was encircled with her affection; she always hoped to make him happy, by his forgetting every other consideration but that of his love; but Rosario, so far from feeling her tender anxiety, accused her of all his misfortunes : « Thou hast seduced me!' exclaimed he; • without thee my soul had yet been pure.' He came less frequently to see her, and at length ceased his visits altogether. Theresa became more pea remptory ; she went regularly to the church; she wrote to him ; he returned her letters, and never quitted his cell. Theresa now saw that she must divulge her secret to him ; the secret, alas ! of a mother. Great God ! if he persisted in abandoning her, what would become of her ; but she could not believe he would ; she would implore him in the name of her infant : could he resist ?
66 She learnt that, the Friday following, Rosario was to officiate : for three months she had not seen him ; she was determined to seize this opportunity. It was more than life now that she had to save. This reflection heightened her courage ; an important project occupied her attention. Two days previous to that on which she should see Rosario, she employed in preparing for her flight. A convent on the sea-shore would facilitate her enterprise : she knew not yet where she should go. Rosario must decide on the path to be taken ; and one fate having united them, what was the universe to her ? She equipped a little vessel, and conducted the undertaking with so much prudence and secrecy, that no suspicion was excited. It was no longer a young female who acted; it was a tender mother, who wished to give unto her offspring a dear father ; her agitation and distress drove away all thought of the difficulty of her enterprise. The anxiously-expected day arrived. Theresa placed herself near the altar: concealed under a long veil, Rosario did not recognise her : she watched all his actions, and at the moment the congregation was departing, she moved gently, near to a column before which Rosario must pass as he entered the cloister : he approached and seemed to be more sorrowful ; his arms were crossed on his breast, his head hung down, and his gait was that of a criminal. Theresa, moved by his grief, would have sacrificed her whole existence for his repose ; but she was not alone ; and this other innocent, who would soon require her duty, this day claimed a father. She came forward; • Rosario !' she exclaimed, (stop, you must speak to me; you must hear me; I will not quit you till you have given me the key of the garden that is situated on the sea-shore : It must be done, my life depends on it: Oh, Rosario ! more than ever mine!' Rosario seemed as though awaking from a frightful dream ; . What sayst thou, unhappy one ? fly from these walls ;' but Theresa threw herself on her knees, and declared she would not leave him until he had consented to her request. Rosario made vain efforts to escape ; a supernatural strength animated Theresa ; Swear,' she exclaimed, swear that this evening at midnight we meet again. Rosario threw down the key : a light noise was heard; he departed ; 6 at midnight,' said he.
6 At twelve Theresa went to the garden ; the night was dark; she dared not call, for fear of being discovered ; she heard a footstep : 'twas his ! 'twas Rosario !-What do you want of me?' he exclaimed ;
speak, time presses ; I have but a few moments to remain here : pursue no more an unfortunate who cannot make you happy. Oh, Theresa, I love thee! Away from thee I languish ; I die ; but near thee, I can. not bear up against my remorse ; it poisons the most calm moments of my existence; thou hast seen my wretchedness : often have I dared to accuse thee ; pardon me, my beloved one, pardon me. I have punished myself by my absence from thee; this sacrifice might expiate my crime.' Rosario could say no more ; he was suffocated with his tears ; Theresa threw herself in his arms, consoled him, and pointed out to him a happy future. Rosario,' said she, 6 for myself alone, I would not have dared seek thee; but this pledge of our love commands us to live : you would wish to love your child ; would you not, Rosario ? Come, my friend, let us depart, all is ready? She drew him along. Rosario followed her in dreadful agitation : yet a few moments and they are united for ever. All of a sudden he disengaged himself from the arms of Theresa ; • No ! he cried, “Never !' and he plunged his poniard into her breast: she fell, and Rosario was covered with her blood : he looked wildly and vacantly upon her; the morning began to dawn ; the convent clock had struck; he raised up the lifeless body of her he had so much loved, cast it into the sea, and hastening forward with a precipitate step, entered the church. Every one fled from him ; his bloody vest, the poniard, which he still grasped with his hand, all attested the dreadful deed : he was at length seized ; he made no resiste ance. Rosario disappeared for ever!
HEROD'S LAMENT FOR MARIAMNE.
OH, Mariamne ! now for thee
The heart for which thou bled'st is bleeding ;
And wild remorse to rage succeeding.
Thou canst not hear my bitter pleading :
Though Heaven were to my prayer unheeding.
And is she dead ?---and did they dare
Obey my phrensy's jealous raving ?
The sword that smote her's o'er me waving.
And this dark heart is vainly craving
And leaves my soul unworthy saving.
She's gone who shar'd my diadem !
She sunk, with her my joys entombing ;
Whose leaves for me alone were blooming.
This bosom's desolation dooming :
Which unconsumed are still consuming !
From " The Reveries of a Recluse."
