« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
that Heaven where they dwelt. His darkened eyes dropped tears, and, with one despairing effort, he cried aloud, "Come back, my early days! Come back!"
5. And his youth did return; for all this had been but a dream, visiting his slumbers on New Year's night. He was still young; his errors only were no dream. He thanked God fervently that time was still his own; that he had not yet entered the deep, dark cavern, but that he was free to tread the road leading to the peaceful land where sunny harvests wave.
6. Ye who still linger on the threshold of life, doubting which path to choose, remember that when years shall be passed, and your feet shall stumble on the dark mountain,33 you will cry bitterly, but cry in vain, "O, youth, return! O, give me back my early days!" Richter.
XXVII. — THE PRESENT81 TIME.
1. Of Memory many a poet sings;
And Hope hath oft inspired the rhyme ,
2. Let the past guide, the future cheer,
While youth and health are in their prime;
3. Fulfil the duties05 of the day—
The next may hear thy funeral-chime;
XXVIII. — THE BLIND STREET-FIDDLER.
1. An Orpheus !" an Orpheus ! — he works on the crowd,
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim —
2. What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
3. That errand-bound 'prentice141 was passing in haste —
The newsman33 is stopped, though he stops on the fret,
4. The porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
5. He stands backed by the wall; — he abates not his din,
From the old and the young, from the poorest, — and there
6. 0, blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;
I am glad for him, blind as he is; — all the while
If they speak't is to praise, and they praise with a smile.
7. That tall man, a giant in bulk and in height,—
Can he keep himself still, if he would 1 O, not he 1
8. Mark that cripple ! —but little would tempt him to try
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound.
9. Now, coaches and chariots! roar on like a stream;
XXIX.— GLADIATORIAL COMBAT WITH A TIGEB.
1. Inside of the great amphitheatre" of Alexandria,«1 sixty thousand spectators were assembled; and an equal number surrounded the outside. The hum of voices, the uproar which proceeded from this immense assemblage, resembled the noise of tha ocean in a storm. Indeed, the amphitheatre itself might be compared to a vessel, the hold of which has been invaded by the waves and filled to overflowing, while, outside, other waves are climbing its sides and dashing over its deck. A horrible roaring, responded to by the cries of the multitude,95 announced the arrival of a tiger who had just been let out of his cage.
2. At one of the extremities of the arena," a man lay couched half-naked upon the sand, and apparently, asleep, so little interest did he seem to take in the affair which was vehemently agitating the crowd. This man, while the tiger, impatient to encounter his expected prey, rushed from side to side through the empty arena, leaned himself unconcernedly upon his elbow, his eyes languid and heavy, like those of a hay-maker, who, fatigued with toil on a warm summer-day, throws himself on the grass and is about falling asleep.
3. Meanwhile,6 from the crowded benches a number of eager spectators called upon the munerator, or intendant of the games, to bring forward the victim; for either the tiger had not discovered him, or had disdained to touch him, seeing him so resigned and passive. The officers of the arena, armed with long pikes, hastened to obey the will of the cruel and bloody-minded people, and with the sharpened ends of their weapons stirred up the gladiator."
4. No sooner did he feel the puncture of their lances, than he rose with a cry so wild and terrible that the savage beasts, shut up in the cells of the vast amphitheatre, responded with a howl of affright. Snatching at one of the lances with which his skin had been pricked, he wrested it, by a single effort, from the hand which held it, broke it into two pieces, threw one at the intendant's head, prostrating him by the blow, and then, retaining the sharpened remainder of the lance, went, provided with this weapon, to meet his ferocious foe.
5. When the gladiator had first101 risen from the sand, and offered to the multitude the spectacle of the shadow cast by his colossal" stature, a murmur of astonishment91 ran through the crowd, and more than one voice, calling him by name, recounted anecdotes of his prowess in the circus and his exploits in moments of popular sedition. The multitude were well content: tiger and gladiator were worthy of each other.
6. In the mean time, the gladiator advanced with measured steps to the very centre of the arena, turning occasionally toward the imperial box, and letting fall his arms with a rude show of obeisance,32 or scooping with the point of his lance the earth which he was about to crimson with gore. As it was contrary to custom for criminals to be armed, several voices exclaimed: "No arms for the bes'tia'ry!" The bestiary without arms!" But he, brandishing the fragment which he had retained, and exhibiting it to the multitude, exclaimed between his teeth, with pale lips, and a hoarse voice, almost stifled with rage, " Come and take it!"
7. The cries having redoubled, however, he haughtily raised his head, skimmed his glance over the whole assembly, smiled on them disdainfully, and then, breaking anew33- between his hands the weapon he had been called upon to lay down, threw the remnants at the head of the tiger, who was, at the moment, sharpening his teeth and claws against the so'cle" of a column* Here was a defiance! The animal, feeling himself struck, turned his head, and, seeing his adversary standing in the middle of the arena, rushed with a single bound towards" him. But the gladiator avoided the assault by stooping nearly to a level with the earth; and the tiger, with a howl of rage, fell some paces distant from the mark at which he had aimed in his spring.
8. Rising to his feet, the gladiator, by the same manoeuvre," thrice baffled the fury of his savage enemy. At length the tiger approached him with slow, cautious, cat-like steps. The eyes of the beast glittered like flame ; his tail was straight, his tongue already bloody, and he showed his teeth, and protruded his nose, as if to snuff his prey with the more certainty. But this time it was the gladiator who made a leap. At the moment the beast drew33 near to seize him, he cleared him by a bound which called down the furious applauses of the spectators, already mastered by the emotions which this extraordinary struggle excited.
9. At length, after having for some time fatigued his ferocious foe, the gladiator, more wearied by the exclamations of the crowd than by the delays of a combat which had seemed so unequal at the outset, awaited with firm-set foot the approach of the tiger. The latter ran panting towards him, with a howl of satisfaction. A cry of horror, perhaps of joy also, escaped at the same time from the occupants of all the benches, as the animal, raising himself on his hind legs, placed his fore-paws28 on the naked shoulders of the gladiator, and thrust forward his jaws to devour him. But the gladiator bent backward to protect his head, and seizing, with both his stiffened arms, the animal's silken neck, he squeezed it with such force, that the tiger, without letting go his hold, struggled violently to throw up his head, and let the air reach his lungs, the passage to which was closed, as if by a vice, by the gladiator's hands.
10. The gladiator, however, perceiving that with his loss of blood his strength was failing him, under the tenacious claws of his antagonist, now redoubled his efforts to hasten the termination of the contest; for, with its prolongation, his chances were diminishing every moment. Erecting himself on his feet, and bearing with all his weight on his enemy, whose legs bent under the pressure, he broke the ribs of the animal, and made the jammed chest give forth a gurgling sound, followed by an effusion of blood and foam from the tightened throat.
11. Then, all at once, half-raising himself, and disengaging his shoulders, a shred of flesh from which remained attached to one of the animal's claws, the victor placed a knee upon the tiger's palpitating flank, and pressed upon him with a force which the prospect of victory redoubled. The gladiator felt the tiger straggle a moment under him; and, tightening his piessure, he saw the beast's muscles stiffen, and his head, one moment lifted, fall upon the sand, his jaws half-opened and covered with foam, his teeth locked, and his eyes extinct.
12. A general acclamation from the spectators ensued ;95 and the gladiator, whose triumph had reanimated his strength, rose to his feet, and, seizing the monstrous carcass, threw it far from him, as a trophy, beneath the imperial box.
ORIGINAL TRANSLATION FROM THE FRENCH
XXX. — THE GOVERNMENT92 OF THE THOUGHTS.
1. Let Us consider our thoughts as so much company, and inquire, which of them one would wish to exclude and send away, — which to let in and receive ?132 It is much easier to prevent disagreeable visitants from entering, than to get rid of them when they are entered. It will be a great matter, therefore,98 to have a trusty porter at the gate,—to keep a good guard at the door by which bad thoughts come in, and to avoid those occasions which commonly excite them.
2. In ,the first place, then, it may be taken for granted, no one would choose to entertain guests that were peevish and dis contented with everything. Their room is certainly much better than their company. They are uneasy in themselves, and will soon make the whole house so; like wasps, that not only are restless, but will cause universal uneasiness, and sting the family. Watch, therefore, against87 all thoughts of this kind, which do but chafe and corrode the mind to no purpose. It is equally a Christian's interest and duty40 to learn, in whatsoever state he is, therewith to be content.
3. There is another set of people, who are not the most comfortable companions in the w»rld; such as are evermore anxious about what is to happen,—fearful of everything, and apprehensive of the worst. Open not the door to thoughts of this complexion; since, by giving way to tormenting fears and suspicions of some approaching danger, or troublesome event, you not only anticipate but double the evil you fear; and undergo much more fr#n the apprehension of it before it comes, than from the whole weight of it when it is present. Are not all these events under the direction of a wise and gracious Providence I128 Learn to trust God and be at peace. "In quietness and peace shall bo your strength."