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plied the Poet. “The guardian angel of a child is a For they are not like flowers of Italy – gentle Christian mother; she protects not its out. But they are such, dear mother, as grow here? ward life only, but informs and purifies, and exalts Ter. My boy, she will accept them! Gracious that nobler existence which elevates man above the
She would receive a poorer gift than this; "I wonder," said Achzib, after a moment's pause, She would accept the will without the gift, “ whether an infidel mother ever took as much pains For she doth know the heart! There on the shrine to instruct her child in unbelief as a Christian mother Lay them, my boy, and pray if thou have need; does in belief."
Fear not, for she is gracious, so is God! " "T is an unheard-of thing!" said the Poet. “A Paol. (laying the flowers at the feet of the Virgin.] mother could not teach her liuile child to deny God! I have no prayer, dear mother, save for thee, ”T is a monstrous thought-an outrage to our nature And that is in my heart. I cannot speak it, but to conceive it.”
Thou didst weep so, when last I prayed for thee! “In what way," inquired Achzib, “ would the af. Ter. [kissing him.] It is enough, my boy, the fection of a mother be made the mode of temptation? Holy Mother for every virtue has its appropriate temptation, and Knoweth what is within thy inmost heart! divines teach that the highest virtue consists in the
[She again bows herself before the Virgin, resistance of evil!"
then taking the child's hand, goes out. “Thine are strange speculations," said the Poet; “but the dearly beloved child is often a snare to a parent's heart; it has been an idol between the soul and God, and He has sometimes mercifully taken the
SCENE II. child to keep the parent from sin." “I have heard as much,” said Achzib, and fell into Night — the same forest ; the pine trees are old and
splintered, and covered with snow; it 18 a scene of a long silence.
desolation-at a litlle distance a small house is seen through an opening of the wood.
Enter ACHZIB, as a northern hunter.
From a proud palace on the Arno's side,
Let me retrace the history of this pair :-
He was Count Spazzi — young and rich, and proude
Unto his knowledge fair Teresa Cogni,
The daughter of an exiled chief of Corinth;
Beautiful as her own land, and pure ACHZIB, AS A NORTHERN HUNTER.
As her own cloudless heavens. It is a tale HULDA, AN OLD WOMAN.
So long, so full of sorrow and of guile,
or heart-ache and remorseless tyranny, SCENE I.
That now I may not stop to trace it out.
But she was forced to marry that stern man, A little chapel in a gloomy northern forest — Teresa
After her father's death had given her on her knees before the image of the Virgin.
Into his power. — Enough, it was a marriage Ter. T'hou, that didst bear a pain that had no Where joy was not; but where the lyrant smiled healing
Because his pride and will were gratified.
Next followed lawless years of heedless crime;
Wherein I made the vow which I have kept,
How, it now matters not. I watched him fall,
Meantime that gentle partner of his fall,
Bore, with a patience which was not of earth, And where I murmur, strengthen to endure! All evils of their cruel destiny.
(She bows her head, knceling in silence—as she But she was now a mother — and for him,
prepares to leave the chapel, enter Paolo, That docile boy, whose spirit was like hers,
Ever-enduring and so full of kindness,
What mother would not bear all misery Sweet flowers; the fragrant lily, like a cup And yet repine not, blessed in the love Chiselled in marble, and the rich, red rose,
Of that considing spirit! Thus it was. And carry them, an offering to Our Lady;
And they three went forth, exiles from their land: Think'st thou she will accept such gists as these, One with the curse of his own crimes upon him;
Two innocent as doves, and only cursed
“I will find thee flowers the fairest, In that their lives and fortunes were bound up
And weave for thee a crown;
I will get thee ripe, red strawberries,
If thou wilt but como down!
“Oh Holy, Holy Mother, And danger, amid natures like his own:
Put him down from off thy knee ; And here I might have left him to live out
For in these silent meadows
There are none to play with me!"
Thus spoke the boy so lonely,
The while his mother heard,
But on his prayer she pondered,
And spoke to him no word. For will she not curse God, if from her sight
That self-same night she dreamed Is ta'en that precious child, and hate her husband,
A lovely dream of joy ; By whom it shall appear the deed is done?
She thought she saw young Jesus She will, she will — I know this mother's heart!
There, playing with the boy. And on the morrow, as a skilful hunter,
" And for the fruits and flowers I shall present myself before her husband,
Which thou hast brought to me, No more Count Spazzi, but the hunter Olaf.
