Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

your own souls, which will not relish the hire of the laborers who have the fire that is never quenched, nor reaped your fields of which you have feel at ease under the gnawings of the defrauded them, crieth out; and the worm that never dies, let me entreat cry of them hath entered into the ears you to lose no time in re-arranging In- of the Lord of Sabaoth.” This is not dustry, and preventing the recurrence my denunciation; it is not the declaof these evils, which with no malice I mation of the agrarian seeking to arm have roughly sketched for you to look the poor against the rich ; but it is God upon. The matter, my friends, is himself speaking to you now in warnpressing, and delay may prove fatal. ing, what he will hereafter, unless you Remember, there is a God in Heaven, are wise, speak to you in retribution. who may say to you, “Go to now, ye More we had proposed to say, but rich men, weep and howl for your mis- close with recommending anew eries that shall come upon you; your our readers the work we have noticed, riches are corrupted, and your gar as one, which if not always sound in ments are moth-eaten, your gold and its philosophy, is earnest in its tone, silver is cankered; and the rust of just in its rebukes, and often wise in them shall be a witness against you, its suggestions. The more such books and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. are multiplied and read, the better will You have stored up to yourselves it be for us. wrath against the last days. Behold

to

ERNEST STEINER, A TALE OF THE IDEAL AND THE REAL.

BY MRS. JANE L. SWIFT.

Twilight was shading with its dusky thought ! peopled with beings not of veil the streets of Strasburg, and still clay, and stored with images traced in a stream of gold burnished the lofty dreamy loveliness upon the tablets of spire which crowns its cathedral. the fervid mind—beautiful Ideal ! whom Nearly five hundred feet in height, it is I worshipped with all the energy of the first object that glows with the kiss youthful passion in years gone by, give, of the rising sun, and is the last to be oh! give me back the pristine freshness embellished with its evening rays. of early manhood; give me back the

At a window in the vicinity, com- delusive charm that lulled my spirit manding a full view of this splendid into blest forgetfulness of transitory Gothic structure, sat a man, perhaps things, and wove a web of transparent fifty years of age, with his eyes intent- light around my soul. ly fixed upon the illuminated spire. It “ Beautiful Ideal! how I worshipwas to him a dear, familiar thing, for ped thee; yet thine was the wanhe had looked upon it from childhood; dering gleam upon the ocean of existand there were associations now clus- ence, that led my bark astray; and, tering around his heart, that brought the when with eager joy I would have flush of suppressed emotion to his brow. moored that bark in the wished-for haHe was a lonely man—with but one ven, it struck and stranded upon unsuschild—and that child was soon to be pected shoals. The wreck floated launched upon the billows of a world, once again, dismasted, with nothing but too often stormy, seldom calm. The the naked hull to stem the wave; until, light disappeared; yet still he gazed drifting on, it found deeper waters and upon that distant point that seemed to a serener calm. But it is at best a touch the sky; and, as he pondered, shattered thing; just bearing its prehis thoughts unconsciously shaped cious freight, and verging towards the themselves into words :

far off shore, from which no vessel has “ Beautiful Ideal! Region of shadowy returned.

“ Beautiful Ideal! once more I call would worship mind. Nay, tell me not upon thee to restore the day-dreams of what you have often told me, that phimy youth–I call upon thee to rebuild losophy is full of dangerous subtleties the fairy castles in which it was my and improbable theories. While I have delight to dwell-I call upon thee to the creations of your own gifted mind renew the golden promises of hope. to speak to mine, I cannot shun the Ah! idle, worse than idle, thus to cling dreamy and beautiful speculations of the to what has once betrayed, and would schools." betray again. Have wasted years “I have lived long enough, my dear brought with them lessons so severe, Wieland, to become convinced of the only to drive me back again in despair, errors of my favorite theories, and to to the spell that worked my ruin? . To condemn that system of study, which have lived in vain-to have been but as leads us too often to involve in mystean atom of dust in this beautiful world ry the naked majesty of truth. It is --and then, to die!

