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In the terrible scene which follows, she begs to know why he has done this, till she faints—he urging her to confess, stanches the wound to give her time to repent—she revives—he shows her the letter—she reads it, and prays Heaven to spare him when he shall know the truth— alas! her love manifests it already, and he rushes forth distracted, even while her eyes are closing.
We will hasten rapidly to the end of the tale, for there is no greater injustice to an author than to present extracts from the most passionate parts of his story, or dull the edge of the reader's curiosity by a dry and minute skeleton of his plot.
Fialto meets Maldura that very night, and receives the reward of his villany. Maldura too begins to taste the wages of sin in an overwhelming sense of selfcondemnation. Rosalia is soon discovered by the frightened servants; the old house-keeper finding her still warm, sends for a surgeon, who pronounces the wound not mortal; she is enjoined not to speak— not even to inquire for her husband; days and weeks pass by, and she slowly recovers. When Maldura hears of her recovery, it takes somewhat from his great agony of remorse. But he had still blasted Monaldi's peace—perhaps his life—for Monaldi has been searched for in vain ever since the dreadful night. Hence he is still loaded with guilt, and can only avoid himself by mixing in the world and travelling from city to city.
At length, losing his way in the country near Naples, he espies a hut among the ruins of an ancient tomb: there he finds Monaldi, a wretched maniac. He causes him to be conveyed to the nearest village and procures aid, and himself attends him till at length he is restored and hears that Rosalia lives. (Rosalia and Landi had been sent for meanwhile, and await the physician's permission to see him.) But in the same conversation that Maldura, whom he still looks upon as his old friend, tells him of his wife's recovery, he manifests so much gratitude that Maldura is overpowered by the might of conscience, that will not be relieved till he has confessed all his guilt; and this he does with such an impetuous torrent of self-reproach that it kindles again the fire in Monaldi's, brain, so that when Rosalia and her father
are brought in expecting to find him sai they behold only a shrieking madman.
From this time he becomes incurab insane, generally sitting motionless wi his eyes riveted to one spot for day* i gether, except when he hears the via of his wife, which always throws bira ia a paroxysm of raring. It is after one of the paroxysms that, without speaking to ai one, he is seen to go into his painting rots he continues to do so month after mom till he finishes the picture described in t. introduction. He then disappears f more than a year, and is finally found the cottage where the traveller has s* him, whence no entreaty will induce h to depart. Rosalia, to be near him, i comes a boarder at a neighboring conva
Maldura's repentance is sincere; he c comes a brother of this convent, and <h there two years before the traveller's Vb having procured the picture to be « him, that he might be always remind what a mind he had blasted.
This is the sum of the manuscript grr by the Prior to the traveller. Two da after the venerable father calls him to a tend the death-bed of Monaldi, to who closing hours Heaven has mercifully gimu ed an interval of reason. He there sf> Rosalia kneeling by her husband's bedsid and the solemn scene which follows n ishes, as with a sublime hymn, the trag drama of their love and sorrow.
We would not have the reader suppo that such a synopsis, and the scattered e tracts it contains, can convey a true id of this affecting story; but this may nev( theless serve to enable us to interest h in a few observations naturally sujjirc^ by it; and, which will be much beta they may excite his curiosity to read Indeed, if we were certain it would pi duce the latter effect, we had rather qt the subject here, and leave the book to t opinions of ladies and scholars; for it not easy to analyze beauties and point o particular excellencies in works which i love as wholes. Just as lovers are unal to tell what separate feature or attribute form or motion, most warms their hew in gazing on their mistresses, whether be the jetty ringlet, the ruby lip, t sparkling eye, the rosy smile, the gnic« t gesture, or the silvery voice; so it is *i books which touch the same 'invisible R r;' it is not the style alone, the lanje, the thought, the fancy, or the pas, but the general character, compoundf all these and speaking through them, K soul of the lover's mistress speaks im through her charms, that reaches depth of sympathy. Monaldi is to be J, in brief, it may be said, because it is lightful old-fashioned tale, full of rewn, observation, philosophy, characpictures, true affection—all excellent ities; because it charms the reader draws him onward, so that when it is B it presses to be gone through with; «M? it takes him into a new and beauregion, a modification of one that was idy familiar, a peculiar Italy, wherein wal and the romantic are brought into il harmonious contact; because it is in a pure simple style, that often rises w most passionate eloquence; because ilia is so lovely and so truly intellectual ly; or to sum up all in one, as Bee does her love to Benedict, "for all e bad parts together," or simply bee not to like it is impossible, taay readily be conceived why such a shijuld be neglected by the novelets of to-day, who only read Mr. Buli'ir excitement, Mr. James out of habit, -Madame Sand for reasons not to be wtood: for all such readers, Monaldi »broadly based on common sense and thinking; its passion is too lofty and it is altogether too quietly wrought, »loring is too rich and delicate, the too deep. It is like a fine old paintthat might hang for years in a row of «h daubs and attract no eye-glasses, •bes, or parvenu ccstacies. it there must be many readers who better capable of understanding and ling what is good in novels and tales, who will be glad to discover one that 'ood in it. There must be many who < great lovers of good stories in early h. but have long since, they fancy, nsted that department so as to be •W to find anything they can read, e remember Godwin, others Scott, and have a few old favorites among these, one or two others, which, for want of |r. tbey content themselves with reing at long intervals. To such as 6, our article is especially addressed; to them we would commend Monaldi
as an unique in our literature—a short story of love, ambition, revenge, and jealousy, highly dramatic and picturesque, yet embodying thought enough to give it rank with Rasselas or any similar production in the language. Though written in the form of a tale, it has all the condensation of a tragedy; every page hurries along the action, and every page teems also with suggestive reflection. Its style is pure, and finished with the most extreme care; yet it is also perfectly natural and easy.
There is never a word out of place, or a word too much, and yet it flows with a delicious music, that changes with the passion, as it could only have changed under the guidance of natural emotion. It has a peculiar rhythm, and though it is so admirably sustained that the ear soon becomes quite unconscious it is following aught but the accent of the simplest prose which could be written, yet any judge of style will see that this needs more care to restrain it within its required limits than the poetry of such a writer as Tennyson for example, or any who pitch their work upon a level admitting the most astonishing incongruities of expression. Refinement shows itself no less in style than in thought and mode of treatment; the soul of a true artist manifests itself in all that it does; and its sensitive discrimination is as evident in its manner of expression as in its course of thought and fancy. Some writers at the present time, in despair seemingly of expressing themselves in a style sufficiently nice for their overnice conceits, abandon the attempt, and put on the mask of some strange affectation. Carlyle formerly, in the Life of Schiller, and other things, wrote in a very careful rhetorical style; but it was a cold one, and finding that he had not the time to be so elaborate, and not having the manliness to be natural, he determined, in the true spirit of a wrong-headed misanthrope, to attempt to please the world no more, but thenceforth to defy custom and be independent. Among our writers of less strength of intellect than he, how many we have who have followed the same course! In poetry, we have abundant examples among our transcendental minnows on both sides the water. In prose, we have our Jerrolds, and nearer home, our regular manufacturers of base coin, who make a trade of passing counterfeit good writing.
Indeed, we have so many such, and the general vice of carelessness in style so affects our hasty-writing age, that the very purity and neatness of the style of Monaldi will at first appear so striking as to seem strained and obtrusive. Yet if we turn suddenly from several weeks of the ordinary current of newspapers and other such writing of the hour, which every one reads, (except those whose necessities oblige them to write it,) to the pages of any of our prose classics, Addison or Goldsmith for example, the same effect will be perceived. The first impression of a pure style is therefore, under such circumstances, no sure test. We must go on at first with an effort, till we become lost in the author; and if we can become so lost, and at the same time still have the consciousness of a pure and graceful flow of expression ever present with us, harmonizing with, not obstructing, the growth of emotion, is not this a higher enjoyment than to lose all consciousness of style whatever? It of course must be; for it is bringing into play another faculty of our nature; pleasing, not lulling, the critical discernment, while the imagination pursues her lofty flight; it is directing our air voyage over a diversified champaign, rather than over a desolate sea, or a region of shapeless clouds.
But the style of Monaldi, though pure, is not rigid; it bends to the story, and this shows how naturally it must have been written. In the opening chapters, it is quiet and reflective, suited to the tone of the thoughtful character-drawing with which the piece commences; as it goes on, we have a vivid epigrammatic dialogue; then the most passionate scenes, all built upon the original reflective back-ground, which is ever coming in, like a prevailing harmony, to sustain the unity of the tone. Finally, nothing can be finer for harmony of style with the thought and with its previous level, than the conclusion. There, where there was so much temptation to be falsely eloquent, the author has so resolutely preserved the dominant tone, that the very melody of the sentences almost gives an effect that we are approaching a concluding harmony; the end begins to
be felt a long way off, and at last it di away with the lofty grandeur of an a Handelian cadence. How far this effect to be attributed to the pure style, as ap» from thought, it is not necessary to ». ourselves, since if the style had not ret to do with it, and did not much assist a other, the effect could not be so compie This conclusion is certainly one of t finest instances of the power of rata reserve in the language.
