Imágenes de páginas

that die republicanism of Mexico will be permanent. Aristocracy, of course, reduces the highest class of society to a limited number, so that a large assemblage of ladies here would be thought small in the United States.

At whatever hour you invite company, it will not collect before nine, and the most fashionable appear between ten and eleven. The music soon invites them to the waltz, or to the Spanish country-dance, both of which are graceful, and perhaps voluptuous, when danced, as in Mexico, to the music of guitars or of bandolines. They dance upon brick floors—there are none other in Mexican houses—generally bare, but foreigners have introduced the more comfortable fashion of covering them with canvass; and as the steps are simple, without the hopping and restlessness of our cotillons or quadrilles, it is not so unpleasant as would be supposed; they glide over the pavement without much exertion. The dancing continues, not uninterruptedly as with us, but at intervals, until twelve o'clock, when the ladies are conducted to the supper table, which must be loaded with substantial as well as sweet things. After supper, dancing is continued, and the company begins to disperse between one and two in the morning, and sometimes not until near daybreak.

None of the wealthy families have followed the example set them by foreigners. They give no balls or dinners. Although I have now been here six months, I have never dined in a Mexican house in the city. Their hospitality consists in this: they place their houses and all they possess at your disposal, and are the better pleased the oflener you visit them, but they rarely, if ever, offer you refreshments of any kind. It is said that they are gratified if you will dine with them unceremoniously, but they never invite you.

31st December, 1825. I can scarcely persuade myself that to-morrow will be New-Year's day. The weather is most delightful. We are now sitting with our windows open—at night too. About a fortnight ago the mornings were uncomfortably cool; but the sun at mid-day is always hot. What a delightful climate! And we are now eating the fruits of a northern midsummer. We have always had fresh oranges since our arrival. A week since we had green peas; and to-day five different kinds of fruit appeared upon our table— oranges, apples, walnuts, granadites de China, and chirimoyas—the last, la reina de los frutos, (the queen of fruit,) tasting like strawberries and cream. The markets contain numerous other sorts. Our friends at home are now gathering around the glowing coals, or treading the snow without. We see the former in the kitchen only—the latter on the valeanoes which tower in the distance. *****

7th December, 1827. A letter from home affords me the satisfaction of knowing that our friends generally continue to enjoy good health, and arc subject to none other than the ordinary ills of life, such as cut-throat weather, squalling brats, or a twinge or two of gout or rheumatism. These are evils which humanity is decreed to suffer throughout the world; but in Mexico we are more exempt from most of them than elsewhere. The sun now shines twelve hours of every day, and either the moon or stars give light to the other twelve. Such will the weather continue to be until May or June, when the rains full with such regularity and certainty, that very slight observation enables us to know when

to go out, or to shelter ourselves. The mornings now are only a little cool, although we are in mid-winter; and our tables are supplied with fruit as bountifully as in the months of July and August. Our other ills are in like manner trivial. We are sometimes ennuyfs for want of society, but books, and sometimes a game of chess, enable us to live without being driven to the commission of suicide. And ns a dernier resort, we throw ourselves into the arms of Morpheus, this being the peculiar delightful climate for sleep—no mosquitos, nor extremes of heat or cold. The thermometer ordinarily ranges at about 70° of Fahrenheit.



ROME. A Lady's apartment, with a window open and looking into a garden. Lalage, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and a hand mirror. In the back ground Jacinta (a servant maid) leans carelessly upon a chair.

Lalage. Jacinta! is it thou?

Jacinta (pertly.) Yes, Ma'am, I'm here.

Lalage. I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting. Sit down !—let not my presence trouble you— Sit down!—for I nm humble, most humble.

Jacinta (aside.) 'Tis time.

(Jacinta seats herself in a sidelong manner upon the chair, resting her elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous look. Lalage continues to read.)

Lalage. "It in another climate, so he said, "Bore a bright golden flower, but not i' this soil!"

(pausesturns over some leaves, and resumes.) "No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower— "But Ocean ever to refresh mankind "Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind." Oh, beautiful!—most beautiful!—how like To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven! O happy land! (pauses.) She died !—the maiden died! O still more happy maiden who could'st die! Jacinta!

(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes.)
Again !—a similar tale
Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea!
Tints speakcthone Ferdinand in the words of the play—
"She died full young"—one Bossola answers him—
"I think not so!—her infelicity
Secm'd to have years too many"—Ah luckless lady!
Jacinta! (still no answer.)

Here's a fur sterner story
But like—oh! very like in its despair—
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily
A thousand hearts—losing at length her own.
She died. Thus endeth the history—and her maids
Lean over her and weep—two gentle maids
With geutle names—Eiros and Charmion!
Rainbow and Dove! Jacinta!