like shutting out the rays of the noon“But my son—my only, my gifted day sun, to grope by the light of a child—how I tremble for thee, possess- flickering candle. And yet, I admit, ing as thou dost, all the elements that Wieland, that against my better judgform a highly intellectual being. While ment, I find myself sometimes rearing yet thy infant lips were unused to those baseless fabrics, which a single speech, thou wouldst point to the wan- gleam of truth can destroy." dering cloud as it curled into fantastic " Truth?" shapes, and watch with upturned brow “Ay, the real as opposed to the the changes of light and shade. Thy ideal—the actual as opposed to the viplaythings all forgotten, thou wouldst sionary—the thing having being in itself, sit in mute ecstasy when the sweet as opposed to what is merely a phantones of thy mother's harp were heard; tasm of the mind." and, unknowing why, the tears would “Good; and the right angles, triangush from their welling fountain, and gles, and squares of truth, brought to thou wouldst hide thy face upon her bo- the very point of the compasses, are to som. I remember, that while yet a little geometrize the parterre of my brain, child, thou didst ask me if stars were until not a curve line of grace is left.” not angels' eyes; and as I encouraged “Far from it, my dear boy; I would the poetical idea, I felt that thine was not wish to rob life of all its poetry not a common mind. Yet, is it to be and grace, but I would press upon you the thy blessing or thy curse ?”

danger of living in an imaginary world “ My blessing, dear father,” said the of your own. The wildest enthusiasts, youth, who had just entered and over- who have broached the wildest schemes, heard the latter part of his parent's generally began with less startling docsoliloquy; "you would not wish me, trines, which finally led them step by surely, to be one of the common herd, step to the natural result,-for error obtuse to everything excepting what I can rarely rest satisfied with anything see, hear, touch, smell or taste ? I would short of the extreme. In the simple as soon be yonder beast of burthen, as recital of the most prominent events of be a man, without any of the aspi- my life, you will not be uninterested ; rations that dignify and exalt our na- and the tale may have its influence ture.”

upon your subsequent career. The lips of the elder Steiner relaxed “Like yourself

, dear Wieland, I was mto a smile, as he laid his hand upon reared in affluence, a position not calthe head of the handsome youth, who culated to make us acquainted with had seen some twenty summers. “ And ourselves, nor to give us just views of yet, Wieland,” he said mournfully," the the world. I entered upon my studies decline of life must be gilded with in the university of Gottingen, at the something more enduring tha day- age of twenty, with a mind all energy, dreams and beautiful illusions. If we and a heart all flame. I was tolerably would be content when old age overtakes well read in the philosophical literature us, we must feel that we have not alto- of the day, from the sublimated docgether lived in vain.”

trine of the mystics, to the more chil“Let old age take care of itself, fa- ling dogmas of materialism; and the ther; I would live while I live, and in result was what might have been exthe glorious revelations of philosophy I pected—I had no belief at all—but

as

inclined sometimes towards the tenets back upon me with all the freshness of of one sect, and sometimes towards the a recent dream. It does not seem retenets of another. There was some- ality, for years have thrown a misty thing that fostered my self-esteem in veil upon my heart, and tinged with an the idea of identifying myself with the ideal glow the shadows of the past. followers of what I, at length, conceiv- Happy months passed on, until the time ed to be the most elevated philosophy; approached that was to unite me in and after a residence of three years marriage to the lovely Hermine. at Gottingen, I espoused the peculiar Stronger and stronger had become the doctrines of Spinoza, in preference to silken bond of love, and I had already the rest. I looked around upon the learned to feel for her as the wife of beautiful world, and recognized the my bosom. universe as God. A profound lover of “ One beautiful moonlight evening as Nature, I worshipped a mysterious sub- we sat together, I could not help pleadstance, endowed with infinite attributes, ing for a shorter period of probation, extension and thought; of which all until at length she raised her soft blue spirits were modifications, and of whose eyes to mine, and whispered, “Thy will, essence all things were but subordi- Steiner, is mine.' nate portions. Rapt in the dreamy “As I pressed my lips upon her brow, speculations to which such a belief im- I said, 'Dear Hermine, may I ever pospelled, I neglected all study that did sess such mesmeric influence over thee!' not minister to the gratification of my She gazed earnestly at me for a moabsorbing passion ; and the mind dis- ment, and then asked, Could you mageased' shrank from more healthful ali- netize me, Ernest ? I have always had ment, and from exercise less supine. the greatest desire to know if mesmer

“Endowed by nature with the dan- ism could work such wonders upon me gerous gift of eloquence, I became an I have heard related respecting oracle among my young associates; others.' and found but too many ready to em “Although not what might be called brace the dogmas which were presented a disciple of Mesmer, still I could not to them arrayed in all the alluring resist the evidence of my senses in the gracefulness of philosophical drapery. experiments I had witnessed; and in From being a teacher, I became a wri- the power I had been able to exercise ter; unfortunately, a successful one; over others while in the magnetic sleep, and thus, having thrown down the I saw enough to stagger my scepticism. gauntlet as the champion of Pantheism, After repeated importunity on her part I no longer examined the claims of I consented to make the attempt. She other doctrines, but occupied myself sat before me, with her smiling eyes solely in defending and advancing the fixed on mine, while I went through the cause I had espoused.

