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occasion it was so simple, so touching, it breathed forth such a soul of wretchedness, that she drew a crowd mute and silent around her, and melted every one into tears.
The story of one so true and tender could not but 31 excite great interest in a country remarkable for enthusiasm. It completely won the heart of a brave officer, who paid his addresses to her, and thought that one so true to the dead could not but prove affectionate to the living. She declined his attentions, for her thoughts were irrevocably engrossed by the memory of her former lover. He, however, persisted in his suit. He solicited not her tenderness, but her esteem. He was assisted by her conviction of his worth, and her sense of her own destitute and dependent situation; for she was existing on the kindness of friends. In a word, he at length succeeded in gaining her hand, though with the solemn assurance that her heart was unalterably another's.
He took her with him to Sicily, hoping that a change of scene might wear out the remembrance of early woes. She was an amiable and exemplary wife, and made an effort to be a happy one; but nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slow, but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.
It was on her that Moore 32, the distinguished Irish poet, composed the following lines: -
She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
And lovers around her are sighing:
For her heart in his grave is lying.
Every note 38 which he loved awaking -
How the heart of the midstrel is breaking!
They were all that to life had entwined him --
Nor long will his love stay behind him!
31) vergl. das latein. fieri non potest quin = müssen.
32) Thomas Moore (1779 — 1852), Irländer, am bekanntesten und bedeutendsten durch seine Irish Melodies und Lalla Rookh; ausserdem schrieb er eine Uebersetzung Anacreons, Odes and Epistles, die satirischen Gedichte The Twopenny Post-bag'; The Fudge Family in Paris; Fables for the Holy Alliance etc.
38) every note ist näheres Object zu awaking: indem sie jedes Lied, das er liebte, von Neuem ertönen liess; to awake wörtl. aufwecken.
Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest,
When they promise a glorious morrow;
From her own loved island of sorrow.
„If that severe doom? of Synesius? be true — 'It is a greater offence to steal dead men's labours, than their clothes', what shall become of most
writers ?" Burton's Anat. of Melancholys. I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecundity of the press, and how it comes to pass that so many heads, on which nature seems to have inflicted the curse of barrenness, yet teem with voluminous productions. As a man travels on, however, in the journey of life, his objects of wonder daily diminish, and he is continually finding out some very simple cause for some great matter of marvel. Thus have I chanced 4, in my peregrinations about this great metropolis 5, to blunder 6 upon a
1) doom Urtheil, Gericht; altengl. dom, goth, dôms, nhd. thum, vielfach in der neueren Sprache als zweiter Theil in zusammengesetzten Substantiven erhalten; vergl. kingdom, Heiligthum.
2) Es ist wol Synesius, Bischof von Ptolemais, gemeiut, geb. 379 n. Chr, zu Cyrene, gest. jedenfalls vor 431, in welchem Jahre sein Bruder Euoptius, als sein Nachfolger im Bisthum, der Synode zu Ephesus beiwohnte. Zuerst Anhänger der deu-platonischen Philosophie trat er um d. J. 400 zum Christenthum über. Er hat Reden, philosphische Schriften und Hymnen hinterlassen.
3) Robert Burton (1578 -- 1639) veröffentlichte im J. 1621 sein grosses Werk, The Anátomy of Mélancholy, by Democritus Junior, „which presents in quaint language, and with many shrewd aud amusing remarks, a view of all the modifications of that disease, and the manner of curing it.“ Aus demselben Werk sind die Worte, welche Irving seinem Sketch Book als Motto voranstellt: I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere spectator of other men's fortunes and adventures, and how they play their parts; which, methinks, are diversely presented unto me, as from a common theatre or scene.
4) Ueber to chance mit folgd. Infinitiv vergl. S. 29, Anm. 32.
6) to blunder (wol zu blind und blend) irren, stolpern; to bl. upon = stossen auf.
scene which unfolded to me some of the mysteries of the bookmaking craft’, and at once put an end to my astonishment.
I was one summer's day loitering through the great saloons of the British Museum, with that listlessness with which one is apt to saunter about a muşeum in warm weather; sometimes lolling over the glass cases of minerals, sometimes studying the hieroglyphics : on an Egyptian mummy, and sometimes trying, with nearly equal success, to comprehend the allegorical paintings on the lofty ceilings. Whilst I was gazing about in this idle way, my attention was attracted to a distant door, at the end of a suite of apartments. It was closed, but every now and then it would open, and some strange favoured 10 being, generally clothed in black, would steal forth and glide through the rooms, without noticing any of the surrounding objects. There was an air of mystery about this that piqued my languid curiosity, and I determined to attempt the passage of that strait, and to explore the unknown regions that lay beyond. The door yielded to my hand, with all that facility with which the portals of enchanted castles yield to the adventurous knight-errant. I found myself in a spacious chamber, surrounded with great cases of venerable books 11. Above the cases, and just under the cornice, were arranged a great number of quaint blacklooking portraits of ancient authors. About the room were placed long tables, with stands for reading and writing, at which sat many pale, cadaverous personages, poring intently over dusty volumes, rummaging among mõuldy manuscripts, and taking copious notes of their contents. The most hushed stillness reigned through this mysterious apartment, excepting ihai you might hear the racing of pens over sheets of paper, or occasionally the deep sigh of one of these sages, as he shifted his position to turn over the page of an old folio; doubtless arising from that hollowness and flatulency incident to learned research.
Now and then one of these personages would write something on a small slip of paper, and ring a bell, whereupon a
?) book-making craft = Buchmacherzunft; über die Zusammensetzung vergl. S. 2, Aum. 10.
8) spr. hiéroglyphics.
9) suite aus d. franz., mit fraoz. Aussprache = consecution, regular set, Reihe.
10) strange favoured. Man beachte die adjectivische Forin des adverbial gebrauchten strange (Mätzner, Engl. Gr. III, p. 95-98); über favoured vergl. S. 21, Anm. 42.
11) surrounded bezieht sich auf I found myself.
familiar 12 would appear, take the paper in profound silence, glide out of the room, and return shortly after loaded with ponderous tömes, upon which the other would fall tooth and najl13 with famished voracity. I had no longer a doubt that I had happened upon a body of magi14, deeply engaged in the study of occult sciences. The scene reminded me of an old Arabian tale 15 of a philosopher, who was shut up in an enchanted library in the bosom of a mountain, that opened only once a year; where he made the spirits of the place obey his commands, and bring him books of all kinds of dark knowledge, so that at the end of the year, when the magic portal once more swung open on its hinges, he issued forth so versed in forbidden lore, as to be able to sgar above the heads of the multitude, and to control the powers of nature.
My curiosity being now fully aroused, I whispered to one of the familiars, as he was about to leave the room, and begged an interpretation of the strange scene before me. A few words were sufficient for the purpose. I found that these mysterious personages, whom I had mistaken for magi, were principally authors, and were in the very act of manufacturing 16 books. I was, in fact, in the reading-room of the great British Library
- an immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, many of which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read. To these sequestered pools of obsolete literature, therefore, do many modern authors repair, and draw buckets full of classic lore, or „pure English, undefiled 17"", wherewith to swell their own scanty rills of thought.
Being now in possession of the secret, I sat down in a corner, and watched the process of this book manufactory. I noticed one lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none but the most worm-eaten volumes, printed in black-letter 18. He was evidently constructing some work of profound erudition, that would be purchased by every man who wished to be thought learned, placed upon a conspicuous shelf of his library,
12) Der Autor führt die Fiction des verzauberten Schlosses fort und pennt den Bibliotheksdiener familiar Hausgeist.
13) tooth and nail, as it were by biting and scratching; with one's utmost power; by all possible means (Webster). mm 14) spr. màgi, g = dsch (genauer d init dem Laute des franz. j).
15) Aus der Märchensammlung: Tausend und eine Nacht. *16) disch. in ähnlicher Weise = fabricieren.
17) Edmund Spenser (circa 1533 - 1599), der Dichter der Faery Queen, nannte die Sprache Chaucers ,,the pure well of English unde filed.
18) black-letter = gothische Schrift, vergl. S. 21, Apm. 48.
or làid open upon his table; but never read. I observed him, now and then, draw a large fragment of biscuit 19 out 'of his pocket, and gnaw; whether it was his dinner, or whether he was endeavouring to keep off that exhaustion of the stomach produced by much pondering over dry works, I leave to harder students than myself to determine.
There was one dapper 20 little gentleman in bright-coloured clothes, with a chirping, gossiping expression of countenance, who had all the appearance of an author on good terms with his bookseller. After considering him attentively, I recognised in him a diligent getter up of miscellaneous works, which bustled off21 well with the trade. I was curious to see how he manufactured his wares. He made more stir and show of business than any of the others 22 ; dipping into various books, fluttering over the leaves of manuscripts, taking a morsel out of one, a morsel out of another, „line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.“ The contents of his book seemed to be as heterogeneous 23 as those of the witches cauldron in Macbeth. It was here a finger and there a thumb', toe of frog and blind worm's sting, with his own gossip poured in like ,,baboon's blood,“ to make the medley „thick and slab 24 "
After all, thought I, may not this pilfering disposition 25 be implanted in authors for wise purposes? may it not be the way in which Providence has taken care that the seeds of knowledge and wisdom shall be preserved from age to age, in spite of the inevitable decay of the works in which they 26 were first produced? We see that nature has wisely, though whimsically, provided for the conveyance of seeds from clime to clime, in the maws of certain birds; so that animals, which, in themselves, are little better than carrion, and apparently the lawless
19} biscuit (spr. bískit), fr. biscuit aus dem lat. bis coctus zweimal gebacken, also ganz wie das dtsch. Zwieback.
20) Ueber dapper vergl. S. 42, Anm. 51.
21) to bustle (init stumm. t) = to stir quickly; to be very active; to be very quick in motion; also to bustle off* well = dem deutsch. Buchhändlerausdruck „gut gehen“.
22) deutsch etwa: er machte mehr Geräusch und zeigte sich geschäftiger als alle andern.
23) spr. hětěrogèneous, g = dsch, genauer = d verbunden mit dem Laute des franz. j.
24) Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1.
26) they viz. the seeds of knowledge and wisdom; to be produced etwa = aufkeimen.