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THE IMPROVISATORE; of a John ANderson, MY Jo, John. "

Scene:- A spacious drawing-room, with music-room adjoining.

CAT fifth ine. What are the words? Eliza. Ask our friend, the Improvisatore; here he comes: Kate has a favour to ask of you, Sir; it is that you will repeat the ballad that Mr —— sung so sweetly. Friend. It is in Moore's Irish Melodies; but I do not recollect the words distinctly. The moral of them, however, I - take to be this:—

Love would remain the same if true,
When we were neither young nor new :
Yea, and in all within the will that came,
By the same proofs would show itself the same.

ELIZA. What are the lines you repeated from Beaumont and Fletcher, which my brother admired so much? It begins with something about two vines so close that their tendrils intermingle. Fit I end. You mean Charles' speech to Angelina, in a the Elder Brother. We'll live together, like two neighbour vines, Circling our souls and loves iu one another: We'll spring together, and we'll bear one fruit; One joy shall make us smile, and one grief mourn! One age go with us, and one bour of death Shall close our eyes, and one grave make us happy.

cAthen inf. A precious boon, that would go far to reconcile one to old age—this love, if true! But is there any such true love? Friend. I hope so. CATH Ealine. But do you believe it? Eliza (eagerly.) I am sure he does. Finiend. From a man turned of fifty, Catherine, I imagine, expects a less confident answer. cATneni N. E. A more sincere one, perhaps, friend. Even though he should have obtained the nick-name of Improvisatore, by perpetrating charades and extempore verses at Christmas times? ELIZA. Nay, but be serious. Friend. Serious? Doubtless. A grave personage of my years giving a love-lecture to two young ladies, cannot well be otherwise. The difficulty, I suspect, would be for them to remain so. It will be asked whether I am not the elderly gentleman - who sate a despairing beside a clear stream," with a willow for his wig-block. ELIZA. Say another word, and we will call it downright affectation.

cAtheni Nr. No! we will be affronted, drop a courtesy, and ask pardon for our presumption in expecting that Mr —— would waste his sense on two insignificant girls. Pral end. Well, well I will be serious. Hem' Now then commences the discourse; Mr Moore's song being the text. Love, as distinguished from Friendship, on the one hand, and from the passion that too often usurps its name, on the other— Lucius. (Eliza's brother, who had just joined the trio, in a whisper to the Friend.) But is not Love the union of both? friend (aside to Lucius). He never loved who thinks so. ELIZA. Brother, we don't want you. There! Mrs H. cannot arrange the flower-vase without you. Thank you, Mrs

I'll have my revenge! I know what I will say!
Off! off! Now, dear sir, Love, you were saying—
Hush! Preaching, you mean, Eliza.
Eliza (impatiently).


Well then, I was saying that Love, truly such, is itself not the most common thing in the world : and mutual love still less so. But that enduring personal attachment, so beautifully delineated by Erin's sweet melodist, and still more touchingly, perhaps, in the wellknown ballad, . John Anderson my jo, John," in addition to a depth and constancy of character of no every-day occurrence, supposes a peculiar sensibility and tenderness of nature; a constitutional communicativeness and utterancy of heart and soul; a delight in the detail of sympathy, in the outward and visible signs of the sacrament within—to count, as it were, the pulses of the life of love. But above all, it supposes a soul which, even in the pride and summer-tide of life —even in the lustihood of health and strength, had felt oftenest and prized highest that which age cannot take away, and which, in all our lovings, is the Love;-


There is something here (pointing to her heart) that seems to understand you, but wants the word that would make it understand itself.

cAthen IN e.

I, too, seem to feel what you mean. Interpret the

feeling for us. Friend.

——I mean that willing sense of the insufficingness of the self for itself, which predisposes a generous nature to see, in the total being of another, the supplement and completion of its own—that quiet perpetual

seeking which the presence of the beloved object mo

dulates, not suspends, where the heart momently finds,

and, finding, again seeks on—lastly, when - life's change

ful orb has pass'd the full,- a confirmed faith in the nobleness of humanity, thus brought home and pressed, as it were, to the very bosom of hourly experience : it supposes, I say, a heart-felt reverence for worth, not the less deep because divested of its solemnity by habit, by familiarity, by mutual infirmities, and even by a feeling of modesty which will arise in delicate minds, when they are conscious of possessing the same or the correspondent excellence in their own characters. In short, there must be a mind, which, while it feels the beautiful and the excellent in the beloved as its own, and by right of love appropriates it, can call Goodness its Playfellow; and dares make sport of time and infirmity, while, in the person of a thousand-foldly endeared partner, we feel for aged Viarus the caressing fondness that belongs to the INNocence of childhood, and repeat the same attentions and tender courtesies as had been dictated by the same affection to the same object when attired in feminine loveliness or in manly beauty.