usual manipulations, until gradually the “ It was about this time that I ac- fringed eyelids closed, and her head knowledged a new influence—the in- sank upon her shoulder in a heavy fluence of woman, or rather of beauty. slumber. With a still greater intensiLeading the secluded life of a student, ty of will, I said mentally, “Go, pure I had mingled but little in female soci- spirit, to the land where they say the ety, and to look upon the form of beau- blest repose ;' and, ere long, a change, ty, was to love. Sweet Hermine! as unearthly as it was beautiful, seemed young, guileless, and confiding, there to flit across her countenance, while was no mystery, no chilling reserve in her lips gently murmured, 'heaventhe acknowledgment of her attach- heaven.' She was the image of tranment, and I felt that I was deeply, quillity, of peace, of happiness; and, tenderly, I may say blindly, loved. She trembling with agitation at the visible could not comprehend the scope of my effect of the mysterious spell, I ceased severer studies, but would listen with the harmless incantation, and willed dreamy wonder to the lesser mysteries her to awake. With a sigh, and a half of my creed, and would strive to think stifled sob, her spirit returned to its as I thought, and to follow where I dwelling, with only a dim and indismight lead.

tinct recollection of repose. Ah, this was a beautiful episode in “Several times I repeated similar ex. the record of my life, and even now, periments upon herself

, and other memthe remembrance of those days comes bers of her family, not always with

equal success, but seldom failing in pro- fled the pure spirit of the departed ? ducing the magnetic sleep.

Where was the loving soul bound to “It was a lovely afternoon in early mine by the dearest and holiest of ties? summer; the day preceding that on Annihilation! the thought was horror! which I was to call Hermine mine for All was doubt—darkness and despair. ever. Her relations, some of whom No ray of comfort shone on the trackhad come from a distance to be present less waste of conjecture that spread at her bridal, were around her; and at itself before me; beyond, around, within, the earnest request of one of them who a gloom profound;—the Ideal then only was an unbeliever in Mesmerism, Her- aggravated the blackness of the abyss mine consented to be magnetized again. into which I was plunged. When I had succeeded in producing “I went in to see her for the last time, the somnolent state, I willed that she just as they were about screwing down should visit the regions of the lost. I her coffin-lid for ever. Oh! the dreadknow not how the idea entered my ful realities of death! How my shudmind, or why I acted upon it, but it was dering soul cowered in the presence of done in the thoughtless levity of the man's relentless and triumphant foe! moment. Ere long, an expression of Take her not away now,' I said, imsuffering and disquiet overspread her ploringly ; see, how beautiful she countenance, and distorted its usually looks--she may still but sleep-oh! do unruffled lineaments. She gasped vio- not heap the cold, damp mould upon lently once or twice, and then became that beloved form-it may yet revive !" pale and motionless. Alarmed and They folded down the covering of her terror-stricken at the result of my rash neck-oh God! the livid trace of death's proceeding, I instantly resorted to the decaying finger! A mist came over my usual means to awaken her, but with- eyes—I stooped to kiss the pure pale out success,-I had lost the power! brow-and as the vivid reality forced There she lay, still as death, yet so itself upon me, that she whom I had lovely that she seemed too beautiful for loved so well, was but a clod of the earth. They besought me imploringly valley now, the scalding drops, which to release her from the terrific slum- shame the eye of manhood, fell fast ber,-alas! I had no longer command above her dear remains. over myself, and to that circumstance “I found myself, at length, beside her I imputed my failure in the effort to grave. It was a green and shaded awaken her. Her brother leaned over spot, where, but a few days before, we her, and, touching her hand, started had wandered together over the grassy back with the appalling cry, 'My God, hillocks, in all the buoyant hopefulness she is dead! I grasped the wrist, of youth and happiness. Death had there was no pulse ; in agony I placed stepped between us—and as the earth my shaking hand upon her heart, it did rattled heavily upon her coffin, I felt not beat beneath the pressure. With that there lay buried all that I had to the speed of phrenzy, I ran for the love and live for. Ah! Wieland, bitter nearest physician, so that in a few indeed is the first draught of the cup minutes he was by her side ; but he of sorrow; still more bitter, when it is turned away in tears, and said that she tasted by one unprepared and unrewas dead! I would not-could not signed to drink it. think so. I believe my senses must have left me, for I persisted in striving

