Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

despair, while bitter tears fell down his ready, and that he would lay it before him cheeks.

on the morrow. Again steps echoed in the outer chamber, Already all was life and animation about and an aged servant of the Arehbishop came the spot chosen for the building. The stoneto him and said: “My gracious master sends cutters, the masons, the handicraftsmen of thee greeting, and invites thee to visit him in all kinds were hired, and had already asBonn. He has discovered a quarry on the sembled from near and far; the wagons, the Drachenfels, which abounds with a fair red- implements, the machines, and whatever else dish stone. He would have thee examine was necessary to the work, lay in readiness, the stone, and if it is suitable, the new cathe- and to-morrow they were to begin to dig the dral shall be built thereof. Moreover, the pit in which the foundation wall was to be Archbishop hopes that thy plan will soon laid. be perfected."

And still the plan was not ready. The The master stood with averted counte- idea of the building hovered before the masnance to conceal his glowing face, and he ter, the form of the cathedral stood in faint replied, in a low voice, that he would do the outlines before his soul; but in spite of all Archbishop's will. And when the servant his thinking and pondering, these outlines was gone, he walked hastily to and fro in would not assume a clear and definite shape. the chamber, and said to himself: “It must The ground plan was to be of the form of a be done; it must be done! Scorn and crucifix ; two mighty turrets should rear shame await me if my skill prove wanting themselves at the portal. Upon this the now. Then another will come, will rear the master was clear, but he could not find the cathedral, and I—laughed at and mocked ! just harmony of the proportions; he drew, No! I must, must be the builder; I must and the lines did not meet, crossing or evadinvent the plan, though my soul's welfare ing each other; he reckoned, but his reckonbe the price !"

ing did not prove correct, and he could not Then the brazen tablet fell clashing from find the error. If inordinate ambition had the chair to the ground; the master snatched formerly darkened the master's clear senses, his cap from the wall, and rushed from the now anxiety, fear, shame, despair were chamber.

added, and his work made less and less progress. As oftentimes a word hovers upon

our tongue, and still we cannot find and utter CHAPTER III.

it, so the giant image of the cathedral danced

before the master's senses, and he could not THE PLAN.

grasp it, could not hold it fast. AMID the mountains of the Siebengebirges, Thus he ascended the mountain, weary the Drachenfels tower steep and lofty, af- and murmuring at himself, battling against fording a wide view of the fair valley of the the last doubts of a resolve to cool his glowRhine. On a spring day, in the year 1248, ing brain in the deep waters of the Rhine. a man of grave and earnest countenance He reached the quarry, which at that time slowly ascended the mountain, often pausing, was little worked, and where many steep, lost in deep thought. It was the master, smooth precipices rose before the eye of the who was on his way to examine the quarry, spectator. The master stood sunk in thought; from the stones of which the new cathedral he turned over several loose stones with his was to be built. His errand seemed to him staff, took one in his hand, and still was evia bitter mockery at himself, for he had now dently busied with other thoughts than that no hope that he should be the builder. The of examining the mass. A slight sound Archbishop, angry at his long delay, had startled him ; he raised his eyes, and stood resolved to send for another master, but, at almost petrified with terror and astonishlast, had granted him a short respite, at the ment. end of which the plan must be ready, and Upon the face of a perpendicular rock the building begun. The master had ac- before him, drawn in large, firm lines, apcepted the respite, which on the morrow peared the cathedral, as he had thought it would be at an end; he had just left the in his mind. There were the two heavenArchbishop, and, overpowered by the deepest aspiring turrets, there was the vast circuit of anguish, had told him that the plan was the halls, there the gigantic whole, which he

[ocr errors]

had tried in vain to grasp. He seized him- The master shuddered, and said, “ The self by the arm, to convince himself whether plan is not yet made." he were awake or dreaming. “No, it is no “I know it," said the pedlar with a dream,” he then cried suddenly; "thus it laugh. " I have drawn it after the master's is, thus I bore it around in spirit, while yet thoughts.” it would not grow clear to me.'

