Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

-men, women, and children, uttering prayers to God, unheard by themselves, in that raging thunder.

LESSON XCIV.

Romantic Story.-QUARTERLY REVIEW. THERE is a cavern in the island of Hoonga, one of the Tonga islands, in the South Pacific Ocean, which can only be entered by diving into the sea, and has no other light than what is reflected from the bottom of the water. А young

chief discovered it accidentally while diving after a turtle, and the use which he made of his discovery will probably be sung in more than one European language, so beau: tifully is it adapted for a tale in verse.

There was a tyrannical governor at Vavaoo, against whorn one of the chiefs formed a plan of insurrection; it was betrayed, and the chief, with all his family and kin, was ordered to be destroyed. He had a beautiful daughter, betrothed to a chief of high rank, and she also was included in the sentence. The youth who had found the cavern, and had kept the secret to himself, loved his damsel; he told her the danger in time, and persuaded her to trust herself to him. They got into a canoe; the place of her retreat was described to her on the way to it,—these women swim like mermaids,—she dived after him, and rose in the cavern; in the widest part it is about fifty feet, and its medium height is guessed at the same, the roof hung with stalactites.

Here he brought her the choicest food, the finest clothing, mats for her bed, and sandal-wood oil to perfume herself; here he visited her as often as was consistent with prudence; and here, as may be imagined, this Tonga Leander wooed and won the maid, whom, to make the interest complete, he had long loved in secret, when he had no hope. Meantime he prepared, with all his dependants, male and female, to emigrate in secret to the Fiji* islands.

The intention was so well concealed, that they embarked in safety, and his people asked him, at the point of their departure, if he would not take with him a Tonga wife ; and accordingly, to their great astonishment, having steered close to a rock, he desired them to wait while he went into the sea to fetch her, jumped overboard, and just as they were beginning to be seriously alarmed at his long disappearance he rose with his mistress from the water. This story is not deficient in that which all such stories should have to be perfectly delightful,-a fortunate conclusion. The party remained at the Fijis till the oppressor died, and then returned to Vavaoo, where they enjoyed a long and happy life. This is related as an authentic tradition.

* Pron. Fejee.

LESSON XCV. Anecdotes of Mozart.-SCRAP Book. The most celebrated of 'Mozart's Italian operas is Don Juan, of which the overture was composed under very remarkable circumstances. Mozart was much addicted to trifling amusement, and was accustomed to indulge himself in that too common attendant upon superior talent, procrastination. The general rehearsal of this opera had taken place, and the evening before the first performance had arrived, but not a note of the overture was written.

At about eleven at night, Mozart came home, and desired his wife to make him some punch, and to stay with him to keep him awake. Accordingly, when he began to write, she began to tell him fairy tales and odd stories, which made him laugh, and by the very exertion preserved him from sleep. The punch, however, made him so drowsy, that he could only write while his wife was talking, and dropped asleep as soon as she ceased.

He was at last so fatigued by these unnatural efforts, that he persuaded his wife to suffer him to sleep for an hour. He slept, however, for two hours, and at five o'clock in the morning, she awakened him. He had appointed his music copiers to come at seven, and when they arrived, the overture was finished. It was played without a rehearsal, and was justly applauded as a brilliant and grand composition. We ought at the same time to say, that some very sagacious critics have discovered the passages in the composition where Mozart dropt asleep, and those where he was suddenly awakened.

The bodily frame of Mozart was tender and exquisitely sensible ; ill health soon overtook him, and brought with it a melancholy, approaching to despondency. A very short

manners.

time before his death, which took place when he was only thirty-six, he composed that celebrated requiem, which, by an extraordinary presentiment of his approaching dissolution, he considered as written for his own funeral.

One day, when he was plunged in a profound reverie, he heard a carriage stop at his door. A stranger was announced, who requested to speak with him. A person was introduced, handsomely dressed, of dignified and impressive

“ I have been commissioned, Sir, by a man of considerable importance, to call upon you."_“Who is he ?" interrupted Mozart. “He does not wish to be known.” “ Well, what does he want?" “He has just lost a person whom he tenderly loved, and whose memory will be eternally dear to him. He is desirous of annually commemorating this mournful event by a solemn service, for which he requests you to compose a requiem.

Mozart was forcibly struck by this discourse, by the grave manner in which it was uttered, and by the air of mystery in which the whole was involved. He engaged to write the requiem. The stranger continued, “ Employ all your genius on this work; it is destined for a connoisseur.”—“ So much the better.”—“What time do you require ?”—“ A month.”“Very well; in a month's time I shall return—what price do you set on your work ?”—“A hundred ducats."*_ The stranger counted them on the table, and disappeared.