“ I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness,
THE following reflections were written a short time prior to the death of this great and astonishing man.
The character and actions of Napoleon have so long been the engrossing and universal theme of public attention, and so much has been said on the subject, that it is now almost exhausted. By some he is cried up as a model of all that is great, magnanimous, and heroic ; while others are at pains to represent him as a compound of every bad quality. The panegyrics of friends and admirers, and the vituperations of enemies, are alike to be distrusted. The truth lies between the extremes of eulogy and abuse. Like other men, Napoleon had his merits and his faults ; and we doubt whether there are many who, placed as he was, would have acquitted themselves better, politically and morally, than he did ; while there are several who would probably not have done so well. It is impossible for the bulk of mankind to form any correct notion how far an individual, thus placed, may be governed by circumstances, and carried away by the tide of events, as hardly to have any choice in the line of conduct he is about to pursue. We are no apologists of the fallen emperor—we merely state what we have here said, to shew the folly and absurdity of those who heap unmeasured abuse on him, and would trace all his actions to the most atrocious motives and designs.
There are few topics which engage the public attention more at present than Napoleon's captivity and treatment at St Helena ; and, as usual with subjects on which 66 much may be said on both sides,” there is a great diversity of opinion on this very novel one. The tide of popular opinion seems now to run almost as much in favour of this once great man, as only a few years ago it did against him. For one who is indifferent about his sufferings and complaints, regarding the former as imaginary, and the latter as causeless, there are an hundred who feel a lively interest and sympathy in whatever regards him,—who mourn over his fallen estate, and are indignant at the unnecessarily harsh and vexatious treatment to which he is subjected.
However far this feeling may mislead Englishmen in estimating the endurances of the fallen emperor, it is at least no bad sign of their hearts. When this man was in the plenitude of his power, and inso. lently threatened at one time to do with England as William the Corqueror once did before, John Bull was exceedingly savage and angry with him,—and great reason he had to be so. He bullied, abused, defied, and gave him many very hard blows, till at length he brought him to the ground. Now it is one of John's maxims, not to ill use or insult a vanquished foe-quite the reverse ; for after he has given him a
drubbing, he will shake hands with him, and tell him it was all the chance of war. The British nation would, in short, have been better pleased had Napoleon been detained a prisoner in England, instead of being transported to a solitary rock in the midst of the ocean, and denied all intercourse with civilized Europe, and even with his dearest friends,-except on such terms as a lofty spirit could not brook. Independent of the natural sympathy for fallen greatness, there are many arguments which militate against this treatment. The placing him under such a system of harsh and rigid control, appears too insulting to one who had swayed a mighty sceptre, to which kings and nations once bowed down, and which even England herself, under certain limitations, was willing to acknowledge. Only a few weeks before his first abdication, the powers who were in arms against him, offered to recognize him as Emperor of France, as France stood at the outset of the revolution. What a novel and dangerous precedent, in the present state of the world, is this treatment of the sovereign of a great nation ! In the event of some future contest, of a similar nature, in Europe, when another Buonaparté shall rise, by extraordinary military talents, great resources, and a daring spirit, to the zenith of power, and subjugates the nations around him, will he not say, “ The sovereigns of those nations may hereafter unite against me, overpower me,- (for who shall calculate on the event of battles ?) and finally doom me to a degrading captivity ? I shall put it out of their power ;-I shall avail myself of the warning history presents to me. I feel that I stand on the brink of a precipice, while I suffer the dynasties I subdue to retain a remnant of authority and dominion ;-I shall render them hurtless to me.”—This reasoning, however unprincipled it may be, is yet natural.
The powers of Europe, in thus treating Napoleon, are either actuated by a spirit of revenge, or by regard for their own safety. In either case, how unworthy is it of their dignity. We cannot for a moment suppose, that vengeance against a powerless and prostrate enemy, can have any share in the proceedings of the sovereigns, however it may still rankle in the hearts of certain of their ministers. Is it then the policy of self-preservation--a regard for the safety of their respective states, which sets them upon dooming this fallen sovereign to indefinite exile and imprisonment? What? dread the efforts of one manfallen-forsaken, - without money,—without soldiers,—without resources of any kind,-against the united power of all the great and warlike states of Europe ! He who, at the head of two hundred thousand disciplined troops, was conquered by little more than a sixth part of the armies which those states had arrayed against him, surely cannot be formidable to them, with three or four attendants in his train. What will history say to this? It will doubtless exalt Napoleon at the expense of the sovereigns. It will say, How great, how supernatural this man's character and talents must have been, when they filled the combined sovereigns of Europe with terror, even while a captive in their hands! They did not think themselves safe till they had removed him to an inaccessible rock in the southern hemisphere, a thousand miles distant from any mainland, surrounded on every side by armed vessels, and jealously watched on shore by cordons of troops.