Page images
[blocks in formation]

I do remember, too,

Once seeking that sweet glade, And standing with a beating heart

Beneath those tall trees' shade : The streamlet still went rippling by,

But I heeded pot its tone, For Childhood green had pass'd away,

And Childhood's dream was gone.

Years fled: again I sought that spot,

With weary, faltering feet :
The tall trees were as proudly straight,

The violets' scent as sweet;
But bitter tears fell from mine eyes,

And mingled with the stream ;
For Youth's bright hopes had taken wing,

And followed childhood's dream.

and of everything he deemed best calculated to soothe and calm an over-agitated spirit, and, among the rest, of his son, who had entered the Russiaa service ten years since; and the father's heart forgot his cares, as he listened to commendations of his brave boy; the composer's spirit became harmonized, as the general, with the words and tone of a connoisseur and an enthusiast, bestowed unqualified praise on his compositions, the children of his genius.

So passed the night, and Cimarosa in his own joy and gratitude forgot not his fellow-sufferers. But the general could not help them : they were lost, doubly betrayed—first, by the breach of the treaty; and secondly, by the treachery of Giordano, who had basely endeavoured to lure some of his fellow-prisoners into an endeavour to effect their escape, and then, Judas-like, sought to purchase his own life by betraying them to the Giunto, which rewarded his treachery with instant death.

Cimarosa was set at liberty two days afterwards, and pronounced free from guilt, and a loyal subject of King Ferdinand. He instantly departed for Venice, where he long remained in a very bad state of health, and where he died on the 11th of January, 1801, at the age of sevenand-forty.

This composer attained a greater degree of celebrity than any of his cotemporaries, excepting Paicini, and wrote numerous operas, which, although chiefly comic, always preserved a pure and healthy wit, which never degenerated into vulgarity or buffoonery: among them the “ Matrimonio Segretohas become the most popular. The peculiarity of his compositions consists in the simple purity of the vocal, and the exuberant richness of the instrumental music. At his death a requiem was performed in honour of him, composed by himself, and which has by some been considered as but little inferior to that of Mozart.

The soft breeze wander'd round me,

Bearing perfume from each flower ; But for my pale cheek and faded form

It had lost its healing power, The quiet stars look'd calmly down,

And seem'd in pitying love To bid me raise my heart from earth

And fix my thoughts above.

I could not; so I turn’d away,

Perchance no more to gaze
Upon the tranquil Eden

Of my childhood's happy days :
Yet oft in mighty dreams I stand

Beneath those tall trees' shade,
And nurse the fleeting hopes I prov'd

In that dim sequester'd glade.
Ramsgate, Feb. 18, 1848.


(A Sonnet.)




Around my bare and throbbing temples play

The cool, fresh breexes of the eventide;

And from the leafy thicket by my side
The nightingale is pouring forth her lay,
Soothing my soul, which is nor sad, nor gay ;

But lapped in sweet serenity; at peace

With its own thoughts and all mankind; now Distressing doubts and cares thereon to pray; Like twilight shades they melt, and fade away,

As slowly sailing up the vault of night,

A bark of beauty on a sea of light,
The bright moon sheds around her silver ray,

And all is calm and clear : to me this hour
Is sweet, as night-dews to the thirsting flower.


I do remember me

Of a dim sequester'd glade, Where the interlacing trees

Perpetual twilight made. There, oft in musing childhood,

I dream'd away long hours, And chose me lov'd companions

From its wealth of birds and flowers.

I do remember me

Of a little streamlet near, Whose murmuring untiring flow,

Was music to mine ear. I lov'd to lie beside it

At Eve's holy hour of rest, Watching the struggling moonbeams

Illume its darken'd breast,

AN APHORISM.-(F,om the Greek of Plato.)Whenever a Government is ruled by a savage and uncultured tyrant, if there be any one in the state who is much better than he, the despot will fear him; but him wbo is worse than himself be despises.-GEORGE J. 0. ALLMANN,



(From the German.)


time, the whole of his discoveries. In order to

do this, he fortunately had a cloudless night at It was a fine night during the month of May, his disposal, and he had passed it entirely in his 1543. All the stars glittered on the azure dome,

observatory. like so many jewels on a dark velvet robe. The silence of nature was so deep that one might have thought he heard the stars gravitating on

JI. the firmament, the sap ascending in the trees, and the breeze speaking to the flowers.