How admirably suited is this simp pure, and elevated style, to the tone a passion! We can fancy that a superfw reader of trash should' take up the b« and after running over a page or H throw it, with a flippant sneer at *' purism;" there is a great variety of w ers among the educated as well as unec cated, who are not at all up to the app ciation of such writing and such thinks not from any fault of theirs, but been the providence of Heaven did not furs them with the requisite susceptibility. all such, Monaldi will be too "*W! book; they will want something n* dashy and steaming; they will reqn stories where the passion overpowers 1 judgment, and sometimes runs riot w the intellect, in order to be stirred op th oughly; they cannot conceive a mind constituted that it shall take on, in production of a work of art, a higher through its whole substance—in its rtas its apprehension, its invention, its enwti its consciousness.
But there is a smaller class who relish all forms of art, from simple fa stories, where the eye only is amused * pictures, to lofty tragedies, like HamWi Macbeth, where the whole soul is bras into activity, and made to experience Coleridge says, "a sense of its pos* greatness."
These will not fail to be delighted « the beautiful consentaneous**** of the O and thought, particularly in the open chapters of Monaldi. The extracts have given may be sufficient to make excellence somewhat apparent; but in entire book it is one of the most strii qualities, and shows how perfectly nati is the purity and restrained eleganct diction which the lovers of a showy ri oric will be ready to cavil at. For, as style is elevated, pure, and simple, s thought; we refer to the abstract, dry t, the naked offspring of the intellect, re is not a page that is not laden with ;rvations which seem to be the last fruit aperience. Observe the introduction he two characters in the opening chapthere is more genuine truth evolved hose few paragraphs, than would furforth a whole swarm of our modern erflies, "spacious in the possession of '—our transcendental literary Osrics, > ottj "get the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; a kind resty collection, which carries them ugh the most fanned and winnowed lions; and do but blow them to their , the bubbles are out." Yet there is tff.etation of profundity in Monaldi; a thought which does not strike the 1 as so simple and obvious, it seems derful that it should not have been so essod before. We read with a cont assent, ever unconsciously munnur"How true!" When we bring the le and formless metaphysics of such ?re as George Sand and Bulwer upon retina of the fancy, at the same wit with this true philosophy, their esaon is so faint and evanescent, it not in the least affect its previous T-; they do not obstruct the radiance ich thinking any more than the sub* of a comet hides the light of the For here we see that the purpose H display, but an earnest impulse to r the truth and hold it fast. This fry of character, joined to a sensitive nidation, leads its possessor, through rration and reflection, to great ultimate is, which are real discoveries. And 'discoveries, when they are original, ^pressed in such a way as they never he when they are acquired; the writer ks with a guardedness of phraseology a positive assurance of tone which r* that he has thought the matter over over, held it in his mind, carefully idirod it, applied it in practice, and :hed its operation; in short, that it is Jrt of himself and not a mere excurof his thinking faculty, or a flow of rentional ideas. This is the individualon of thinking. This is original ight. This is the fruit of life treasured given to the world, utd the result of all such thinking is,
that we come back to old, common, and universal views of human nature, with refreshed and clearer insight. Hence all the great artists and thinkers dwell forever among great solemn truths, the same that were known ages ago, but which they, each one, discern afresh, with a vision so keen that they cause others to fancy they see them also, and thus hold them forever in the world's eye. The superficial artists and thinkers fly off into unclassified species and singularities, and cannot dilate themselves to a comprehension of what is grand and eternal—their little optics will not contain so wide a field of vision.
Hence there are many well-disposed persons and very fair judges of every-day books, who will not be able to discover the excellence of the thought in Monaldi. Just as the style will seem to some too still and careful, so to these, the reflections will appear too obvious and not sufficiently fine. They will stumble upon ideas that never entered their minds before, but which come in so naturally that they will fancy them to be familiar visitors; others which they may see are new, will yet appear so easy that they will not deem them worthy of respect; in a word, they will not be able to appreciate the thinking they will meet with here, because they will not be able to lift themselves up to it. As when among a party of grasping and cajoling speculators, comes in a gentleman of refinement and reserve, they fancy he is afraid of them— and even the women often thus despise one who could devour forty thousand of their husbands and brothers, while waiting for his breakfast—so when the thoughts of such an one are spread on paper, there are coarse, vain, weak heads enough to smile and say to themselves, "This is harmless stuff!"