The master struck his hand against his He stepped nearer--the drawing had dis- forehead; he looked about him, no longer appeared; he rushed toward the rocky wall knowing where be was. The sun now sank to discover the lines—the cold, bare stone blood-red in the west, and the first dark alone was visible! He closed his eyes to shadow fell upon the earth. “After his view the well-considered image once more thoughts!" he stammered, scarce audibly. in his mind, to stamp those lines, those bold" Dost deal in sorcery?" proportions upon his memory; in vain, his "Somewhat," cried the other. “I learned fancy was dull and shapeless. The more he it in Egypt." strove and toiled, so much the more deso- " It is iny plan, drawn after my thoughts," late and waste was it within him. There muttered the master. “ I will buy it; name stood a turret before his inward vision, but the price.” the foundation was wanting; there, two pil- Not much," said the pedlar, humbly; lars reared themselves aloft, but he could write thy name here." not find the arch that surmounted them; The master took the offered parchment, then the whole picture rose before him and read its contents : it was a compact again, and grew smaller and smaller, as if with the Evil One! He started three steps an irresistible power were dragging him away backward, and cried, “ Get thee behind me, from it. He felt as if he must hold firm, as Satan!" if he must brace himself desperately against A strange smile distorted the pedlar's this power; in vain, the picture grew sinaller features as he said, "As it pleases thee," and and smaller ; at last it disappeared. turned to depart.

Despair now seized him. He had seen it But the master cried in fury: “Hold ! with his own eyes, his masterpiece, bold and give me the plan; it is mine; thou hast glorious, the like of which had never yet stolen it from my thoughts." been conceived, completed; the goal of his "That is true," replied the other quietly; striving, of his painful toil, was reached ; his“ but thou wilt never complete it. Thinkest spirit had viewed the enormous space which thou it is I who have confused thy head these bold arches enclosed, and it was lost, with crafty malice ! Not so, my learned gone irrevocably! His brain glowed fever- master ; it is thy ambition which has plunged ishly, his pulse beat convulsively; he felt thee into this wretchedness. Man must with that madness was stealing upon him, and holy thoughts approach a holy work; thou he laughed aloud in furious self-mockery. hast done otherwise ; therefore, it will never

A hoarse echo returned his laugh, and he prosper with thee without my help. Well, looked around in terror; a traveling pedlar dost thou consent ?” stood before him, greeting him humbly. With these words, he unrolled the picture The master turned his back upon him before the master, and walked slowly backangrily, but the other spoke to him, and ward, still holding the parchment before said: “Wilt thou not buy some curiosities, his eyes. And more and more glorious did good friend? I am returning from Italy, it appear to the unhappy master. A wild and have brought several with me. Look, storm raged in his soul. To-morrow, the for example, at this roll of parchment.” Archbishop's anger, the mockery of the city;

The pedlar held before the master's eyes here, the unhoped-for noblest fulfilment of an unrolled drawing; it was the same that his wishes ; death or life, scorn or immortal he had seen upon the rock, smaller, but fame; nothing or every thing. The tempter accurately and delicately executed. was still a step from the angle of a project

" What is that?" cried the master in ing rock ; now, it half covered him ; now, affright

he had disappeared. “ The plan for the new cathedral in Co- Then the master called: “Hold! hold, ogne," said the other.

give me the plan; I will sign!"

THE

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CHAPTER IV.

A singular smile passed across the mas

ter's countenance, yet it seemed like one of BUILDING.

deep pain. The busy stir upon the building-spot was The Archbishop continued : “ The bones silent, for the vesper-bell bad sounded. Two of the three sainted kings will find a worthy burghers were walking around upon the resting place in the new building. But as place, viewing the preparations for the build- soon as thou art able, come to Bonn; I have ing.

many things to show thee there. My sculp"What, in Heaven's name!" cried Herr tors are unceasingly busied, and the goldRoisdorf, the baker, “ do they mean to build smiths never suffer their smelting-furnaces a city here? They have dug a foundation to be extinguished ; and all labor solely as large as a quarter of the city.”

upon the decorations for the cathedral. “Not a city," said the other, Herr Mum- Come to Bonn ; it will cheer thee, and disprecht, the smith; "but a temple of God sipate thy melancholy." which the whole city can enter and worship The master was still silent, and the Prince Him."

at last gave up the attempt to gain speech "Are they digging wells here ?" asked the from him. İle found his train awaiting former. “These pits look as deep as if him, and left the building-spot. water were to be found only at the centre of But the master turned back, descended the earth."

into the deep pit which had been dug, and They are the foundations for the tur- examined the walls, proving carefully each rets," replied the smith. “They must be stone, to see if it lay firmly, closely scrutinizthus deep to support the burden which will ing whether the earthy wall of the ditch was rest upon them.” Surely it is to be an enor- well supported, that it might not fall in and mous work. But thou shouldst walk around destroy the workmen. In the meanwhile, here in the daytime, and see them at their night bad come, and the moon, now in her labors. Many ships arrive daily with stones first quarter, cast her uncertain light upon from beyond Bonn. Scores of wagons come the scene. The master seated himself in and go the whole day, bringing the stones deep thought upon a hewn stone, and sank to the building-spot." Hundreds of stone- in gloomy broodings. cutters stand ready to hew them. Then After a while, he opened his lips, and said there are the diggers, the masons, the car- in a whisper : " Thou art a crafty trader, penters, the throng of carts that bring sand Satan, and he who traffics with thee has and lime, and the men who prepare the surely lost, and is already cheated. Does it mortar. They have been at work here for not suffice thee that thou hast bought my a year, and still only here and there is a part soul's welfare? must thou rob me also of all of the foundation wall to be seen. And the joy of life? Here, by night, I wander amid all this walks around the noble master, alone, for dread of thy malice constrains me.

