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“ First, He says, We entered the arch indeed, little advantage they could have in bewhich the water had made.' Does any ing saved from stoning to perish by starving, man of common sense suppose that the wa- even allowing the possibility of being safely ter was like aquafortis, to cut or eat out of barricaded as he says, a few lines before, when a solid rock ten or twelve feet thick, an visiting it in a boat, we were inclosed by arch of thirty-five or forty feet high, and a- a natural wall, rising steep on every side to bout twenty wide ; this would have been a a height which produced ihe idea of insurphenomenon of rather an unusual and ex- mountable confinement.' Again he says, ' If traordinary nature. If such occurrences I had any malice against a walking spirit, took place in the Doctor's time, I am sure instead of laying him in the Red Sea, I none has in mine.
would condemn him to reside in the Bul. Secondly, He deems it a place of safe re- lers of Buchan.' How then, in the name treat for small vessels in the time of war, of wonder, could it be possible, for those persisting in the opinion of the practicabili. who were without the means to get out, to ty of stopping up its entrance with little save their lives, unless another miracle were difficulty,' so as to secure its inhabitants wrought, and they fed with ravens, as was from their enemies, and saying that the Elijah !” crews of the vessels thus blockaded can lie We think that we have quoted esafe in the caverns below, while their vessels nough of this entertaining little voare shattered from above with stones.'
lume to interest the benevolent reader " I suppose every one sees the improprie. in its author. Do buy a copy, then, ty of this conjecture, it being a well known fact that, were their vessels shattered to pieces,
our good sir-and be assured that, if however secure from their enemies, they you have a library at all, there are themselves might be, while lying in the ca
many worse boc
than the “Anverns, they would literally starve. I can see, nals of Peterhead.”
Na III. [By way of giving as much variety as possible to the views we are opening for our English readers into the present condition of German literature and more particularly into what we consider its most promising department, the tragic drama,-we this month insert, not an account of a regular play, but a complete translation of a short dramatic sketch, intended originally for being represented upon a private stage. This is a species of composition wherein all the best of the German poets have occasionally condescended to employ their powers. The stage is the ruling passion of the German people in the present day, and nothing connected with that passion and its manifestations can be regarded as uninteresting.
It would, of course, be equally useless and impertinent for us to enter into any regular criticism of a composition which we present entire to the judgment of our readers. There is something in the history of the little piece, however, which must not be omitted. It originally appeared under the name of the Twenty-Ninth of February, with a conclusion of the darkest horror-infanti. cide being added to the guilt of adultery and incest, in order to leave no part of the spectator's soul unpenetrated with the influence of the awful Destiny (the favourite deity, as we have already sufficiently seen, of the German stage that was here set forth as coming down from her accustomed arena of royal and noble houses, to spread ruin and desolation over the family of a simple forester.
There is a fine passage in the Thyestes of Seneca, which seems as if it had been written expressly to speak the meaning of the sketch as it then stood.
Mentes cæcus instiget furor :
-Impiâ stuprum in domo
In this state, there is no doubt, the production was a more perfect one of its
kind than it is now; but no one can regret the alteration, with whatever minor disadvantages it may be attended. Well as the Germans are accustomed to strong excitements, it was found that their public would not tolerate seeing terrors of this kind brought home to the immediate bosoms of mankind in the midst of that humble life, for whose hardships Providence has sent down an equivalent in its exemption from many of those miseries that visit higher heads. The author, therefore, devised a new catastrophea tender and happy-not a terrible one, for the Twenty-Ninth of February; and it is in this shape we now
The name will strike English ears as a strange one ; but it could not have appeared in any such light to the Germans, who were already well acquainted with the Twenty-Fourth of February by Werner-a beautiful composition, of which, in one of our early Horæ, we shall give an account at least, if not a complete version. The quibble in the name of the female may also appear in very doubtful taste—we think it is so, but still must recollect that it is the bad taste of Homer, Æschylus, Euripides, Shakspeare-as well as of Adolphus Müllner. The German reader may be informed that the pun in the original is on the word Thräné (which signifies tears.)
The chief interest of the piece, and its chief merit, appears to consist in the powerful idea it gives of an unseen but felt communion and sympathy going on between the world of the living and the world of the dead. It is the vice and the misery of modern literature that ideas of this dark kind are left out and banished. They do not suit the clear-sighted, rational, intellectual eye of our self-satisfied ageman age which is too proud of itself to take any delight in the exhibition of difficulties and mysteries, such as all its power cannot overcome, nor all its perspicacity explain. There is, nevertheless, great sublimity and great beauty too in the idea which Müllner has so well illustrated; and there is nothing in it, so far as we can see, that should shock the notions of the most sincere Christian, although we observe the German critics have, for the most part, been of a very different opinion.