“With a crushed and aching heart, I to arouse her from that frightful slum- sought relief in study. In the solitude ber, and not until I sank unconscious of my closet, I again strove to illume beside her, could they remove me. the magic lantern that had beguiled so

“ They ascertained, while I lay in that many weary hours with its glowing heavy swoon, that her death was caused pictures. But the spirit's destiny! the by the rupture of a blood-vessel near spirit's destiny ! În letters of fire, the heart." God only knows how far I written upon the walls—the earth—the was instrumental in producing it, but sky—wherever I might turn, there, in I looked upon myself as her destroyer. characters that burned into my soul, I Never before had I witnessed death, saw inscribed, 'the spirit's destiny!' save in the brute creation ; never had I I could not fly from the oppressive seen the lamp of life extinguished in thought; and when I endeavored to humanity. Whither, oh! whither had face it, all grew dark around me ex

cepting those characters of fire, the knelt and worshipped the gifted being spirit's destiny!' Nature-philosophy who thus seemed sent to rescue me -godlike mind-gave me no clue to from the yawning gulf of atheism, and solve the impenetrable mystery; and to draw aside the veil that hid the when, after many months of mental glorious realities of truth from my anguish, I resumed the labors of my mental vision. pen, it was but to broach wilder “ The state of my mind for two years schemes, and to disseminate more im- had been such as greatly to affect my pious principles.

health, and the prostration of my “ It was at this time that I began to strength made me a prey to the most receive anonymous letters from a distant distressing languor and depression. part of Germany, written with so much The blight that had fallen upon my talent, and confuting with so much ambitious hopes, and the impossibility ability my favorite theories, that I be- of retrieving the past so as to distincame deeply interested in the polemical guish myself conscientiously in the correspondence. For more than a year path I had chosen, almost proved a it continued, uprooting one by one the death-blow to me. In the very zenith arguments in favor of natural religion; of my literary fame, when I had sucand I was at length both mortified and ceeded in winning for myself an enviaconfounded when my antagonist ac- ble reputation among the Neologists of knowledged herself of the weaker sex. Germany, I saw the foundation of the 'I contend not,' she said, I contend fabric I had been rearing crumble benot in the cause of an ideal God; and neath my feet, and felt that I could no if my weapons have in any way blunted longer defend with integrity or ability the edge of yours, it is not owing to the cause in which I had labored. I the skill with which they have been abandoned, for the time, all philosophiwielded, but to the weight and temper cal study, and determined, at length, to of their blades. There is a foothold in recruit my waning health and exhausted revealed religion, as opposed to philo- spirits at the springs of Baden-Baden. sophy, which gives a vantage-ground, “What a variety of light and shade and enables the weaker cor tant to in the condition and circumstances of overcome, when, standing upon the individuals does such a place of resort same dead level, he must have suc- present! Youth, intent on pleasure, cumbed to superior strength.

If, as with the flush of joy and hope upon the you admit, you would abandon your cheek, and the merry laugh ringing skeptical doctrines, were it not for from out the depths of a free, unburbringing upon yourself the ridicule of thened heart ;-beauty, intent on conyour many readers—let me implore you, quest, with brow of light and winning with all the energy of one who will smile, weaving its resistless spelli probably ere long enter upon the reali- around a host of votaries ;-talent, ties of the unseen world—let me im- drawing within its magic circle the plore you to weigh your decision in the gifted few, aspiring to be the nucleus balance of integrity. Recreant, from around which the lesser satellites delight conviction, to the cause of error, oh! to revolve ;-disease, with shrunken be not, from choice, recreant to the form and pallid lineaments, yearning cause of truth, just as it begins to dawn for the boon that would bring sweetness upon your soul! My failing health may to the cup of life, full, perchance to prevent our ever meeting on this side of overflowing, with every other gift that the grave—but there-there--Ernest blesses humanity,—all these, and more Steiner, shall we meet there ?'

than these, are found among the motley “No solicitation—no entreaties, could crowd that yearly haunt these healthinduce my unknown friend to reveal restoring springs. her name; and when at length the “ It is, at least, comforting to those mysterious correspondence ceased, I afflicted with lighter ailments, to see felt as if the spirit of truth, of purity, how rapidly the invigorating air and and of goodness, had left my soul for healing waters work a change in the

How I yearned to look upon her almost confirmed invalid ; so that many face, and to hear her voice luring me who arrive on litters, depart in a few on to better and more enduring hopes ! weeks, rejoicing in a renovated frame. Call it enthusiasm-call it madness “A day or two after my arrival, I was call it what you will-I could have standing with a friend on one of the

ever.

« AnteriorContinuar »