Rich blessing shall be given
A thousand-fold to thee!
Thou shalt roam with me at will,
And of bright fruits, celestial,
Shall have, dear child, thy fill !" The following morning — the interior of the house in the forest — Teresa silling near the fire — Paolo
Thus tenderly and kindly
The fair child Jesus spoke ; kneeling upon a foolstool al her side.
And full of careful musings Paol. And now, dear mother, tell me that old tale,
The anxious mother woke.
And thus it was accomplished
I will, my love.
In a short month and a day, [She sings in a low recilalive.
The lonely boy, so gentle,
Upon his death-bed lay. * Among green, pleasant meadows, All in a grove so wild,
And thus he spoke in dying: Was set a marble image
"Oh mother dear, I see Of the Virgin and the Child.
That beautiful child Jesus
A-coming down to me! There oft, on summer evenings,
« And in his hand he beareth
Bright flowers as white as snow,
And red and juicy strawberries, –
Dear mother, let me go?"
Ile died - but that fond mother
Her sorrow did restrain,
For she knew he was with Jesus,
And she asked him not again! * And now from highest heaven
Paol. I wish that I had been that boy, dear He doth look down each day,
mother! And sees whate'er thou doest,
Ter. How so, my Paolo, did not that boy die, And hears what thou dost say !"
And leave his mother childless ?
I had forgotten that! But, mother dear,
Thou couldst not be so wretched, wanting me
As I, if thou wert not! It breaks my heart
Only to think of it; and I do pray, Again the boy was playing,
Morning and night, that I may never lose thee! And earnestly said he,
Ter. My precious child, heaven is so very good, * Oh beautiful child Jesus,
I do believe it will not sunder us
Who are so dear, so needful to each other!
Paol. Let us not speak of parting! And, indeed, *A free trauslation of one of Herder's beautiful legends. I will not be a hunter when a man;
I will not leave thee early in a morning,
Enter OLAF, muffled in his hunting dress.
Olaf, Where's the boy! I hunt to-day.
In this storm! Ter. Thou shalt not, love!
Where is the boy?' I heard him here, just now. And yet, what couldst thou be, if not a hunter, Ter. Why, why the boy? What dost thou want In these wild regions, Paolo!
with him? Paol. Oh no, mother,
Olaf. He shall go out with me on this day's hunt. I will not be a hunter! They are fierce,
Ter. Oh no! not so — he must not go to-day! They have loud angry voices. Dearest mother, Olaf. Why, 't is a puny, feeble-hearted thing, I tremble when I hear my father speak;
Whom thou hast fondled with and fooled, till nought I wish he was as kind, and spoke as sweetly
Of a boy's spirit is within his heart!
But he shall go with me, and learn to dare
But this once A very skilful hunter.
This once, my husband, spare him and when next Paol. Yes, I know it;
Thou goest to the hunt, he shall go with thee! I've often heard it said. But tell me why
Olaf. This day he shall go with me! Thou
wouldst teach Men are so stern! If I am e'er a man, I will be kind and gentle; and the dogs
The boy rebellion! He shall go with me! Shall not start up whene'er they hear my step,
Ter. Nay, say not so he does not love the chase! And skulk away from the warm, pleasant hearth!
Olaf. "T is me he does not love -- and for good I will love all things, mother; I will make
reason, All things love me!'
Thou ever keep’st him sitting at thy side,
A caded, dwindled thing that has no spirit!
Look at the other children of the forest;
They are brave, manly boys!
Ter. My father goes unto the chase to-day,
Alas, my husband, And that strange hunter with him!
Thou hast forgotten, 't is a tender flower Ter.
Nay, my love,
Transplanted to a cold, ungenial clime. In this wild storm they will not go to hunt.
Olaf. Say not another word! Thou hear'st my
will! Paol. I saw them even now. The sledge is ready, With the horse harnessed to 't ; and, mother dear,
Enter PAOLO; he runs to his mother's side. We shall have such a long and quiet day, – "T will be so happy! And oh, wilt thou tell me Ter. Thy father wishes thee to hunt to-day. About thy home at Corinth, and the time
Pad. Oh, not to-day, dear mother!. When from the morning to the blessed eve
And why not? Thou sangest to the music of thy lute;
It ever is the cry, “Oh not to-day!"
That thou canst not go with me?
