Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 online

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passed by, in my eager search for a something that has not satisfied,
that bright possession which the poorest of earth’s children, equally
with the most exalted have extended to them by the hand of our
beneficent Father. Do you think I am strangely confiding with one whom
for ten years I have not known by thought, or word, or deed? But we were
children together; and I remember how that you more than all I left
behind me knew the thoughts and desires of my inner life. Doubtless,
since we have come to be _women_, we have both much changed, but at this
hour I will believe you sympathize with me as in the days of old.

“Not long ago there came one to me, a man gifted with noble intellectual
faculties, and rich in heart-wealth; he has wished me to be his wife;
but knowing as I do what a very pauper I am in all that is best
calculated to make his a happy home—you will understand I am not
speaking of fortune or beauty _now_—I have declined his suit. I cannot
regard him as I could have a few, _but_ a few short years ago. I do not
love him as my imagination tells me that woman _can_ and _should_ love.
For a moment when I read his words, my heart beat wildly—I was happy;
but that passed quickly; I distrust myself; I do not wish _now_ that any
one should intrust to me a charge of their happiness through life; it
would be madness, and no less than foul wrong in me to wed with one
whose affection I could make but such a paltry return. I give to you the
answer I sent him; it is the sum total of my thoughts on this
subject—and I would ask you as you read them, do you not think that
there is but little to envy in one who has flung away a diamond, for a
trifling but more brilliant gem?

TO —— ——.

It is too late; once, once I could have loved thee,
Before my heart grew passionless and cold;
My years are few, but trials have out-worn me—
In thought and struggle I am old—am old!
I had not _once_ been deaf to thy fond pleading—
My soul had throbbed to hear thy ardent words;
But now no inward voice is interceding,
Thy finger touches upon tuneless chords!

There _was_ a time when, hadst thou breathed of love,
A fire had swiftly kindled in my heart;
I would have coveted then, far, far above
All earthly good—all that is set apart
For the strong soul to labor for—a tone
A look, such as thou gavest now to me,
I would have gloried then to be thine own;
That time is past—it never more can be!

Once, when my heart beat strong with youth and hope,
Once, when the future held a glorious prize,
Through the surrounding gloom I strove to grope,
And to close-thronging dangers shut my eyes.
I fought for honor—fame. I thought that these
Would _buy_ for me that other, nobler good,
For which I prayed upon my bended knees,
The boon of love—but fate my prayer withstood!

Too many years have passed since that sweet dream—
Too hard and ceaseless has my striving been;
Through the calm twilight now there comes no gleam
Of that wild hope—it cannot live again.
It cannot be—thou wouldst not prize a gift
So worthless as is all I have to give;
Thou wouldst not care from my cold heart to lift
The burden ’neath which I am doomed to live!

Seek for a younger mind—a lighter soul;
Seek one who has not been what I have been.
I would not that around thy home should roll
A cloud surcharged with gloominess and pain;
Seek one who hath not from her childhood seen
Her inmost thoughts—the best and brightest gold;
Seek one who smiles—one who yet dares to dream—
Who has not ‘hardened to a crystal cold!’

“And now, being quite sure that I have outwearied you, and believing
that you will gladly let the remainder of your interrogatories to-day
pass unanswered, I will conclude, with the earnest hope that _you_ may
never be tempted to barter the sacred affections of your heart for any
more alluring, but less, oh, far less satisfying prize—in the name of
our childhood.

“Always yours,


* * * * *

Dear reader, it may be proper to state, that despite this most emphatic
disclaimer on the part of Lily, a western paper I have recently
received, contains a notice of the marriage of the distinguished
poetess, Lily Reeve, with the Hon. —— ——. Had it not been for this,
one other proof of what is called the fickleness of woman’s nature, you
perceive I should have been enabled to end my story without a marriage;
but you will bear in mind that this repetition of the almost invariable
climax, is not _my_ fault!

* * * * *




Read on, young maiden. I will gage a kiss
The page so earnestly thou porest o’er,
To be the record of the ecstasies
Of some great bard, or it may be the lore
Of wild adventure by Armida’s shore—
Or how Diana wooed the Hunter-boy,
Or how to Dido erst Æneas swore
Unmeasured love. Read while thou may’st enjoy,
For certainly as this bright morn of May
Will lose its zest, thy happiness will fade.
As Orient smiles of Spring too soon decay,
As clouds o’ershadow all the happy glade,
Now smiling in the early morning’s ray,
Thy peerless beauty e’en will pass away.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _DRAWN BY PASTORINI_


