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IXION IN HEAVEN.
[BENJAMIN Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, 1805– 1881, born in London, son of Isaac Disraeli, a noted man of letters and author of the “Curiosities of Literature" and many other volumes of essays, biography, and criticism. Benjamin studied law, which he disliked, wrote for the Tory newspapers, and at the age of 22 published his first novel, “Vivian Grey.” This vivid and brilliant fiction gave him a reputation, and was followed by “The Young Duke,” “Contarini Fleming,” “Henrietta Temple,” “Tancred,” “Coningsby ” and other novels of unequal merit. In 1837, political ambition led him to stand for Parliament, where he took his seat at the age of 32. His maiden speech was notable for extravagant rhetoric and gesture, which excited the derision of the always critical House of Commons to such a degree that Disraeli stopped short and declared, “I shall sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me.” About 12 years later he became one of the foremost of Parliamentary orators, and in 1852 the Earl of Derby offered him the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was relinquished the next year on the fall of the Derby ministry, and Disraeli became the leader of the Opposition, displaying great talents as a debater. He became Chancellor again in 1858, and in 1866. In 1868 he rose to be Premier, which office was resigned the same year, the Liberals again coming to power. In 1870, Disraeli published his curious novel “Lothair," which has his characteristic merits and defects, and made quite a sensation by its venemous caricature of the late Mr. Thackeray. “Ixion in Heaven,” one of his earliest productions, has been pronounced by many good judges one of the best pieces of Humor in the English language.]
Advertisem ENT.-“Ixion, King of Thessaly, famous for its horses, married Dia, daughter of Deioneus, who, in consequence of his son-in-law's nonfulfillment of his engagements, stole away some of the monarch's steeds. Ixion concealed his resentment under the mask of friendship. He invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa, the capital of his kingdom; and when Deioneus arrived according to his appointment, he threw him in a pit which he had previously filled with burning coals. This treachery so irritated the neighboring princes, that all of them refused to perform the usual ceremony, by which a man was then purified of murder, and Ixion was shunned and despised by all mankind. Jupiter had compassion upon him, carried him to heaven, and introduced him to the Father of the Gods. Such a favor, which ought to have awakened gratitude in Ixion, only served to inflame his bad passions; he became enamored of Juno, and attempted to seduce her. Juno was willing to gratify the passion of Ixion, though, according to others,” &c.—Classical Dictionary, art. -- Irion."
PART I. I.
THE thundergroaned, the wind howled, the rain fell in hissing torrents, impenetrable darkness covered the earth. A blue and forky flash darted a momentary light over ãe landscape. A Doric temple rose in the center of a small and verdant plain, surrounded on all sides by green and hanging woods. “Jove is my only friend,” exclaimed a wanderer, as he muffled himself up in his mantle; “and were it not for the porch of his temple, this night, methinks, would complete the work of my loving wife and my dutiful subjects.” The thunder died away, the wind sank into silence, the rain ceased, and the parting clouds exhibited the glittering crescent of the young moon. A sonorous and majestic voice sounded from the skies:— “Who art thou that hast no other friend than Jove?” “One whom all mankind unite in calling a wretch.” “Art thou a philosopher?” “If philosophy be endurance. But for the rest, I was some time a king, and am now a scatterling.” “How do they call thee?” “Ixion of Thessaly.” “Ixion of Thessaly | I thought he was a happy man. I heard that he was just married.” “Father of Gods and men for I deem thee such, Thessaly is not Olympus. Conjugal felicity is only the portion of the Immortals?" “Hem What! was Dia jealous, which is common; or false, which is commoner; or both, which is commonest ?” “It may be neither. We quarreled about nothing. Where there is little sympathy, or too much, the splitting of a straw is plot enough for a domestic tragedy. I was careless, her friends stigmatized me as callous; she cold, her friends styled her magnanimous. Public opinion was all on her side, merely because I did not choose that the world should interfere between me and my wife. Dia took the world's advice upon every point, and the world decided that she always acted rightly. However, life is life, either in a alace or a cave. I am glad you crdered it to leave off thundering.”
“A cool dog this. And Dia left thee?”
“No; I left her.”
“Not exactly. The truth is—'tis a long story. I was over head and ears in debt.”
“Ah! that accounts for everything. Nothing so harassing as a want of money! But what lucky fellows you Mortals are with your post-obits 1 We Immortals are deprived of this resource... I was obliged to get up a rebellion against my father because so kept me so short, and could not die.”
“You could have married for money. I did.”
“I had no opportunity, there was so little female society in those days. When I came out, there were no heiresses except the Parcae, confirmed old maids; and no very rich, dowager, except my grandmother, old Terra.”
“Just the thing; the older the better. However, I married Dia, the daughter of Deioneus, with a prodigious portion; but after the ceremony the old gentleman would not fulfill his part of the contract without my giving up my stud. Canyou conceive anything more unreasonable? I smothered my resentment at the time; for the truth is, my tradesmen all renewed my credit on the strength of the match, and so we went on very well for a year; but at last they began to smell a rat, and
ew importunate. I entreated Dia to interfere; but she was a paragon of daughters, and always took the side of her father. If she had only been dutiful to her husband, she would have been a perfect woman. At last I invited Deioneus to the Larissa races, with the intention of conciliating him. The unprincipled old man bought the horse that I had backed, and by which I intended to have redeemed my fortunes, and withdrew it. My book was ruined. I dissembled #. rage. I dug a pit in our garden, and filled it with burning coals. As my father-in-law and myself were taking a stroll after dinner, the worthy Deioneus fell in, merely by accident. Dia proclaimed me the murderer of her father, and, as a satisfaction to her wounded feelings, earnestly requested her subjects to decapitate her husband. She certainly was the best of daughters. There was no withstanding public opinion, an infuriated
rabble, and a magnanimous wife at the same time. They surrounded my palace; I cut my way through the greasy capped multitude, sword in hand, and gained a neighboring Court, where I solicited my brother princes to purify me from the supposed murder. If I ha only murdered ti subject they would have supported me against the people; but Deioneus being a crowned head, like themselves, they j." clared they would not countenance so immoral a being as his son-in-law. And so at length, after much wandering, and shunned by all my species, I am here, Jove, in much higher society than I ever expected to mingle.” ‘Well, thou art a frank dog, and in a sufficiently severe scrape. he Gods must have pity on those for whom men have none. It is evident that Earth is too hot for thee at present, so I think thou hadst better come and stay a few weeks with us in Heaven.” “Take my thanks for hecatombs, great Jove. Thou art, indeed, a God!” “I hardly know whether our life will suit you. e dine at sunset; for Apollo is so much engaged that he cannot join us sooner, . no dinner goes off well without him. In the morning you are your own master, and must find amusement where you can. Diana will show you some tolerable sport. Do you shoot?” “No arrow surer. Fear not for me, AEgiochus: I am always at home. But how am I to get to you?” “I will send Mercury; he is the best traveling companion in the world. What ho! my le 1 '' The clouds joined, and darkness again fell over the earth.
“So I tread softly. Don't be nervous. Are you sick?”
“A little nausea; ’tis nothing.”
“The novelty of the motion. The best thing is a beefsteak. We will stop at Taurus and take one.”
“You have been a great traveler, Mercury 2”
“I have seen the world.”
“Ah! a wondrous spectacle. I long to travel.”