In our next article of this series we shall have the pleasure of introducing, for the first time to the English reader, another great living tragedian-Oehlen, schlager the Dune. ]
THE TWENTY-NINTH OF FEBRUARY.
A Tragic Sketch.
BY ADOLPHUS MULLNER.
Sophia, his Wife.
On the way
Of light, the way-whereon the beaten paths Walter, lost in thought, with a hanger
That lead through the grey forest shades are
sure, in his hand, which he has been polishing; And unavoidable-as death. Sophia is working at a hunting net, and
Soph. 'Tis well rises disquieted soon after the curtain druws
For men-but he-a careless child-oh, up.
Walter, Soph. SEE, now the evening red has died He will be lost away
Wal. What evil spirit thus Sto glimmer thro' the broken clouds--and Disturbs
peace ?To prophesy misfors still
tune, My son is not returned.
It is not well !-An hundred times to-night, Wal. Have patience wife
Hast thou been starting from thy chair, to He comes anon.
look Soph. Oh! never till this day
If the boy came :-Yet every day he goes He staid so late.
Froin hence to school in town and has, Wal. Come, strike a light!
Remain'd, how oft I know not, till the Wal. Why did he live our marriage to evening.
prevent ? Why on this day of all the year am I
Soph. My dreams are true. At our lost Provoked to frown at thy fantastic fears ?
daughter's birth, Soph. For the whole road, one hour suf. Methought I saw her like a seraph floating fices. More
Borne on a crystal sphere, (wherein the stars Than this already has been spent in dark- Reflected shone) in giddy circles, whirled ;
Then all at once, the mirror broke in fragTo blame a mother's care-thou art severe
ments, Wah Thy care is most unsuitable, ap. And pale and lowly in the grave she lay. plied
Wul. Heaven gave and too away. To restless moods of youth. Boys all are Soph. From my clasp'd arms driven
Will Heaven so rend all that I hold most To wild pursuits by youthful impulses
dear, Out of a mother's anxious hand they tear Without compassion ? Did I not behold, The leading strings, and give the reins to While yet I wept for Clara's early dream, pleasure.
A dagger in the heart of our dear boy? Even as the sportive hoof of the young horse And then an head that lay upon the ground, Raises the dust in clouds--so they contend That, with delirium I kneeled down to kiss, With stocks and stones, all for the sake of And it was thine ! strife,
Wal. No more of this. Thy dreams That boyish power may grow to manly Are all so frightful, that the mere narration strength
Is equal almost unto the fulfilmentWildness to wisdom. If thou would'st re For my sake, then, I pray thee, tell no more, tain
For my brain whirls. A son's affection, let him go and come Soph. Hear how amid the forest At his own will lead him, indeed, but not The thaw wind moans; while from the Like infants by the hand.
south are borne Soph. Oh could I weave !
Clouds threatening with their load of sleet His fortune like this net, and regulate
and rain. His pleasures as I can arrange these threads! Without the gloom increases ; and, within, Foroh! I love him as my life-or Heaven! All grows to me more dark and apprehenWal. Nay, that is sinful.-Evermore the
Such a mere child! how easily may he wan. Watches for such an opportunity,
der ! And then the die, on which thou, (wicked Send after him! I cannot bear it longer ! gamester!)
Wal. But whom ? Has risked thine all, is by the invisible Soph. The boy. claw
Wal. Nay, he is distant far. Of Satan turn'd.
Soph. Then will I light the lantern straight, Soph. Thy words are terrible ! Wal. But have I not already prov'd their Myself. truth?