Jacinta (pettishly.) Madam, what is it?

Lalage. Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind
As go down in the library and bring me
The Holy Evangelists.

Jacinta. Pshaw! (exit.)

Lalage. If there be balm
For the wounded spirit in Gilead it is there!


Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble

Will there be found—" dew sweeter far than that

Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill."

(re-enler Jacinta, and throws a volume on the table.) There, ma'am's, the book. Indeed she is very troublesome. (aside.)

Laiage (astonished) What didst thou say Jacinta? Have I done aught To grieve thee or to vex thee7—I am sorry. For thou hast served me long and ever been Trust-worthy and respectful, (resumes her reading)

Jacinta. I can't believe She has any more jewels—no—no—she gave me all.


Laiage. What didst thou say, Jacinta? Now I bethink me Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding. How fares good Ugo ?—and when is it to be? Can I do aught ?—is there no farther aid Thou needest, Jacinta?

Jacinta. Is there no farther aid? That's meant for me. (aside) I'm sure, Madam, you

need not Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth.

Laiage. Jewels! Jacinta,—now indeed, Jacinta, I thought not of the jewels.

Jacinta. Oh! perhaps not! But then I might have sworn it. After all, There's Ugo says the ring is only paste, For he's sure the Count Castiglione never Would have given a real diamond to such as you; And at the best I'm certain, Madam, you cannot Have use for jewels now. But I might have sworn it.

(exit.) (Laiage bursts into tears and leans her head upon the tableafter a short pause raises it.)

Laiage. Poor Laiage!—and is it come to this? Thy servant maid!—but courage!—'tis but a viper Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul!

(taking up the mirror.) Ha! here at least's a friend—too much a friend In earlier days—a friend will not deceive thee. Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou canst) A tale—a pretty tale—and heed thou not Though it be rife with woe. It answers me. It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks, And Beauty long deceased—remembers me Of Joy departed—Hope, the Seraph Hope, Inurned and entombed!—now, in a tone Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible, Whispers of early grave untimely yawning For ruin'd maid. Fair mirror and true!—thou liest not! Thou hast no end to gain—no heart to break—

Castiglione lied who said he loved

Thou true—he false!—false!—false!

(while she speaks a monk enters her apartment, and approaches unobserved.)

Monk. Refuge thou hast Sweet daughter! in Heaven. Think of eternal things! Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray!

Laiage (arising hurriedly.) I cannot pray!—My soul is at war with God! The frightful sounds of merriment below Disturb my senses—go! I cannot pray— The sweet airs from the garden worry me!

Thy presence grieves me—go!—thy priestly raiment
Fills me with dread—thy ebony crucifix
With horror and awe!

Monk. Think of thy precious soul!

Laiage. Think of my early days!—think of my father And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet home, And the rivulet that ran before the door! Think of my little sisters !—think of them! And think of me!—think of my trusting love And confidence—his vows—my ruin—think! think!

Of my unspeakable misery! begone!

Yet stay! yet stay !—what was it thou saidst of prayer
And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith
And vows before the throne?

Monk, I did.

Laiage. 'Tis well.
There is a vow were fitting should be made—
A sacred vow, imperative, and urgent,
A solemn vow!

Monk. Daughter, this zeal is well!

Laiage. Father, this zeal is any thing but well!
Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing?
A crucifix whereon to register
A vow—a vow. (he hands her his own.)

Not that—Oh! no!—no!—no! (Shuddering.)
Not that! Not thatY- I tell thee, holy man,
Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me!
Stand back! I have a crucifix myself,—
I have a crucifix! Methinks 'twere fitting
The deed—the vow—the symbol of the deed—
And the deed's register should tally, father!

(draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high.) Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine Is written in Heaven!

Monk. Thy words are madncss,daughtcr!
And speak a purpose unholy—thy lips are livid—
Thine eyes are wild—tempt not the wrath divine—
Pause ere too late!—oh be not—be not rash!
Swear not the oath—oh swear it not!

Laiage. 'Tis sworn!

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Thou must not—nay indeed, indeed, thou shalt not
Give way unto these humors. Be thyself]
Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee,
And live, for now thou diest!

Politian. Not so, Baldazzar,
I live—I live.

Baldazzar. Politian, it doth grieve me To see thee thus.

Politian. Baldazzar, it doth grieve me To give thee cause for grief, my honored friend. Command me, sir, what wouldst thou have me do? At thy behest I will shake off that nature Which from my forefathers I did inherit, Which with my mother's milk I did imbibe, And be no more Politian, but some other. Command me, sir.

