Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

“I sing but as the linnet sings,

That on the green bough dwelleth;
A rich reward his music brings,

As from his throat it swelleth:
Yet might I ask, I'd ask of thine
One sparkling draught of purest wine

To drink it here before you."

He viewed the wine, he quaffed it up:

“O draught of sweetest savor! O happy house, where such a cup

Is thought a little favor! If well you fare, remember me, And thank kind Heaven, from envy free,

As now for this I thank you."

Who never ate his bread in sorrow,

Who never spent the darksome hours Weeping and watching for the morrow,

He knows ye not, ye gloomy Powers.

To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us,

To guilt ye let us heedless go, Then leave repentance fierce to wring us ;

A moment's guilt, an age of woe!

MIGNON'S SONG. SUCH let me seem, till such I be;

Take not my snow-white dress away! Soon from this dusk of earth I flee,

Up to the glittering lands of day.

There first a little space I rest,

Then wake so glad, to scenes so kind; In earthly robes no longer drest,

This band, this girdle left behind.

And those calm shining sons of morn,

They ask not who is maid or boy; No robes, no garments there are worn,

Our body pure from sin's alloy.

Through little life not much I toiled,

Yet anguish long this heart has wrung, Untimely woe my blossoms spoiled :

Make me again forever young!

PHILINA'S SONG. SING me not with such emotion

How the night so lonesome is; Pretty maids, I've got a notion

It is the reverse of this.

For as wife and man are plighted,

And the better half the wife, So is night to day united,

Night's the better half of life. Can you joy in bustling daytime,

Day, when none can get his will ? It is good for work, for haytime;

For much other it is ill.

But when in the nightly glooming,

Social lamp on table glows, Face for faces dear illuming,

And such jest and joyance goes ; When the fiery pert young fellow,

Wont by day to run or ride, Whispering now some tale would tell 0,

All so gentle by your side; When the nightingale to lovers

Lovingly her songlet sings, Which for exiles and sad rovers

Like mere woe and wailing rings; With a heart how lightsome-feeling

Do ye count the kindly clock, Which, twelve times deliberate pealing,

Tells you none to-night shall knock !
Therefore, on all fit occasions,

Mark it, maidens, what I sing:
Every day its own vexations,

And the night its joys will bring.

THE ELFIN-KING.

Who rides so late through the midnight blast ?
'Tis a father spurs on with his child full fast;
He gathers the boy well into his arm,
He clasps him close and he keeps him warm.
“My son, why thus to my arm dost cling?
“ Father, dost thou not see the elfin-king?
The elfin-king with his crown and train !”
“My son, 'tis a streak of the misty rain!"

Come hither, thou darling, come, go with me!
Fine games I know that I'll play with thee ;
Flowers many and bright do my kingdoms hold,

My mother has many a robe of gold.“O father, dear father, and dost thou not hear What the elfin-king whispers so low in mine ear?". “ Calm, calm thee, my boy, it is only the breeze, As it rustles the withered leaves under the trees."

Wilt thou go, bonny boy, wilt thou go with me? My daughters shall wait on thee daintily ; My daughters around thee in dance shall sweep,

And rock thee and kiss thee and sing thee to sleep." “O father, dear father, and dost thou not mark The elf-king's daughters move by in the dark ?". “ I see it, my child; but it is not they, 'Tis the old willow nodding its head so gray."

" I love thee! thy beauty it charms me so ;

And I'll take thee by force, if thou wilt not go !“O father, dear father, he's grasping me, My heart is as cold as cold can be !” The father rides swiftly, — with terror he gasps, The sobbing child in his arms he clasps ; He reaches the castle with spurring and dread; But alack ! in his arms the child lay dead !

NIKOLAI VASILIEVITCH GOGOL.

NIKOLAI VASILIEVITCH GOGOL, a Russian dramatist and novelist, born in the Government of Pultowa, March 31 (N. S.), 1809; died at Moscow, March 4 (N. S.), 1852.

After some preliminary study at Pultowa he entered the gymnasium of Niéjinsk in 1821. A satire entitled “Something about Niéjinsk; or, No Law for Fools," was his next effort in authorship. He also wrote a comedy which was represented by the students of the gymnasium. He graduated in 1828. In 1829 he published an idyl which he had written in the gymnasium. These admirable pictures of Russian life appeared in 1831, and Gogol found himself in the front rank of authors.

He was appointed Professor of History at St. Petersburg, but in 1835 he resigned the position. The success of “Evenings on a Farm” encouraged him to write a successful comedy, “The Revisor” (The Inspector-General). In 1836 he went abroad, and lived much in Rome. “ Dead Souls,” written in 1837, was published in 1842. This, his greatest work, takes its title from the fact that in the days of serfdom the serfs were called souls, and every proprietor was taxed according to the number of souls.

Gogol's last work, “Correspondence with my Friends," published in 1846, gave great offense to many of his admirers in Russia.

In 1848 he returned to Moscow, where he died the victim of a nervous disorder.

WATCHING AND PARTING.

(From “ Taras Bulba.") THE mother alone slept not. She bent over the pillow of ner dear sons, as they lay side by side, she smoothed with a comb their carelessly tangled young curls, and moistened them with her tears. She gazed at them with her whole being, with every sense; she was wholly merged in the gaze, and yet she could not gaze enough. She had nourished them at her own breast, she had tended them and brought them up, and now to see them only for an instant! “My sons, my darling sons ! what will become of you? what awaits you?” she said, and tears stood in the wrinkles which disfigured her formerly beautiful face.

In truth she was to be pitied, as was every woman of that long-past period. She lived only for a moment in love, only during the first ardor of passion, only during the first flush of youth; and then her grim betrayer deserted her for the sword, for his comrades and his carouses. She saw her husband two or three days in a year, and then, for several years, heard nothing of him. And when she did see him, when they did live together, what life was hers! She endured insult, even blows; she saw caresses bestowed only in pity; she was a strange object in that community of unmarried cavaliers, upon which wandering Zaporozhe cast a coloring of its own. Her pleasureless youth flitted by, and her splendidly beautiful cheeks and bosom withered away unkissed, and became covered with premature wrinkles. All her love, all her feeling, everything that is tender and passionate in a woman was converted in her into maternal love. She hovered around her children with anxiety, passion, tears, like the gull of the steppes. They were taking her sons, her darling sons from her — taking them from her so that she should never see them again! Who knows? Perhaps a Tartar will cut off their heads in the very first skirmish, and she will never know where their deserted bodies lie, torn by birds of prey;

and yet for each drop of their blood she would have given all of hers. Sobbing she gazed into their eyes, even when all-powerful sleep began to close them, and thought, “ Perhaps Bulba, when he wakes, will put off their departure for a little day or two. Perhaps it occurred to him to go so soon because he had been drinking.”

The moon from the height of heaven had long since illumined the whole courtyard filled with sleepers, the thick clump of willows, and the tall steppe-grass which hid the palisade surrounding the court. She still sat at her dear sons' pillow, never removing her eyes from them for a moment, or thinking of sleep. Already the horses, divining the approach of dawn, had all ceased eating, and lain down upon the grass ; the topmost leaves of the willows began to rustle softly, and little by little the rippling rustle descended to their bases. She sat there until daylight, unwearied, and wished in her heart that the night might prolong itself indefinitely. From the steppes came the ringing neigh of the horses, and red tongues shone brightly in the sky. Bulba suddenly awoke, and sprang to his feet. He remembered quite

VOL. X. - 9

« НазадПродовжити »