Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

4. “ Nine years!” cries he, who, high in Drury Lane,

Inlled by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends,
Obliged by hunger and request of friends, —
“ The piece you think is incorrect? why, take it,
I'm all submission ; what you 'd have it, make it."
Three things another's modest wishes bound :

My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.' -
Pitho'leon sends to me: “ You know his grace,
I want a patron; ask him for a place.”
Pitholeon libelled me. — 6. But here 's a letter
Informs you, Sir, ’t was when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him166 Curll* invites to dine ?
He 'll write a journal, or he 'll turn divine.”

5. Bless me! a packet. -" 'T is a stranger sues, —

A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.”
If I dislike it, « Furies, death and rage ;"
If I approve, “ Commend it to the stage.”
There (thank my stars!) my whole commission ends ;
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fired that the house rejects him, “ 'Sdeath, I'll print it
And shame the fools, — your interest, sir, with Lintot.” —
Lintot,* dull rogue, will think your price too much.
“ Not, Sir, if you revise it and retouch."
All my demours but double his attacks ;
At last he whispers, “ Do, and we go snacks." —
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door,

Sir, let me see your works and you no more !”

CCVII. — THE CHARIOT RACE, WITH THE DEATH OF ORESTES

1. They took their stand where the appointed judges

Had cast their lots and ranged the rival cars.
Rang out the brazen trump! Away they bound !
Cheer the hot steeds and shake the slackened reins;
As with a body, the large space is filled
With the huge clangor of the rattling cars :
High whirl aloft the dust-clouds ; blent together
Each presses each, and the lash rings, and loud
Snort the wild steeds, and from their fiery breath,
Along their manes, and down the circling wheels,

Scatter the flaking foam. 2. Ores'tes still,

Aye,f as he swept around the perilous pillar,
Läst in the course, wheeled in the rushing axle :

• A publisher in Pope's day. + Pronounced a ; meaning, always, ever.

The left rein curbed — that on the dexter hand
Flung loose. So on erect the chariots rolled !
Sudden the Enian's fierce and headlong steeds
Broke froin the bit, and, as the seventh time now
The course was circled, on the Lybian car
Dashed their wild fronts : then order changed to ruin:
Car crashed on car; the wide Crissæ'an plain
Was, sea-like, strewn with wrecks; the Athenian saw,
Slackened his speed, and, wheeling round the marge,
Unscathed and skilful, in the midinost space,

Left the wild tumult of that tossing storm. 3. Behind, Orestes, hitherto the last,

Had yet kept back his coursers for the close ;
Now one sole rival left, on, on he flew,
And the sharp sound of the impelling scourge
Rang in the keen ears of the flying steeds.
He nears — he reaches — they are side by side ;
Now one — now the other — by a length the victor.
The courses all are past, the wheels erect -
All safe — when, as the hurrying coursers round
The fatal pillar dashed, the wretched boy
Slackened the left rein : - On the column's edge
Crashed the frail axle — headlong from the car,
Caught and all meshed within the reins, he fell;
And, masterless, the mad steeds raged along !

4. Loud from that mighty multitude arose

A shriek – a shout! But yesterday such deeds —
To-day such doom ! – Now whirled upon the earth ;
Now his limbs dashed aloft, they dragged him — those
Wild horses - till, all gory, from the wheels
Released — and no man, not his nearest friends,
Could in that mangled corpse have traced Orestes.

SOPHOCLES, TRANSLATED BY SIR E. B. LYTTON

CCVIII. — ADVICE TO AN AFFECTED SPEAKER.

1. Wuat do you say? What? I really do not understand you. Be so good as to explain yourself again. Upon my word, I do not !-0! now I know : you mean to tell' me it is a cold day. Why did you not say at once, “ It is cold to-day”? If you wish to inform me it rains or snows, pray say, “ It rains," “ It snows;” or, if you think I look well, and you choose to compliment me, say, “I think you look well.” — But,” you answer “that is so common and so plain, and what everybody can say.” — “Well, and what if everybody can? Is it so great a misfortune to be understood when one speaks, and to speak like the rest of the world?

2. I will tell you what, my friend, — you do not suspect it, and I shall astonish you, — but you, and those like you, want common sense! Nay, this is not all; it is not only in the direction of your wants that you are in fault, but of your superfluities; you have too much conceit; you possess an opinion that you have more sense than others. That is the source of all your pompous nothings, your cloudy sentences, and your big words without a meaning. Before you accost a person, or enter a room, let me pull you by the sleeve and whisper in your ear, “Do not · try to show off your sense : have none at all; that is your cue: Use plain language, if you can ; just such as you find others use, who, in your idea, have no understanding; and then, perhaps, you will get credit for having some.”

LA BRUYERE.

. CCIX. — LAMENT OVER LOST OPPORTUNITIES. 1. O, for the days and years that are gone by and perished from me, as water spilt on the sea-sand, uselessly and irretrievably! “ Where is the fable of my former life?” Alas! the brilliancy of my day was spent utterly in its dawning. Feeble, and abortive, and fleeting, has been the time that I have passed ; but other elements than these were within it, and had I but nurtured them, to me that foolish time had been the parent' of a blissful eternity. But occasions are past, the hour of their reckoning is nigh at hand, even now my twilight is coming on, and my hopes are darkening into regrets.