here regulating, every where aiding. Must I not fear that the labor of the day may See, yonder he comes with the venerable be destroyed at night by thy devilish arts, Archbishop."

that the scaffolding may break, and the pit, The two just named personages now so laboriously dug, be filled with earth walked by, engaged in conversation. again; that the foundation walls may be

“ I no longer know thee, master," said the displaced, and in course of time the building Archbishop; “thou wast formerly a cheer- fall in ruins? Here I sit, night after night, ful, happy man, and now a deep gloom armed with holy relics, and guard my work shadows thy face; not a smile can be drawn as the dog guards the house against thieves. from thee. And still, methinks, thou hast Oh, this building! It is a horror to me! reason to be joyful, for our work plainly I could call down curses upon it, and still advances."

an irresistible power impels me to complete The master was silent, and the Arch-it. In bitter repentance I could rend in bishop continued : “Each morning in my pieces the plan for which I bave surrendered chamber do I take delight in the plan which repose in life and hope beyond the grave; thou hast prepared for me. Truly it will be and still my eye lingers inspired upon the a wondrous work, and will hand down thy grandeur of the design and its proportions, name to all time."

and I lose myself therein with rapture, for

of

it is my idea, they are my thoughts. Some- a bucksome lass is whirled along in the times I wish, in scorn, that an earthquake dance. But no blessing can rest upon this might destroy the entire structure, and still building. The master walks gloomily around anxious fear drives me around to see if even among the workmen; not a word of praise a single stone has yielded from its place. or of notice passes his lips, and all are glad The joy of my days, the sleep of my nights when he has turned his back. The men are gone; my hopes of salvation have been catch the humor, and work sullenly beside bartered away; all the powers my mind each other, so that one wields the hammer bend beneath the fearful burden of conscience, without joy or spirit.” and still madness drives me to exert them " Rail not against the master," said the to advance and to complete my work. If former; “ how can he be cheerful with the the torment of men is thy joy, their loss thy great cares that oppress his soul? It is true, gain, then, in truth, Satan, hast thou driven no noisy stir prevails in this building; one a good bargain with me."

speaks to the other seldom, and then a low Thus spoke the master, and, leaning his word, and a kind of gloom reigns over all ; head in his hands, he sank in gloomy con, but that is because it is a holy building, templation.

and to such, loud and boisterous mirth is un

fitting." CHAPTER V.

"Tut, tut! holy or not holy," cried the THE TABLET.

second,“ all my lifetime masons and masons'

men were a merry set, and not tongue-tied THE Archbishop Conrad von Hochsteden hypocrites. But as to the master, he may was dead. The building of the cathedral be an able craftsman ; I do not deny that ; prospered under his successor as under him. but his mood is silent and sullen, and that Already the walls towered from the earth, does not please me. The people, too, whisthe places could be recognized where the per so many things about him. He holds windows were to admit the light within, and converse with no mortal, he loves no one, the carpenters were already busily engaged has neither wife nor child. And hast thou carving the wooden arches which were des not heard what the people say ? how that tined to serve as a temporary support and he steals every evening to the building-spot, guiding-line to the arches of stone. and wanders around the whole night among

It happened now one evening that a young the new walls, and that he does not go hence mason, an apprentice, had forgotten a trinket until after the first cock-crow? What can he which he was accustomed to lay aside when be doing there by night, unless he plies at his work. He feared lest some one might secret magic arts ? and that is easy to believe find it, and take possession of it. He re- when you look at him. Those deep burning solved, therefore, to return after vespers and eyes in that pale, sunken face; that white look for it. He begged one of his comrades hair on the head of a man who numbers to accompany him, and, as the latter con- scarcely fifty years ; those pale lips, so closely sented, the two walked toward the building. locked that you might think they had grown "Seest thou,” began the former,“ how they together; all this marks him a man who are already carving the stones for the arches ? carries in his bosom some strange secret.” I think the pillared arch-ways will soon be “There is something true in what you completed. It will be a noble building." say," said the other. "I myself to-day, for