I besought And sing me songs and hymns in thy Greek tongue, My mother to sing me her Corinth songs; And hear how I can sing them after thee
To tell me of the groves and of the flowers, Wilt thou, dear mother?
And of that happy home that was more fair
Than even was ours, in pleasant Italy; Ter.
I will indeed, my love! And she has promised that she will, my father. But hark! thy birds are chirping for their meal,
Olaf. Ha! ha! is 't so ?--'T is even as I thought. vo, feed them, my sweet boy.
I know wherefore these stories of the past ! Paol.
Yes, I will feed them, Mark me, Teresa, if thou school him thus, And then there will be nothing all the day
I'll sunder ye! - Thou need 'st not clasp thy hands; To take me from thy side!
For on my life I 'll do it!
[He goes out. Paol. sweeping.) Father, father, Ter.
Thou dear, dear child! Part me not from my mother, and indeed Thou happy, innocent spirit! 'Tis o'er-payment,
I will go with you. A rich o'er-payment of my many woes,
Ter. [aside to Olaf.) Pray thee, speak him kindly! To see thee garner up such full enjoyment
Olaf. Come, I'll be thy companion! I will teach Within the narrowed limits of the gnod
thee Which thy hard fortune gives thee! And no more To be a man;- dry up these childish tears ! Let me account myself forlorn and stripped,
Ter. My sweet boy, do not weep! Go out this day Whilst I have thee, my boy!
Thy mother prays it of thee, and bring back
But hark! here comes A little ermine, we will make it tame; My husband !
It shall be thine, my Paolo, and shall love thee.
Paol. I will go, dearest mother — nor will cry Paol. Oh horrid! how they tear each other's flesh.
Let us go home!
Olaf. Again they are upon us — their gaunt jaws Ter. I will, indeed I will, my dearest love! Dropping with blood, which they lick evermore! Olaf. Come, come, why all this fondling? We'll Now for another slaughter! be back
"Tis in vain, Long ere the night.
For right and left, yet other packs are coming! Ter. Come, now I'll put thee on
Paol. Oh father, father, they will be upon us !
Hunt. Peace, brawling child !
My poor, dear boy, be still. Olaf.
How she sways him! Paol. I will, I will, dear father! With a sweet word she guides him as she will! Olaf. [to the Hunter.)
Cursed murderer. Would that the child loved me but half as well; His blood will be upon thy head! Heaven help me! but I am a rough, bad man,
Indeed! And have deserved neither her love nor his ! Who forced him from his mother 'gainst his will ? But now the sledge is ready.
Olaf. Most strange, inhuman wretch! (He goes out. Hunt.
Nay, use thy gun, "T will do thee better service than thy tongue ! SCENE IV.
Olaf. (aside.] Please heaven I live, I'll pay theo
for this hunt, Near sunsel - a dreary, desolate region, surrounded Wages thou didst not ask! with ice-mounlains—the Hunter drives a sledge ra
[He puls his last charge into his piece. pidly forward, in the back part of which sit Olaf
This is the last and Paolo.
When this is done, there is no other hope Olaf. Where is this wild! I know not where thou But in our flight!
[He fires. drivest!
Now heaven must be our helper! Hunter. Below our feet lies the eternal ice On, on, spare not the thong ! Of the great sea!
[The horse in dashing forward, breaks Olaf. Our prey abides not here!
from the sledge; the wolves fall upon Hunt. We'll find enough, anon!
him instantly. Olaf. Thou dost not know Olaf.
Now must we fly! The track on which thou go'st. — Here only dwells
Hunt. There is a hut among these icy deserts The gaunt and savage wolf! and hark — even now
Raised by some hunters. While they gorge themI hear their bark!
Oh, are there wolves a-nigh? We may escape. Hunt. Ay, they are nigh, look in that black abysm,
Take, take my hand, dear father! li is a wild wolf's den!
Olaf. How cold it is, poor boy!
[They turn among the ice-mounlains, and Is this thy wondrous skill? Wheel round the sledge
soon are out of sight. Before the horse is maddened with the cry! There is no time to lose! Pull in the beast! Hunt. It will not do- the wolves are now upon us!
SCENE V. Paol. Oh father, save me!- save me, dearest father!
A chaotic wilderness of iceberg s. Olaf. Let go my cloak — they shall not hurt thee, Enter the hunter, and Olaf carrying Paolo, who child!
appears faint. Ito the Hunter.) Thou cursed man!— Dost see these savage beasts,
Hunt. I hear their bark-we are not much a-head! And yet sit grinning there, as thou had'st done Olaf. How far is 't now unto the hunter's cabin? A piece of hunter-craft!