ELIZA. What a soothing—what an elevating idea! carriettine. If it be not only an idea. Fair Nin.

At all events, these qualities which I have enumerated, are rarely found united in a single individual. How much more rare must it be, that two such individuals should meet together in this wide world under circumstances that admit of their union as Husband and Wife. A person may be highly estimable on the whole, nay, amiable as neighbour, friend, housemate—in short, in all the concentric circles of attachment, save only the last and inmost; and yet from how many causes be estranged from the highest perfection in this? Pride, coldness or fastidiousness of nature, worldly cares, an anxious or ambitious disposition, a passion for display, a sullen temper—one or the other—too often proves • the dead fly in the compost of spices,” and any one is enough to unfit it for the precious balm of unction. For some mighty good sort of people, too, there is not seldom a sort of solemn saturnine, or, if you will, ursine vanity, that keeps itself alive by sucking the paws of its own self-importance. And as this high sense, or rather sensation of their own value is, for the most part, grounded on negative qualities, so they have no better means of preserving the same but by negatives—that is, by not doing or saying any thing, that might be put down for fond, silly, or nonsensical,—or (to use their own phrase) by never forgetting themselves, which some of their acquaintance are uncharitable enough to think the most worthless object they could be employed in remembering.

Eliza (in answer to a whisper from CAthenine).

To a hair! He must have sate for it himself. Save me

from such folks! But they are out of the question. Falend.

True! but the same effect is produced in thousands by the too general insensibility to a very important truth; this, namely, that the Miskay of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year, the death of a child; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily;-in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man's life, are easily counted, and distinctly remembered. The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the count

less other infinitesimals of pleasureable thought and genial feeling. catherine. Well, Sir; you have said quite enough to make me despair of finding a • John Anderson, my jo, John," to totter down the hill of life with. Friend. Not so Good men are not, I trust, so much scarcer than good women, but that what another would find in you, you may hope to find in another. But well, however, may that boon be rare, the possession of which would be more than an adequate reward for the rarest virtue. ELIZA. Surely, he who has described it so beautifully, must have possessed it? Fral end. If he were worthy to have possessed it, and had believingly anticipated and not found it, how bitter the disappointment!

(Then, after a pause of a few minutes). Answen (ex improviso).

Yes, yes! that boon, life's richest treat,
He had, or fancied that he had;
Say, 't was but in his own conceit—
The fancy made him glad!
Crown of lris cup, and garnish of his dish
The boon, prefigured in his earliest wish
The fair fulfilment of his poesy,
When his young heart first yearn'd for sympathy:

But e'en the meteor offspring of the brain
Unnourish’d wane!
Faith asks her daily bread,
And Fancy must be fed!
Now so it chanced—from wet or dry,
It boots not how—I know not why—
She missed her wonted food; and quickly
Poor Fancy stagger'd and grew sickly.
Then came a restless state, 'twixt yea and nay,
His faith was fixd, his heart all ebb and flow;
Or like a bark, in some half-shelter'd bay,
Above its anchor driving to and fro.

That boon, which but to have possess'd
In a belief, gave live a zest—
Uncertain both what it had been,
And if by error lost, or luck;
And what it was:–an evergreen
Which some insidious blight had struck,
Or annual flower, which, past its blow,
No vernal spell shall e'er revive;
Uncertain, and afraid to know,
Doubts toss'd him to and fro;
Hope keeping Love, Love Hope alive,
Like babes bewilder'd in a snow,
That cling and huddle from the cold
In hollow tree or ruin’d fold.

Those sparkling colours, once his boast,
Fading, one by one away,
Thin and hueless as a ghost,
Poor Fancy on her sick-bed lay;
Ill at distance, worse when near,
Telling her dreams to jealous Fear!

Where was it then, the sociable sprite
That crown'd the Poet's cup and deck'd his dish!
Poor shadow cast from an unsteady wish,
Itself a substance by no other right
But that it intercepted Reason's light;
It dimm'd his eye, it darken'd on his brow,
A peevish mood, a tedious time, I trow!
Thank Heaven "t is not so now.

O bliss of blissful hours!
The boon of Heaven's decreeing,
While yet in Eden's bowers
Dwelt the First Husband and his sinless Mate!
The one sweet plant, which, piteous Heaven agreeing,
They bore with them through Eden's closing gate!
Of life's gay summer-tide the sovran Rose!
Late autumn's Amaranth, that more fragrant blows
When Passion's flowers all fall or fade;
If this were ever his, in outward being,
Or,but his own true love's projected shade,
Now that at length by certain proof he knows,
That whether real or a magic show,
Whate'er it was, it is no longer so;
Though heart be lonesome, Hope laid low,
Yet, Lady! deem him not unblest:
The certainty that struck Hope dead,
Hath left Contentment in her stead :
And that is next to best!


