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So lovely-yet so arch-so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart-
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody!
Over a mouldering heirloom, its companion,
An oaken chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Anthony of Trent,
With Scripture-stories from the Life of Christ;
A chest that came from Venice, and had held
The ducal robes of some old ancestor-
That by the way, it may be true or false-
But don't forget the picture; and you will not,
When you have heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child-her name Ginevra,
The joy, the pride of an indulgent father,
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her youth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gayety,
Her pranks the favorite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
And in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy; but at the nuptial feast,
When all sat down, the bride herself was wanting;
Nor was she to be found!-Her father cried,
""Twas but to make a trial of our love!"
And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
"Twas but that moment she had left Francesco,
Laughing and looking back, and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas! she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guess'd,
But that she was not!
Weary of his life,
Francesco flew to Venice, and embarking,
Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Donato lived-and long might you have seen
An old man, wandering as in quest of something,
Something he could not find-he knew not what:
When he was gone, the house remained a while
Silent and tenantless-then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
When on an idle day, a day of search,
Mid the old lumber in the gallery,
That mouldering chest was noticed; and 'twas said
By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra,
"Why not remove it from its lurking-place ?"
'Twas done as soon as said; but on the way
It burst-it fell; and, lo! a skeleton!
With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone,
A golden clasp clasping a shred of gold;
All else had perish'd, save a wedding-ring.
And a small seal, her mother's legacy,
Engraven with a name, the name of both-
There had she found a grave;
Within that chest had she concealed herself,
Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy;
When a spring-lock, that lay in ambush there,
Fasten'd her down forever!
[The stately march of the opening description sould be delivered in a full round tone; changing at the appearance of the dread miraculous hand into a solemn subdued utterance.]
THE King was on his throne,
The Satraps throng'd the hall;
A thousand bright lamps shone
O'er that high festival;
A thousand cups of gold,
In Judah deem'd divine-
Jehovah's vessels hold
The godless Heathen's wine!
In that same hour and hall,
The fingers of a hand
Came forth against the wall,
And wrote as if on sand:
The fingers of a man ;-
A solitary hand
Along the letters ran,
And traced them like a wand.
The monarch saw, and shook,
And bade no more rejoice;
All bloodless wax'd his look,
And tremulous his voice.
"Let the men of lore appear,
The wisest of the earth,
And expound the words of fear,
Which mar our royal mirth.”
Chaldea's seers are good,
But here they have no skill;
And the unknown letters stood
Untold and awful still.
· And Babel's men of age
Are wise and deep in lore;
But now they were not sage,
They saw-but knew no more.
A captive in the land,
A stranger and a youth,
He heard the king's command,
He saw that writing's truth.
The lamps around were bright,
The prophecy in view;
He read it on that night,-
The morrow proved it true.
"Belshazzar's grave is made,
His kingdom pass'd away,
He, in the balance weigh'd,
Is light and worthless clay,
The shroud, his robe of state.
His canopy the stone:
The Mede is at his gate!
The Persian on his throne !"
THE GRAVES OF A HOUSEHOLD.
[This sweetly mournful refrain, should be delivered with sad earnestness; as though the speaker was describing the fate of his own family.]
THEY grew in beauty side by side,
They filled one home with glee;
Their graves are severed, far and wide,
By mount, and stream, and sea.
The same fond mother bent at night
O'er each fair sleeping brow;
She had each folded flower in sight,-
Where are those dreamers now?
One, 'midst the forests of the West,
By a dark stream is laid,—
The Indian knows his place of rest,
Far in the cedar shade.
The sea, the blue lone sea, hath one,
He lies where pearls lie deep;
He was the loved of all, yet none
O'er his low bed may weep.
One sleeps where southern vines are drest
Above the noble slain :
He wrapt his colors round his breast,
On a blood-red field of Spain.
And one-o'er her the myrtle showers
Its leaves, by soft winds fanned;
She faded 'midst Italian flowers,-
The last of that bright band.
And parted thus they rest, who played
Beneath the same green tree;
Whose voices mingled as they prayed
Around one parent knee!
They that with smiles lit up the hall,
And cheered with song the hearth,-
Alas! for love, if thou wert all,
And nought beyond, oh, earth!
From "THE WIFE," a Play, by JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES.
MARIANA, Wife of Leonardo,
JULIAN ST. PIERRE, an Adventurer,
ANTONIO, a Priest,
FERRARDO, the Duke's Kinsman.
[The story of this play is briefly told. Leonardo Gonzago, Duke of Mantua, has wedded a maiden of great beauty and many accomplishments. Being suddenly called from his capital, he leaves his wife as regent in his absence. His Kinsman, Ferrardo, takes advantage of this
circumstance to plot against his honor and happiness through the Duke's excessive love for his wife. He manages to get St. Pierre into a debauch; and, while he is senseless, has him placed upon Mariana's bed. Ferrardo so contrives it, that Antonio and others observe St. Pierre leaving the room. Meanwhile Mariana and St. Pierre, totally ignorant of these facts, become interested in each other from accidentally discovering that they are both from Switzerland. Our extract commences where Mariana, answers to a remark of her countryman. SCENE-A room in a palace.
COSTUMES.-St. Pierre.-Very handsome cavalier dress. Ferrardo.Handsomely trimmed red tunic and vest, dark blue velvet cloak trimmed with silver. Antonio.-Black silk shirt trimmed with velvet. black velvet surplice trimmed with black silk ribbon, black velvet skull-cap. Mariana.—(Rich attire, according to taste of Actress.)
MARIANA and ST. PIERRE, L. Enter in the back ground ANTONIO and FERRARDO.
Is a dear country! Switzerland!
The land of beauty and of grandeur, lady,
Where looks the cottage out on a domain
The palace cannot boast of. Seas of lakes,
And hills of forests! crystal waves that rise
'Midst mountains all of snow, and mock the sun,
Returning him his flaming beams more thick
And radient than he sent them. Torrents there
Are bounding floods! and there the tempest roams
At large, in all the terrors of its glory!
And then our valleys! ah, they are the homes
For hearts! our cottages, our vineyards, orchards—
Our pastures studded with the herd and fold!
Our native strains that melt us as we sing them!
A free-a gentle-simple honest people! (crosses to R.)
MAR. I see them, Signor,-I'm in Switzerland,
I do not stand in Mantua !-dear country!
Except in one thing, I'm not richer, Signor,
Than when I was a child in Switzerland,
And mistress only of this little cross. (pressing the cross to her breast.)
ST. PIER (anxiously). Your pardon, lady! Pray you let
That cross again!
MAR. Right willingly.
ANT. (coming forward). Hence, Signor!