As soon as the stars disappeared in the east, Every one was buried in the arms of sleep, in the astronomer took his parallactical instrument, the little town of Warmie, a canonship of Polish made by himself of three small pieces of wood, Prussia : every one-except one man. This man

and levelled it successively towards the four watched alone; shut up in a little room on the cardinal points. Convinced that he had at last summit of a tower, with a table, some books, destroyed an error of five thousand years, and and an iron lamp.

that he was going to reveal to the world the imHe was an old man of about seventy; bent and perishable truth, he knelt down, folded his thin wrinkled by labour, but his eye sparkled with hands upon his breast, and thanked his Creator genius. His noble features had an expression for having explained his infinite works to him. of mildness and contemplation. Strangers to

After that he sat down, and taking a pen, he the earth, his eyes opened and shut by turns to wrote under the title of his book :look up towards heaven and down into his soul.

“ Behold the work of the wisest and greatest The most perfect peace of conscience was de artist-behold the work of God!" picted on his countenance. His grey hair, still abundant, parted on the summit of his head, He meditated for a moment, and wrote the descended in curls upon his shoulders. He following dedication of his work :wore the ecclesiastical garment of his age and country-that is, the long, straight robe, with To The Most Holy Father, Pope Paul III: collar of fur, and double sleeves likewise lined | I dedicate my work to your Holiness, that every one with fur on the fore-arm.

might see—the ignorant and the learned that I do This old man was the greatest astronomer of not fear judgment or examination. Your authority ancient and modern times—Nicholas Copernicus, and your love for the sciences in general, and for the born at Thorn (on the Vistula), in Poland, on the mathematics in particular, will serve me as a shield 19th of February, 1473; doctor in philosophy, ing the proverb which says that there is no remedy

against faithless and wicked slanderers, notwithstand. in theology, and in medicine; incumbent canon of Warmie, and honorary professor of Rome and

against the attacks of calumny.

“ Nicholas KOPERNIK." Bologna.

Having nearly reached the end of his earthly At the first glimmerings of day the lamp of career, as well as the limit of science, Copernicus the astronomer grew pale; he let his head fall had just finished his prodigious work, “ De on the table, and fell asleep from fatigue and Orbium Cælestium Revolutionibus.* Seized, as exhaustion. This repose, nevertheless, was of with an astronomer's fury, he had destroyed short duration. It was interrupted by an old all the solid heavens imagined by the ancients; servant ascending the tower with a heavy tread. he had taken our globe and thrown it far from “Sir,” said he to the canon while tapping

him the centre of the universe, where he had esta- on his shoulder, “the messenger of Rhéticus is blished the sun, with all the planets revolving ready to start; he waits for your work and your around it. In short, Copernicus had revealed letters." the heavens to the earth; and all that in the

the The astronomer made a parcel of them, which midst of poverty, of raillery, and persecution; he sealed with his seal, and fell again heavily without other support but his modest genius, on his chair. and without other instrument but a wooden “ Besides," continued the servant, “there are triangle.

ten poor sick persons in the house, and you are Copernicus had received the same day the wanted at Franenbourg, where the water-engine last revise of his work, which was printed at has stopped, and three workmen have broken Nuremberg, under the superintendence of his their legs while trying to put it again in motion.” disciple, Rhéticus; and before sending back this " Poor men !” said Copernicus; “let my horse decisive revise, he wanted to examine, for a last be saddled.” And at the same time he descended

rapidly from the tower. * Literally-"Of the revolvings of the heavenly The house of Copernicus was one of the bodies."

smallest in Warmie. It was composed of a

Death of Nicholas Copernicus.


laboratory, where he prepared medicines for the bestowed on the unfortunate who had been poor; of a small workshop, where, skilled in the wounded in the sluices; he set their broken arts and sciences, he painted his own image and limbs, and promised to return the next morning. that of his friends, and sketches of his happy But he himself was going to receive a blow which reminiscences of Rome and Bologna; and, was to break his heart. finally, of a parlour, always open to any one who As he crossed the market-place, he perceived implored his aid, his table, or his purse. some jugglers on their trestles, in the midst of

