Puslapio vaizdai

It is possible, however, that Paracelsus, surnamed Bombastes, and giving a name to the style which he originated, might have indulged in similar remarks; on which ground he may have the whole credit of the following strenuous whimper:

“ We get so near-so very, very near!
'Tis an old tale; Jove strikes the Titans down,
Not when they set about their mountain-piling,

But when another rock would crown their work.” But here is an outbreak, which caricatures rather than represents human pride :

“ But if my spirit fail,
My once proud spirit forsake me at the last,
Hast Thou done well by me? So do not Thou!
Crush not my mind, dear God, though I be crushed !
Hold me before the frequence of thy seraphs,
And say—'I crushed him, lest he should disturb

My law."" That distinction between his mind and himself would fetch a liberal price in Germany before the next semester, and might be useful in proving the Trinity. Certainly, Mr. Browning need not exaggerate his own vitality, to rivet our attention to the current of his thought; we are already pledged to him, heart and soul, and do not like to stop to pick up his conceits. We feel as if he were imposing upon our friendship. All this gnarled undergrowth should be cleared away, to let us have a clear vista among the noble trees. A prompt and willing vivacity is his Ariel,

always within call; there is not a man living who need so seldom urge his pen. Pity the slit did not catch these imps of conceits as they are sliding triumphantly into fame.

But we wish to avoid giving the impression that they are frequent. And we cannot leave “ Paracelsus," without sharing with the reader a few more of the shorter passages, full of felicitous lines, for we would tempt him to love the poet. The life and motion of the poem begin almost immediately. Each meditation has its climax, the beauty and tenderness scattered everywhere prepare us for the majesty of the close. Parts of the latter we have already quoted. Here is something on the first page. Michal will say

“This autumn was a pleasant time,'
For some few sunny days; and overlook
Its bleak wind, hankering after pining leaves."

We are principled against italics. Here is Constantinople, in the sunset:

“Over the waters, in the vaporous west,
The sun goes down, as in a sphere of gold,
Behind the outstretched city, which, between,
With all that length of domes and minarets,
Athwart the splendor, black and crooked runs,

Like a Turk verse along a scymetar.” Here is a specimen of grave satire, subsiding in the pathos of nature :

“I helped a man to die, some few weeks since,

Warped even from his go-cart to one end-
The living on princes' smiles, reflected from
A mighty herd of favorites. No mean trick
He left untried; and, truly, well-nigh wormed
All traces of God's finger out of him,
Then died, grown old ; and just an hour before -
Having lain long with blank and soulless eyes —
He sate up suddenly, and, with natural voice,
Said that, in spite of thick air and closed doors,
God told him it was June ; and he knew well,
Without such telling, hare-bells grew in June;
And all that kings could ever give or take,

Would not be precious as those blooms to him.” Thus death reveals at last a long-mortified affection. Here is a way to have the morning dawn:

“The heavy darkness seems
Diluted; grey and clear without the stars;
The shrubs bestir and rouse themselves, as if
Some snake, that weighed them down all night, let go

His hold.” Festus sings to the dying Paracelsus, and brings thoughts of remembered scenery to soothe him :

“ The river pushes
Its gentle way through strangling rushes,
Where the glossy king-fisher
Flutters when noon-heats are near,
Glad the sheltering banks to shun,
Red and steaming in the sun;
Where the shrew-mouse, with pale throat,
Burrows, and the speckled stoat;
Where the quick sand-pipers flit
In and out the marl and grit,
That seems to breed them, brown as they."

But all these things which we can quote are much finer in their connection; they are parts of the poems of nature. Bring your sea-weed with its delicate flush from the still pool, where you found it floating, the whole truth of water and sky conspiring with its grace, to spread it isolated on the sheet, and it looks less worth spreading than before.

The fast-diminishing space admonishes us that we have yet the greater part of this new archipelago to sail through, and taste the different fruits, while we have hardly indicated the beauties that remain behind. Visit the Jardin des Plantes to appreciate the hopeless bewilderment of the critic fairly turned into Mr. Browning's menagerie, aviary, flower-garden, and halls of relics, with the door slammed behind him. None of the Plays have yet been noticed,— nothing said yet about the innocent Pippa, with her holiday ministry, a pure voice of nature, Heaven's opportunity to redeem many sinful hearts, and each of these hearts, too, worth our sympathy; no love yet expressed for Guendolen, who is God's grace and woman's fidelity to the erring Mildred, and one of Mr. Browning's most natural characters, beckoned apart from the living throng of the street, before she has learned the tricks of self-consciousness; no hint of the subtle developments in the “ Soul's Tragedy," with its racy prose, pitting siy papal reaction against a patriotism none of the purest, — and not yet a line of Valence's integrity, enamoured of Colombe, another real woman, unspoiled by a year's splendor, resigned to the legal claimant-Valence, the true Duke's generous rival in love, but at last the husband of simple Colombe — Valence, the man, left alone with her undisturbed content when the courtiers rushed like motes to the new magnet. It is with the hope of gleaning in this rich field again, that we content ourselves now with " Luria.”