Wal. Thou, and alone ? That road by It comes across me like the comet's glare,
night And chills my heart, when of my cherished Thou never hast attempted. If the wind idol
Mid-way by chance should blow thc lanThe angel cheeks appeared, so deadly
tern out, pale
(he pauses.) Thou wilt both lose thy labour and thyself. Soph. (Weeping) Alas! my daughter ! Soph. Go thou ! Wal. Weep not, she is but
Wal. And wilt thou stay content alone ? Gone home, that little one
Soph. Nay, let us go together! Soph. Alas! I feel
Wal. Surely not! Misfortune rule me with resistless power, For if, meanwhile, he should arrive, and Even as the wedge that rends the tree is
The cottage so deserted, would he not Deeper and deeper by the heavy axe, Run out in search of us into the forest ? So pain on pain increasing presses on me, Soph. (setting down the lighted lantern.) Till my poor heart will break!-Thus am I Whate'er befalls us let it fall on both. judged
Wal. Nay, be composed, he must be 'Tis but the punishment I have deserved
here ere long. For having broke mine oath thee to avoid - Soph. A tempest like to this was never Wal. Delusions all! grieve not ! it was
known his will !
Hark how the oak trees crack, and even Soph. Believ'st thou this ? Thy looks
like reeds deny thy words.
Or long grass are in motion ! If so what caus'd her death.
Wal. Tis severe ! Wal. Leave that alone.
Soph. And how the sleet and snow, too Soph. Why did he perish when he hcard gether driven, the news
Beat on the window
Wal. (struggling with disquiet.) With Soph. Aye, indeed! the beadle's children
Was this the cause ?- For shame!
He must have staid, regardless of the night, Em. Nay, it was nothing ;As last year, when theice, hard by the church, Only to-day, upon the ice, they know not Was so frequented.
How to make room politely ;-then one falls, Soph. (violently agitated.) Mercy ! And cannot choose but quarrel with his Heaven ! that ice
neighbour. Wal. What mean'st thou ?
Wal. And thou wert fighting ? Soph. Only this I pray thee, tell me, Em. I am quickly rous’d.Did the boy take his skates with him to-day? Soph. Now, shall I bring thy supper ? Wal. Doubtless he did the morning Em. I can wait. still was frosty.
You are too good. Soph. (running to the lantern.) Oh, then, Soph. Am I ?--Well then, Emilius indeed I can no longer stay,
Will not refuse his mother one request. Even if the storm should rend the forest oaks. Em. No surely-Tell me what it is. Wal. (interrupting her.) Art thou a Soph. Give me
Christian? Be composed ! rely Those foolish toys that bring thee into danOn Heaven, and wait ! (Violent noise in the chimney, and fire issues Go on the ice no more.--Now, wilt thou from it.)
promise ? Soph. All gracious powers ! my son- Em. Aye, that forsooth I promise wil. Wal. (tearing away the screen.) Nay, lingly, what the devil is that noise ?
Because THE TO-MORROW WILL 'Tis nothing!
BREAK UP : One might have thought the house, with (Both parents are much moved.) * man and mouse,
However, thou wilt not withhold them Had met destruction. All because the storm Has broken down the chimney top. See'st When the next frost sets in. thou ?
Wal. Boy, thy whole heart Soph. (with wildly fixed eyes.) Oh, Wal.
Is fixed upon this play. ter, he is dead!
Em. No doubt it is. SCENE II. Emilius enters, muffled to the throat–books Thou canst not guess how light of heart í
When I have got them buckled on securely, in a leather strap-skates in his hand.
feel ! Em Who is it, mother?
Of all our sports it is the best One flies Wal. (laughing for joy.) Ha !
Swift as an arrow, without pain or trouble, Soph. (joyfully.) Heaven be praised! Like some unearthly spirit; and his course my son! Then he is safe.
Is finish'd unawares.
Soph. Too soon, indeed,
Em. Mother, hear me. Soph. Give me thy books and neckcloth So, (as I dream sometimes) in rapid flight, too. How drench'd
Joyous and free, the spirits of dead children Thou art even to the throat!
Are borne about ;--for souls are light as Em. But, father! tell me
air. Who is it that is dead ?
'Tis but the body's weight that hinders us Wal. Nay, ask thy mother,
Upwards to float amid the stars' refulgence, She deem'd that thou wert lost.
Where the blest angels dwell.
(Sophia kisses him, and prepares to go.) Wal. But look to it, my boy!
Nay, do not go. It is forsooth thy duty now to die
Soph. I must prepare for supper.-Stay
thou here. To verify the solemn signs and tokens, Or no man will believe in them again.
SCENE III. Soph. Come now, Emilius, change thy Em. My mother weeps. dress.
Wal. Because she thinks on Clara. Em. (kindly.) Pray, mother,
Em. Oh, her I saw to-day ! Take not this trouble.
Wal. (surprised.) What mean'st thou, boy? Soph. (in a voice of sudden terror.) Em. When we came out of school, we What is that?
play'd this morning, Wal. Ha! what?
