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own ideas to everything, I felt as if my heart clove, and my spirit disparted; I seemed bathed in infinity, when the flute notes warbled through the consecrated air, rose higher and softer, died away like a spent wave, returned, and finally lost themselves in a rushing peal of thunder tones. I panted for breath, as if I had been suddenly flung up into regions of unimaginable height; my eyes saw uncertainly the golden beams of the fretted roof, which appeared opening behind into a scene of light and fairy beauty; all sensation for a moment paused: it was paradise.
I returned to myself as the kneeling worshippers rose suddenly, and a cloud of hooded heads, presenting in front the soft, moon-tinged, voluptuous features of these parts, swept past, and each figure crossed itself, with downcast, supplicating eye. I could not rise, like them; I felt the mysterious elevation of ecstasy, even after the exciting causes had vanished: it was as when we gaze with direct eye on the sun, and then avert the view; each object on which the vision rests disappears, and the whole air and earth is peopled with golden orbs and circumambient lights.
Now, in this instance, I believe, the music was too sensuous for a pure devotion, and the whole circumstances (as they always are arranged under Popery) were more suited to a coarse stage effect, than the awakening of simple, sublime ideas of God, and of His remedial will; but still, with this deduction, I felt as if I could find fit symbols for certain religious feelings, and that the services needed only to be purged of their false and idolatrous meanings, to render with effect some of the cardinal doctrines of Christianity. But so much music and tinsel unavoidably debases the mind; and it is unquestionably difficult, even for a spiritual mind, to extract out of the Romish service the doctrine which is necessary to salvation, and which alone fits the life to offer an acceptable service. Whatever loss we Scotch may sustain by our antipathy to Romanisms of all kinds, let us be thankful that our error is on the safe side; for the most trivial shows of Romanism would be worse in this country than the follies and extravagances of the holy week at Rome. A more symbolic form of representing Christianity is as natural under the skies of Italy as the fig and the orange. Here, it would only be a forced growth; everything awkward, exaggerated, insincere, and priestly.
If, however, we may thus congratulate ourselves, it will be no unwilling news to Christian ears to learn, that, in Italy, there is, at least in the writer's belief, a vastly greater amount of true and beautiful Christian character than is generally believed in this country, or than seems at first possible under a system so worldly as Popery; and we shall conclude these reminiscences with one other Italian experience, aware how much more might be done to illustrate our subject, but anxious to bring these pictures to a close. It was on a quiet Sabbath morning, at early dawn, that I stole forth, by the northern gate, from the old, decayed town of Viterbo, celebrated for its fine fountains, hoping to reach Montefiascone, a small cathedral town, beetling on a cliff, seen from this point about a dozen Italian miles off, before the morning service. I had walked forth in the cool air, brushing away the night-dew at every step, and attempting to attune my thoughts to the duties of these sacred hours; knapsack over my shoulder, with umbrella for sun and rain-shade, as well as staff; and for companions the fair chequered lizards, which appeared and disappeared every moment, innocently, all along the road. The sun was just ready to burst above the eastern horizon, when I heard, as I trod musingly on, the clink of a donkey's heels, and, on looking round, beheld, just a stonecast behind me, two young peasants, one of either sex, mounted on an ass, tramping at a quick walk. They soon overtook me, and, as I glanced aside, I took into my heart the cheerful sight of temperance, piety, and decorum, reminding me of some ancient Jewish couple on their way to the Temple, which the simple pair presented. I saluted them as they passed, and was replied to with the delightful sweetness of well-bred peasantry; asked, for the sake of hearing them again speak, how far it was to Montefiascone, and learned that they were on their way thither, to attend the forenoon services, like myself. They soon outstripped me, and were several paces beyond, when they drew up, dismounted, and, as I came up to them again, were occupied in shifting what served for the saddle. I got before them once more, not looking round, lest I should seem impertinent; but they called after me, and, on turning about, I was begged to take my place on the donkey's back. I remonstrated against the incivility of allowing myself to displace one of the young maiden's sex, but she was quite as earnest as her partner; both were so kind and persuasive, that, although with shame, I at last consented.