Of late, in one of those most weary hours,
When life seems emptied of all genial powers,
A dreary mood, which he who ne'er has known
May bless his happy lot, I sate alone;
And, from the numbing spell to win relief,
Call'd on the past for thought of glee or grief.
In vain: bereft alike of grief and glee,
I sate and cower'd o'er my own vacancy!
And as I watched the dull continuous ache,
Which, all else slumb'ring, seem'd alone to wake;
O Friend! long wont to notice yet conceal,
And soothe by silence what words cannot heal,
I but half saw that quiet hand of thine
Place on my desk this exquisite design,
Boccaccio's Garden and its faëry,
The love, the joyaunce, and the gallantry!
An Idyll, with Boccaccio's spirit warm,
Framed in the silent poesy of form.
Like flocks adown a newly-bathed steep
Emerging from a mist: or like a stream
Of music soft that not dispels the sleep,
But casts in happier moulds the slumberer's dream,
Gazed by an idle eye with silent might
The picture stole upon my inward sight.
A tremulous warmth crept gradual o'er my chest,
As though an infant's finger touch'd my breast.
And one by one (I know not whence) were brought
All spirits of power that most had stirr'd my thought
In selfless boyhood, on a new world tost
Of wonder, and in its own fancies lost; -
Or charm'd my youth, that, kindled from above,
Loved ere it loved, and sought a form for love;
Or lent a lustre to the earnest scan
Of manhood, musing what and whence is man!

Wild strain of Scalds, that in the sea-worn caves
Rehearsed their war-spell to the winds and waves;
Or fateful hymn of those prophetic maids,
That call'd on Hertha in deep forest glades;
Or minstrel lay, that cheer'd the baron's feast;
Or rhyme of city pomp, of monk and priest,
Judge, mayor, and many a guild in long array,
To high-church pacing on the great saint's day.
And many a verse which to myself I sang,
That woke the tear, yet stole away the pang,
Of hopes which in lamenting I renew'd.
And last, a matron now, of sober mien,
Yet radiant still and with no earthly sheen,
Whom as a faery child my childhood woo'd
Even in my dawn of thought—Philosophy.
Though then unconscious of herself, pardie,
She bore no other name than poesy;
And, like a gift from heaven, in lifeful glee,
That had but newly left a mother's knee,
Prattled and play'd with bird and flower, and stone,
As if with elfin playfellows well known,
And life reveal'd to innocence alone.

Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry
Thy fair creation with a mastering eye,
And all awake! And now in fix’d gaze stand,
Now wander through the Eden of thy hand;
Praise the green arches, on the fountain clear
See fragment shadows of the crossing deer,
And with that serviceable nymph I stoop,
The crystal from its restless pool to scoop.
I see no longer! I myself am there,
Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.
'T is I, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings:
Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells
From the high tower, and think that there she dwells.
With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest,
And breathe an air like life, that swells my chest.

The brightness of the world, 0 thou once free,
And always fair, rare land of courtesy
O, Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills!
And famous Arno fed with all their rills;
Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy!
Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine,
The golden corn, the olive, and the vine.
Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old,
And forests, where beside his leafy hold -
The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn,
And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn;
Palladian palace with its storied halls;
Fountains, where Love lies listening to their falls;
Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span,
And Nature makes her happy home with man;
Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed
With its own rill, on its own spangled bed,
And wreathes the marble urn, or leans its head,
A mimic mourner, that with veil withdrawn
Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn,
Thine all delights, and every muse is thine:
And more than all, the embrace and intertwine
Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance!
"Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance,

See! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees
The new-found roll of old Maconides;
But from his mantle's fold, and near the heart,
Peers Ovid's Iloly Book of Love's sweet smart!”

* Boccaccio claimed for himself the glory of having first introduced the works of Homer to his countrymen.

O all-enjoying and all-blending sage,

Long be it mine to con thy mazy page,

where, half conceal’d, the eye of fancy views

Fauns, nymphs, and winged saints, all gracious to thy muse!

Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks,
And see in Dian's vest between the ranks
Of the trim vines, some maid that half believes
The vestal fires, of which her lover grieves,
with that sly satyr peeping through the leaves!
loro, in brevo tempo, insegnato a conoscer le lettere, fece legere it

* I know few more striking or more interesting proofs of the ! influence which the study of the Greek and Roman sed on the judgments, feelings, and imaginations of the literati of Europe at the commencement of the restoration of literature, than the passage in the Filocopo of Boccaccio: where the sage instructor, Racheo, as soon as the young prince and the beautiful girl Biancafiore had learned their letters, sets them to study the Holy Book, Ovid's Ant or Lovs. • Incomincio Racheo a mettere il suo officio in essecuzione con interu sollecitudine. E

santo libro d' Orridio, nel quale it sommo poeta mostra, come i santi Juochi di Venere si dehhano me freddi cuori occendere."

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