Hunt. A half hour it would take us, could we run You carry arms — At our best speed—but cumbered with the child, Candok you fire upon them? They will gorge
What can we do? Upon each other, and be pacified !
Dear father, I will run Olaf. If they taste blood, they will be more fero- I will not cumber thee – I am strong now!
Olaf. My poor dear boy, thou canst not! would And thou know'st well, we have not ammunition
to heaven Por such a strise! yet will I fire on them,
Thou wert at home! Their savage barking will bring others down. Pad.
How kind thou art, dear father [He fires. I will run on - I will not cumber thee!
Hunt. The wolves are here! Hark, hark! their
And not my boy? barking comes
Hulda. (laying the clothes together.] He will no Upon the passing wind!
need these more! Paol, Oh, they are here!
Then he is dead! Olaf. How can we 'scape from them! I'll sell Huld. Alas, dear lady, yes!
Peace, woman! peace! Dearly for this child's sake!
The earth were less forlorn without the sun, Hunt.
Throw them the child! Than I without my boy! He is not dead! And while they gorge on him, we can escape.
Huld. Would God he were not! Olaf. Thou devil of hell!
Do not say he is! Paol.
Sweet father, do it noi! It is like blasphemy to say he's dead. [The wolves surround them; and the Hunter Heaven would not strip me 60 — O do not say it!
snatching up Paolo throws him among Where are these men? I'll forth and meet my boy! them.
Huld. (stopping her.] He is not on the road! No, Paol. Oh father, father, save me! Olaf.
My boy! my boy! Will he repass this threshold! Hunt. It is too late—they tear him limb from limb! Ter.
'Tis a dream! Now for escape! Run, run, and we shall reach Huld. Dear lady, no !-too plainly tell the hunters A place of safely!
(He darls forward. All that has happened ! Olaf. God in heaven! my boy –
And, prythee, what has happened ? My gentle-hearted boy! my murdered boy!
Huld. A quarrel 'twixt the hunter and our master, (He dashes among the wolves with his Who now comes wounded home. hunting knife, and then springs for
And what of Paolo? ward after the Hunter
Huld. O heavy, heavy news! — The child is
missing ! Ter. Nay, then he is not dead !-Oh no, not dead!
I told thee heaven would not so deal with me! SCENE VI.
My precious boy will come back on the morrow,
Hunters are often lost for many days.
a bright fire burns on the hearth — refreshments are I, too, will go myself. Where are the men ?
Enter the HUNTER, haslily.
Hunt. Dear lady, woe is me!
Away, away! And bitter cold it is! The icy wind
Ter. Where is my boy?
Oh wretched, wretched mother
Ter. Torture me not, but tell me where he is ? But he shall sit upon the bench beside me,
Hunt. Lady, forgive me for the news I bring ! And I will hold his hands, and lay his head
Ter. Then he is dead ?
Hunt. Upon my knee; it is his dear indulgence
Most terrible recital ! Poor child, and he shall have it all to-night!
Lady, thy husband, to preserve himself, [She puts fresh logs on the fire. Hath given thy little Paolo to the wolves! And this is the third time I have renewed
Ter. [with a scream of horror.) Oh no, no, no! The wasting fire! and when I piled it first,
Hunt. He stopped their maws “My Paolo will be here,” I said, “ before
With thy poor Paolo's blood !
He did not so!
Hunt. Poor little one, how he did cry for thee! I know not what to say, saving the wonder
Huld. Peace! can'st not hold thy peace. Oh hear
Lady, he is but missing!
Poor weak thing !
How he did cling to me, and pray that I
poor Then should I be bereaved !
Would save him from his father!
[Teresa clasps her hands, and stands in Enter HULDA, with a very dejected countenance ; she
speechless agony. takes down Paolo's clothes, and folds them up. I might have snatched a pretty lock of hair; Ter.
Nay, how is this? I wish I had - a pretty curling lock! Huld. He will not need them more?
Ter. [falling on her kness.] God, of thy mercy Ter. Woman, what say'st thou ?
strengthen, strengthen me! Huld. Two hunters from the icebergs are come Enable me to bear what is thy will! down
[She falls insensible to the floor. Ere long thy husband comes.
Huld. Wretch, why didst tell it her so cruelly