As usual, pelting one another well Soph. ( terrified.) He bleeds !
With snowballs ; and drew up in regular Wal. Where?
armies ;Soph. See ! the marks upon his collar ! Then, from the steep hill where the gallows Em. 'Twas but a scratch,-'tis nothing.
stands, Wal. Comes it not
Rapid as lightning hurl'd on sledges down : From foolish quarrels ?-Hast -thou been But suddenly a strange mysterious sadness again
Fell on us, and I felt as if some power Boxing with mad companions ?
Drew me from thence invisibly tow'rd home.
Then as I would have climb'd our forest No one was there But it was near the place, hill,
Where is my sister's grave-A longing drew Voices I heard of children at the river, That led me from the road.
Mine eyes were filled with tears, I knew Wal. Why so ?
not whyEm. I know not ;
I lean’d myself upon a wither'd tree Only I feel that I am lonely here.
Hard by; and as the wind blew powerfully, Wal. Are we not here ? and lov'st thou Muffled myself within my Spanish cloak, not thy parents ?
And closed mine eyes.—Then a strange mood Em. Oh surely.—But who is there here
came on, to play with ?
Of deep tranquillity. I saw my sister, Wal. Poor boy !-But I will join thee Leaning from Heaven with sweet smiles to in thy sports.
receive me, Em. Not so, -thou art not willing-But And after this, methought, in a fine arbour, when I
With flowers entwin'd, we played with her Have learn'd the hunter's noble art,-Ah!
tame dove, then,
Which I had taken with me, and she I'll know to please thee better.
kissed Wal. (grinding the hanger.) Well, ere Wal. (interrupting him.) No more I long
cannot bear this I shall instruct thee.
Em. Had the storm
.---'Tis true, Kept off, I had been there till now. Thou art a powerful marksman, and can't Wal. (impatiently.) Well-Well ! hit
Emilius,—didst thou write to-day ?
Wal. Read me then Whole and untorn, all save the mortal What was thy latest task. (While Emilius wound
fetches the Bible.) In Scripture, too, And thou canst artfully entice the fox 'Tis said that sorrow even tinds relief. Forth from his hole in day-light. This and Em. (reading.) Every purpose is es
tablished by counsel, and with good advice 'Tis thine to do but yet thou can'st not make war. play.
“ He that goeth about as a tale-bearer Wal. Ah truly, to thy home of happiness, revealeth secrets ; therefore, meddle not Childhood ! there can be no return. Could I with him that flattereth with his lips.” Once more but play!
" Whoso curseth his father or mother, Em. If it so pleases thee,
his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkListen, and I will teach thee. Thou ness.”—Proverbs. xx. 18, 19, 20. wouldst all
Wal. How was it, boy ? Read the last Hear and behold in full reality.
words again. Whate'er thou canst not hold substantially, Em. (impressively.) Whoso curseth his Even like the hunting knife which thou father or mother, his lamp shall be put art sharping,
out in obscure darkness. Accords not with thy humour. For the Wal. ( thoughtfully.) Ha ! was it not in future,
token of Heaven's wrath, Pray follow my example for all things That such a fearful thought came to my soul Appear as I would have them. I can change That favourite child she was my light on This room into a forest, and a funnel
earth, Will serve me for a hunting horn. I ride, To cheer the darkness of my life Though without horse and harness—and a Em. If this stag
Has pleased you, wait, and in my writing Or mountain goat, dead as a stone I shoot, book, Not with a gun, but with thy walking stick. I'll find one like to it Wal. Aye- these are joys of youth Wal. It is enough. which in itself
Em. (reading from a copy book.) Listen ! Has all things good-whate'er imagination “ The eye that mocketh at his father, Presents is real; and in dreams we rule and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens The universe.
of the valley shall pick it out, and the Em. Methinks since Clara died,
young eagles shall eat it."-Ibid xxx. 17. From thee all cheerfulness is quite departed. Well, shall I read another ? But I am joyous-she is still with me, Wal. ( violently) No! Still smiles--and joins in every game
Em. (in a moderate voice.) 'Tis pity. Wal. (agitated.) Emilius !
Here is more against the sins Em. Nay, when close to the river I had of children disobedient to their parents come,
And lessons that clear up obscurer verses From whence the voices rose, the night had Wal. (aside.) 'Twas not the eyes-10fallen
'twas the deed that scorned him!