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“My son, why hidest thy face so shy?”
“Come, lovely boy, come, go with me;
many a gay garment at hand.”
“My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
“Come, lovely boy, wilt go with me?
“My father, my father, and seest thou not The Erl King's daughters in yon dim spot?”
My son, my son, I see and I know 'Tis the old gray willow that shimmers so."
“I love thee; thy beauty has ravished my sense ;
The father shudders; he hurries on;
[Translated from the German.]
A fisher sat thereby,
Chilled to his heart was he.
As he sat in dreamy mood;
All dripping from the flood.
She sung to him, she spoke to him :
Why wilt thou lure away
To the deadly light of day?
The little fishes live,
And thy true life receive!
“ Bathes not the sun with all his skies,
Bathes not the moon by night, To breathe
dew a while, and rise
Here spread in watery blue?
Down through the eternal blue?”
The water rolled, the water swelled ;
It wetted his bare feet;
He seemed his love to meet.
With him 't was quickly o'er:
And never was seen more.
(From "Wilhelm Meister ;" translated from the German, by Carlyle.)
MIGNON PERSONATING AN ANGEL. It chanced that the birthday of two twin-sisters, whose behavior had been always very good, was near. I promised that, on this occasion, the little present they had so well deserved should be delivered to them by an angel. They were on the stretch of curiosity regarding this phenomenon. I had chosen Mignon for the part; and aceordingly, at the appointed day, I had her suitably equipped, in a long, light, snow-white dress. She was, of course, provided with a golden girdle round her waist, and a golden fillet on her hair. I at first proposed to omit the wings; but the young ladies who were decking her insisted on a pair of large golden pinions, in preparing which they meant to show their highest art. Thus did the strange apparition, with a lily in the one hand, and a little basket in the other, glide in among the girls ; - she surprised even me. “There comes the angel!” said I. The children all shrunk back; at last they cried, “It is Mignon !” yet they durst not venture to approach the wondrous figure.
“Here are your gifts,” said she, putting down the basket. They gathered around her, they viewed, they felt, they question her:
“Art thou an angel ?" asked one of them.
heart be; then were I happy."
“What wings are these ? Let us see them!” “They represent far finer ones, which are not yet unfolded.”
And thus significantly did she answer all their other childlike, innocent inquiries. The little party having satisfied their curiosity, and the impression of the show beginning to abate, we were for proceeding to undress the little angel. This, however, she resisted. She took her cithern; she seated herself here on this high writing-table, and sung a little song with touching grace :
and so open
“ Such let me seem, till such I be;
Take not my snow-white dress away!
Up to the glittering lands of day."
[From the same.) DEATH AND EXEQUIES OF MIGNON. They were about to leave the Hall of the Past, when they heard the children running hastily along the passage, and Felix crying, “No,-I! No,- I!”
Mignon rushed in at the open door; she was foremost, bút out of breath, and could not speak a word. Felix, still at some distance, shouted out, “ Mamma Theresa is come!” The children had run a race, as it seemed, to bring the news. Mignon was lying in Natalia's arms; her heart was beating fiercely.
“Naughty child !” said Natalia ; "art thou not forbidden violent motions ? See how thy heart is beating !"
“Let it break!" said Mignon, with a deep sigh ; "it has beat too long."
They had scarcely composed themselves from this surprise, this sort of consternation, when Theresa entered. She flew to Natalia, clasped her and Mignon in her arms. Then turning round to Wilhelm, she looked at him with her clear eyes, and said, “Well, my friend, how is it with you? You have not let them cheat you ?" He made a step towards her; she sprang to him, and hung upon his neck. "O, my Theresa !” cried he. -"My friend, my love, my husband! Yes, forever thine!" cried she, amid the warmest kisses.
Felix pulled her by the gown, and cried, “Mamma Theresa, I am here too!” Natalia stood and looked before her; Mignon, on a sudden, clapped her left hand on her heart; and, stretching out the right arm violently, fell, with a shriek, at Natalia's feet, as dead.
The fright was great; no motion of the heart or pulse was to be traced. Wilhelm took her on his arm, and hastily carried her
away; the body hung lax over his shoulders. The presence of the doctor was of small avail; he and the young surgeon atrove in yain. The dear little creature could not be recalled to life.
Keep away from this mournful object,” said the doctor, “and allow me, so far as I am able, to give some continuance to these remains. On this dear and singular being, I will now display the beautiful art, not only of embalming bodies, but of retaining in them a look of life. As I foresaw her death, the preparations are already made; with these helps, I shall undoubtedly succeed. Give me but a few days, and ask not to see the child again till I have brought her to the Hall of the Past.”
* The Abbé called them, in the evening, to attend the exequies of Mignon. The company proceeded to the Hall of the Past; they found it magnificently ornamented and illuminated. The walls were hung with azure tapestry almost from ceiling to floor, so that nothing but the friezes and socles above and below were visible. On the four candelabras, in the corners, large wax lights were burning; smaller lights were in the four smaller candelabras, placed by the sarcophagus in the middle. Near this stood four boys, dressed in azure with silver; they had broad fans of ostrich feathers, which they waved above a figure which was resting upon the sarcophagus. The company sat down; two invisible choruses began, in a soft, musical recitative, to ask, “Whom bring ye us to the still dwelling ?” The four boys replied, with lovely voices, " 'Tis a tired playmate whom we bring you ; let her rest in your still dwelling, till the songs of her heavenly sisters once more awaken her.”
Chorus. “Firstling of youth in our circle, we welcome thee ! With sadness welcome thee! May no boy, no maiden follow ! Let age only, willing and composed, approach the silent Hall, and in the solemn company repose this one dear child !”
Boys. "Ah, reluctantly we brought her hither! Ah, and she is to remain here! Let us too remain; let us weep, let us weep upon her bier !" Chorus. “Yet look at the strong wings; look at the light,