Baldazzar. To the field then—to the field, To the senate or the field.

Politian. Alas! Alas!

There is an imp would follow me even there!

There is an imp hath followed me even there!

There is what voice was that?

Baldazzar. I heard it not.
I heard not any voice except thine own,
And the echo of thine own.

Politian. Then I but dreamed.

Baldazzar. Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp— the court Befits thee—Fame awaits thee—Glory calls— And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear In hearkening to imaginary sounds And phantom voices.

Politian. It is a phantom voice, Didst thou not hear it then?

Baldazzar. I heard it not.

Petition. Thou heardst it not! Baldazzar, speak

no more
To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts.
Oh! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death,
Of the hollow and high sounding vanities
of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile!
We have been boys together—school-fellows—
And now are friends—yet shall not be so long.
For in the eternal city thou shalt do me
A kind and gentle office, and a Power—
A Power august, benignant, and supreme—
Shall then absolve thee of all farther duties
Unto thy friend.

Bddazzar. Thou speakest a fearful riddle
I will not understand.

Petition. Yet now as Fate
Approaches, and the hours are breathing low,
The sands of Time are changed to golden grains,
And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas! Alas!
I cannot die, having within my heart
So keen a relish for the beautiful
As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air
is balmier now than it was wont to be—
Rich melodies are floating in the winds—
A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth—
And with a holier lustre the quiet moon
Siueth in Heaven.—Hist! hist 1 thou canst not say
Thou nearest not now, Baldazzar!

Baldazzar. Indeed I hear not.

Politian. Not hear it!—listen now,—listen !—the faintest sound And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard! A lady's voice!—and sorrow in the tone! Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell! Again!—again!—how solemnly it falls Into my heart of hearts! that voice—that voice I surely never heard—yet it were well Had I but heard it with its thrilling tones In earlier days!

BaUezzar. I myself hear it now. Be still!—the voice, if I mistake not greatly, Proceeds from yonder lattice—which you may see Very plainly through the window—that lattice belongs, Does it not? unto this palace of the Duke. The singer is undoubtedly beneath The roof of his Excellency—and perhaps Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke As the betrothed of Castiglionc, His son and heir.

Politian. Be still!—it comes again!
Voice And is thy heart so strong

{very faintly.) As for to leave me thus

Who hath loved thee so long
In wealth and wo among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?

Say nay—say nay!
Baldazzar. The song is English, and I oft have heard it
In merry England—never so plaintively—
Hist—hist I it comes again!

Voice Is it so strong

(more loudly.) As for to leave me thus,

Who hath loved thee so long
In wealth and wo among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?

Say nay—say nay!
Baldazzar. Tis hush'd and all is still I
Politian, All is not still.
Baldazzar. Let us go down.
Politian. Go down, Baldazzar! go!
Baldazzar. The hour is growing late—the Duke
awaits us,—
Thy presence is expected in the hall
Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian?

Voice Who hath loved thee so long,

{distinctly.) In wealth and wo among, And is thy heart so strong?

Say nay!—say nay!
Baldazzar. Let us descend!—'tis time. Politian,give
These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray,
Your bearing lately savored much of rudeness
Unto the Duke. Arouse thee! and remember!
Politian. Remember? I do. Lead on! I do remember.

Let us descend. Baldazzar! Oh I would give,
Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom
To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice,
To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear *

Once more that silent tongue.

Baldazzar. Let me beg you, sir,
Descend with me—the Duke may be offended.
Let us go down I pray you.

(Voice loudly.) Say nay!—say nay! Politian (aside.) 'Tisstrange!—'tis very strange—methought the voice Chimed in with my desires and bade me stay!

(approaching the window.)
Sweet voice! I heed thee, and will surely stay.
Now be this Fancy, by Heaven, or be it Fate,
Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make
Apology unto the Duke for me,
I go not down to night.

Baldazzar. Your lordship's pleasure
Shall be attended to. Good night, Politian.
Politian. Good night, my friend, good night.


The Gardens of a Palace—Moonlight. Lalage and Politian.

Lalage. And dost thou speak of love
To me, Politian?—dost thou speak of love
To Lalage ?—ah wo—ah wo is me!
This mockery is most cruel—most cruel indeed!

