Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Providence, R. I.

SOLID SILVER TABLE WARE, PRESENTATION SERVICES, Marriage Presents, Ornamental Dinner Pieces, in Fine Art Character.

With unrivalled facilities for selecting fine Silver-Ware, our stock fully represents the latest and most approved designs produced by the

GORHAM MANUFACTURING COMPANY.

We are daily in receipt of specialties made by this company, and call attention to their new style of finish, both novel and pleasing in effect, without increase in cost.

DESIGNS FOR PRESENTATION FURNISHED.
All Silver stamped "Gorham Mfg. Co."

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

BRYANT - Homer's Iliad. Vol. 2, completing the work. 8vo. Uniform with LONGFELLOW's DANTE $5.00. The two volumes in Half Calf, $ 20.00. "America may fairly claim to have produced the standard English translation of Homer. William Cullen Bryant's is a version alike for the academy and for the people. Any one who, knowing no word of Greek, has made himself master of this translation, is qualified to judge of Homer, not merely as a story-teller, but as a poet; and has filled his mind with the spirit, the grandeur the beauty, almost even the melody, of the greatest epic poem of all time."- The Independent.

HAWTHORNE-English Note-Books.

2 vols. 16mo. Uniform with HAWTHORNE'S WORKS. $4.00.

"The most charming books of the season. Aside from their value as in some sort an autobiography of Mr. Hawthorne, they are the most delightful sketches of travel, society, literature, and art, as they were seen in England fifteen years ago, pictured by a master in the arts of clear observation and graceful expression. There is not an entry which does not possess intense interest, and let the reader open the book where he will, he is led on by the charm of the contents irresistibly."- Boston Post.

For sale by all Booksellers. Sent, post paid, on receipt of price by the Publishers,

FIELDS, OSGOOD, & CO., Boston.

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.

THE

VOL. XXVI.-JULY, 1870. - NO. CLIII.

THE ALARM-BELL OF ATRI.

T Atri in Abruzzo, a small town

By Wadsworth

VOL. XXVI.

AT

Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown,—
One of those little places that have run
Half up the hill, beneath a blazing sun,
And then sat down to rest, as if to say,
"I climb no farther upward, come what may";
The Re Giovanni, now unknown to fame,
So many monarchs since have borne the name,
Had a great bell hung in the market-place
Beneath a roof, projecting some small space,
By way of shelter from the sun and rain.
Then rode he through the streets with all his train,
And, with the blast of trumpets loud and long,
Made proclamation, that whenever wrong
Was done to any man, he should but ring
The great bell in the square, and he, the king,
Would cause the Syndic to decide thereon.
Such was the proclamation of King John.

How happily the days in Atri sped,

What wrongs were righted, need not here be said.
Suffice it that, as all things must decay,
The hempen rope at length was worn away,
Unravelled at the end, and, strand by strand,
Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand,
Till one, who noted this in passing by,
Mended the rope with braids of briony,
So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine
Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by FIELds, Osgood, & Co., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. -NO. 153.

I

By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt
A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt,
Who loved to hunt the wild-boar in the woods,
Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods,
Who loved his hounds and horses, and all sports
And prodigalities of camps and courts;
Loved, or had loved them; for at last, grown old,
His only passion was the love of gold.

He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds,
Rented his vineyards and his garden-grounds,
Kept but one steed, his favorite steed of all,
To starve and shiver in a naked stall,
And, day by day, sat brooding in his chair,
Devising plans how best to hoard and spare.

At length he said: "What is the use or need
To keep at my own cost this lazy steed,
Eating his head off in my stables here,
When rents are low and provender is dear?
Let him go feed upon the public ways;
I want him only for the holidays."

So the old steed was turned into the heat
Of the long, lonely, silent, shadowless street;
And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn,
Barked at by dogs, and torn by brier and thorn.

One afternoon, as in that sultry clime
It is the custom in the summer-time,
With bolted doors, and window-shutters closed,
The inhabitants of Atri slept or dozed;
When suddenly upon their senses fell
The loud alarum of the accusing bell!
The Syndic started from his sweet repose,
Turned on his couch, and listened, and then rose
And donned his robes, and with reluctant pace,
Went panting forth into the market-place,

Where the great bell upon its cross-beam swung,

Reiterating with persistent tongue,

In half-articulate jargon, the old song:

"Some one hath done a wrong, hath done a wrong!"