The whole scene, and the pleasant morning's conversation, come back - upon my memory just now with a power that makes me feel how trivial it unavoidably is to attempt depicting the sincere utterance of sincere hearts. The story of themselves was briefly this: they had been married a fortnight beforemone belonging to Viterbo, which we had left, and the other, the bride, to Montefiascone, whither they were now going, to worship, and see their friends. We talked much of religion, of forms of worship, of our mutual beliefs, and, above all, of the Virgin Mary. I found that the efficacy of the Virgin was by them ascribed solely to her relation to her Son, whose infinite merits alone were the object of absolute veneration. The spirit of the conversation (for nothing more can be given here) left this impression on my mind, that, despite priests and priestly tricks, the great common Christianity of us all, in its essential power, had struck into the hearts of this simple couple. We discoursed of God, Christ, heaven, duty, immortality; and some of the blessedness of a Saviour's life and love lightened the path on which we were going, and brought us to the foot of the rapid ascent, on the top of which stands Montefiascone, before we knew (or I, at least) where we were.
As we mounted the acclivity, and the prospect of parting was before us, the lines of Coleridge
“ To see, to know, to love, and then to part,
Is the sad tale of many a human heart" rose to my memory, and I could not help giving vent to the thoughts with which they recurred in connection. The young wife, turning aside, with moistened eyes, and casting a look up, replied, that, “ if we parted here, we should meet in heaven!” They asked me to inscribe my name on paper, and take their names with me. I took them, dear Guiseppe and Guiseppine, and pursued my way, the wiser and the better for baring greeted you both!
The course of these observations may seem to have led me far away from the topic which I agreed to illustrate the state of Romanism during the days of the republic; but, indeed, to attentive readers, the remarks will not appear quite irrelevant, if the general propositions on which they are a commentary be borne in view that the revolution had chief, if not exclusive, reference to the corruptions of the popedom, as a temporal power, and that religious reform, when it comes, will come rid of the papacy, but not, as the writer thinks, without a more imaginative worship than Protestants generally believe can consist with spiritual services.
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
FROM THE GERMAN OP WILHELM HAUFF.
THERE are moments in the existence of single states, when the attentive observer of the age will say, Here there must certainly be a crisis. A year or two later, the same circumstances would not produce the same effects. Here is shown the finger of God, we are accustomed to say, when we fall in with such an important hour in the existence of a state. Such have in every age produced men who, whether inspired by their own genius or the study of history, have known how to appreciate such moments, and so calculated upon them as to effect the most astounding results, when they were not merely satisfied with foreseeing the crises, but were possessed of sufficient courage to proceed at the right time, and had power to carry through their ideas. History has long since decided upon the short government of the minister of Charles Alexander; no mortal escapes its verdict, and the sighs and tears of Wurtemberg must turn in hard words to the originator of its misfortunes in the year 1737, while it makes honourable mention of some men whom it will not let travel with the stream of forgetfulness those who felt that things must be other than they were those who did not tremble at the idea of change, and who finally guided the affairs of their country towards tranquillity and peace, as a higher power decreed a still more sudden change, while he closed two fiery eyes, and bade a brave heart be still.
Who, that now looks upon this contented Stuttgart and its peaceful streets, could imagine it to have been then the scene of such oppression and fear? How calm on such affairs are the descendants of those who trembled every hour of that spring-time, so pregnant with the fate of their families, for the ancient rights of their country, for their very faith!
He who beheld the arrogant Süss riding in his coach and six horses through the rich suburb, as he proudly smiled and looked down upon the pale, hostile countenances which met him everywhere; who saw the fearful Hallwachs, his intimate friend and adviser, seated beside him, and thought upon the many ruinous designs contrived by this man, the many monstrous monopolies he had already established, and the fresh ones he contemplated; he who was aware of the umlimited confidence placed by the duke in him, must have despaired of the possibility of deliverance.