* * * * *




The sun was just setting on the last day of August, when the ponderous
_eilwagen_, in which I had journeyed from Frankfort, rounded the foot of
the Holy Mountain into the Valley of the Neckar, and Heidelberg—the
brave, romantic, beautiful old electoral city—was stretched out before
me on the opposite side of the river. Far above it rose the wooded
Kaiserstuhl, midway down whose side hung the granite bastions, terraces
and roofless halls of the famed Castle. Heavy masses of ivy hung from
its arches, and overran the quaint sculpture of its walls, while the
foliage of its gardens was visible behind, deep in the shadow of the
mountain. A faint yellow glow trembled over the pines and birches on the
top of the Kaiserstuhl, and kept the clear blue on the distant hills up
the Neckar. Down the steep paths of the Holy Mountain, on my left, came
the peasant-girls, with baskets on their heads, laden with the purple
clusters of the Muscatel, and talking to each other gayly over
garden-walls, and under arbors, which made a “green twilight” even at
noon. Careless students, pipe in hand, sauntered along the river bank,
listening to the sweet evening chimes, rung first in the towers of the
Hauptkirche, and taken up like an echo, from village to village, among
the hills.

Looking forward to Heidelberg as a place for rest and quiet study, there
was something peculiarly grateful and tranquilizing in the scene. To my
eyes the scenery presented a mingling of the wild with the
cultivated—of the pastoral with the grand—a combination so inspiring
that I found it difficult to keep my enthusiasm within reasonable
bounds. From the river bank, above the bridge, cannon began firing a
closing salute for the Grand Duke’s birth-day, and my heart never kept
more bounding time to the minute-guns on a Fourth of July at home. The
German passengers in the _eilwagen_ were highly gratified by my delight,
for all Germans are proud of Heidelberg.

By a piece of good fortune the friends who had left me at Mayence and
arrived the day before, happened to be passing up the main street when
the vehicle stopped, and I was spared the risk of searching for them,
which, to one ignorant of the language, was no slight task.

In a day or two, by the help of a _valet de place_, who spoke half a
dozen words of English, we obtained rooms in a large house overhanging
the Neckar. From one side we looked upon the Heiligenberg, so near that
we could hear the girls singing among the vines every morning, and all
day long the rapid river below us was noisy with raftsmen, guiding the
pines they had felled among the Suabian hills down to the Rhine. On the
other side the Kaiserstuhl stood between us and the eastern sky, and we
always saw the sunrise first on the opposite mountains. In the cool,
cloudless autumn mornings, the air was full of church-chimes and merry
voices, which came echoed back from the hills, so that our first waking
sensation was one of pleasure, and every day brought us some new form of

The valley of the Neckar is narrow, and only the little slopes which
here and there lie between the feet of its wooded mountains are capable
of cultivation. Higher up, there are glens and meadows of luxuriant
grass, to which the peasants drive their cattle, further still, it is
barren and rocky, and upon the summits dwells a solitude as complete as
upon the unsettled prairies of the far West. An hour’s walk takes one
from the busy streets of the little city to this beautiful and lonely
region, and the stranger may explore the paths he finds leading far away
among the hills, for weeks together, without exhausting their store of
new scenes and influences. The calm impressiveness of these mountain
landscapes disposes the mind to quiet thought, and one who has felt them
till their spirit grew familiar, is at no loss to comprehend the
inspiration from which Schiller, Uhland and Hauff have sung.

It is a favorite habit with the Heidelbergers, and one into which the
traveler willingly falls, to spend the last hour or two of daylight in a
walk by the Neckar, in the gardens of the castle, or off in the forests.
At spots of especial beauty rustic inns have been erected, where, at
tables in the shade, the visiter is furnished with beer, cool from its
underground vaults, and thick curds, to which a relish is given by sugar
and powdered cinnamon. The most noted of these places is the
Wolfsbrunnen, about a mile and a half from the city, in a lonely glen,
high up on the mountain. A large stone basin, two centuries old, stands
there, pouring out a stream of the coldest and purest water, dammed up
below to form a small pool, in which hundreds of trout breed and grow
fat from the benevolence of visiters. A wooden inn, two stories high,
with balconies on all sides, is nestled among the trees, and farther
down the stream a little mill does its steady work from year to year.

A party was once formed by our German friends, and we spent a whole
Saturday afternoon in this delicious retreat. Frau Dr. S——, who was
always ready for any piece of social merriment, had the management of
the excursion, and directed us with the skill of a general. Fräulein
Marie, her niece, a blooming maiden of eighteen, and Madame Louise ——,
a sprightly little widow from Mannheim, with Dr. S——, one or two
students, and we Americans, were her subjects. Every thing was arranged
with precision before we started. The books, the cards, the music
(including a most patient guitar) were distributed among those best able
to carry them, and we finally started, without any particular order of
march. German etiquette forbids a lady to take the arm of a male friend,
unless she is betrothed to him; talking is allowed, fortunately.