Politian. Weep not! oh, weep not thus—thy bitter
Will madden me. Oh weep not, Lalage—
Be comforted. I know—I know it all,
And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest,
And beautiful Lalagc, and listen to me!
Thou askest me if I could speak of love,
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen.
Thou askest me that—and thus I answer thee—
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee, (kneeling.)
Sweet Lalage, I love thee—love thee—love thee;
Thro' good and ill—thro' weal and wo I love thee.
Not mother, with her first born on her knee,
Thrills with intenscr love than I for thee.
Not on God's altar, in any time or clime,
Burned there a holier fire than burneth now
Within my spirit for thee. And do I love? (arising.)
Even for thy woes I love thee—even for thy woes—
Thy beauty and thy woes.

Lalage. Alas, proud Earl,
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me!
How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens
Pure and reproachless of thy princely line,
Could the dishonored Lalage abide?
Thy wife, and with-a tainted memory—
My seared and blighted name, how would it tally
With the ancestral honors of thy house,
And with thy glory?

Polilian. Speak not—speak not of glory!
I hate—I loathe the name; I do abhor
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing.
Art thou not Laluge and I Politian?
Do I not love—art thou not beautiful—
What need we more? Ha! glory!—now speak not of it!
By all I hold most sacred and most solemn—
By all my wishes now—my fears hereafter—
By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven—
There is no deed I would more glory in,
Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory
And trample it under foot. What matters it—
What matters it, my fairest, and my best,
That we go down unhonorcd and forgotten
Into the dust—so we descend together.
Descend together—and then—and then perchance

Lalage. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Politian. And then perchance
Arise together, Lalage, and roam
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest,
And still

Lalage. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

Politian. And still together—together.

Lalage. Now Earl of Leicester!
Thou lotesl me, and in my heart of hearts
I feel thou Iovest me truly.

Politian. Oh, Lalage! (throwing himself upon his knee) And lovest thou me?

Lalage. Hist!—hush! within the gloom Of yonder trees methoughl a figure past— A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless— Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless.

(walks across and returns.) I was mistaken—'twas but a giant bough Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian!

Politian. My Lalagc—my love ! why art thou moved? Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience' self,

Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it,

Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night wind

Is chilly—and these melancholy boughs

Throw over all things a gloom.

Lalage. Politian! Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land With which all tongues are busy—a land new found— Miraculously found by one of Genoa— A thousand leagues within the golden west; A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine, And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests, And mountains, around whose towering summits the

winds Of Heaven untrammelled flow—which air to breathe Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter In days that are to come?

Politian. O, wilt thou—wilt thou Fly to that Paradise—my Lalage, wilt thou Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten, And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all. And life shall then be mine, for I will live For thee, and in thine eyes—and thou shalt be No more a mourner—but the radiant Joys Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope Attend thee ever; and I will kneel to thee, And worship thee, and call thee my beloved, My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife, My all;—oh, wilt thou—wilt thou, Lalage, Fly thither with me?

Lalage. A deed is to be done— Castiglione lives!

Politian. And he shall die! (exit.)

Lalage, (aftera pause.) And—he—shall—die!

alas! Castiglione die? Who spoke the words? Where am I?—what was it he said?—Politian! Thou art not gone—thou art not gone, Polilian! I feel thou art not gone—yet dare not look, Lest I behold thee not; thou couldst not go With those words upon thy lips—O, speak to me! And let me hear thy voice—one word—one word, To say thou art not gone,—one little sentence, To say how thou dost scorn—how thou dost hate My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou art not gone—

0 speak to me! I knew thou wouldst not go!

I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go. Villain, thou art not gone—thou mockest me!

And thus I clutch thee—thus! He is gone, he is


Gone—gone. Where am I? 'tis well—'tis very well!

So that the blade be keen—the blow be sure,
'Tis well, 'tis very well—alas! alas! (exit.)


Among ridiculous conceits may be selected par excellence, the thought of a celebrated Abb£—" that the heart of man being triangular, and the world spherical in form, it was evident that all worldly greatness could not fill the heart of man." The same person concluded, "that since among the Hebrews the same word expresses death and life, (a point only making the difference,) it was therefore plain that there was little difference between life and death." The chief objection to this is, that no one Hebrew word signifies life and death.



Delivered before the Institute of Education of Hampden Sidney College, at its Anniversary Meeting, September the 24th, 183d, Oq the invitation of that body,—by Lucian Minor, Esq. of Louisa.

[Published by request of the Institute.}

Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Institute:

I am to offer you, and this large assembly, some thoughts upon Education, as a means of preserving the Republican Institutions of our country.

The sentiment of the Roman Senate, who, upon their general's return with the shattered remains of a great army from an almost annihilating defeat, thanked and applauded him for not despairing of the Republic, has, in later times, been moulded into an apothegm of political morality; and few sayings, of equal dignity, are now more hackneyed, than that "A good citizen will never despair of the commonwealth."