Mozart remained lost in thought for some time: he then suddenly called for pen, ink and paper, and, in spite of his wife's entreaties, began to write. This rage for composition continued several days; he wrote day and night, with an ardor which seemed continually to increase ; but his constitution, already in a state of great debility, was unable to support this enthusiasm ; one morning he fell senseless, and was obliged to suspend his work. Two or three days after, when his wife sought to divert his mind from the gloomy presages which occupied it, he said to her abruptly, " It is certain that I am writing this requiem for myself; it will serve for my funeral service.” Nothing could remove this impression from his mind.

As he went on, he felt his strength diminish from day to day, and the score advancing slowly. The month which he had fixed being expired, the stranger again made his appearance. “I have found it impossible,” said Mozart, “ to keep my word.” Do not give yourself any uneasiness, replied the stranger ; “what further time do you require ?"

Pron, důk-its.

_" Another month : the work has interested me more than I expected, and I have extended it much beyond what I at first designed.”_" In that case, it is but just to increase the premium ; here are fifty ducats more.”—“Sir," said Mozart, with increasing astonishment, “ who then are you ?”—“ That is nothing to the purpose ; in a month's time I shall return."

Mozart immediately called one of his servants, and ordered him to follow this extraordinary personage, and find out who he was; but the man failed from want of skill, and returned without being able to trace him.

Poor Mozart was then persuaded that he was no ordinary being; that he had a connexion with the other world, and was sent to announce to him his approaching end.—He applied himself with the more ardor to his requiem, which he regarded as the most durable monument of his genius. While thus employed, he was seized with the most alarming fainting fits, but the work was at length completed before the expiration of the month. At the time appointed, the stranger returned, but Mozart was no more.

His career was as brilliant as it was short. He died before he had completed his thirty-sixth year; but in this short space

of time he had acquired a name which will never perish, so long as feeling hearts are to be found

LESSON XCVI.

Death and burial of a child at sea.—SCRAP Book.

My boy refused his food, forgot to play,
And sickened on the waters, day by day ;
He smiled more seldom on his mother's smile,
He prattled less, in accents void of guile,
or that wild land, beyond the golden wave,
Where I, not he, was doomed to be a slave;
Cold o'er his limbs the listless languor grew;
Paleness came o'er his eye of placid blue ;
Pale mourned the lily where the rose had died,
And timid, trembling, came he to my side.

all on earth. Oh! who can speak
The anxious mother's too prophetic wo,
Who sees death feeding on her dear child's cheek,
And strives in vain to think it is not so ?

He was my

Ah! many a sad and sleepless night I passed,
O'er his couch, listening in the pausing blast,
While on his brow, more sad from hour to hour,
Drooped wan dejection, like a fading flower !

At length my boy seemed better, and I slept-
Oh, soundly!—but, methought, my mother wept
O’er her poor Emma; and, in accents low,
Said, “ Ah! why do I weep—and weep in vain
For one so loved, so lost ? Emma, thy pain
Draws to a close! Even now is rent in twain
The loveliest link that binds thy breast to wo-
Soon, broken heart, we soon shall meet again !"
Then o'er my face her freezing hand she crossed,
And bending, kissed me with her lip of frost.
I waked ; and at my side-oh! still and cold !-
Oh! what a tale that dreadful chilness told !
Shrieking, I started up, in terror wild;
Alas! and had I lived to dread my child ?
Eager I snatched him from his swinging bed;
His limbs were stiff-he moved not-he was dead !

Oh! let me weep!-what mother would not weep, To see her child committed to the deep?

No mournful flowers, by weeping fondness laid, Nor pink, nor rose, drooped, on his breast displayed Nor half-blown daisy, in his little hand :Wide was the field around, but 'twas not land. Enamored death, with sweetly pensive grace, Was awful beauty to his silent face. No more his sad eye looked me into tears ! Closed was that

eye beneath his pale, cold brow; And on his calm lips, which had lost their glow, But which, though pale, seemed half unclosed to speak, Loitered a smile, like moonlight on the snow.

I gazed upon him still-not wild with fears-
Gone were my fears, and present was despair !
But, as I gazed, a little lock of hair,
Stirred by the breeze, played, treinbling on his cheek •
Oh, God! my heart !—I thought life still was there.
But, to commit him to the watery grave,
O'er which the winds, unwearied mourners, rave-
One, who had come to take

my
child

away,
Upraised the body; thrice I både him stay;
For still my wordless wo had much to say,
And still I bent and gazed, and gazing wept.

« ElőzőTovább »