As we climbed to the terraces of the castle, we could see the thread of
the Rhine, in the distance, sparkling through the haze. The light air
which came down the Neckar was fragrant with pine and the first falling
leaves of summer trees. The vineyards below us were beginning to look
crisp and brown, but hanging from stake to stake the vines were bent
down by blue clusters, with the bloom still upon them. Troops of
light-hearted students, children, blue-eyed and blond-haired, and
contented citizens, were taking the same path, and like them, we forgot
every thing but the sense of present happiness.

We had a table spread upon the upper balcony of the inn, after our
scattered forces returned from many a long ramble up the glen and out on
the meadows. Frau Dr. S—— ordered a repast, and the “landlady’s
daughter”—not the sweet maid of Uhland’s song, but a stout-armed and
stout-waisted damsel—brought us a jar of curds, dripping with the cool
water in which it had stood. A loaf of brown bread next made its
appearance, followed by a stone jug of foaming beer, and two or three
dishes of those prune-tarts peculiar to Germany, completed the fare. On
the porch below us, two or three musicians played waltzes, and the
tables around the fountain were filled with students, laughing, clinking
their beer-glasses, or trolling some burschen chorus. Our own table did
not lack the heartiest spirit of mirth; this could not be otherwise so
long as Frau Dr. S—— sat at the head of it. The students were gay and
full of life, and even Dr. S——, the most earnest and studious of the
party, was so far influenced by the spirit of the time, that he sang the
“King of Thule” with more warmth than I had thought possible.

The afternoon sped away like a thought, and Heidelberg was forgotten
until the faint sound of its evening chimes came up the valley. We
returned in time to see a glowing sky fade over the mountains of
Alsatia, and then first, as the twilight gathered, came the remembrance
of home—a remembrance which did not chide the happiness of the day.

One of these excursions was accompanied by a different and less
agreeable finale. A small party had been arranged to visit the ruins of
St. Michael’s Chapel, on the summit of the Holy Mountain. I had ascended
it previously, after an hour’s climbing, directly up the side, but as
ladies were to accompany us, it was necessary to take a winding road,
two or three miles in length, to reach the chapel. We mounted, by
flights of steps through the terraced vineyards, to the Philosopher’s
Walk, followed it to a retired glen called the Angels’ Meadow, and then
entered a forest-road. The wind roared loudly among the trees, and the
sky grew darker as we ascended, but we took little heed of these signs.
Finally, however, on reaching a rocky point whence we could look down on
the Rhine-plain, we were somewhat alarmed to see a heavy rain-cloud
approaching from the west. The chapel was still half a mile distant, and
its open walls and dismantled towers could afford us no protection, so
there was nothing left but to turn about and descend with all speed.

The rain had just crossed the Rhine, and would probably be half an hour
in reaching us, and as we could trace its misty advance on the sheet of
landscape below us, we hoped to time our rate of walking so as to reach
some shelter before it struck the mountain. Vain hope!—before we
reached the Angels’ Meadow the wind fairly howled among the trees, and
swept over us, laden with dust and showers of leaves. The rain followed,
and as our path led over the exposed ridge of the mountain, the arrows
of the storm smote pitilessly in our faces. The ladies shrieked, the men
groaned, and, like Norval’s barbarians, we “rushed like a torrent,”—and
with a torrent—“upon the vale.” When we arrived at the village of
Neuenheim the shower was nearly over, but it might have continued all
day, without more effect upon us.

The village of Ziegelhausen, up the Neckar, with its grim old convent,
gardens and cascades, and the delightful arbors of vine, reaching down
to the very brink of the river, is another favorite place of resort. The
pastor of its church, who was familiar with our German friends, would
frequently join us in an afternoon walk, followed by a cup of tea in the
garden of the inn, and frequently by a share in the games of the village
children. The pastor was a most jovial, genial character; he sang very
finely—indeed, he was brother to the _primo tenore_ in the Opera at
Brunswick—and his wit was inexhaustible. His religion was as genuine as
his cheerfulness; it was no gloomy ascetism, which looked on mirth as
sin, but a joyous, affectionate and abounding spirit, bright as God’s
sunshine and as unconscious of its blessing. How happily passed those
September afternoons, warmed by such true social feeling, and refreshed
by all the kindly influences of nature! If a return like this to the
simple joys of the child’s heart be but obtained by the mature age of a
nation, I could almost wish this country might grow old speedily. The
restless energy of Youth is still upon us. The nation overflows with
active impulses, which fear nothing, and yield to nothing. We have not
yet felt the need of Rest.