To our perception, this play is not so artless and human as the “Blot in the 'Scutcheon ;” its fortunes do not touch our feelings so deeply. Guendolen and Mildred uncover the heart's well; they draw for us the pathos of home, and the same draught mingles sadness for the catastrophes of sin with gratitude for home's loyalty and mercy. Yes, we thank Guendolen with our eyes and hearts, for she succeeds in assuring us that God will yet find the sullied Mildred lovable. But “ Luria” is grave and somewhat remote; it simply represents Duty triumphing in the midst of intrigue, and with no motive beyond the duty's self. We do not deny the grandness of the conception, and we acknowledge the impressive result; it ap

peals to the inner man, touches conscience and honor, and helps us to understand the reserved power of character. But it is a lesson ; the “ Blot in the 'Scutcheon” is an experience ; the one is a drama; the other is a heart's or home's interior! Luria is stately and inspiring; but Mildred and Guendolen are of us women kiss them; all sit and weep with them. " Luria” has, we believe, certain faults in execution, which we wish to notice.

The scene is laid at Luria's camp, between Florence and Pisa, during the complicated Italian feuds of the fifteenth century. Luria is a Moor, who offered his services to Florence at the nick of time, when Pisa pressed her hardly, and Puccio, the old Florentine commander, had been overthrown. Puccio is patriotic, but out of humor; he serves under Luria, and accords him a malicious, exceptional praise. The brave and childlike Moor is the object of several distinct conspiracies. First, Puccio, detailing trivial faults of Luria, poisons the ear of Braccio, the Florentine commissary, who understands his discontent, and makes use of it; for he has a plan of his own, to spring the sentence of a secret trial, all this time in progress, upon Luria, just when he completes his victory, in order to save the Republic from the Moor's ambition. Braccio has the Italian subtlety and suspicion ; but he has overreached himself, by imputing to Luria his own duplicity. He cannot believe it possible that Luria would not abuse his success for a selfish purpose. Braccio's secretary understands him better, but is the implicit tool of his master. Then Domizia, a Florentine lady, has a twofold object in coming to the camp: she watches Braccio with deadly hatred, for Florence jealously sacrificed her family, grown dangerous by successful service; therefore she is trying all the while to instigate Luria to direct the army, flushed with victory and devoted to their general, against the Republic. Luria is not without love for her. Husain is a Moor, the friend of Luria, suspecting all these actors and their hidden motives, and urging Luria to secure his own safety by attacking Florence. The piece opens with a successful military operation of Luria, by which he cuts off the Pisans from effecting a junction with certain auxiliary Lucchese. Notwithstanding the politic delays of Braccio, who fears the result of Luria's success, a battle is fought, and the Pisans are routed. Puccio reports again certain incomplete manoeuvres ; and at last Braccio sends a mission to Florence, bidding the senate pass sentence upon Luria, and nip his possible ambition. But this despatch, as well as some previous ones, was intercepted by Tiburzio, the commander of the Pisans. So, then, here is a chance to turn Florence's victory against Florence. Can the Moor hesitate to taste revenge after seeing this despatch ? There is a noble scene, when Tiburzio develops the treason to Luria, and tempts him to renounce his allegiance. So have all the rest tempted, with various motives. What a coil is this for the generous Moor, so devoid of guile as unable to suspect it; so frankly worshipping Florence with the faith of a child and the unwavering duty of a man! What a Christian Moor is this, with his foot planted on his torrid passions, and simply opposing his word of honor to the whispers of revenge! He does not even read the letter, so torn is he between the sincere, soldierly mien of Tiburzio and his faith in Florence. He will first test these Florentines. See, says he to Braccio,

“ Chance has put into my hand the means
Of knowing what I earn, before I work!
Should I fight better, should I fight the worse,
With your crown palpably before me? Sec!
Here lies my whole reward! Best know it now,

Or keep it for the end's entire delight?” The unruffled Braccio tells him that if his honor is that of the condottiére, he can “ break seal and read," — in which case the act will justify the writing. Domizia is there, and she exclaims : “ Thank God, and take revenge.” Just at that moment Tiburzio's trumpet sounds ; if Luria gives up Florence, his trumpet will not reply; then he is Pisa's. Thus ends the scene : “ My simple Moorish instinct bids me sink

The obligation you relieve me from
Still deeper! Sound our answer, I should say ! [doubt!"
And thus : (tearing the paper) the battle! That solves every

Another battle consummates the salvation of Florence ; then Braccio himself informs him of the secret trial, maintaining the right of Florence to institute such a procedure in selfdefence. And Domizia does not believe the Moor would bear the mistrust which destroyed her own family; she was certain

“ He would not bear, but live and fight against,

Seeing he was of other stuff than they.' Who then will speak for the loyalty of the tempted Luria ? Tiburzio appears, speaks, urges Luria to join Pisa :

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