I shall hope to escape the anathema, and the charge of disloyalty to our popular institutions, implied in the terms of this apothegm, if I doubt, somewhat, its unqualified truth; when you consider how frequently omens of ruin, overclouding the sky of our country, have constrained the most unquestionable republican patriot's heart to quiver with alarm, if not to sink in despair.

When a factious minority, too strong to be punished as traitors, treasonably refuse to rally under their country's flag, in defence of her rights and in obedience to her laws; when a factious majority, by partial legislation, pervert the government to the ends of self-.iggrandizement or tyranny; when mobs dethrone justice, by assuming to be her ministers, and rush madly to the destruction of property or of life; when artful demagogues, playing upon the credulity or the bad passions of a confiding multitude, sway them to measures the most adverse to the public good; or when a popular chief (though he were a Washington) contrives so far to plant his will in the place of law and of policy, that the people approve or condemn both measures and men, mainly if not solely, by his judgment or caprice; and when all history shews these identical causes (the offspring of ignorance and vice) to have overthrown every proud republic of former times;—then, surely, a Marcus Brutus or an Algernon Sidney,—the man whose heart is the most irrevocably sworn to liberty, and whose life, if required, would be a willing sacrifice upon her altars—must find the most gloomy forebodings often haunting his thoughts, and darkening his hopes.

Indeed, at the best, it is no trivial task, to conduct the affairs of a great people. Even in the tiny republics of antiquity, some twenty of which were crowded into a space less than two-thirds of Virginia,—government was no such simple machine, as some fond enthusiasts would have us believe it might be. The only very simple form of government, is despotism. There, every question of policy, every complicated problem of state economy, every knotty dispute respecting the rights or interests of individuals or of provinces, is at once solved by the intelligible and irreversible sic rolo of a Nicholas or a Mohammed. But in republics, there are passions to soothe; clashing interests to reconcile; jarring opinions to mould into one result, for the general weal. To effect this, requires extensive and accurate Knowledge,

supported by all the powers of reasoning and persuasion, in discussing not only systems of measures, but their minutest details, year after year, before successive councils, in successive generations: and supposing the machinery of Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary to be so simple or so happily adjusted, that an idiot might propel it, and a school-lad with the first four rules of arithmetic—or even "a negro boy with his knife and tally stick"*—might regulate its movements and record their results; still, those other objects demand all the comprehension and energies of no contracted or feeble mind. Nor are these qualities needful only to the actual administrators of the government. Its proprietors, the people, must look both vigilantly and intelligently to its administration: for so liable is power to continual abuse; so perpetually is it tending to steal from them to their steward or their agent; that if they either want the requisite sagacity to judge of his acts, or substitute a blind confidence in him for that wise distrust, which all experience proves indispensable to the preservation of power in the people,—it will soon be their power no longer. A tame surrender of it to him is inevitable, unless they comprehend the subjects of his action well enough to judge the character of his acts: unless they know something of that vast and diversified field of policy, of duty, and of right, in which they have set him to labor. Yes—in its least perplexed form, on its most diminutive scale, the task of selfgovernment is a perilously difficult one; difficult, in proportion to its nobleness: calling for the highest attributes of the human character. What, then, must it be, in a system so complex as ours? Two sets of public functionaries, to appoint and superintend: two sets of machinery to watch, and keep in order: each of them not only complicated within itself, but constantly tending to clash with the other. Viewing the State government alone, how many fearful dissensions have arisen, as to the extent of its powers, and the propriety of its acts! Turning then to the Federal government, how much more awful and numerous controversies, respecting both the constitutionality and expediency of its measures, have, within half a century, convulsed the whole Union! No less than three conjunctures within that time, threatening us with disunion and civil war; not to mention the troubles of the elder Adams' administration, the conspiracy of Burr, the Missouri dispute, or the cloud (now, I trust, about to disperse) which has just been lowering in our northern sky. To the complexity of our two governments, separately considered, add the delicate problems daily springing from their relations with one another, and from the mutual relations of the twenty-four states—disputes concerning territory; claims urged by citizens of one, against another state; or wrongs done to some states, by citizens and residents of others—all these, and innumerable other questions, involving each innumerable ramifications, continually starting up to try the wisdom and temper, if not to mar the peace, of our country;—and say, if there are words forcible and emphatic enough to express the need, that the Popular Will, which mprcmcly controls this labyrinthine complication of difficulties, should be enlightened by knowledge, tempered by kindness, and ruled by justice?

» Mr. Randolph's Speech in the Virginia Convention, November, 1839.

Vol. II.—3

. . .

« AnteriorContinuar »