2. Could I once again but so much as touch the hem of “ the mantling train of far departed years," surely it should be my salvation. But time, as it speeds on, gives us the pass but glancingly, like the rush of a carriage on a railway, or a rocket into the air; we take no note of it while rithin our reach, and not till it is far away in the distance can we settle our sight steadily upon it, and estimate it duly. Days of my youth, it is even so, — ye were sent to me on an angelic mission, your bosoms overflowing with flowers, and fruit, and all things, whatever there be, of use and loveliness; these would ye have emptied into my hands, but I would not, and so it was your law to leave me, taking with ye no token of my thankful acceptance !

3. Even now, methinks, I see ye through the far air" gliding metē'orous,” sinking into the dimness of distance, yet ever and anon looking back upon me, as frustrate angels, lovingly and lamentingly, in wonder at my strange folly. It saddens me to see them, as the sight of his ancestral domains is agonizing to the beggared spendthrift. My manhood should have borne the fruits of wisdom, and behold it has crowned itself only with the gray sorrows of experience, - hard, dry, marrowless, and distasteful experience, the energy of the muscle aged into the inertness of the bone. My life has been as the passage of a ship over the ocean, — a pilgrim across the desert, - not a token of his industry, not a trace of his footsteps, not so much as a mon. ument of his existence, no more than if his mother had never borne him.

4. And this is my preparation for immortality! Long ere this my soul should have expanded itself beyond the limits of this world, and fitted itself for its futurity ; my devotion should have made it wings, wherewith to rise upwards, and penetrate beyond the bounds of space, even to the presence and communion of God, there to be at home with its Maker. But truly here I am, grovelling on the ground, and feeding on the dust all the days of my life. Nevertheless, the account will come. If time be but a portion of eternity, and if I use that portion as one abusing it most vilely, how shall not eternity revenge itself with burning and raging bitterness? It shall bruise my head, even as I have trodden upon its heel!

ANON.

ccx. — THE GOOD GODDESS OF POVERTY. 1. Paths sanded with gold, verdant wastes, ravines' which the wild-goat loves, great mountains crowned with stars, tumbling torrents, impenetrable forests, – let the good goddess pass, the goddess of Poverty ! EL

2. Since the world has existed, since men were in it, she traverses the world, she dwells among men; singing she travels, or working she sings, – the goddess, the good goddess of Poverty !

3. Some men assembled to curse her; but they found her too beautiful and too glad, too ăgʻile and too strong. “Strip off her wings !” said they; "give her chains, give her stripes, crush her, let her perish, — the goddess of Poverty !”.

4. They have chained the good goddess ; they have beaten her, and persecuted; but they cannot debase her! She has taken refuge in the souls of poets, of peasants, of artists, of martyrs, and of saints, — the good goddess, the goddess of Poverty!

5. She has walked mor: than the Wandering Jew EI she has

travelled more than the swallow; she is older than the cathe' dral of Prague ; El she is younger than the egg of the wren she has increased more than the strawberry in Bohemian forests, —the goddess, the good goddess of Poverty!

6. Many children has she had, and many a divine secret has she taught them; she knows more than all the doctors and all the lawyers, — the good goddess of Poverty!

7. She does all the greatest and most beautiful things that are done in the world : it is she who cultivates the fields and prunes the trees; it is she who drives the herds to pasture, sing. ing the while all sweet songs; it is she who sees the day break, and catches the sun's first smile, — the good goddess of Poverty !

8. It is she who builds of green boughs the woodman's cabin, and makes the hunter's eye like that of the eagle; it is she who brings up the handsomest children, and who leaves the plough and the spade light in the hands of the old man, — the good god. dess of Poverty!

9. It is she who inspires the poet, and makes eloquent the violin, the guitar, and the flute, under the fingers of the wandering artist; it is she who crowns his hair with pearls of the dew, and who makes the stars shine for him larger and more clear, — the goddess, the good goddess of Poverty!

10. It is she who instructs the dexterous artisan, and teaches him to hew stone, to carve marble, to fashion gold and silver, copper and iron; it is she who makes the flax flexible and fine as hair, under the hands of the old wife and the young girl, the good goddess of Poverty !

11. It is she who sustains the cottage shaken by the storm; it is she who saves rosin for the torch and oil for the lamp ; it is she who kneads bread for the family, ani who weaves garments for them, summer and winter; it is she who maintains and feeds the world, — the good goddess of Poverty!

12. It is she who has built the great castles and the old cathe'. drals; it is she who builds and navigates all the ships; it is she who carries the sabre and the musket; it is she who makes war and conquests; it is she who buries the dead, cares for the wounded, and shelters the vanquished, — the good goddess of Poverty!

13. Thou art all gentleness, all patience, all strength, and all compassion, 0, good goddess ! it is thou who dost reünite all thy children in a holy love, givest them charity, faith, hope, O god. dess of Poverty !

14. Thy children will one day cease to bear the world on their shoulders; they will be recompensed for all their pains and labors. The time shall come when there shall be neither rich

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »