صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Saint Anne of Auray, who sees us, that in a similar case I would shoot my son as I shot your brother. Now you are master. Yes, I pity you. You have lied to your captain. You, Christian, are without faith; you, Breton, are without honor. I was confided to your loyalty and accepted by your treason; you offer my death to those to whom you had promised my life. Do you know who it is you are destroying here? It is yourself. You take my life from the king, and you give your eternity to the devil. Go on; commit your crime, - it is well. You sell cheaply your share in Paradise. Thanks to you, the devil will conquer; thanks to you, the churches will fall; thanks to you, the heathen will continue to melt the bells and make cannon of them. They will shoot men with that which used to warn souls ! At this moment in which I speak to you, perhaps the bell that rang for your baptism is killing your mother. Go on; aid the devil, -- do not hesitate. Yes, I condemned your brother; but know this: I am an instrument of God. Ah, you pretend to judge the means God uses! Will you take it on yourself to judge Heaven's thunderbolt ? Wretched man, you will be judged by it. Take care what you do. Do you even know whether I am in a state of grace? No. Go on, all the same. Do what you like. You are free to cast me into hell, and to cast yourself there with me. Our two damnations are in your hand. It is you who will be responsible before God. We are alone ; face to face in the abyss. Go on— finish — make an end. I am old and you are young; I am without arms and you are armed; kill me!”

While the old man stood erect, uttering these words in a voice louder than the noise of the sea, the undulations of the waves showed him now in the shadow, now in the light. The sailor had grown lividly white; great drops of sweat fell from his forehead; he trembled like a leaf; he kissed his rosary again and again. When the old man finished speaking, he threw down his pistol and fell on his knees.

“ Mercy, my lord! Pardon me!” he cried ; “you speak like God. I have done wrong. My brother did wrong. I will try to repair his crime. Dispose of me. Command ; I will obey."

“ I give you pardon,” said the old man.


“Tu domines notre âge ; ange ou démon, qu'importo ! " ANGEL or demon! thou whether of light

The minister, or darkness - still dost sway This age of ours; thine eagle's soaring flight

Bears us, all breathless, after it away.

The eye that from thy presence fain would stray, Shuns thee in vain ; thy mighty shadow thrown

Rests on all pictures of the living day,
And on the threshold of our time alone,
Dazzling, yet sombre, stands thy form, Napoleon !

Thus, when the admiring stranger's steps explore

The subject-lands that 'neath Vesuvius be, Whether he wind along the enchanting shore

To Portici from fair Parthenope,

Or, lingering long in dreamy revery,
O’er loveliest Ischia's od’rous isle he stray,

Wooed by whose breath the soft and am'rous sea
Seems like some languishing sultana's lay,
A voice for very sweets that scarce can win its way:

Him, whether Pæstum's solemn fane detain,

Shrouding his soul with meditation's power; Or at Pozzuoli, to the sprightly strain

Of tarantella danced 'neath Tuscan tower,

Listening, he while away the evening hour; Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone, and deep,

Of that sad city in its dreaming bower By the volcano seized, where mansions keep The likeness which they wore at that last fatal sleep;

Or be his bark at Posilippo laid,

While as the swarthy boatman at his side Chants Tasso's lays to Virgil's pleased shade,

Ever he sees throughout that circuit wide,

From shaded nook or sunny lawn espied, From rocky headland viewed, or flow'ry shore,

From sea and spreading mead alike descried, The Giant Mount, tow'ring all objects o'er, And black’ning with its breath th' horizon evermore!

THE RETREAT FROM Moscow. It snowed. A defeat was our conquest red ! For once the eagle was hanging its head. Sad days! the Emperor turned slowly his back On smoking Moscow, blent orange and black. The winter burst, avalanche-like, to reign Over the endless blanched sheet of the plain. Nor chief nor banner in order could keep, The wolves of warfare were 'wildered like sheep. The wings from centre could hardly be known Through snow o'er horses and carts o'erthrown, Where froze the wounded. In the bivouacs forlorn Strange sights and gruesome met the breaking morn: Mute were the bugles, while the men bestrode Steeds turned to marble, unheeding the goad. The shells and bullets came down with the snow As though the heavens hated these poor troops below. Surprised at trembling, thongh it was with cold, Who ne'er had trembled out of fear, the veterans bold Marched stern; to grizzled moustache hoar-frost clung 'Neath banners that in leaden masses hung.

It snowed, went snowing still. And chill the breeze
Whistled upon the glassy endless seas,
Where naked feet on, on for ever went,
With nought to eat, and not a sheltering tento
They were not living troops as seen in war,
But merely phantoms of a dream, afar
In darkness wandering, amid the vapor dim,
A mystery ; of shadows a procession grim,
Nearing a blackening sky, unto its rim.
Frightful, since boundless, solitude behold
Where only Nemesis wove, mute and cold,
A net all snowy with its soft meshes dense,
A shroud of magnitude for host immense;
Till every one felt as if left alone
In a wide wilderness where no light shone,
To die, with pity none, and none to see
That from this mournful realm none should get free.
Their foes the frozen North and Czar — That, worst.
Cannon were broken up in haste accurst
To burn the frames and make the pale fire high,
Where those lay down who never woke or woke to die.
Sad and commingled, groups that blindly fled
Were swallowed smoothly by the desert dread.

'Neath folds of blankness, monuments were raised
O'er regiments. And History, amazed,
Could not record the ruin of this retreat,
Unlike a downfall known before or the defeat
Of Hannibal — reversed and wrapped in gloom !
Of Attila, when nations met their doom!
Perished an army

fled French glory then,
Though there the Emperor! he stood and gazed
At the wild havoc, like a monarch dazed
In woodland hoar, who felt the shrieking saw
He, living oak, beheld his branches fall, with awe.
Chiefs, soldiers, comrades died. But still warm love
Kept those that rose all dastard fear above,
As on his tent they saw his shadow pass
Backwards and forwards, for they credited, alas !
His fortune's star! it could not, could not be
That he had not his work to do a destiny ?
To hurl him headlong from his high estate,
Would be high treason in his bondman, Fate.
But all the while he felt himself alone,
Stunned with disasters few have ever known.
Sudden, a fear came o'er his troubled soul :
What more was written on the Future's scroll ?
Was this an expiation ? It must be, yea!
He turned to God for one enlightening ray.
" Is this the vengeance, Lord of Hosts ?” he sighed,
But the first murmur on his parched lips died.
“Is this the vengeance ? Must my glory set?”
A pause : his name was called; of flame a jet
Sprang in the darkness ;-a Voice answered: “No!
Not yet.”

Outside still fell the smothering snow. Was it a voice indeed ? or but a dream ? It was the vulture's, but how like the sea-bird's scream.

POOR FOLK. 'Tis night - within the close stout cabin door,

The room is wrapped in shade save where there fall Some twilight rays that creep along the floor,

And show the fisher's nets upon the wall.

In the dim corner, from the oaken chest,

A few white dishes glimmer; through the shade Stands a tall bed with dusky curtains dressed,

And a rough mattress at its side is laid.

Five children on the long low mattress lie

A nest of little souls, it heaves with dreams : In the high chimney the last embers die,

And redden the dark room with crimson gleams.

The mother kneels and thinks, and pale with fear,

She prays alone, hearing the billows shout: While to wild winds, to rocks, to midnight drear,

The ominous old ocean sobs without.

What do I dream of ? Far from the low roof
Where now ye are, children, I dream of you ;
Of your young heads that are the hope and crown
Of my full summer ripening to its fall.
Branches whose shadow grows along my wall,
Sweet souls scarce open to the breath of day,
Still dazzled with the brightness of your dawn.
I dream of those two little ones at play,
Making the threshold vocal with their cries,
Half tears, half laughter, mingled sport and strife,
Like two flowers knocked together by the wind.
Or of the elder two — more anxious thought -
Breasting already broader waves of life,
A conscious innocence on either face,
My pensive daughter and my curious boy.
Thus do I dream, while the light sailors sing,
At even moored beneath some sleepy shore,
While the waves, opening all their nostrils, breathe
A thousand sea-scents to the wandering wind,
And the whole air is full of wondrous sounds,
From sea to strand, from land to sea, given back :
Alone and sad, thus do I dream of you.
Children, and house and home, the table set,
The glowing hearth, and all the pious care
Of tender mother, and of grandsire kind;
And while before me, spotted with white sails,

The limpid ocean mirrors all the stars,
VOL XII. – 15

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