The truth is, there is a great majority of minds in the world who never can understand anything but hard knocks; that is the reason we are obliged to take so much pains with our laws, and our constitutions, to keep them in order. All these cannot appreciate any kind of art, let them try ever so much; they can only know what is told them: they have not the art sense. How many such can any artist call before his mind's eye! The conceited newspaper critic, who treats you as an inferior all the while you are making a butt
of him; the solemn doctor of divinity, who sits at a concert and nods approval, while the artists are whispering what hollow brass he is, under his very nose! Society is full of such examples; and a sensitive man who has the humble soul of a true artist must be prepared to meet "the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes," with a cheerful fortitude that looks within for its reward. A great, pure soul, that was born a worshipper of truth, is as much alone in the moiled rabble of the common world, as if it had dropped from some planet nearer the sun.
We have often fancied that if the whole range of thought were gone over, of which the mind is capable, and all thoughts considered with reference to their origin—that then we might arrive at some simple originals, fewer in number than the material elements, which should contain the germs and roots of them all. Thus the plain view of human character and motive set forth in the Holy Scriptures might be seen to be not only true, but the most profound that can be taken; and those torsos of ancient ballads, which abound in all literatures, might be seen to have survived the wrack of time, not by the result of accident, but from their originating in greatness and being thence adapted to the highest as well as lowest conditions of being. For it is as much as the most honest and earnest seeker after truth can do, to conquer the downward inclination to profundity, and when we consider how many there are who have no scruples, but are ever anxiously endeavoring to astonish their fellows in this wise, what wonder is it that generation after generation should be kept wandering in dark mazes and crooked ways, when, if they would but look upward, they might walk in the direct beams of the eternal sun! If one could experience all, could go through all the joys, sorrows, love, hope, grief—all that ever was, or can be suffered, and come out of it with a still unblenched resolution, what ideas, what forms of thought and expression, may we suppose such an one would use in addressing his race—supposing his memory perfect and his mind capable of grasping and rending asunder the veil of his spirit? What could he say more than, "I have lived; I have lain down and gat me up day by day; I have eaten and drank ; I have loved and
been beloved, have hated and takes venge; hope deserted me, then cart* solution; stung by the world's injusti turned at bay, and made me a He among men; now I have found no n and I am willing to give up my life, fbelieve in the mercy of Heaven." I each particular of his experience he trw communicate in a large, simple, Cojeji hensive way, that would include all v ties of its kind, and hence would be ligible to every living being. Thit certainly be as great thinking as ess conceived. And still if such an indiv' were to arise and address the world in manner, we cannot suppose that he be understood and reverenced as a No—not for years. The crowd still move on, amusing itself with physical bubbles, while the prophet wo only have credit for attempting to test what it knew already.
We have quoted largely from parts of Monaldi which contain critic painting, not only because anything 00 subject from its author must be 1 with interest, but more for their evident trinsic merit. The criticism is of that which sinks into the mind and is new gotten. There is hardly a technical » in it, but yet it goes at once to the i root of the matter. It deserves to treasured along with Mozart's homoi oracular decisions in music* Stfll tl is nothing in it hard to be understood, any reader who does not compreht-nii main purport at a glance, may rest sured he never will; he may feel it* t in a higher and wider sense as he live and grows in experience, but the essew the distinctions is as manifest in a men as they ever can be. For they great simple truths, as obvious as the j
* For example :—" Your symphony is too crowded, and to hear it partially or p»w would be, by your permission, like brfaoki ant hill. I mean to say as if Eppes, the d<r\u. in it: Some compose fuirly enough w jt|, ,,:h pie's ideas, not possessing any tliemst-Ives; » who have ideas of their own, do not andti how to treat and master them. The last is case ; only do not be angry, pray! But yotr hus a beautiful cantabileand your dear f\ ought to sing it very often to you. which I • like as much to see as to hear. The cods ■ minuet may well clatter or tinkle, bat it wiil produce music; tapimtiiat. 1 am not very • at writing on such subjects; I rather shove how it ought to be done." Lttler to rfce 2to>.<