To this were added the singular and contradictory reports in circulation. One said that the duke travelled to Phillipsburg and Kebl, and had given the government not into the hands of the privy council, but had handed over the seals to the Jew; another contradicted this, and asserted that the duke had been seen at a window of the Castle of Ludwigsburg, and that, his horses being still there, he could not have begun his journey. In a village on the eastern frontiers of the upper country, the Catholics were suddenly to make an attack upon the Protestant inhabitants, and, as the latter maintained, there was a company of the troops of the circle drawn up near the frontiers towards the village as the field of battle. The most astounding report of all, which, however, confirmed this, was, that the finance counsellor, Hallwachs, had bespoke a Romish priest's costly vestment of the courtembroiderer, and ordered him to have it ready by the 18th of March, though it should be worked at by fifty hands; and, if he did not bring it at the time appointed, he was to be imprisoned. A Lutheran priest, who was mentioned by name, had presented little crosses, cut out of wood, to the children at the school, saying, “When you hold these in your hands, you can pray properly.” Finally, it was told, as a something certain, that the Jew had, across the table, said to the duke, “ Classes of society, your serene highness, are peculiarly oppositionists, and they have already stood thus so long, that they have become weary and insipid.” Charles Alexander answered him, smiling, “ It is true; come, then, let us give them chairs, and once seated, they will rise no more.” Those men who were resolved to be beforehand with the destruction that threatened, heard these reports. But they were at this hour cold and tranquil; they knew, indeed, that there impended such a change over Wurtemberg—that it must be either relieved from calamity, or involved in it so deeply, that the grief of individuals must grow dumb before it. People spake: they said, that all which was necessary, with the help of the country-people, was prepared to encounter a powerful, wicked, clever enemy, and if their enterprise succeeded, they had to thank for it the few bright names of those men of the provinces with whom the dwellers in Wurtemberg linked the interests of their country.
It was late in the evening of the 11th of March, when the consul Lanbek, his son, and Captain Reelzingen, sat at their wine in the parlour. The two former were grave and gloomy, but the captain could not conceal even now his gay spirits, and he divided his attention and conversation between the recess of the window, where the two sisters of Gustavus were sitting, and his other friends at his side. Hedwig sat pale and silent at her needle, but upon the face of Kathchen there was a higher colour than usual, while she every instant showed her white teeth and the lovely dimples in her cheeks, as the captain again repeated his wondrously merry jests and stories.
“How is your horse, captain ?" asked old Lanbek. “My chestnut horse is a better infantry-man than I am myself," replied he: “though I trot or ride up hill for six hours, still I get six
hours more of an easy gallop. He has only one fault, which is that he is not yet paid for, and this vice often causes me great sorrow.”
“You may,” continued the old man, “if you ride at a sharp trot from the Galgensteige (gallows ladder), pass by Ludwigsburg between eleven and twelve, be in Heilbronn by four, and there you may let your horse rest; between eight and ten to-morrow you may be in Oehringen.”
“But, father," interrupted Gustavus," would it not be more advisable to ride towards Heidelberg? I would venture to say that we are not more certain at Oehringen. Consider that the German order is widely extended there, that they of Mergentheim are certainly informed by the bishop in Würzberg, that"
“ That,” continued his father, “ you should rather fall into the road to Heidelberg, and, if you perhaps found the country no longer clear, you might have a last refuge with my old master and well-wisher, the duke in Neustadt, who certainly would not give you up at first. If Charles Alexander is satisfied with what we have done here, you can always return; if not, then you must go, as we have already said, further on-to Frankfort.”
“Heavens! that I must leave you in such a crisis !” exclaimed Gus. tavus, with tears in his eyes—“when I perhaps am guilty of your misfortunes—when all may go adverse—when Süss hears of my fight, and revenges himself, father, upon you! No; I cannot-I must not go!"
“No, father," said Hedwig, while she became paler than even before, and hastened to seize her father's hand," he must not leave us. You have terrible things in view; I know very well you are combining against those in power. Abandon this, father; Süss and the others will forgive you. I am nearly dead with grief.”
“Go away, sister,” said Kathchen, who had now come forward; "what others do, or what our father does, is nothing to us. But why should Gustavus go away in such haste? He might be of somuch use to us."
“ Because I will have no Jewess for a daughter,” said the old man, with severity, “therefore he must away; because I have intercepted a note from his fair one, and have despatched it with a protest to the Jew, and because the latter is now enraged, and will either make your brother marry his sister by force, or send him to Neuffen, therefore it is that he must go away. Yet I do not wish to grieve you, Gustavus, even now; we part as friends, and everything shall be forgotten: who knows when and where we shall meet again !”
While the old man spoke the last words, and reached out his hand to his son, there was a quick and loud knocking at the door, and before any one answered, a figure, enveloped in a cloak, walked suddenly in.
• What is this?” exclaimed old Lanbek. “ Who intrudes so late here Who are you?”
“ Blankenberg!” exclaimed Hedwig, as the other threw off the cloak, and stepped forward some paces quickly, with a flushed countenance.
Pardon, consul,” said the young man, hastily; “necessity must excuse me. Gustavus, you must away instantly; Lieutenant Pinassa writes to me, that, by command of General Rúmchingen, he must carry you off to-night between eleven and twelve o'clock. The honourable youth must not find you in your nest.”