But ere he reached the belfry's light arcade,
He saw, or thought he saw, beneath its shade,
No shape of human form, of woman born,
But a poor steed dejected and forlorn,
Who with uplifted head and eager eye
Was tugging at the vines of briony.
"Domeneddio!" cried the Syndic straight,
"This is the Knight of Atri's steed of state!
He calls for justice, being sore distressed,
And pleads his cause as loudly as the best."

Meanwhile from street and lane a noisy crowd
Had rolled together, like a summer cloud,
And told the story of the wretched beast
In five-and-twenty different ways at least,
With much gesticulation and appeal
To heathen gods, in their excessive zeal.
The Knight was called and questioned; in reply
Did not confess the fact, did not deny;
Treated the matter as a pleasant jest,

And set at naught the Syndic and the rest,
Maintaining, in an angry undertone,
That he should do what pleased him with his own.

And thereupon the Syndic gravely read
The proclamation of the King; then said:
"Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,
But cometh back on foot, and begs its way;
Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds,
Of flowers of chivalry and not of weeds!
These are familiar proverbs; but I fear
They never yet have reached your knightly ear.
What fair renown, what honor, what repute
Can come to you from starving this poor brute ?
He who serves well and speaks not merits more
Than they who clamor loudest at the door.
Therefore the law decrees, that as this steed
Served you in youth, henceforth you shall take heed
To comfort his old age, and to provide
Shelter in stall, and food and field beside."

The Knight withdrew abashed; the people all
Led home the steed in triumph to his stall.
The King heard and approved, and laughed in glee,
And cried aloud: "Right well it pleaseth me!
Church-bells at best but ring us to the door;
But go not in to mass; my bell doth more:
It cometh into court and pleads the cause
Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws;
And this shall make, in every Christian clime,
The Bell of Atri famous for all time."

Henry W. Longfellow.

A SHADOW.

I

SHALL always remember one winter evening, a little before Christmas-time, when I took a long, solitary walk in the outskirts of the town. The cold sunset had left a trail of orange light along the horizon, the dry snow tinkled beneath my feet, and the early stars had a keen, clear lustre that matched well with the sharp sound and the frosty sensation. For some time I had walked toward the gleam of a distant window, and as I approached, the light showed more and more clearly through the white curtains of a little cottage by the road. I stopped, on reaching it, to enjoy the suggestion of domestic cheerfulness in contrast with the dark outside. I could not see the inmates, nor they me; but something of human sympathy came from that steadfast ray.

As I looked, a film of shade kept appearing and disappearing with rhythmic regularity in a corner of the window, as if some one might perhaps be sitting in a low rocking-chair beside it. Presently the motion ceased, and suddenly across the curtain came the shadow of a woman. She raised in her arms the shadow of a baby, and kissed it; the both disappeared, and I walked

on.

What are Raphael's Madonnas but the shadow of a mother's love, fixed in permanent outline forever? Here the group actually moved upon the canvas. The curtains which hid it revealed it. The ecstasy of human love passed in brief, intangible panorama before me. It was something seen, yet unseen; airy, yet solid; a type, yet a reality; fugitive, yet destined to last in my memory while I live. It said more to me than would any Madonna of Raphael's, for his mother never kisses her child. I believe I have never passed over that road since then, never seen the house, never heard the names of its occupants. Their character, their

history, their fate, are all unknown. But these two will always stand for me as disembodied types of humanity, the Mother and the Child, they seem nearer to me than my immediate neighbors, yet they are as ideal and impersonal as the goddesses of Greece or as Plato's archetypal man.

I know not the parentage of that child, whether black or white, native or foreign, rich or poor. It makes no difference. The presence of a baby equalizes all social conditions. On the floor of some Southern hut, scarcely so comfortable as a dog-kennel, I have seen a dusky woman look down upon her infant with such an expression of delight as painter never drew. No social culture can make a mother's face more than a mother's, as no wealth can make a nursery more than a place where children dwell. Lavish thousands of dollars on your baby-clothes, and after all the child is prettiest when every garment is laid aside. That becoming nakedness, at least, may adorn the chubby darling of the poorest home.

I know not what triumph or despair may have come and gone through that wayside house since then, what jubilant guests may have entered, what lifeless form passed out. What anguish or what sin may have come between that woman and that child; through what worlds they now wander, and whether separate or in each other's arms, - this is all unknown. Fancy can picture other joys to which the first happiness was but the prelude, and, on the other hand, how easy to imagine some special heritage of human woe and call it theirs!

"I thought of times when Pain might be thy guest, Lord of thy house and hospitality;

And Grief, uneasy lover, might not rest

Save when he sat within the touch of thee."

Nay, the foretaste of that changed fortune may have been present, even in the kiss. Who knows what absorbing

« ZurückWeiter »