I have said nothing of my struggles with the perverse German
language—my daily sieges, advancing from trench to trench, till the
strong fortress was stormed and all its priceless stores in my
possession. I have not spoken of my blunders arising from ignorance and
inexperience, nor the novelty of customs and life so different from
ours. These would be tedious, nor are they necessary to give some
impression of Heidelberg in its most delightful season. The most
romantic and picturesque of all German cities, and therefore most
thronged by romance-hunting tourists, its good old social character is
still happily preserved. The last Revolution has fortunately spared it,
and in spite of railroads beside its mountains, and steamboats on the
Neckar, it will be for many years to come one of the pleasantest spots
in Europe.

* * * * *



The grass of the field shall be now my theme,
For when winter is past, and the snow
Has melted away from the earth like a dream,
No flowers that in loveliness grow
More dear, or more beautiful ever can be
Than the simple grass of the field to me.

It springs up so quick, when showers call aloud
For every thing glad to come forth;
And when the sun bursts from his rainbow-cloud,
As the rain passes off to the north—
It shines in his glory, and laughs in his light,
The green grass of the field, so glistening and bright.

Happy children love in the grass to play,
Thick and soft for their dancing feet;
And there the wild bees gather honey all day
From the clover so blushing and sweet,
And find no stores that the garden can yield
Are richer than those from the grass of the field.

The lark makes his nest in the twining grass,
And methinks when he soars to the skies,
And sings the clear notes that all others surpass,
His gladness must surely arise
From the lowly content of that innocent breast,
Which finds in the grass of the field a safe nest.

There are few who notice the delicate flower
That blooms in the grass at their feet,
Yet the proudest plant in the greenhouse or bower
Is not fairer, or more complete;
And to those who observe—it is clearly revealed
That God clothes with beauty the grass of the field.

The mower comes out so busy and blythe,
At the dawn of a summer’s day,
And the tall waving grass at the stroke of his scythe
Is cut down and withers away:
But the fragrance it sends over valley and hill
Makes the grass of the field loved and lovely still.

And while on the perishing grass we look,
A soft voice in the summer wind
Will whisper the words of the Holy Book
To the humble and thoughtful mind.
“All flesh is as grass,” it will seem to say—
“Like the flower of the grass ye shall pass away.”

But oh! we will hope with a faith secure—
Through the years of this mortal strife—
On the words of the Lord, which forever endure,
For in them is eternal life:
Thus lessons of truth all our pleasures will yield,
And wisdom we’ll learn from the grass of the field.

* * * * *



Thy natal morn hath dawned again
With pure and cloudless ray;
May Peace and Hope attend thy steps,
Sweet sister, on this day.

It is the first that ever found
Me severed from thy side,
And tears will mingle with my prayer
At morn and eventide.

For I have yearned to lay my hand
In blessing on thy brow,
And speak the earnest words of love
That stir my spirit now;

Have longed, but longed in vain, to meet
The dark and sunny eye,
That has from childhood been to me
A star in every sky.

Have sought amid a stranger band
The smile I loved so well,
And lived in spirit o’er again
A sorrowful farewell!

And thou hast missed a warm caress,
And wept its loss, I know,
For we were joined as flowers that spring
From the same root below;

The early sunbeam as it stole
Across our quiet room,
Seemed to thy tearful eyes to wear
An all unwonted gloom.

And low winds seemed with mournful wail
The forest leaves to thrill,
As memory whispered that thou hadst
A vacant place to fill.

But we have loved as few can love,
For years, through storm and shine,
And though our paths lie separate now,
Thy heart still clings to mine.

By childhood’s smiles and youth’s gay dreams,
By memories of the dead,
By the stern discipline of grief,
My soul to thine is wed:

Links as eternal as the prayer
We used to breathe at even,
As ever-during as the vow
That binds us unto Heaven.

Then blessings on thee, dearest one,
My heart leaps o’er the sea;
I feel thy breath upon my cheek,
May God watch over thee.

* * * * *



This seems a little word, while we repeat it less than one second of
time is consumed, yet in its signification it is a great word—a word of
vast and unmeasured import:

By it we understand a just appreciation of the good, the beautiful, the
pleasant, the worthy and the useful:

Still it is not alike to all: Tastes differ with characters, and
characters with men. By an all wise Creator was this so ordained, and in
every thing we see the wisdom and the beauty of His system.

Suppose, for instance, we pass in fancy around this vast globe, as we
progress onward, countries, climates, men and characters undergo every
conceivable grade of change. Gradually we pass from regions inhabited by
enlightened men—men of learning and deep research, men to whom Science
seems to have lent her very self, until we come to a race of beings
between whom and the brute creation there is scarcely a demarcation: Yet
each and every one of these thousands upon thousands of countless beings
has his own peculiar sphere of action, and his own especial tastes,
adapted to his position and circumstances.

Taste may, however, be improved or debased, elevated to the highest

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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXIV, No. 5, May 1849 → online text (page 8 of 15)