An opening had been made above the door, the crowd. The theatre represented an astronothrough which the sun shining at noon, struck mer's observatory, full of ridiculous instruments. a certain point in the next room. This was his Anoldman stood in the iniddle, dressedabsolutely astronomical gnomon. Some verses, written by like Copernicus. The resemblance was so perhimself and stuck against the wall, were the only fect, that he recognized himself; and stopped, ornaments of this apartment.

quite stupified. The buffoon, who was to turn the In this room he found the ten sick persons great man into public derision, had behind him an who claimed his cares; he dressed the wounded, individual whose claws, tail, and horns indicated gave remedies to others, and to all alms and plainly the Evil One, who made him act and speak consolation. After that he drank a cup of milk, like an automaton by pulling two strings fastened and was going on his way towards Franenbourg, to his ears. These ears, as may be easily supwhen a horseman covered with dust delivered posed, were of the greatest dimensions, and had luim a message. Copernicus, trembling, recog- once belonged to the most patient of quadrupeds. nized a letter from his friend Gysius, bishop of The farce was composed of different scenes. In Culm.

the first, the astronomer sold himself to Satan,

burnt a copy of the Bible, and trampled a crucifix “God pity us," wrote the prelate, “and prevent under his feet; in the second, he exposed his the blow which threatens us! Your enemies and your rivals—those who accuse you of folly, and those system by juggling with apples in the way of who call you a heretic-have so well stirred up the planets, which revolved round his face, transminds of men at Nuremberg, that the people curse

formed into a sun by means of small resin your name in the streets; the priests excommunicate candles; in the third,' he became a quack and you from the pulpit ; the academy desires your inter- mountebank, talked dog-latin to the passers by, diction; and the university, hearing that your work and, at a very high price, sold them water drawn is going to appear, has sworn to destroy the presses, from his well

, while he himself got drunk with and to annihilate the toil of your whole life. Come, in excellent wine, until he fell under the table; order to divert the tempest—and fear lest you come finally, in the fourth scene, he was cursed by God too late !"

and man, and Satan, dragging him away in the

midst of a cloud of brimstone and fire, punished Copernicus could not finish the perusal of this him for having made the earth turn, by conletter. He fell, exhausted, into the arms of his demning him to hang with his head downwards servant.

during eternity! When he rose again, he was asked if he was Seeing his genius and his virtues thus publicly ready to start.

despised, his science represented as quackery, Yes," answered he; “b not for Nurem- his disinterestedness as sharping, and his true berg—not for Culm. The wounded wait for me faith as impiety, finally his whole person deat Franenbourg. They might perhaps die if I livered to human and Divine vengeance, Coperdid not go to their assistance, and my enemies nicus underwent the most frightful pains, and cannot destroy my work; they will not stop the doubted of himself and of Providence. But he courses of the stars!"

hoped that the Franenbourgers-his adoptive children, witnesses and objects of his devoted

ness during fifty years—would put an end to III.

such infamy by overthrowing the jugglers and

their trestles. An hour later, and Copernicus was at Franen- Judge of his surprise, his grief, and his bourg. The water-engine which he had con- despair, when he saw his vile slanderers apstructed for this city, on the summit of a hill, plauded by those whom he overloaded every day carried the waters from the river Bouda, at two with favours and alms! He rallied his courage miles distance, with such force that they turned in vain-the trial was above his force. He sank a water-mill, constructed by the astronomer, and to the earth in a swoon! ascended even higher than the steeple of the

It was then first that the ungrateful popuchurch. The inhabitants-instead of dying al- lace recognized their benefactor. The naine of most of thirst, like their fathers—had only to Copernicus was repeated from inouth to mouth. turn a stop-cock in order to have a fountain at They heard that the very same day he had come their own houses.

to lend them his assistance. Passing from the The engine had been put out of order the day excess of ingratitude to the excess of remorse, before-the more unseasonably as there was a the crowd drove off the jugglers, and bore the great feast that day at Franenbourg. At the astronomer in triumph. first glance, Copernicus perceived the evil; and Alas! he was no longer able to appreciate this in a few hours he had rectified it. It may be consolation. Exhausted by the labour of the easily supposed that his first cares had been day before, by the fatigue and the emotions ot


the present day, cast down by this last wound,

V. he was only able to ask for a sedan- in which he arrived, dying, at Warmie.

Copernicus was persecuted even on the other side of the grave. T'he Court of Rome answered to his dedication by condemning his book. But

the book avenged itself, by enlightening the IV.