* Do not talk to me of your building,” the first time, heard a word from his lips, said the other. “I would I had never come and, for the first time, saw life in his rigid, here to seek employment. It is true, at iron features. Toward noon, he had a large home we build only plain burghers' houses, tablet of brass brought in, on which several but the work goes gayly and merrily on. letters were engraved. I did not know what The master-builder comes cheerfully in the they meant, for I am no monk to read them. morning to the spot, and takes delight in the We were directed to place it in one of the progress of the work; and his joy gives the middle pillars. The master looked on atworkmen pleasure and courage, so that cheer- tentively, and called aloud once or twice, ful songs echo around, and merry jests en- .Firm I right firm ! I looked at him ; his liven the labor. And when the house is eyes flashed, as if in wild joy; a triumphant Fodfed, there is a gay feast, at which many I smile played about his mouth, and he stood erect and lofty as a king. And when the bach. At the extremity of this there stood last stroke of the hammer fell, he cried, 'At at that time a hermitage, in which dwelt an last !' and gave us money to drink his health. old hermit, who was known far and wide for But, hold ! it must be hereabouts that I left bis piety, so that the faithful from all parts my sweetheart's token. It is pitch dark; the of the surrounding country made pilgrimages moon no longer shines over the walls." to him to receive his blessing. Father

They advanced cautiously, that they might Aloysius—this was the name of the devout not stumble over the stones which lay around; old man-sat one evening before his hermitbut suddenly they paused, startled by a age, sunk in contemplation of the setting strange apparition. Before the pillar in sun, and yielding to the devout thoughts which the brazen tablet with the master's which this spectacle awaked in his bosom. name had that morning been inlaid, sat the A man now came slowly up the path, latter, holding a crucifix in his hand, his often stopping, as if he was striving with eyes fixed steadfastly upon the tablet. From himself whether he should proceed or not. time to time, he looked inquiringly and When he was about twenty paces from the anxiously around; at last he rose, examined hermit, he suddenly walked vigorously forthe tablet and its juncture with the stone ward, sank upon his knees before him, and around, and muttered, in a tone of satisfac- said in a low voice, “Praised be our Lord tion, “ It will hold !"

Jesus Christ !” He then took his seat again, lost in deep " Forever and ever, amen!" replied Father thought. The expression of satisfaction gra- Aloysius. "Rise, and tell me who thou art, dually left his countenance ; it grew dark and what brings thee bither." and gloomy, and he spoke in a low voice, But the other remained upon his knees, " But the price is too high! And there is and said, “I am the master who is building no help!"

the new cathedral in the city of Cologne.” Suddenly he clasped the crucifix in both The hermit was well pleased to see the his hands, held it up before him, and sank far-famed man, and said, “I greet thee in upon his knees, as if he would pray. His the name of the Lord, thou pious master, features became enlivened ; an inward strug- who hast devoted thy life to God's service, gle was visible in their expression. It seemed and hast begun a work which will redound to as if he were endeavoring, with all his force, the glory of the holy Church. But rise, and to direct bis thoughts upon some object, in tell me thy desire." which, however, he was unsuccessful, for The master did not rise, but answered, suddenly he dropped the crucifix, placed "I am no pious man, as thou callest me, both hands over his face, and murmured, reverend father : a great sinner lies at thy “ In vain! I can no longer !".

feet; and my desire is that you listen to my The two comrades had watched in silence confession, and then inform me what I should the master's singular conduct, but they now do in this, my highest need.” turned to depart. The master heard their As the hermit,

wondering at these words, steps, doubtless, for he sprang up; his flash- desired him to speak, and to disclose to him ing eyes were directed at the departing com- all the truth, the master related how he had panions ; he caught up the crucifix, held it obtained the plan, and then continued : outstretched, and, with a thundering voice, “See, thus grievously have I sinned. When repeated various forms of conjuration. The the Archbishop spoke to me of the new two apprentices, seized with terror, fled with building, there darted, as it were, a flash of hasty steps, and behind them sounded the lightning through my soul, and the image master's voice, who, between the words of of the cathedral, as it is now building, stood conjuration, cried, laughing grimly, "Ha! clearly before me. But my thoughts were ha! thy labor is in vain ; I keep good blinded by wicked vanity, so that I did not watch !

set about the work with God's blessing, as

was so needful in so hallowed an undertakCHAPTER VI.

ing, but thought solely of the fame which

should accrue to me therefrom. And thus THE H ER MIT.

my mind was so clouded by ambition that BETWEEN the mountains of the Siebenge- I could never grasp the plan distinctly, and birges, there runs a valley called Heister-I in my deep despair thereat I fell into the

« AnteriorContinuar »