Court of Rome; which recognized at last, His agony lasted five days; during which his though late, the genius and the faith of the

astronomer of Warmie. genius and faith shone for the last time. The next morning a letter from Rhéticus confirmed has converted the observatory of Copernicus

Prussia, with the ingratitude of conquerors, the sinister predictions of the bishop of Culm. into a dungeon. But Poland, his mother country

, The students of the university had thrice en: has gathered its last children, and its last oboles deavoured to seize the press from whence truth to erect him a monument at Cracow, and a was to spring

colossal statue at Warsaw, from the chisel of “Even this morning,” added he, “they have tried Thorvaldsen. to put the house on fire. I have assembled all my

W. de D. friends. Day and night we remain here, keeping the doors and watching the workmen. The printers work with one hand on the press and the other on a pistol. If we hold firm for two days your work is saved ; for once ten copies are pulled, nothing can destroy it.

But if our enemies get the advantage to-morrow
Rhéticus did not finish.

The third day: new messages, and new alarms.
A printer, won by the enemies, had delivered the

Thou must not think to see me, friend, manuscript into their hands, which was burnt in

With my “heart upon my sleeve,” public. Happily the copy from the press was

For every bird that swoopeth by made. They had almost finished; but a riot At will to rend and reave : could destroy everything.

No spiders o'er its wounded core Such were the expectations in which Coper- Shall their cobweb curtains weave! nicus agonized and passed his last day. His labour, his glory, and his name-were they to Nor must thou look to find me, friend, escape from the bands of fanaticism, or were As frank as once I was. they to perish before him? Imagine, if you can, With the secret workings of my thoughts such a martyrdom!

Thou may'st not meddle: as This rapidly exhausted the old man's re- The traveller lets the wild wind do, maining forces. Death, invading his weakened Thou must let my dumb thoughts pass ! body, was reaching the seat of genius, when a foaming horse stopped before his door. An I had another spirit, friend armed man dismounted, covered with dust, and

(Thou know'st it), in my youth : out of breath, like the soldier of Marathon.

But caskets, open left with gold, Like the Greek soldier, this man proclaimed

Too strongly try the truth

Of passers-by-dishonesty the victory! He held a still wet volume against his breast. This volume was the master-piece of

Hath nought to do with ruth! Copernicus! Justice and reason had triumphed over hatred and folly; the work of God was at last explained to man; the sun enlightened the * What is called the system of Ptolemy was an. earth for a second time!

nihilated by Copernicus-an hypothesis which during The dying man seized the book with his 2000 years had been suffered to remain, an ingenious, trembling hands, and contemplated it with an artificial, and wonderful mixture of error and sagacity

. eager look. Then, with a smile, he sighed - Copernicus assumed that the sun was the centre of the

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine !"* and planetary system; that the earth was a planet, like thereupon he breathed his last.

Mars and Venus, and that all the planets revolved

round the sun. When he described their paths, he It was early in the morning of the 23rd of found that these circles, notwithstanding their sim. May, 1543; the sky displayed all its stars, earth plicity, fully explained all the motions of the heavenly was covered with flowers, and nature seemed to bodies; and that the apparent stations and retrogradafeast its revealer, like the last time, when he left tions of the planets necessarily resulted from the his observatory.

motion of the earth. Thus he asserted the true Soon the sun, casting its purest rays through system of the universe—that system bears its disa window on the head of this great man, seemed coverer's name. The Vatican hurled its thunders to say in his turn—" The King of Creation gives against the astronomer. The Papal Court did not thee the kiss of peace; to thee who hast replaced after the death of Copernicus. It should be borne

annul its sentence of excommunication until 278 years him on his throne!"

in mind that Copernicus laboured, a century before

the invention of telescopes, with miserable wooden * “ Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, instruments, on which the lines were often only O Lord !"

marked with ink. -Ed.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »